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Muslim female entrepreneurs, achievers rule the show at first IMEN summit, Start-up showcase
Saturday February 13, 2016 10:33 PM, Zohair Mohammad Safwan,

[Uzma Nahid addressing the first IMEN summit and Startup Showcase held in Pune on Februray 07, 2016. Also seen in the photo are Architect Nafisa Kazi, Sameena Razzaq and Farah Deeba. ( photo)]

Pune (Maharashtra):
A new initiative aimed at driving Muslim involvement in India’s startup and technology economy hosted by Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Network (IMEN) in Pune last Sunday ended in double delight when it showcased the upcoming business opportunities along with success stories of Muslim female entrepreneurs and young achievers.

The event, brainchild of Chicago based Indian American Tausif Malik, was organized in association with Pune based trainers Anees Kutty and Gaffar Asim Malik.

Started with National Anthem at about 09:00 in the morning, the event ran throughout the day before ending at 06:30pm, uncovering the inspiring stories of Muslim female entrepreneurs and achievers, and also sharing the experiences of Muslim change-makers who have dedicated them for years for the social, educational and economic empowerment of the Muslims in India.

Besides sharing their success stories, the ‘Role Models’ – as the organizers introduced them, also urged the ‘would be’ entrepreneurs to gear up and prepare to take the benefits of the ‘Start-up India Action Plan’ unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This is an emergency like situation for Muslims, especially the Muslim women. In the situation when we have limited opportunities, it is high time we develop business skills in women so as to fruitfully utilize their skill and talent for the empowerment of the community”, Uzma Nahid said while participating in the panel discussion titled “Role of Women in Business & Community”.

“A huge number of Muslim men and women artisans are skilled and talented. But they are unorganized and hence are vulnerable to exploitation. We should adopt areas dominated by such people, form small groups and establish small scale and cottage industries for them”, Uzma, founder of India International Women’s Alliance (IIWA) which has more than 3000 women members, said.

The views were endorsed by Architect Nafisa Kazi, Educationist and one of the youngest Headmistress of School Farah Deeba and senior journalist Sameena Razzaq, with each one of them adding valuable inputs to the idea mooted by Uzma Nahid.

Participating in another panel discussion Managing Director of Exhicon and Executive President, Imamia Chamber Of Commerce & Industry MQ Syed appealed the young entrepreneurs to use their talent effectively to maintain quality and present innovative products of world-class quality.

“There is no discrimination if you have talent and skill, and there absolutely no challenge and competition to quality”, he said.

Highlighting the importance of business and entrepreneurship in Islam, MQ Syed said, “The Holy Quran gives 9 out of 10 marks to business and trade while discussing the livelihood. Jobs and service have the least priority for us”, Syed, who has mentored over fifty start-ups, said.

Stating that the Muslim community is wasting their energies on useless issues MQ Syed said, “We might have problems with Israel. But, instead of boycotting Pepsi to corner Israel, we should produce a product better than Pepsi.”

[Mariyah Rehmani, author of e-book titled ‘The Hijab And Its Purpose: Understanding the veil’ taking the question from Maryam Asif Siddiquee, the winner of 'Gita Champions League'. ( photo)]

Detailing the key features of ‘Start-up India Action Plan’, Aleem Faizee, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Awaz Multimedia & Publications and Founder Secretary of Malegaon Industries & Manufacturers Association (MIMA), said if implemented properly the plan is the best suitable for Indian Muslims.

“Everyone suffered due to ‘inspector raj’, and lengthy and tiring bureaucratic procedure in India. But, Muslims were worst sufferer of this menace. The Start-up India Action Plan has many features to end this problematic and unhealthy regime”, he said while opening the Start-up showcase session.

“If implemented properly, the Start-up action plan will surely open the doors of opportunities for Muslim entrepreneurs in India”, Faizee, who is instrumental in establishing a mini Textile Park in Malegaon, said.

Irfan Pathan, founder of 'Coffe Addict', showcased the 'soon to be launched' product by giving history of coffee and elaborating on the role of Muslims in spreading the coffee drink. During the presentation, he was supported by Khan his cousin and team member.

The event was also addressed by, Managing Director of Idafa Investments Pvt. Ltd. & Rehbar, Regional Head, West India Ashraf Mohamedy, Mariyah Rehmani, teenager who authored e-book titled ‘The Hijab And Its Purpose: Understanding the veil’, Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and Investor Altaf Rehmani and Program Facilitator UNCTAD-Empretec Program for India Nasser Mehdi.

Among the organisers, Tausif Malik, Anees Kutty and Asim Gaffar Malik detailed the objectives of the event and also shared their valuable experiences in their long careers.

At the end of the ceremony, MQ Syed was conferred ‘IMEN Businessman of the Year Award’, Mohammad Yunus, who saved more than 2000 lives during Chennai flood, was conferred ‘Shaheed Abdul Hamid Award’ and Maryam Asif Siddiquee, the winner of 'Gita Champions League', was conferred ‘Educational Excellence Award’.

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