Want to start an Islamic Social Entrepreneurship?

My own journey into Islamic Social Entrepreneurship had a classic beginning: I travelled extensively around the world, some of those countries had an Islamic history, like Turkey (Istanbul), Spain (Andalusia/Granada), Malaysia, etc which gave me a taste of the mighty potential economic systems with a common good theme – all from Islamic era . Additionally, my travel through developing countries such as Bangladesh and India, taught me many lessons and I was fortunate to experience a revelation of opportunities and new challenges. I have 6 degrees, including an engineering degree from the University of London, an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, etc and my final degree was a doctorate (PhD) focused on developing an economic model for Islamic Social Entrepreneurship, so it seemed natural that my passion and skills came together to form a platform like Trade Not Riba dot Com. Yes I am very passionate of my economic models (my children would say I love my work as much as I love them!)

Trade Not Riba dot Com’s mission is to enrich the lives of people (both Muslims and non-Muslims) to empower not only their own lives but of others by creating sustainable enterprises which not only give out profits but also social impact for the good of communities i.e. common good. This is extremely important for the survival of the human race and communities especially because of the economic state we are in – i.e. global financial crisis we are in. If we don’t wake up we will all become slaves and go down a path of no return!

The aim of Trade Not Riba dot Com is to slowly provide valuable products and services to establish Islamic Social Enterprises. The idea is to offer relativity and experience to other Social entrepreneurs, NGOs, investment funds and multinationals. Through my 20 years of experience in a multitude of industries/sectors and my knowledge from my 6 degrees, I as the founder of this organization has realized that creativity is key in designing, prototyping and scaling social business strategies successfully in a sustainable manner. It is also great to see that modern design-thinking is more vitally considered as a “must-have” attitude within organizations. I know many organizations such as Trade Not Riba dot Com embrace and practice this, and I am proud to be part of a community of forward thinkers who likes to utilize leading edge knowledge and practices, in line with the era we live in.

Through my work in this sector, I have learnt that integrating intrinsic values with external opportunities enable any social entrepreneurs (including Islamic Social Entrepreneurs) to become unique. The main aim of Trade Not Riba dot Com is to guide any social entrepreneurs through 5 initial steps to start their  initial planning process when deciding on embarking the journey of becoming an Islamic social entrepreneur. Our goal is to transform potential entrepreneurs into authentic, motivated and customer-oriented Islamic social entrepreneurs.

Here are my top integrated 5 tips for starting an Islamic Social Enterprise (these tips may vary in future as it is work in progress) – :

  • Become aware of your passion. What are you passionate about? What makes you look forward to going to work every day?
  • Establish your ambition for creating social or societal impact and incorporate this in a clear enterprise purpose.
  • Determine your own strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are your power and weaknesses are areas you need to work at or get someone else to focus on.
  • Acquire experience in the field you want to embark the social enterprise and deeply understand the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Integrate the above points when formulating your social enterprise value propositions.


With Kind Regards,

Thamina Anwar (Dr.) – PhD (UKZN)
B.Eng (Hons.)  (London) | MSc (Bradford) |
MBA (Cranfield) | GradDipTchg (Auckland) | CIFP (INCEIF)

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