I’m a big believer in the saying that success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. As my career as an entrepreneur enters its third decade I’ve come to learn the preciousness of that 1% – inspiration can be found in the most unusual places and sometimes its right in front of your face.
I was thus inspired to join fellow entrepreneur and trailblazer Kazi Rahman as the fruit of his years of blood, sweat and tears took the skies with the launch of Firnas Airways. It seemed almost inconceivable to me at first. How on earth do you go about launching an airline?! But the more I spoke with Kazi the more I saw how he has diligently built his company, and assembled a brilliant team of aviation experts around him.
Kazi reached out to me a short while ago, inviting me to an investors launch event. I was touched to learn that he had been spurred on by my journey with SingleMuslim.com and Penny Appeal. I’m reminded that a good entrepreneur learns from their past and a great entrepreneur learns from others too. Being part of Firnas Airways’ maiden flight was a truly uplifting (excuse the pun) and eye-opening experience, not least to be amongst fellow entrepreneur’s and witness someone’s dreams literally take flight.
Launching a business is fraught with obstacles, challenges and risks, not unlike a ride on an aeroplane. You chart your journey, assemble a committed crew who have your back, perform your safety checks, build up speed on the ground and then hit the launch button. The better you prepare for that launch, the more momentum you gather, the higher and faster you will go and there’s nothing quite like that feeling when you first lift off the ground. I could see it on Kazi’s face; a beaming ear-to-ear grin, eyes filled with relief from what’s passed and in anticipation of what’s to come. As much as you prepare, you’re guaranteed to face some turbulence, one way or another, and speaking with Kazi it’s clear he’s anticipated the possible risks and mitigated as much as he possibly can. His leadership inspires trust and vision, you can be sure Firnas Airways is piloted well!
What touched me most from Kazi’s pitch was how he took inspiration from the 9th century aviation pioneer and polymath, Abbas ibn Firnas. Over 1,000 years before the famous Wright Brothers took flight, this Muslim inventor and engineer, born and raised in Spain, is thought to be the first human to attempt flight. Kazi confidently and proudly stands on the shoulders of this fellow European Muslim innovator, albeit twelve hundred years later or so! It’s an incredible thought and an important reminder that we, especially as Muslim entrepreneurs, are building on the legacies of those before us and leaving a legacy for those who are still to come.
Firnas Airways are just at the beginning of their journey, and I feel honoured to have been at the beginning of their story. Kazi has reminded me that no matter how outlandish or unorthodox your dreams may be, if you’re willing to put in the perspiration and ever-ready to take on the inspiration, you can really touch the skies.
Check out my Vlog of the launch above and be sure to share