Dr. Mona Kassim, welcome! You’re the founder of muBn, an adjunct senior professor at Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University (UNISSA) and a mother of four. Phew!
Yes (laughs)! They’re wonderful children, Alhamdulillah, curious and creative. We do fun things together; activities from the Quran, looking to see where Allah created the sun, the moon and stuff like that.
Between that and UNISSA, you also run a business. What does the company do?
MuBn Learning and Growth specialises in boutique talent and growth management solutions. We provide training, development for entrepreneurship education. We also have Tarbiyyah for kids, which is an enrichment programme for three to nine year olds.
You mentioned Tarbiyyah. Are you able to tell us more about what that is?
Tarbiyyah is an innovative solution for parents who want to help children learn about Allah and Islam in a wholistic way. The idea sprung from my kids who are scientifically inclined. They asked me strange questions that I didn’t know the answers to. For example, ‘Mama, where does Allah exist in worms? Which one is stronger – wind or water?’ I found the answers through the Quran and Hadiths.
Wow, the programme is literally home grown!
It all started with my kids, followed by the cousins. Then there were people that started asking more questions about Tarbiyyah. We have put together a programme in December 2015, and it’s grown organically from there. So far, we have accommodated about 600 students. We are also doing research on entrepreneurship. Did you know that entrepreneurship is genetically inheritable?
No, I didn’t!
One of the exciting research project we’re doing now is trying to see who in Brunei would be more inclined to start a business. We found out that it’s the female students that come from families where both parents are in business. The next group to be most inclined to start a business are male students whose fathers are doing business. The research is still a work in progress so there more findings to uncover.
What about for youself? Can you share with us your approach when it comes to business?
I’d call it dakwahpreneurship which is combination of entrepreneurship and dakwah (Arabic word for invite or summon). At MuBn, the goal is to spread the beauty of Islam in a meaningful way to all our clients.
In dakwahpreneurship, I’m searching for something called the KIP. We all know about Key Performance Indicators or KPI but I am talking of Key Intangible Performance; barakah (Arabic for continuity or spiritual presence that begins with God) which encompasses calmness, great teamwork, happy and smiling people. MuBn is my ninth startup company and I consider it to be the most meaningful because I feel that the barakah is there, Masha Allah.
There is really a lot to look forward to for and from muBn! Is there anything in the works which you can share?
I’m excited to say that we’re positioning the Tarbiyyah programme as a franchise. I recently returned from Singapore where we spoke to collaborators about parking the programme in the mosques. And the same in Malaysia.
We’re working on getting international accreditation of the curriculum. Once we have that, we can roll it out to other countries, Insya’Allah. So, yay for dakwahpreneurship!
Last question: what does progressive mean to you?
It is about being a change agent to help society get better and alleviate hurt in the community. It takes innovation, creativity and an independent mindset while having that wholistic viewpoint that you are here for a purpose.