The world of entrepreneurship is expanding by the day, with a thousand budding ideas trying to find their place in the limelight. However, few innovative minds manage to not just pair their ideas with foresight but also with the right technical knowhow.
Mr Ansif Ashraf, carrying on the dream and legacy of his father, is making a statement in the field of digital journalism with two powerhouse publications - the revamped Cochin Herald and the iconic British Herald.
The journey of the Mediapreneur: Ansif Ashraf
An IT expert particularly dedicated to the fields of eCommerce and the Digital Domain; Ansif Ashraf is an entrepreneur with a story to tell. It was his father, Dr S. A. Muhammad, who had founded the Cochin Herald Newspaper in the year 1992. A beacon for the regional Malayalam language, the Cochin Herald was a Sunday newspaper in Cochi, Kerala.
Mr Ansif spent his early days idolizing his father, who juggled between the twin roles of Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief with aplomb. However, due to issues with the management, he was forced to step down. It was in 2011 that Mr Ashraf won back the titles of the publication and came on board the Cochin Herald.
A few talks with experts from the field coupled with his perspective and conviction led him to transform the Cochin Herald from a weekly Malayalam newspaper to a bi-monthly English magazine in 2012.
Surging Ahead: Kochi to London
At a time when international names are grabbing top spots in India, Mr Ansif Ashraf managed to reverse the flow of business with his move to London. In 2017, Ansif Ashraf acquired the Intellectual Property Rights of the British Herald.
It was sheer foresight that caused Mr Ansif Ashraf to make a giant leap from print media to digital journalism, and he remodelled the British Herald as an online news and information delivery platform. The British Herald featured Borris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, on its cover page, and was launched by the PM himself.
The magazine’s publishing began in 2019 and the same year, the British Herald hosted the Business and Leadership Awards at Rosewood London. Some notable winners of the awards were London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Lord Rami Ranger, Gopichand Hinduja, Fashion Designer Karen Millen and Hollywood Actor Ali Fazal.
Today, the British Herald has emerged as a leading global online magazine, sold via Magzter, the world’s largest digital newsstand. British Herald is also a media partner of Asia Cup Polo. It is owned by the Herald Media Network Limited, Mr Ansif Ashraf’s London-based company, which also owns the Intellectual Property Rights and Digital Property of the European Herald. However, the latter is not yet functional.
The Asian Herald
The thing with entrepreneurs is that they never stop dreaming. In 2020, Mr Ansif Ashraf acquired the digital property rights of Asianherald.com. Asian Herald, the world’s first online news portal for the Asian Diaspora, was founded back in the year 2001. Recently, Starfold Media Network FZC acquired the media license for the Asian Herald in the UAE in 2020. Its license was issued by the National Media Council of UAE, to be based in the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone.
Mr Ansif Ashraf decided to bring all four publications – the British Herald, European Herald, the Asian Heraldand the World Herald – under a single umbrella – Starfold Media Network. The beta-testing version of Asian Herald, a melting pot for 48 Asian countries, was launched on November 1, 2020, which happens to be the Founding Day of the Cochin Herald. The Asian Herald awaits an official launch, dated 21st January 2021.
A Man of Many Accomplishments
Mr Ansif Ashraf’s business prudence, paired with his expertise and love for challenges, have brought him several laurels to his name. He was chosen as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) e-Business Champion for his empowering ride of taking eCommerce from an idea to a global business.
In 2013, he was entitled as the Brand Icon by the Times of India for his brilliance. Besides, he was awarded the Engage 2019 Digital Innovation Award by the Public Relation Society of India and the Telegraph Daily. Mr Ansif Ashraf also happens to be a member of the London Press Club and a former patron of the British Library.
The Future is Calling
Mr Ansif Ashraf believes that the future belongs to digital media. With print media reaching near saturation, and the digital world expanding like never before, Mr Ansif goes by his understanding of the pulse of the tech world. It is this insight which he manages to integrate with all his brands. Giving a global edge to his dreams, Mr Ansif has acquired the World Herald and plans to launch Starfold Media Network into the world of blockchain.