Areije Al Shakar is a senior leader in Bahrain’s financial industry, bringing 17 years of experience in the startup and banking sectors to Al Waha Fund of Funds via her role as Senior Vice President at Bahrain Development Bank.
A regular media commentator and columnist for outlets including CNBC, Entrepreneur magazine and Arabian Business, Areije is often called upon to offer high-level analysis of the full-entrepreneurship cycle, public policy, and ecosystem development within the region. She is frequently invited to share her expertise in local and regional innovation events and has also been featured among Bahrain’s Most Influential Women by Business in Gulf. Areije is also a Kauffman Fellow and the chairperson of the prestigious investment programme’s MENA Chapter.
At Al Waha, Areije works to build out a venture capital ecosystem within the region by meeting with funds, building networks and connecting startups with funding opportunities, including as part of Bahrain’s annual delegation to the World Economic Forum. In pursuit of this goal, Areije has spearheaded several initiatives including the pioneering Rowad Program, a holistic full-cycle support platform focused on connecting entrepreneurs through a global partnership network. She also worked on setting up SeedFuel-Rowad, an early stage funding program that is managed and run out of the Bank.
Before joining BDB, Areije worked in banking and advisory roles at BNP Paribas, and Lehman Brothers, contributing to setting up their respective Advisory and Investment Management desks for the wider region. She also worked at Citibank and Investcorp B.S.C.
Areije graduated from the John Molson School of Business with a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. During her free time, she enjoys literature and has been recognised as a talented writer and storyteller.