UAE: Submissions for Islamic Economy Awards 2014


GIES AwardThe Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) in conjunction with Thomson Reuters has opened submissions for the second Islamic Economy Awards.

Launched in 2013, the annual award seeks to recognise innovative world-class business initiatives and ideas that are Sharia-compliant and contribute to the social and economic welfare of the Muslim population.

DIEDC announced that nominations for the second round of the award via the website are currently underway and will close on 7th October 2014. The award winners will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2014.

2013 Winners

Islamic Economy Award Winners

The winners were announced and awards presented by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the Opening Ceremony of the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2013 in Dubai, the Capital of Islamic Economy, at the Madinat Jumeirah. The award winners are as follows:

  • Islamic Microfinance:

    Kiva Microfunds

    Kiva is a US-based non-profit that provides funding at 0% (with no fees) to partners around the world. Kiva’s main lender base comes from the West and the company has struggled to gain support for loans in the Middle East, particularly Shariah-compliant loans. Kiva has done a great deal of lender outreach through blogs and other channels to attract both Westerners and the Middle Eastern diaspora. The company has also partnered with Qatar-based social initiative Silatech to promote Arab Youth loans and set up a Kiva website in Arabic to overcome the challenge of attracting lenders based in the Middle East. While Kiva still has a great deal of work to do in attracting lenders, the company has funded several thousand Shariah-compliant loans to borrowers in the Middle East.

  • Awqaf:

    Awqaf New Zealand

    Historically, awqaf have provided social, economic, food securities and long-term benefits to countries and communities.

    Awqaf New Zealand’s farm model will have a huge positive impact not only on food security but also on providing social and economic securities to needy communities. Awqaf New Zealand’s model has been replicated by Awkaf Australia and Awqaf USA, with other western awqaf organsations, such as Awqaf UK and Awqaf Canada also in the process of replicating Awqaf New Zealand’s model. This revival of awqaf within the Muslim communities in the west will certainly have a huge impact on the development and innovation in the Awqaf industry worldwide.

  • Sukuk:

    Majid Al Futtaim Holding

    Majid Al Futtaim is a Dubai-based company that owns and operates shopping malls, retail and leisure establishments across the Middle East and North Africa. The MAF sukuk issued in 2012 issued by Majid Al Futtaim Group was an important milestone both for the company and the Middle East capital market. From the company’s standpoint the deal marked the culmination of a deliberate and well-orchestrated process of a private family owned firm in the Middle East setting the trend to strategically diversify its sources of funding beyond bank financing. For the market, it was one of the pioneering issuances from a non-sovereign, non-government related entity to set a strong benchmark and provide much-needed diversification in the sukuk space. The structure of the sukuk, as a wakala previously used by financial institutions, was reapplied successfully in a corporate context. It balanced the objectives of ensuring basic Shariah principles, while being structurally simple to explain even to the non-Islamic international investors.

  • Islamic Insurance:

    ACR Retakaful Holdings

  • Islamic Banking:

    CIMB Islamic

    CIMB is the only financial institution in the world to date to successfully conduct its Islamic finance business parallel to its conventional finance business. For every conventional financial product that CIMB offers, its Islamic Division will strive to provide a similar financial product that would carry the same economic utility as the conventional one, with the added feature of Shariah-compliance.

    Over the last ten years, CIMB Islamic has emerged as the leading mid-sized, full-service universal Islamic banking franchise in ASEAN. While many banking groups operating in Malaysia have either Islamic windows or separate standalone Islamic operations, CIMB Islamic leads with an innovative and proven business model.

    CIMB Islamic is not just a standalone bank but also an Islamic window managed under a dual banking leverage model. This business model has allowed CIMB Islamic to seamlessly offer its customers and clients the most comprehensive Islamic financial solutions in investment banking, consumer banking, asset management and private banking, thanks to the full infrastructure and resources of the regional CIMB Group. CIMB Islamic is recognised as one of the fastest growing Islamic banks in the world in terms of assets and deposits growth in its first five years of operations, the biggest sukuk manager in the world since inception and the largest Islamic bank by branch network globally.

  • Islamic Funds:

    SEDCO Capital

    Sedco Capital is a fully owned subsidiary of Sedco Holding. The company successfully incorporated environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into two of its equity funds, widening their appeal to include ethically minded investors in general. Islamic funds follow religious principles such as bans on alcohol and gambling, similar to filters used by ESG funds. Sedco Capital hopes this will allow its funds to be marketed to investors beyond traditional Islamic markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

  • Islamic Economy:

    (Research & Education): Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance

    In a short span of just four years since the launch of the company’s website in 2009, Ethica has become a brand name in the Islamic finance industry. Ethica realized very early that given the unprecedented rate at which the Islamic banking industry was growing, there was a need for a well-trained, qualified work force – a workforce trained on a scalable online system empowering human capital across the board from Mumbai to Manhattan.

    The Islamic finance industry needed an e-learning solution that could cost-effectively train both individuals and large-scale institutions, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. HR departments needed an interactive platform to gauge training effectiveness on an on-going basis. Conferences and short-courses could not address this gap. Hence was created – the world’s first dedicated Islamic finance training portal offering training videos, certification, career counselling, recruiting assistance, live webinars, and the world’s largest library of scholar-approved answers online.

    As a young e-learning company born in Dubai, Ethica now reaches an Islamic finance audience across 138 countries. With its bite-size e-learning videos, Ethica engages almost everyone – governments, banks, universities, news and business intelligence verticals, training and workshop providers, community leaders, law firms, students and CEOs – to name a few.

    Ethica is the most trusted Islamic finance program: training and certifying professionals from over 100 financial institutions in 56 countries, and the only training institute in the world to successfully roll out bank-wide Islamic finance e-learning.

  • Halal Food:

    Saffron Road

    Saffron Road’s Halal mission is to restore the spiritual sacredness to food, and bring back a simple mindfulness of the abundant commonality of all humanity in this complex world. Saffron Road seeks to bring its Halal mission and Islamic values to a higher calling for the local American, as well as global community. With ethical consumerism as its foundation and pluralistic values as its compass, Saffron Road is the incubation of a natural food company, which excludes no faiths or cultures and strives to be inclusive and demonstrate Islamic values that are multi-ethnic, socially responsible, and spiritually timeless.

    The initial inspiration behind Saffron Road’s name was hatched almost a decade ago, and less than six months after the horrific tragedy of 9/11, which Saffron Road’s founder, Adnan Durrani, witnessed in New York in real-time. As a long time social entrepreneur, Adnan was soul searching for a social enterprise that could bring harmony to soothe political, religious, cultural and social dissonance. Adnan envisioned a Halal food brand which also embodied ethical consumerism; the company would encompass Halal, offer sustainably farmed, all natural, antibiotic free, and 100% vegetarian fed food, all harvested on family-owned farms.

    Adnan felt that although there existed many different ethnic cuisines, there was really no high quality Halal food offering in the United States retail supermarkets that celebrated the rich ethnic diversity and cultural harmony that he believed exemplified the inclusive spirit of those travelling on the ancient Silk Road. One of the most treasured ‘jewels’ on that ancient route was saffron.

  • Halal Family Travel:

    TimeZ5 Global Inc.

    The story of TIMEZ5 started in 2009 when Nader Sabry, the company’s founder, witnessed an elderly Muslim insistent on praying in full prostration despite difficulties due to obvious pain in his knees. As a Muslim himself, Nader fully understood the desire to pray fully prostrated. Inspired by his encounter with the elderly Muslim, Nader embarked on a long period of R&D to offer Muslims a prayer mat that would give them full comfort during prayer. Nader and TIMEZ5 have successfully brought to market the world’s first physiological prayer mat that offers pain relief, improved posture and a boost of energy for worshippers.

  • Halal Pharmaceuticals & Cosmetics:

    Tanamera Tropical Spa Products

    The Tanamera dream started behind a small makeshift factory in Malaysia in 1995. WIth knowledge inherited from their mother, Hajjah Siti Fatimah Salleh, a traditional healer, three siblings dreamed up a business concept at a time ‘natural’ was not the ‘in’ thing. Fast forward 12 years and Tanamera was born, designing products for the ‘natural’ products industry.

    It was a journey not without stumbling blocks and challenges but one that was well worth every effort. In 1999 the three siblings, Faridah, Fauziah and Faisal established their RM 1.5 million good manufacturing practice (GMP)-certified natural products factory. Their main business was in formulating, designing and manufacturing health supplements for multi level and wholesale companies in Malaysia and abroad. After establishing FA Herbs Sdn Bhd as a preferred contract manufacturer, the three siblings embarked on another journey to realize their dream of their own truly natural products range targeted towards the international market. Tanamera was born in the year 2000. The Tanamera concept was created to be all natural from start to finish. The company’s products’ natural formulations are packaged in unbleached recycled paper with infusion of traditional local Malaysian designs with a modern twist. No toxic chemicals, artificial coloring and fragrances are used in Tanamera products.

  • Halal Media/Entertainment:

    Awakening Worldwide Ltd

    Awakening is a pioneering Islamic media company with a focus on book publishing, music and concerts. The company identified a gap in the market which it went on to lead – providing entertaining music within a faith-driven framework.

    Within two years of launching an Islamic music label, Awakening produced the world’s first global Islamic music icon – Sami Yusuf, dubbed by Time Magazine as ‘Islam’s Biggest Rock Star’.

    Though a British company, Awakening products are enjoyed by millions across the globe both offline and online. Awakening pioneered very high standard Islamic music videos and have delivered over 500 concerts across the globe in over 46 countries.

    Awakening has not only able been able to meet the challenges of the digital and social media age (when many record labels have been forced out of business) but actually mastered the art of digital presence and marketing. As of October 2013, Awakening star artist Maher Zain is the most popular Muslim personality on Facebook with close to 10 million likes.

    Awakening videos on Youtube have generated over 500 million views with Maher Zain being the most viewed artist. The transition of the business model to a digital platform was a key strategy in Awakening’s success. Awakening licenses its music to telecom providers such as Vodafone, Etisalat, Mobinil, Zain and others. This content is amongst the best selling across the telecom industry in the Middle East.

  • Fashion and Islamic Art:

    Peter Sanders Photography

    Peter works solo and is always thinking of ways to present Islam visually to non-Muslims. His latest project is one that is close to his heart. He is compiling a photographic book of the spiritual people he has met on his travels since his early days of becoming a Muslim in 1971. Peter has been likened to a modern day Ibn Battuta, and wherever he travels to in the Muslim world, he seeks out scholars and the spiritual people of that country. His idea is to show the reality that spirituality lies at the heart of Islam.

  • SME Development:

    Shekra Crowdfunding

    Shekra Crowdfunding is a Cairo-based LLC and Shariah-compliant initiative which aims to fill the funding gap faced by SMEs that are too big for microfinance and too small for venture capital.

    Shekra combines the advantages of conventional crowdfunding, MENA cross-border entrepreneurship development and investment, civil society engagement, angel investing, venture capitalism, as well as philanthropic contributions and mentorship provisions. By combining all advantages, SMEs will benefit from the power of the crowd for raising funds, accompanied by smart capital and tight due diligence for successful entrepreneurial development. For startups, Shekra has an outreach program through its events and partners.

    Shekra links startups and small enterprises with a network of investors on a profit and loss sharing basis (musharakah or diminishing musharakah). Despite being primarily equity-based, Shekra also offers funding based on grants and non-interest-based loans from partner institutions.

    Backed by a strong team and board members with years of experience in Islamic finance, Shekra guarantees that all investments are Shariah-compliant, not only from the business activity perspective, but also in ensuring that startups are not involved in interest-based activities and that shares structures adhere to Shariah requirements.

  • Islamic Economy:

    (Compliance & Standardization): Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America

    The IFANCA story began in 1982 when a group of Muslim food scientists recognized the need for a body to validate food products available to Muslims. As the food chain became more intertwined and complicated, the need for this work became more critical. The halal awareness campaign led many non-Muslims to favor halal product consumption as they realized the wholesomeness of halal products. This expanded the halal economy beyond Muslim consumers. In the early days, IFANCA was staffed by volunteers and struggled to publish a newsletter and develop simple lists of halal and haram products. As it became clear halal/haram lists could not serve the needs of the halal consumer, IFANCA developed procedures for halal certification. This quickly led to the need for full time staff and today’s professional organization developed.

    IFANCA is guided by a Board of Directors, managed by experienced food scientists and industry professionals, and supported by Islamic religious advisors, scientists and administrators. Many of the food scientists have advanced degrees including PhDs. All work together to support the IFANCA mission of being the leading halal solution provider in the world and the vision to make halal food readily available to every consumer on earth. IFANCA’s motto ‘We take the Doubt out of Doubtful!’ conveys the message that halal consumers can consume IFANCA halal certified products without any doubts