ImInclusive: an SME with the belief that a more inclusive world benefits everyone
ImInclusive is a remarkable social enterprise that originated from the dreams of siblings, Ahmed and Hafsa Qadeer. Ahmed, a person of determination, was well aware of the stigma surrounding individuals with disabilities, especially concerning employment opportunities. Supported by his loving family, he realised the importance of equal opportunities for all, regardless of their abilities. When Hafsa proposed the idea of an inclusive employment hub back in 2019, Ahmed eagerly embraced the vision and set out to make it a reality. “We envisioned that if a loving environment and community helped me so much to progress in life despite my disability, we could apply the same formula to people of determination worldwide who also require such support and assistance," said Ahmed.
Their journey took a significant leap when they got the chance to pitch their idea at the Abu Dhabi Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an's inaugural incubator programme where Ahmed performed the piano for the judges to highlight an important lesson that people of determination are equally talented and skilled to receive equal and equitable opportunities, and often times they are just waiting for someone to recognise their talent. Their exceptional performance earned them a place among the top 10 winners out of 520 global applications, validating their vision and mission.
Over the next four years, ImInclusive blossomed from an idea into the UAE's first certified social enterprise supporting people of determination with job opportunities. They built a community of talented individuals from the ground up, fostering a culture of inclusion every step of the way. Their website and mobile application connect people of determination, employers, families, and supporters of inclusion. The comprehensive services offered by ImInclusive include job training for individuals with disabilities and inclusion training for employers, ensuring that both parties are well-prepared for the employment journey.
Their value proposition lies in providing end-to-end recruitment services to employers, making them experts in hiring talented People of Determination. For people of determination, they serve as a digital hub, offering exposure to events, mentorship programmes, and countless employment opportunities across the MENA region. Any person with a disability in the MENA region can sign up on the platform and access a wide range of suitable opportunities.
Although ImInclusive is not the only platform working towards inclusion in the MENA region, their unique approach and commitment to continuous improvement set them apart. By focusing on self-improvement and outperforming their past performance, ImInclusive ensures they offer the best possible service to their beneficiaries. Through their efforts, they have positively impacted over 3,500 people with disabilities, offering them hope and a chance to thrive in inclusive workplaces.
The journey to building ImInclusive was not without challenges, particularly in convincing employers to embrace talent with disabilities. However, their approach of facilitating face-to-face interactions between employers and candidates successfully changed perceptions and increased employer readiness to be inclusive. The most rewarding part of their journey “is when parents share their stories of how they feel peaceful knowing a company like ours exists. And somewhere I know my own mother feels the same about Ahmed and I having started ImInclusive together”, says Hafsa with a sense of contentment.
Looking ahead, ImInclusive aims to scale its impact even further. With their digital-first approach and a strong technological foundation, they envision creating a minimum of 50,000 job opportunities for people of determination in the next five years. Their ambition is driven by the belief that a more inclusive world benefits everyone and that their platform can be a catalyst for meaningful change.
When asked what advice would they like to give to other entrepreneurs who are starting a business that focuses on accessibility, Ahmed emphasised the importance of co-creation with people of determination. He also shed light on finding the right team members who share your vision and work towards making it come true.
It is important to build together and take the stance of “building with” instead of “building for”. We are grateful to our team members such as Saira Sayed, Ayesha Khan, and advisors such as Fred Maahs and many people who have consistently been there with us throughout our journey of building this startup. I encourage entrepreneurs to look for role models within this community and take their advice on how to build better.Ahmed Qadeer
ImInclusive is a shining example of a social enterprise dedicated to creating a more inclusive world. By fostering a supportive community and empowering People of Determination through inclusive employment opportunities, Ahmed and Hafsa Qadeer have turned their dream into a transformative mission. Their unwavering commitment to breaking barriers and changing lives showcases the immense power of inclusion and equality in today's world.