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Analytical thinking the bedrock of a successful start-up

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Daud Vicary Abdullah is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in United Kingdom, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance. He is also a member of the Islamic Finance Committee at the Malaysia Institute of Accountants and a Senior Advisor for University of East London’s Islamic Finance and Banking Advisory Board. Daud will be gracing the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation’s inaugural IdeaLab event in August.

Daud Vicary Abdullah is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in United Kingdom, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance.
Daud Vicary Abdullah is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in United Kingdom, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance.

Book smart versus street smart is the perennial debate amongst the start-up community. Just being technically gifted in school doesn’t necessarily equate into automatic success. History has also proven that a fiery spirit with an immense can-do attitude holds no firm promises.

For Daud Vicary Abdullah, analytical thinking is an underlying virtue that doesn’t get discussed enough. In a nutshell, analytical thinking is a critical component of visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. It involves a methodical step-by-step approach to thinking that allows one to break down complex problems into single and manageable components.

That strong point made over an email interview with Aquila Style is not without basis. Daud is the President and Chief Executive Officer of INCEIF, The Global University of Islamic Finance. He has been in the finance and consulting industry for over 41 years, with significant experience in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Since 2002, he has focused exclusively on Islamic finance where he has contributed to a number of books on the subject and has co-authored a book on Islamic finance entitled ‘Islamic Finance: Why it makes sense.’ He is also a frequent speaker and commentator on matters relating to Islamic finance.

When quizzed on the dynamics between street smart and book smart, Vicary said, “There are two key ingredients behind a successful start-up. Passion and analytical thinking are key components of that process.

“INCEIF Academic excellence aims to develop the latter in a student. INCEIF is currently working on new programmes which involves undertaking & development of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

“One of the key inspirations behind these young entrepreneurs is that there is a distinct digital trend going on around the world, most specifically in the social media and digital world. For this specific reason, INCEIF’s Student Representative Club formed the INCEIF Entrepreneurship Club in 2013. Through this initiative, the students have been involved in various activities.

“Students have been attending the MAD start-up Kit preview by MAD Incubator, which is a subsidiary of MDEC. MAD Incubator specializes in incubation programs from creating ideas to business venture and business acceleration. We’ve also organized the Sukuk Structuring Workshop which was delivered by Rafe Haneef, HSBC Amanah CEO. Among other initiatives were also fund raising for charity programs for Gaza.

“Through the Career Advisory Unit, we also invited an agency from Maybank’s Etiqa to deliver a career talk and recruitment drive at INCEIF in the year 2013. A plan is also in in the pipeline to provide the students a platform to pitch their ideas on product innovation and business venture, especially related to IF, through a programme called INCEIF Student Showcase.”

Daud Vicary Abdullah is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in United Kingdom, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance.
Daud Vicary Abdullah is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in United Kingdom, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance.

Networking breeds success

Prior to INCEIF, Daud was the Global Islamic Finance Leader with Deloitte. He was also previously Acting CEO of Asian Finance Bank, an Islamic bank based in Malaysia, and was the first Managing Director of Hong Leong Islamic Bank.

He is also a Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP), a Distinguished Fellow of the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM) and a former Board member (2003 – 2007) of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Now at INCEIF, it is all about running successful incubator programs. There are numerous wonderful academic programs there, ranging from School of Graduate Studies to Masters in Islamic Finance Practice to Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Finance. As part of their on-the-ground initiatives, INCEIF has also engaged with the alumni in Singapore and Indonesia in addition to those in Kuala Lumpur.

Needless to say, there have been numerous success stories that have come out of INCEIF. Among the group of illustrious alumni is Zusuf Khan Zainal Khan. Daud revealed: “One alumni who is currently applying his IF in business venture is Zusuf Khan Zainal Khan who started his CIFP in 2009 and completed in 2010. Upon his graduation, Zainal worked with RAM, KFH Research and in 2013, started a business in consulting, education and trading called ABS Ainon Holdings Sdn Bhd together with three other partners.

“Based on IF principles, their core business values started off by offering business ideas and strategies and provided consultancy on how to avoid pitfalls on social media. Today collectively, the company and the company’s shareholders has 80,000 followers on their Facebook page.

“Beyond that, they also offered consultancy work for start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to further develop their business. And even linking new partners up through networking. Today, they own a spa as well as a pest control company.

“Through the 15 ABS Quran Academy and 70 Tadika, children as young as five-years-old are taught the foundation of IF, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and the importance of doing business the IF-way – giving back to society, charitable ventures. Next year private primary schools will be up and running.”

IdeaLab poised to be Southeast Asia’s Ted Talk

The WIEF will be organising its first ever startup empowerment conference, the IdeaLab 2015, at the Parkroyal Hotel KL, on 11-12 August 2015

IdeaLab brings together some of the most highly fundable ASEAN startups for investment opportunities with investors across the globe. IdeaLab targets ASEAN startups looking for investments within the range of USD15,000 to USD1 million in industries such as consumer goods, clean tech, Halal tech, software/mobile apps, oil and gas, education and fintech.

For Daud, the IdeaLab event will effectively kick-start a transformation on how start-ups can benefit through listening, networking and learning.

“IdeaLab’s concept is something I’m rapidly becoming a big fan of. The presentations, not only as the embodiment of idea sharing and showcasing innovation, it is like an Islamic Economy version of TED Talk.

“This format of presentation would benefit every entrepreneur. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, but fortunately, the IdeaLab series provide experience from the people who’ve done it and increases the chance of fast tracking business network with an added value of the propositions from WIEF as the platform.”

WIEF IdeaLab 2015 on 11-12 August 2015 @ Parkroyal Hotel KL, is a start-up empowerment conference bringing together some of the most highly fundable ASEAN start-ups for investment opportunities with global investors.
WIEF IdeaLab 2015 on 11-12 August 2015 @ Parkroyal Hotel KL, is a start-up empowerment conference bringing together some of the most highly fundable ASEAN start-ups for investment opportunities with global investors.

WHAT IS IDEALAB?

WIEF IdeaLab 2015 on 11-12 August 2015 @ Parkroyal Hotel KL, is a start-up empowerment conference bringing together some of the most highly fundable ASEAN start-ups for investment opportunities with global investors. IdeaLab invites ASEAN start-ups looking for investments within the range of USD15,000 to USD1 million, from the ASEAN region. Industries in focus are consumer goods, clean tech, Halal tech, software/mobile apps, oil and gas, education and fintech. IdeaLab consists of a variety of features such as the Ideation Stage by regional business experts, Networking Pods, the IdeaClinic, the City Mapping Project, the Startup Fair, and IdeaPad stage where 12 selected startups get to battle it out live on stage to a panel of investors and industry players.

Who Should Attend:

  • Startups with sustainable business ideas with some degree of funding and product commercialization
  • Global investors looking for promising startups in the ASEAN region
  • Young graduates looking for partnerships and jobs in startup companies

Why You Should Attend:

  • Invest or partner with commercially viable businesses in the ASEAN region
  • Explore investment prospects with global investors
  • Learn from regional business experts
  • Experience real-live business pitching on stage
  • Experience KL’s start-up scene
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