ASTANA: According to FoodNavigator, the global halal market is currently worth US$1.1 trillion and is forecasted to grow to over US$1.6 trillion by 2018. Moreover, according to Halal Research Council, halal food and other Muslim-focused markets are growing at double-digit rates in almost all Muslim-majority countries and even in Muslim-minority ones.
According to World Finance, the global Muslim market is also growing outside of halal food at a combined total of over US$3 trillion in gross income.
However, Muslim countries are not at the forefront of this Halalified revolution. To share just one example, Brazil’s halal exports in 2015 earned them about US$5.9 billion.
It’s clearer than ever that focusing on this specific niche — serving Muslims with products and services that meet their needs and do not conflict with their faith — has a potential for incredible growth. Entrepreneurs have taken note of this.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at five of the most innovative startups and entrepreneurs who are making it big by serving Muslims.
Founded by Ummah Wide creator Dustin Craun, Salaam Bank bills itself as a “Global Bank for a Global Generation.” Inspired by western banks, it has positioned itself as the world’s first Islamic banking and finance platform, which can connect customers to Islamic financial solutions worldwide depending on their locations.
Its aim is to make banking ethical for devout Muslims by connecting them to financial institutions that share their values (such as interest-free banking which is at the core of Islamic finance). The bank uses an online-only model that has already been popularized in the western world.
It is also designed to be global. From Dubai, Jakarta, London, to the US, it allows freedom and control of a customer’s banking experience.
Salaam Bank hasn’t launched yet, but they are expected to begin trials soon.
Founded by Danish Muslim entrepreneur Maruf Yusupov, Halal.ad is designed to be a halal-friendly alternative to other leading online ad platforms such as Google AdSense. It ensures that if your website — about the study of the Quran for example — begins running ads, your visitors won’t see advertisements for things that will offend their faith (alcohol or other items that Muslims are not allowed to consume).
The platform checks every single ad served to make sure they’re compliant with the faith’s ideals, saving Muslim companies a lot of time and money. It also has features such as date and location-specific targeting. In addition, the platform gives Muslim entrepreneurs and businesses a great way to target Muslims specifically, helping grow the halal and Muslim market niches.
The Islamic travel and tourism industry will be worth US$200 billion by 2020 according to a report by MasterCard, and HalalTrip is looking to serve Muslim consumers of this growing industry.
This is one of the oldest startups on this list — it was founded by CrescentRating CEO Fazal Bahardeen in 2013 — and it has quickly found success, becoming the go-to website and app to help Muslims find halal destinations.
This startup also helps Muslims find relevant experiences globally. It features restaurant reviews, tours, hotels, and offers coupons, special travel packages, and other such promotions. It also has a convenient “spotting” feature which allows users to upload photos of halal restaurants and destinations they visit to share with other users.
Their app also has an in-flight prayer time calculator which helps Muslims calculate when their prayer times should be while crossing different time zones.
HalalTrip has both an iOS and Android app.
This innovative Quran study company was conceived by American entrepreneur Bilal Memon, a financial analyst and a hafiz (i.e., someone who has memorized the entire Quran). When he was younger, he found himself at a loss to remember the surah (a chapter of the Quran). Struck by this realization, he dedicated the next two and a half years (and his personal savings account) to create a modern way to help Muslims connect more effectively with the word of Allah.
Quran Academy was the result. This website as well as its mobile app, Quran Companion, is built to help average, every-day Muslims grow closer to their god through a consistent and informative study of the Quran.
The website integrates this timeless topic with modern technology and helps devotees study in the busy world.
Free trials are available through the site.
Founded by Nouman Ali Khan, an Arabic instructor and entrepreneur born in Germany, Bayyinah Institute’s mission is to encourage and enrich the study of Arabic and the Quran around the world. It focuses on the accessibility of study materials, innovation, affordability, and easy-to-understand lessons.
The concept is based on an understanding that for many, studying the Quran in the original Arabic is quite difficult. However, it emphasizes how rewarding the experience of doing so could be. It seeks to give as many people the tools they need to study the word of Allah in both the original and modern Arabic.
The site offers a massive collection of informative videos, online study materials, audio materials, and several different in-person and online classes. They also offer intensive summer courses at their headquarters and traveling in-person classes.
Modanisa founded by Kerim Ture has quickly grown his company Modanisa into the largest modest fashion company in the world.
Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey Modanisa has raised over $8.5 million dollars in VC funding with a goal of growing into a multi-billion dollar company over the next ten years. This year they sponsored the first ever international modest fashion week as they take on a bigger role as a leader in the global modest fashion space.
All these startups are providing valuable services such as education, finance, and more to Muslims which will surely help them become more progressive and responsible citizens.
The Muslim market continues to grow and, besides these companies, we can expect to see a huge amount of innovative, creative, and Muslim-focused startups disrupting the Muslim market in the future. It’s truly an exciting time for anyone involved in serving the needs of Muslim consumers. Anyone with business sense should certainly keep an ear to the ground and do their best to follow its growth just as these entrepreneurs have.