Background & Concept

The development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has been recognized the world over as an effective mechanism to facilitate economic development. For, it is the MSME sector, which has the highest capital-employment ratio and it is this sector which provides opportunities for the youth and unemployed people to exhibit their entrepreneurial potential, by being job creators rather than job seekers. This assumes paramount importance in a situation when the unemployment levels are rising. It requires entrepreneurs who perceive opportunities, organize resources to set up and successfully run enterprises. One could argue in favor of supply driven support like availability of finance on favorable terms, consultancy support, policy support, concessions and subsidies, tax breaks etc. However, experiences have shown that finance, facilities and incentives could be necessary but not sufficient to ensure entrepreneurial response. For, entrepreneurial growth requires focus on human resources in addition to inducements by finance, subsidies, infrastructure etc.

Considering that promotion of entrepreneurship is a key to economic growth and primary engine for creating a country’s wealth, many governments of developing countries and economies in transition have renewed their focus on this vital factor of production. The Investment & Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Bahrain in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry (MoI) and various entities in Bahrain concerned with development of MSMEs were trying to stimulate domestic as well as foreign investment into the country in order to boost the manufacturing sector. It has been concluded that the unavailability of qualified entrepreneurs as well as a cohesive set of support services posed as the major bottlenecks in Bahrain; accordingly, the issues were studied and discussed thoroughly, including an analysis of the experiences of other countries worldwide, with UNIDO.

Keeping the above in view, the Enterprise Development (ED) process had been initiated giving due considerations to the operational environment in Bahrain and the special needs of the Bahraini entrepreneurs. The process calls for:

  • Availability of trained human resources to act as trainers and counselors, helping and guiding potential entrepreneurs.
  • Networking with concerned institutions involved in facilitating MSMEs development

Establishment of the Arab Regional Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment Training (ARCEIT)-Bahrain

Under the banner of south –south cooperation, Bahrain was identified as the Regional Focal Point Country for the Arab Region by IRC, jointly sponsored by UNIDO and the Government of India with the objective of strengthening indigenous capacities of selected countries in Arab, Asian and African regions in the areas of investment promotion and entrepreneurship development. The cooperation and support extended by the government and the local institutions and the excellent response from the community in the Arab region, led to the establishment of “Arab Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship and Investment Training (ARCEIT)” in Bahrain, to effectively organize & support the Investment & Technology Promotion and Entrepreneurship Development Initiatives – the core elements of the Enterprise Development programme – in the Arab region.

ARCEIT is operating with the objective to develop and strengthen indigenous capabilities of developing countries in the Arab region for Investment & Technology Promotion (ITP) and Entrepreneurship Development (ED). The activities of ARCEIT are closely coordinated by the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Bahrain and UNIDO HQ in order to ensure maximum synergy among the institutional participants.

In 2008, and in line with the UNIDO Independent evaluation to ITPO / ARCEIT Activities, which concluded that the role played by ARCEIT is instrumental in Economic Empowerment and recommended its conversion from a regional into an International Center. Accordingly, in 2013 the ARCEIT was converted into the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI).

AICEI Mission

  1. Contribute to the economic empowerment of youth and women regionally and internationally
  2. Unleash and stimulate the spirit of entrepreneurship through various awareness and support programs for women and youth
  3. Assist in developing eco-systems for the development of micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) through capacity building programs, technology transfer, financing and incubation systems
  4. Share and disseminate best practices for the development of value added services to entrepreneurs through local support institutions
  5. Institutionalize business counseling and mentoring programs aimed at facilitating enterprise growth
  6. Developing linkages between financial institutions and entrepreneurship programs
  7. The establishment of business incubator systems as they play a key role in the development and growth of MSMEs through a range of services offered

ARCEIT / AICEI Time line:


ARCEIT was established and the Bahrain Model evolved



Inauguration of the Bahrain Business Incubator Center


Working arrangement with the Islamic Development Bank



Working arrangement with the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) and the Bahrain Model being labeled as the “Bahrain – Arab Model”


UNIDO 12th General Conference officially adopts the Bahrain-Arab Model as its tool for Investment Promotion & Technology Transfer.



UNIDO Independent evaluation to ITPO / ARCEIT Activities, which concluded that the role played by ARCEIT is instrumental in Economic Empowerment and recommended its conversion from a regional into an International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment.


Bahrain – Arab Model named best developmental program with in the UN agencies



The League of Arab States through its Arab Union for Small Enterprises officially endorse the Bahrain – Arab Model


The General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture for Arab Countries endorses the Bahrain – Arab Model and its implementation in 22-member country Chambers.



Arab Regional Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment Training is transformed into the Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment


ITPO Bahrain / AICEI officially launch the UNIDO – Intel Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub during the UNIDO 50th Anniversary. For additional information on the hub please revert to annex 1


Currently, the UNIDO Arab International Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment Training since its inception in 2001 has developed the capacities of 3500 experts from 50 countries. The EDIP modality is currently implemented in 48 countries as follows:
  • African continent the model has been developed in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gambia, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Eretria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Guinea and Liberia
  • Latin America, the Model has also been developed in Uruguay
  • Asian continent, Turkey, Pakistan, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Laos, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Russia and Malaysia. The Model didn’t stop in the Asian continent it was also replicated in China through eleven centers in major economic cities and providing services in 300 cities. In the case of India, we are currently in the process of developing 10 EDIP Centers in 10 States as part of the India Smart City Initiative.
  • Gulf region, the model was also developed in Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Middle East and North Africa region, it is implemented in Mauritania, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and Morocco.
  • Europe: Cyprus
This overwhelming success has led the AICEI to establish partnerships with a number of regional and international partners namely the Islamic Development Bank, the Kuwait fund for Development, the Arab Fund, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Gulf Program for Development, the Kuwait Finance House, and the Italian Cooperation for Development.

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23rd Floor, West Tower,
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain


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