A Hackathon for Muslim Canadians: Interview with the Team Behind ILM WeekendWritten by Muslim Link
A group of Muslims in Toronto have come together to create ILM Weekend (January 21-22, 2017), where Muslims and non-Muslims will come together to brainstorm and develop innovative products and services for Muslims.
The deadline to apply to participate in the weekend is October 15, 11:59 pm. Click here for more information.
Muslim Link interviewed the team to learn why they felt this was in important initiative.
1. How did the team behind Innovate Lead Mobilize (ILM) come together?
We have previously worked together on initiatives at our local mosque, as well as with each other at the Canadian Muslim Vote. We also have a shared passion for entrepreneurship and innovation, which made ILM a natural next step.
2. How did the idea for ILM’s Innovation Weekend come about?
After volunteering with various Muslim organizations, it became clear to us the impact that someone with an entrepreneurial skillset could have on the Muslim community as a whole. We were excited about innovation and entrepreneurship, and knew that we weren’t the only ones. But there wasn’t a platform that existed where people like us, who wanted to design for Muslims, could come for support, ideas, and encouragement. We decided to fill that gap by starting ILM’s Innovation Weekend, a weekend long event where we would bring some bright people together, and equip them with the tools needed to create something awesome in a weekend. This is very similar to many university hackathons out there.
3. What gaps do you see in products and services available for Canadian Muslims that you hope an event like this may address?
Muslims have very specialized needs and that makes using certain applications in the market difficult. Food delivery services like Uber Eats and Foodora do not have many halal options. Fashion in hijab is also becoming popular. Tools like Airbnb could be adapted to help Muslims find open prayer places anywhere in the world. We hope to help develop the next wave of products and services that address Muslim needs so that Muslims do have options moving forward.
4. The Canadian Muslim community is very ethno-culturally diverse. How are you ensuring that a wide-range of Muslims learn about this opportunity?
We have been hard at work reaching out to organizations across the Muslim community, to publicize ILM’s Innovation Weekend as much as possible. We know that this is a tough task, and that we may not be able to reach every community. But, we are doing our best to make sure that everyone can attend. That is part of the reason why the event is 100% free of charge!
5. This event is open to both Muslims and non-Muslims. Why do you think being inclusive in this way is important?
Muslims are an untapped target market and we want everyone in the community to be thinking about how to make products that benefit Muslims. We believe that the more people who are working on Muslim needs, the better. Plus, Muslims are a part of the greater community. Including others is an important part of being good citizens of the community. And, with more non-Muslims knowledgeable and comfortable with Muslim issues, we can help combat Islamophobia too!
6. Anything else you would like to add?
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