Thursday 28 July 2022

The digital start-up with faith in mind. Meet Alliyah and Amirah from Our Tied Camel

Our Tied Camel is a start-up co-founded by cousins Alliyah and Amirah Khan. Alliyah graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2022 with a Law degree and Amirah graduated with a Psychology degree from Aston University in 2020.

The start-up joined the UoB Elevate programme in September 2021 and have recently joined the SuperTech Seeds Pre-Accelerator programme which supports innovative tech projects in the region. We caught up with Amirah to find out more about the business including news of an exciting product launch coming very soon.

Amirah: Our Tied Camel is a digital workspace for Muslims to track their tasks, salah (prayer), and time in one customisable space. Our web application is both an Islamic productivity tool for Muslims, and a tool for employers to implement better diversity and inclusion. Our Tied Camel allows users to add daily prayer times to their work calendars, and stay connected with their faith while working, studying or going about their personal lives.

In late 2020, we wanted to start an Islamic productivity advice page that was accessible for students like ourselves.
As more work and study from home tools emerged, we decided a workspace for implementing such advice would be far more valuable.

This was inspired by our own efforts to curate productivity systems that cater towards our faith, using tools like Notion, and multiple productivity and Islamic apps. However, this approach was often impractical.
There was always a disconnect between our faith and productivity tools.

Our idea was to bring all these tools into one space for meaningful and faith-based productivity in our daily lives.

What's the inspiration behind the name?

Our Tied Camel is inspired by a story of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who advised a man to tie his camel securely before trusting in God over its safety. A lesson to take away from this is we should fulfil acts to the best of our abilities before trusting in God over the outcome. We all face responsibilities in life which require us to tie our camel.

This can often become overwhelming and as a result, many Muslims struggle with fulfilling acts of worship around work, education and personal lives. Our Tied Camel is the workspace for ‘tying your camel’ while ‘trusting in God’.

Support to grow our business

We planned to start this project in summer 2022 and [right on schedule] we are thrilled to be preparing to launch our minimal viable product (MVP) as a registered company.

This is all thanks to UoB Elevate, UoB's incubator and business growth programme, who introduced us to the SuperTech Seeds Pre-Accelerator. SuperTech partner with MillionLabs to provide 10K worth of funding towards no-code MVP development. 

We received funding from the University of Birmingham Ideas Fund that enabled us to set up the business, purchase marketing material such as business cards and leaflets, account for development expenses, a business email and more. This allowed us to progress without worrying about finances. 

Through UoB Elevate, we have been able to learn valuable entrepreneurial skills through workshops, network with other founders, and have a space to work. The team introduced us to contacts that could advise us, and kept us informed about upcoming opportunities, such as SuperTechs Seeds Pre-Accelerator and the Birmingham Tech Week Hackathon.

Elevate has provided us with one to one support that helped us refine our plans and decide our next steps. From refining our business idea to legal setting up the company, this was made possible with their advice and support. Being around other founders has been very inspiring, and this journey has felt less daunting knowing we have a place to ask for advice. 

What are the best and worst aspects of running a business?*

Starting a business is fun and exciting. We've really enjoyed working together on an idea that is meaningful to us and solves a problem. It's been a rewarding experience that has taught us a lot, allowed us to meet new people, attend interesting events, and have great discussions. We've been able to get creative and try out new skills such as branding, marketing, web design and copywriting.

Learning these things has been so much more interesting because we're applying it to a real project that's ours. But, being an entrepreneur is uncertain and does require you to be willing to learn new, unfamiliar skills. You have to keep an open mind and be ready to feel out of your depth. Luckily, we're co-founders and share different skill sets so we have been able to share the responsibility between us and support each other. 

It's been a learning experience trying to refine our business idea and learn how to
communicate this effectively with others. We've had to learn how to set-up a business legally, figure out our business model, and finances. This has been essential for creating well-rounded and engaging pitch decks. But, it was all worth it.

Building that knowledge, seeing how our idea has progressed over time, it's really rewarding and satisfying. Those challenging aspects of running a business mean we reach positive results in the end. And, we're still learning! I think we both feel comfortable with that learning aspect now. Each stage will bring about new things you're unsure about, so getting comfortable with that is really important. 

Coming soon!

We'll be launching our MVP very soon, and will be sharing more of our journey on social media. Follow us on socials @ourtiedcamel and join our mailing list for exclusive updates, resources and early access.

Visit the Our Tied Camel website here

Instagram: @ourtiedcamel

Twitter: @ourtiedcamel

TikTok: @ourtiedcamel

With thanks to Alliyah Khan and Amirah Khan Edited by Bob Lee

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