World’s First Entrepreneurship Summit Targeting Global Islamic Economy to be Held in Dubai


Cii Radio| Sabera Sheik Essop| 30 September 2016| 28 Zhul Hijjah 1437

The world’s first entrepreneurship summit targeting the global Islamic economy will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The event will be held at the Dubai World Trade Center on the 9th and 10th of October 2016, and will feature over 27 internationally renowned speakers.

Hodan Ibrahim and Abd Elmohaimen Mansi are the co – founders and discussed the event’s objectives, their progress thus far, and plans for the future.

Hodan Ibrahim (right), Abd Elmohaimen Mansi (left)
Hodan Ibrahim is a Somali-Canadian expatriate and a serial entrepreneur who arrived in Dubai in February this year on a one-way ticket, with nothing but the idea for the Summit.

“I attended an event called which was the first ever convention for Somali entrepreneurs…the event was amazing, it was sold out.”

“I said ‘you know what? I really think the global Muslim community needs something like this. I don’t know what that’s going to look like but I think it should happen,’ and I just ruminated over it for a year or two,” said Ibrahim, “and when I came to Dubai a friend of mine who’s also one of our partners, suggested I go to the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC)”.

“I’m in this country, I have a certain amount of money, I’m absolutely insane to think I can pull off a global conference this year, don’t know who my speakers are, don’t have any friends, don’t have any leads at all,” she remembered thinking “but I felt like this was the year, this needs to happen, and if I don’t do it, it’s just going to be on the shelf so let’s just kickstart it and see how it goes.”

“I was working on pure belief,” said Ibrahim, “but I think deep down every entrepreneur has this insanity in them. It’s like a delusion – ‘I’m going to believe it and then I’m going to see it.”

Mansi, an Egyptian expatriate with a long career in the hospitality industry, was a corporate sales manager at DWTC when they first met and it came to light that they share the same passion for supporting young entrepreneurs.

“I had thought of a similar idea about a year and a half ago,” recalled Mansi, “and subhanallah, (ed: Glory be to God) two weeks before meeting Hodan I had prayed istikharah (ed: a special Islamic prayer to ask God for guidance) to quit my job and go into business for myself with my own events management company.”

“It was like a sign for me,” said Mansi “so I told her that I had just started my event consultancy and had the very business license that she came to inquire about, and that we should work together. Later on, when I told her about my istikharah she confessed to me that she had prayed istikharah and come from Canada, not knowing anyone in Dubai!”

Dubai hosts the Global Islamic Economy Summit annually. The 2016 event will take place the day after the M Powered Summit ends. At his keynote address during the 2015 event, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “The ecosystem of the Islamic economy harmonizes ethics with innovation, and combines real commitment with actual development objectives in order to meet the aspirations of humanity at large, regardless of the circumstances.” The ruler’s vision is to make Dubai the capital of the Global Islamic Economy.

While M Powered Summit’s theme follows the country’s global Islamic economy mandate, the founders have deliberately avoided labelling the event as “Islamic”.

“We want to showcase young, creative, Muslim entrepreneurs but do it in a way that it’s not branded ‘Islamic’. There’s no need,” said Ibrahim. “We have this concept called Ihsan (ed: striving for excellence and mastery)and that’s what great about Dubai. It’s one of the biggest PR machines for Islam because everything here is at its best, and at an international standard, and they do it without calling it ‘Islamic’…anybody can show up, anybody can benefit from the Islamic economy. In fact, maybe you should start a business targeting the Muslim consumer because there is money to be made.”

The two founders have to walk a fine line in marketing the event in a way that engages the target audience while maintaining neutrality. “It took us a month to come up with name” said Mansi.

The pair have themed the event around three conversations they believe are critical. “The first is comprehensively defining what the global Muslim startup ecology is, and give it a framework, using key thought leaders,” said Ibrahim. “Second, disrupting the Islamic finance space, specifically with regards to startup and SME funding and the third is creating a nexus point for all of these like-minded entrepreneurs from around the world to meet.”

In a perfect world, what happens after the summit? “The best case scenario I see,” said Ibrahim “is that we repeat or move this even in Kuala Lumpur in six months, maybe on a smaller scale because we are seeing a lot of interest in the event from that region.”

Source : Ilmfeed