All posts by Saad Malik

Announcing Innovation 4 Impact competition at GIES 2015

In hosting the Entrepreneur Showcase over the last five years, we have found that creativity and ingenuity in producing unique models to fulfill the Muslim market needs result in wide buy-in and success. We also recognize that real entrepreneurs are a unique breed of humans, with an imbued talent of identifying and risking extraordinary lengths to fulfill market needs.

What you’ve been waiting for…

We’re excited to announce the inaugural Innovation 4 Impact Competition, hosted by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and Thomson Reuters in collaboration with American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC). The competition will take center stage at the Global Islamic Economy Summit from October 5-6, 2015 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

The Innovation 4 Impact Competition has been developed to support digital businesses in the Islamic economy across the globe. The competition will serve as a platform for start-ups and businesses to gain support and entrepreneurial advice to further refine their propositions.

Nurturing these innovative entrepreneurs, the entrants will propose disruptive ideas in the following areas:

i4i-categories

We believe that the digital economy will play a crucial role in changing the lives of millions.

We are looking for innovative entrepreneurs across the globe whose solutions will disrupt the status quo.

Learn More & Apply

Application Deadline: August 10, 2015

Here’s what happened when companies catered to Muslim consumers

The Economist conducted a study in 2012 showing that over 50% of businesses who catered to the Muslim consumer enjoyed an “annual growth in revenue of at least 5%, while 34% are registering higher than 15% growth. The same participants are sanguine about the future: over 60% of respondents foresee at least 5% growth in three years, while 43% envisage growth in revenue higher than 15%.”[1]

From Best Buy running a simple Eid holiday greeting campaign which translated into a 13% increase in annual sales, to Walmart opening a store that caters to the Muslim community in Michigan, to Whole Foods’ introducing Saffron Road halal food products into their stores nationwide, it’s clear that there is real growing market potential that these corporations are tapping into. [1] [2] Published research and studies are continuing to show that American Muslim consumers have over $170 billion in buying power, yet the market has yet to fully cater to this buying power by providing targeted products and services. [3]gieWith the current global Muslim population ballooning to 1.8 billion and growing rapidly, very few businesses can afford to ignore this demographic.[4] More than 50% of the Muslim population is under the age of 25, accounting for 10% of the world’s population, and businesses are beginning to understand the vital need to engage this audience while the opportunity is at its peak.

The US Census Bureau reported that there were an estimated 6 million American Jews in 2008, while Zogby International estimated the number of Muslims to range up to 7 million in that same year, and yet a Muslim lifestyle network stated that for every halal product in the US there are 800 kosher products. [4] Therefore it’s easy to understand why a poll found 76% of American Muslims wishing American companies “would provide a wider range of products with specific appeal to the Muslim consumer.” 98% of companies don’t reach out to Muslim consumers, while over 80% of this population claims to be loyal to a product that supports Islamic identity. [5] [6]


[1] http://www.economistinsights.com/sites/default/files/legacy/ mgthink/downloads/The%20Sharia-ConsCious%20Consumer%20-%20WEB.pdf

[2] http://americanmuslimconsumer.com/2013/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Ogilvy-Noor_A-Little-Empathy-Goes-A-Long-Way.pdf

[3] Ibid. 1.

[4] Ibid. 2.

[5] Ibid. 2.

[6] http://www.ogilvynoor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Lets-Do-It-Our-Way-Muslim-Youth-Redefining-Leadership.pdf

American Muslim Filmmaker Michael Wolfe on his new film, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story

The following interview is posted with permission from the UPF team.

How did you first find out about Noor Inayat Khan and what drew you to her story?

My colleagues Alex Kronemer, Jawaad Abdul Rahman, and I were looking at several stories about Muslim heroes during World War II.  I came across a reference to Noor Inayat Khan, and we all looked into her story.  We were overwhelmed.  There were many Muslims who fought against the Nazis, not only other Indians, but Arabs and Balkan Muslims, too. Her story is not unique in that respect.  But whereas many of these other people were men, often fighting alongside other men of arms, she was a woman, alone through most of her ordeal, with only her courage and, very importantly, her faith to carry her though. It’s that which made her story most remarkable to us.

Besides being a woman at a time when female intelligence officers were few and far between, how else is her story unique and important?

She appeared to be such an unlikely heroine. She was physically slight, very artistic, and aesthetic. She was not an aggressive person. You would not have expected her to have fought back against her captors as ferociously as she did, or to escape twice from Dachau concentration camp. She never gave up one name or even her own name. She was completely, 100 percent opposed to the Axis forces and what Nazi Germany stood for and very dedicated to the task. Everyone who met her felt she was extraordinary.

Despite the fact that many Muslims played brave roles and sacrificed during World War II, the prevailing narrative of that conflict usually doesn’t include any mention.  A person could watch thousands of hours of documentaries and movies and never know that there were any Muslims involved in the story. But there were, and this is one of the stories.

What role does Noor Inayat Khan’s faith play in her heroism?

While experiencing a great deal of racism and religious intolerance herself, Noor’s father, Inayat Khan, preached an inclusive message that welcomed all races and all faiths to his Sufi Center in Paris.  It was this teaching of inclusiveness that made the Nazis so repulsive to her and caused her to risk her life and ultimately die resisting them and everything they stood for. She was very loyal to this work that she did. She died for it and she never betrayed one person who worked with her.  Her choices in life are so often correct choices – difficult, correct choices that she is a mentor for us, particularly for young Muslims. She was not rigid, she had a wide and penetrating point of view on the world and she was very committed to her ideals.

Why was it easy to gather information about Noor Inayat Khan when her work was meant to remain secret?

Her story had good documentation. There was a real record, written and verifiable almost day by day.  The problem with many WWII resistance stories is that people didn’t want to write anything down since they were trying not to leave a trail. This story was an exception because Noor Inayat Khan was member of the Secret Operations Executive, which made a point of recording everything. Since its members reported directly to Winston Churchill, they kept an accurate record of everything.

Who is the primary audience of the film and why?

While we don’t produce films for a specific demographic, we find that they are most popular with three major audiences: mainstream Americans, high school and college classrooms, as well as community centers and houses of worship.  The Muslim community uses our films in mosques in educational settings. We especially hope young Muslims will benefit from sharing stories like Noor Inayat Khan’s that bring to light Muslim heroes in all walks of life. It’s something that is often missing for Muslim youth in schools, books, and other media. There are many films about American heroes but not many good films about heroic people who happen to be Muslim.

How can Noor Inayat Khan’s story relate to the situation and struggles of American Muslims today?

It is a story of fortitude and courage.  The irony of her story is that while she fought the racism of the Nazis, in her youth she was subjected to racism in France, and before her, her Indian father was forced to flee America because of racism.  Despite this, she always drew from her faith and values to do the right thing.  She is an inspiration.

The New Jersey premiere is Sunday, May 4th at 3pm at the historic State Theater located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick, NJ.  Tickets on sale now

Meet the Companies Selected for the 2012 Entrepreneur Showcase

We are very excited about this year’s Entrepreneur Showcase session at the 4th Annual American Muslim Consumer Conference!

Since 2010, the AMCC team has identified successful entrepreneurs who have realized key opportunities and produced viable products and services that are directly or indirectly benefiting the Muslim consumer. We have provided many of them with the opportunity to showcase their business model to a panel of experts for guidance to further improve and sustain their businesses. Check out the videos from last year’s Entrepreneur Showcase on our YouTube channel.

This year we received a large number of applications for the showcase across various industries. Many of these businesses have made considerable progress in understanding the needs of the Muslim consumer. However, there is still a long way to go and numerous opportunities yet to be capitalized. After going through a rigorous application review and screening process we selected the following candidates for this year’s showcase.

Taaza2u

“Taaza2u was built with a simple idea – to offer our discerning customer the best quality Zabiha Halal product; delivered conveniently to their doorstep. We have paid special attention to the cuts and packaging so that our customers can go directly from the box to cooking. No need to trim, cut or clean anymore. Our Ready to Cook and Ready to Grill items represent a completely new level of convenience. Taaza2u is especially proud of our Customer Service inspired by Zappos.com and Nordstrom standards.”

Noor Kids

“Noor Kids makes Islamic education fun and exciting! Our goal is to build confidence in the religious identity of little Muslims through Islamic Education, Muslim Culture, and American Integration. We utilize four characters – Amin, Shireen, Asad, and Amira – to engage little Muslims and achieve our goal. Currently, we produce a quarterly mail-order children’s book series targeted at 4-8 year olds and have sold our books in six countries. Since launching in July 2011, Noor Kids has received support from thousands of fans and received funding from the Harvard Business School. The books have been covered by the Boston Herald, Illume Magazine, American Muslim Mom, and countless independent blogs. We plan to leverage our current success as we expand into digital products, videos, and soft-lines (toys, clothes, etc.), in the forthcoming years.”

Hygienna

“Hygienna Inc. is a Canadian personal hygiene company focused on design innovation and function. Launched in 2011, their flagship product, the Hygienna Solo is one of the world’s lightest and portable bidets. By simply attaching the Hygienna Solo to a water bottle it provides a convenient and time-saving alternative to the exclusive use of toilet paper, cumbersome or expensive bidets, a watering canteen or showering after using the washroom.”

Noriba Investing

“Noriba Investing is a new US based online brokerage that wants to take the Muslim investor to the next level of halal investing. Noriba Investing allows investors to build a fully halal investment portfolio through its advisory and asset management services. Noriba Investing’s trading platform also allows the more active and self-directed Investor to instantly screen publicly traded companies or funds for halal compliance and make trades. Noriba Investing allows Muslims to invest in the markets without compromising their values.”

Strategic Realty Solutions

“Strategic Realty is the areas’ premiere real estate solutions company, and since our inception we have been helping homeowners along with improving communities in each and every city we work in. Our mission is to rejuvenate neighborhoods and increase the standard of living by improving the overall quality of housing for the residents. With the ability to directly purchase homes and make cash offers, we can create an extremely fast, and hassle-free transaction. We provide a halal investment opportunity through a fully Shariah-compliant financial model thereby giving Muslim investors, domestic and overseas, an attractive alternative to investing their hard-earned money for returns that exceed most industries’ standards and allows them to be compliant with their faith. Using our years of knowledge and experience within the real estate investing industry and by employing the power of the franchise model, we look forward to rolling out our educational arm, Real Estate Wealth Academy, in mid-2013 on a national basis. As our investing and educational arms continue to grow over the upcoming months and years, we will serve as a catalyst for job growth on both the local and national level.”

Shaping the American Muslim Marketplace

Halal Chicken from Crescent Foods is now available at over 70 Walmart stores, Frozen Halal meals from Saffron Road are available at Whole Foods stores across America, Supermarket chains Pathmark and retail giants Best Buy wish us “Eid Mubarak” and “Ramadan Mubarak” in their marketing brochures. One of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, Ogilvy & Mather launched Ogilvy Noor offering Islamic Branding services. All these developments have happened over the last 4 years.

When we started to float the concept of the American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) back in 2008 amongst Muslim communities, we would get a blank stare. It was a challenge for us to explain that American Muslims had a buying power which had grown to almost $170B and that it was now time for us to establish a platform which can create more awareness in the media and mainstream companies. We also felt that we could help to support smaller businesses trying to engage with the needs of the Muslims.

We started to craft a vision for AMCC and, after few round of discussions and consultations, the AMCC vision was established: Understand and address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and promote businesses and entrepreneurs who are developing products and services for this market.
Since its launch in October 2008, there is so much we have learned about this market and now have so much to share. As a common American Muslim Consumer, we would have missed out and never have had the opportunity to establish that connection.

This connection is between many entrepreneurs and many organizations that have been working to address the unique needs of American Muslims. Organizations like the Muslim Consumer Group that does extensive research to provide information whether ingredients used in food products available in supermarkets are Halal or not. Organizations like Halal Advocates of America, Islamic Services of America, Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, Pure Halal Center who all provide Halal certification services.

Companies like Crescent Foods, Midamar, Saffron Road, and Al Safa are pioneers in manufacturing Halal Food and are working with both neighborhood stores and supermarkets to make their products available nationwide. Although their products are not yet available in all supermarkets, in the last three to four much progress has been made. Walking through the aisles of many supermarket chains, the word Halal is no longer a strange sight.

Young entrepreneurial companies have also emerged like Noor Kids who are developing products for children which make Islamic education fun and exciting, Noor Vitamins with Halal vitamins, JaanJ which designs non-silk Halal vegan ties, Amara Cosmetics who have developed an entire range of Halal cosmetic products, and LittleBigKids which offers a wide range of culturally and religiously inspired products for kids. Each year, the list of products and companies just keeps growing.

Islamic Finance companies like Amana Mutual Funds, University Islamic Financial, Iman Fund, Guidance Residential and Ijara Loans are offering many Sharia-compliant financial products. And while Muslims in America have not yet embarked completely on the concept of Islamic Finance, as they do not see much difference between conventional banking and Islamic Finance companies, significant progress is being made year by year.

Today there is a fast growing and diverse set of media and forums that enable access to the American Muslim market. From fast growing online networks such as Zabihah.com, Illumemag.com, Islamicity.com andElanthemag.com to publications such as Azizah magazine(for American Muslim women) and various regional newspapers. A variety of media are fast maturing with captive audiences that reflect the full fabric of American Muslim society and are becoming popular in bringing issues of American Muslims in the forefront.

Journalists like Carla Power from Time Magazine and Paul Barrett from BusinessWeek have written extensively about the upcoming American Muslim Market; big advertising giant, Ogilvy & Mather has an entire division advocating the Muslim Market and they have all been active participants in the past AMCC conferences.

All these developments are good for the growing Muslim Community. This platform still needs to be developed further to enable more interaction and exchange between entrepreneurs and businesses developing products and services for this market catering to American Muslims.

Over the years, AMCC has created a valuable arena for the relaxed exchange of ideas and activities between the Muslim and non-Muslim business communities with diverse cultural backgrounds. Common ground and shared interests have emerged in an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance, and this all helps to confirm the value – economic, social and spiritual – of the Muslim community in the USA.

There can be little doubt that over the coming years, American Muslims will make increasingly significant contributions through their entrepreneurial and commercial activities. A new generation with fresh ideas about business, media, trade and finance will bring a new vision, nurtured by their faith, and forged by the needs and realities of life in America. We plan to be a part of that.

The 4th annual American Muslim Consumer Conference will be held on Saturday, November 17th at DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton at Newark Airport, Newark, New Jersey, USA. This year’s conference theme is “The New Face of Muslim Consumers”, which will analyze and discuss the market as a group of socially conscious, innovative, and engaged consumers.

Ogilvy & Mather to Receive 2011 Multicultural Award at the Third Annual American Muslim Consumer Conference

Based on the work in the American Muslim Consumer market and the 2010 research report, “A little empathy goes a long way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer”, the 2011 Multicultural Award will be presented to Ogilvy & Mather.

WEBWIRE – Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ogilvy & Mather will be awarded the 2011 Multicultural Award at the third annual American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC), which will be held on October 29th, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ.

The AMCC event, in its third year, promotes dialog and raises awareness of this multicultural niche market where many mainstream companies are now seeing a growing opportunity.

AMCC presents a multicultural award every year to a company which promotes diversity and multiculturalism and is inclusive to all minorities in America. Based on the work in the American Muslim Consumer market and the 2010 research report by Ogilvy & Mather, “A little empathy goes a long way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer”, AMCC will be presenting the 2011 Multicultural award to Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world’s leading advertising and marketing agencies. The award will be received by Nazia Hussain Du Bois, Director of Global Cultural Strategy, Ogilvy & Mather. The 2010 Multicultural award was presented to Best Buy (NYSE: BBY).

Since the launch of its first event in 2009, the American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) has been working to understand and address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and promoting companies and entrepreneurs who are developing products for this market.

The conference is held annually attracting over 350 to 400 diverse attendees from community members and leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, and marketing and advertising executives.This year’s speakers include executives from Edible Arrangements, Walmart, Midamar Corporation, Best Buy, and Thomson Reuters among others.

Meet the Companies Selected for the 2011 Entrepreneur Showcase

We are very excited about this year’s entrepreneurs’ showcase session at the 2011 American Muslim Consumer Conference!

Every year, we look for companies, entrepreneurs and outstanding candidates to present their business, product, or service which are benefiting the American-Muslim consumer, either directly or as a byproduct. During this session, the selected candidates present to the audience and a panel of experts who provide guidance on furthering their company’s growth and exposure. Check out the videos from last year’s Entrepreneur Showcase here.

We received numerous submissions across a number of industries and went through a rigorous application review process to select the best candidates. For your reference, below are the four selected presenters.

Good Earth Potato

Good Earth Potato is a healthy fast food franchise concept that uses the naturally nutritious potato as a foundation for a large variety of healthy toppings. Good Earth Potato also specializes in build your own fresh chopped salad using high quality fresh local ingredients and produce. Their mission is to provide consumers a healthy dining alternative, one community at a time.

ModernEID

modernEID is an online resource for contemporary party and gift products for the Eid holidays. Our products make it easy to decorate your home and celebrate the holidays in a coordinated and fun way. At modernEID, you will find goods for dressing up your home, packaging your presents, and styling your Eid celebrations.

Salik Productions

Salik Productions develops Islamic Applications for mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. The application portfolio includes a sophisticated Quran learning application called myQuran which has a global user base and has a 5-Star rating on the Apple AppStore. Salik Productions has also recently launched a global application called myMasjid which allows communities to better communicate and stay in touch with their Masjids and tracks events, services etc. Salik Productions, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Magnicode, Inc which develops custom apps for a broad range of clients.

naTRUssential

naTRUssential Natural Lifestyle company is a subsidiary of Essential Health International, LLC a minority-owned, Solon, OH based direct sales company of earth-friendly, health and wellness products. naTRUssential supports women who want to nurture their passion, potential and purpose by creating an empowering community and environment.

P.S. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, I just wanted to remind you that the early bird registration for $110 ends tomorrow, so get your ticket now and take advantage of the discount!

We look forward to seeing you in just a few weeks!

 

Entrepreneur Showcase at AMCC 2010 [Videos]

Entrepreneur ShowcaseWe introduced the Entrepreneur Showcase for the first time at last year’s American Muslim Consumer Conference. The objective was to look for companies, entrepreneurs and outstanding candidates to present their business, product, or service which are benefiting the American-Muslim consumer, either directly or as a byproduct. During this session, the selected candidates presented to the audience and a panel of experts who provided a guidance on furthering their company’s growth and exposure.

Last years session was a great success and due to the large number of applications we received, we encourage you to apply early for the this year’s Entrepreneur Showcase.

Check out the videos below of some of our presenters:

Little Big Kids

Muslim Ad Network

Zaiken Jewelry

Zaffron

Illume