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Editor's PickFirst time in IsDB Prize for Impactful Achievement in Islamic Economics history,...

First time in IsDB Prize for Impactful Achievement in Islamic Economics history, Islamic fintech start-ups take top spots

Two crowdfunding platform have been recognized at an international level by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for their impact on Islamic economies in 2021.

The first place for the IsDB Prize for Impactful Achievement in Islamic Economics for 2021 was awarded to LaunchGood, a Muslim-focused donation-based crowdfunding platform based in the US while Pakistan’s Seed Out, which focuses on providing interest-free financing to micro-entrepreneurs, won second place.

“LaunchGood is a very innovative crowdfunding platform which is harnessing technology to bring the 1,400-year-old Islamic tradition of charity into a contemporary and digital space. Operating at the intersection of faith and tech, it provides a decentralized and accessible way for nearly any Muslim in the world to raise money for important projects and have a direct and positive impact on their community,” the IsDB Prize Selection Committee explained.

Since launching in 2013, LaunchGood has supported over 28,000 campaigns and raised over US$200 million, proving the scalability of its model.

“The platform goes beyond just charity: every campaign is itself a statement of all the good Muslims are doing and are capable of, taking control of the narrative of who Muslims are and their role in the contemporary world. These success stories are seeds of hope planted into the hearts and minds of people across the world who want to believe in and build an inspired future,” the committee added.

Seed Out on the other hand, has a promising tech-driven microfinancing business model.

“It does not take the position that poverty is cured by making all the poor into entrepreneurs. Instead, it identifies prospective or existing entrepreneurs, and then selects them for support. Seed Out’s original innovation is to provide financing in kind. This gives Seed Out absolute control over the proceeds and allows for the buyer/beneficiary to focus on her or his business, which is better than most existing solutions which pay cash to the beneficiary,” the selection committee noted.

This is the first time in the 32-year history of the prize, which in its previous form was known as the IsDB Prize in Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance, that the winners are both Islamic fintech start-ups.

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