A US company that allows Muslims around the world to hear Friday prayers from Islam’s holiest sites took first place in the Innovation 4 Impact Awards at the Global Islamic Economy Summit. The competition, organized by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) in partnership with Thomson Reuters, aims to connect global entrepreneurs with the resources needed to create innovative products that redefine the future of the global Islamic and Digital Economy.
Divine Connect manufactures unique translation handsets for pilgrims performing Hajj and Umrah, as well as for Muslims around wanting to hear the Jumu’ah Khutbah at Masjid Al Haram & Masjid Al Nabawi in their own languages. The award was presented to Divine Connect’s Mohamed Pazhoor, who received trophy and a cash prize of $20,000 in addition to a range of business incubator services worth more than $10,000, including free office space for a year in Dubai Technology Center for Entrepreneurship.
It was presented by Dr. Jumma Al Matrooshi, Deputy CEO, DSOA, Badr Buhannad, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and ICT at DSOA, and Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters. Divine Connect also gets an opportunity to establish its business in Dubai.
More than 250 applications were submitted from over 40 countries, representing a wide range of sectors including data, social media, e-commerce and many more.
Receiving the award, Mohammad Pazhoor said “I thank the almighty Allah and I am very humbled with this recognition. We overcame the challenges with sheer dedication. We want to take our project to the global level and welcome investors and partners. We remain committed and have an intention to set up a production and operation centre in Dubai”.
Applications were reviewed by a committee of experts comprised of business and industry leaders in the Islamic economy space. The five entrepreneurs in the field of digital Islamic technology and Arabic content who successfully passed the two initial assessment rounds to make it to the finals, presented their business ventures towards supporting digital Islamic economy and enhancing Arabic content during GIES 2016.
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa, said: “The digital economy cluster plays an essential role in sustaining an innovative, competitive and a growing environment in developing economies, and the Innovation 4 Impact competition emerged from our commitment to nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Islamic digital economy sphere. We are delighted to be part of this exciting initiative for the second year in a row, and we are confident that our combined efforts will have a positive impact on the entire Islamic economy space.”
DSOA’s Bader Buhannad said: “We would like to congratulate all those who made it to the finals. They are the trendsetters in the Islamic digital economy, and their innovative business solutions are true examples of how we can take the Islamic economy to a new level.”
Ahmad Alshugairi, CEO of ARAM TV, said: “The ideas that were presented actually address and fill genuine needs of the people. I was happy to see the diverse range of ideas that again show how important innovation is to tackle challenges around the world.”
The winner was chosen by an elite judging panel, comprising Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Islamic Bank, Ahmad Al Shugairi, Media Personality, and Badr Buhannad, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and ICT at DSOA.