Startup Saturday: Majority stake in ‘minority’ biz ideas drives new belief for Pune community
All India Muslim Business Startup Network aims to increase the share of startups that the community currently has access to - both, in terms of ideas and fundingUpdated: Dec 07, 2019 16:50 IST
Startups have largely been dominated by the middle and upper class,” says Tausif Malik, head of the All India Muslim Business Startup Network, aiming to promote entrepreneurship amongst the Muslim community.
Malik returned to India in 2015, having worked in Chicago and having initiated the hugely successful Muslim Spelling Bee contest in the US.
“I came to India in 2015 and felt that though India is the hottest startup destination in the world, the Muslim community’s contribution is minuscule. I want to create a platform for the Muslim community to connect to the economy and overcome financial backwardness,” says Malik.
It all started with an outreach that Malik organised for the community.
“Initially, I organised networking events with successful businessmen where we had 40% of our attendees who were non-Muslim. I then set up incubation centres in minority schools that had children from economically backward class as students,” Malik explains.
At such an outreach organised a few months ago, the staff of Tanzeem-e-Waledain (TeW) Urdu school from Katraj, distributed forms for attendees to fill. “These forms stated their capabilities and interests, among other things. There were students and parents alike who wanted to different things. A 10-year-old boy wanted to digitise the alignment of two-wheeler forks, a task his father was currently doing manually. Some ladies wanted to set up carts to sell sabudana wadas and chappatis,” says Malik of the feedback.
Malik found that 10 women, all housewives except for Farida Salim Shaikh, principal of TeW, were very eager to start up.
“I decided to guide these ladies to set up a chappati making business,” says Malik.
The mommies set out on the path of entreprenruship.
Says Farzana Haware, “I have never thought of doing business. We always worked as employees for other people, but the idea of working for yourself is very exciting. Moreover, we will be able to work on our own time.”
The chapatti startup is currently at the proof of concept stage.
Says Farida Shaikh, “We have done a few trials. I made 50 chapattis out of one kg of flour.”
To which Asiya Madki adds, “In one hour I can make 30 to 35 chapattis.”
What will be the cost? And more importantly, how will they sell?
That is where the Muslim startup network rolls in.
Says Malik, “Our networking events have given us a huge database of people who can help. Raees Khan, founder of Biryani Kingdom, is there to guide the ladies with the food technology - how the chappatis should be packed, stored, and what the hygiene standards are. Anish Turak, another member, will help with the branding and packaging. Shakir Shaikh will help with sales and marketing as he has a great connect with corporates and restaurant owners.”
In fact, Raees Khan claims, “My friend who runs a vegetarian restaurant in Vimannagar is interested in placing orders.”
A large number of people are ready to help, but Malik inisists that all mentors will be given equity in the business.
“The network will keep a 3% equity, and this will be offered to anyone who pitches in. From our calculations they will need Rs 10 lakh to set up a special kitchen. There will be some training in hygiene and quality maintenance. We want to ensure that the chapattis that go out from there are the best in the market,” says Malik.
The ladies and their guides all are putting in their best. They have targeted February 2020 to have their kitchen, trials and packaging ready. Says Asiya Mudki, “All my life I have only worked for people. This is the first time I will be working for myself. Nothing can beat that feeling.”