Sumaiya Siddique, MBR Team is a halal debt-based investment platform that connects regular people with profitable businesses for short-term financing.

MBR: is offering halal and Shariah investments for investors. Can you please tell us how you came up with the idea of biniyog and what motivated you most? We came up with the idea when we faced problems with investment ourselves. We, the co-founders, had been job-holders for more than 5 years. And we were looking for Shariah-compliant investments for a long time.

However, the options we found were either complex or not very easy and transparent. The stock market is often volatile, and finding individual businesses to invest in was complex and tiring on top of doing a regular job.At the time of trying to solve our own problem, we found that there’s a very big financing gap on the SME side as well.

This is a problem space that we believe has a huge potential to impact the society by helping everyone grow wealth ethically, and that’s what has been motivating us throughout.

MBR: Almost every bank is offering Shariah investments for investors. As, is operating in a very challenging industry, will you kindly share the experience that you have in the industry and which segments of people are you currently serving? We have learned a lot so far by working closely with SMEs and taking mentorship from industry experts, and we believe this learning process is continuous. Having pioneers like IFA consultancy as our Shariah advisors has been a huge plus as well.

There is no doubt that the industry is extremely challenging, but at the same time, there’s a USD 2.8 bln funding gap for SMEs in Bangladesh alone (as per World Bank). So, there is a big scope to work in this area. Our target is not to compete with banks or NBFIs, but to cater to the segment which is mostly deprived of formal banking services.

On the investor end, we have got great responses from various segments, especially people with a steady source of income. This inspires us to continue building our product since we feel we are serving people who are facing exactly the same problems with investments that we ourselves did before starting this.

MBR: has IFA Consultancy as a Shariah consultant and advisor. Can you please tell us how businesses or investors will be benefited from Businesses benefit because:

a) Faster access to financing, minus the hassle

b) Complete transparency on expenses

c) Risk sharing with investors

d) Shariah compliance ensured

Investors benefit due to:

a) Easy and transparent investment - with full disclosure on associated risks

b) Halal investment options

c) Risk diversification with small investments (as low as BDT 10,000)

d) Higher expected return than traditional channels

 Overall, the economy benefits because money circulation increases, utilizing idle funds sitting in the investors pocket and benefitting small businesses. It’s a win-win for everyone.

MBR: Please share with us the unique features or products of your company which makes stand out among others? There is always risk associated with investments, especially if we are talking about halal options. assesses the risk of financing businesses and presents it to potential investors in an easily digestible format.

This helps investors take calculated risks while growing wealth and staying true to their values. On the other hand, SME business owners who comprise the bottom end of the social pyramid are financially connected with the top in a manner that benefits both groups.

MBR: What are the priorities you want to focus on at the moment and how are you thinking to expand your business in the near future? We are developing our product and working to build our team to make our processes more robust. We want to work on educating investors on halal finance and personal finance in general so that they can make better decisions while staying focused on their financial goals. We are also looking to partner up with businesses to empower different SME segments by creating financing opportunities for them.