Jumaiyah M

CEO and Co-founder, Halalfoodhunt

“In a business pitch, I have seen startups led by men that won investment funding with just ideas, with no numbers to back them up, no historical records and no traction. But, when it comes to women-led businesses, investment funding may or may not come even if we have numbers to back us up, with a good track record, and obvious traction - much less women business owners from a minority group. International statistics by Harvard Business Review still notes that women-led startups only received 2.3% of VC Funding. The percentage would be less for women from minority groups.”

Many business owners define their success based on the revenue that they are able to bring in, and use that as a marker for their level of performance, and that’s fair. However, after about 10 years in business, I find that there are other metrics which are equally important, such as assessing if you have accomplished what you set out to do when you first started. Not all businesses are about profits. Some businesses are based on causes and milestones which may or may not be monetary. That said, with every milestone hit is an achievement unlocked.

In the context of my App business journey, we set out to improve the searchability and verification of Halal Food for consumers, we have had some success there, but I would say we are not yet done. We still have a long way to go.
I would say I decided to embark on this tech journey because there was a need to do so. Unfortunately, we today live in a world of misinformation which can be easily propagated by innocent unsuspecting good people. Misinformation can mislead muslims into believing that the food that they are consuming is halal, when in actual fact, it is not. This bothers me every single day. So, someone needs to start building something that helps with this problem for the community, so I started working on it.

Funny that you’ve asked this – the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome is exactly what The Codette Project seeks to reduce, and that is the lack of (or being denied) opportunities because of prejudices that exist because I am different and look uncommon in the tech and business space.


Let me explain it with an example.


In a business pitch, I have seen startups led by men that won investment funding with just ideas, with no numbers to back them up, no historical records and no traction. But, when it comes to women led businesses, investment funding may or may not come even if we have numbers to back us up, with a good track record, and obvious traction – much less women business owners from a minority group. International statistics by Harvard Business Review still notes that women-led startups only received 2.3% of VC Funding. The percentage would be less for women from minority groups. 


So, it is no secret that my journey in tech is harder and will take much longer as compared to a man. But knowing this just motivates me to keep going so that perhaps one day, I’ll be able to be that VC that invests in other women-led tech businesses.

As shared above, to get people to invest in you is hard as a minority woman.

Beyond that, we are often second guessed, judged and stereotyped based on our race and how we dress. No one expects the modestly dressed hijabi to be able to develop an app and run a business at the scale that I had wanted to run it. And when we do see some semblance of success from our efforts, we are often seen as a threat and therefore make fast enemies – most of whom we have never personally met. What’s worse is that sometimes, we as business owners internalise which exacerbates issues like imposter syndrome and self-sabotage. These can really be detrimental.

But thankfully for similar communities like Codette Project that stresses on the importance of representation, uplifting and supporting women in tech like me, these problems are slowly but surely being mitigated.
Haha, so many! The number of advice I would give myself is directly proportional to the number of mistakes I’ve made in this journey which is indeed a humbling one. I’ve listed out 5 below.

1. To work for other great bosses from start ups first for at least 3 years before starting out something on your own

2. Be less patient in your planning, and more patient for results.

3. Not everything has to take time: hack your business growth whenever possible.

4. Self care is important, take care of yourself so that you’re in a better position to take care of others

5. Trust your gut.
Hopefully, I will see myself being satisfied with my Halalfoodhunt App by then, still in the space, and working with other women who see themselves as younger versions of me.