At IFG we firmly believe that if entrepreneurship and business is done the right way, it can be both an immense source of reward and pleasure of Allah, as well as making a really significant positive impact on the community around you. That is why we are launching a new IFG page – but more on that later.
Let me give a little story to illustrate the point:
As sons of Indian/Pakistani immigrants who came here to seek opportunity, many of those opportunities afforded to the likes of our parents actually came from Muslim entrepreneurs who had established shops, factories and so on. Working in those factories or going on to do their own entrepreneurial activities has led to our generation being well-educated and in a position now where many of us can take those entrepreneurial activities to the next level.
These activities have a huge impact: when a canny businessman spots an opportunity and sets up shop/factory at the heart of a deprived area (often areas with high Muslim populations here in the UK) he becomes the means by which hundreds are lifted out of poverty. As the business grows, he doesn’t rest on his laurels – for him this business is not just something he wants to earn a comfortable living from – he wants to do something transformational with that business.
A crucial part of growing the business is thinking about a) where/how to grow the business, and b) attracting and retaining the best personnel to make the growth happen. If our businessman puts what Allah wants at the heart of his decision-making, he will make sure that where he expands his business aligns in some meaningful way with helping/adding value to others (perhaps he’ll open another branch in another deprived area of the country, or he’ll hire refugees). And If our businessman puts in place proper systems to help his employees share in his success and to further develop their own skills, chances are he’ll hang on to them. He will now also be in a place to set up targeted philanthropic ventures to further help those most deprived in his community.
As the decades pass, his employees grow more qualified, richer, and are exposed to the world as the business expands further and further afield. Their children and families have far better health, education, and social outcomes than they would otherwise have had. Their children get excellent grades and are now well-placed to do even better than their parents in their own careers.
What that business has achieved is not measurable by just money. That business has created a community of people who are empowered to get involved in the political debate (as they are now educated and have the time/opportunity to do that with a secure job), who can fight discrimination (because they’re now confident, know their rights, and have real self-worth), who will engage in entrepreneurship themselves, and who will become less obese as they become more affluent (and can access the more expensive but more nutritious food).
The problem we are seeing and hearing about on the ground is that would-be entrepreneurs with fantastic skills, visions and ideas are facing two key obstacles:
- Access to (shariah-compliant) money; and
- Access to expertise and networks.
That is why we are delighted to announce the launch of a new initiative to help link up Muslim entrepreneurs with investors. So if you are either an entrepreneur with a need for investment, or an investor looking to connect with good people and businesses, head over to our Supporting Entrepreneurs page to find out more.
PS: This article was recently featured by our friends over at Wahed. Check them out (and get a £25 bonus) through this IFG link here.