Business Opportunity

American Muslim entrepreneur encourages Indonesians to capitalize on halal economy

By Sheany
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mohamed Geraldez, an American Muslim entrepreneur who capitalized on the halal economy — economic activities based on Islamic principles — is encouraging Indonesians to do the same, he said at the American Cultural Center known as @america in Pacific Place, South Jakarta on Tuesday (07/02).

In Islam, activities are categorised into halal, an Arabic term meaning sanctioned by Islamic law, and haram, which means unlawful or forbidden. Islamic principles not only affect the banking and finance sector. These principles guide a Muslim's economic and commercial decision making, from buying property to investing and buying goods and services.

Food and personal care products must be approved or processed as halal, for instance. Animals are slaughtered according to Islamic law to meet halal standards. In general, halal matters have become much more encompassing and now extend to biotechnology, tourism, personal-care products and supply chain management.

So, in effect, a halal economy is on the rise. As this happens, businesses keen to trade halal-certified products will need to better understand the structure and demands of the industry.

Jaan.J, one of Geraldez’s companies, caters to the needs of Muslim men who do not wear silk by producing non-silk vegan ties. Guided by his interpretation of Islamic principles, Geraldez says that he started the company to follow the Muslim way of life, which state that Muslim men should not wear silk clothes and gold adornments.

His business ventures into the arguably untapped market has provided insight into the ample opportunities the industry holds. There is a lot of potential for entrepreneurs who are looking for a new venture to tap into the market since Indonesia is a Muslim majority country with the largest Muslim population.

“You have to understand [whether or not] you’re passionate about it [the business idea] and if there’s a need for it,” Geraldez said.

Geraldez also explained the importance of business acumen, explaining that it is useful to have a partner who can complement your own set of skills.

“You have your core competencies, but maybe you’re also lacking in operations or accounting. [You’d want to] bring that person [with those skills] on,” Geraldez said.

He advises young entrepreneurs to have someone who can bring skills that they don’t have, referring to it as “smart money.”

This article first appeared on the Jakarta Globe website on February 7, 2017.

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