Qais al Khonji, Co-Owner, Genesis Projects and Investments has been ranked as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs in the GCC. He shares his thoughts on the honour and how entrepreneurship can be promoted in Oman
You have been listed as one of the Gulf regions Top 10 entrepreneurs by Gulf Business. What in your opinion has enabled you to make it to the list?
I believe that the Global Award that I achieved two years ago, has played a part in me being approached, selected and then short listed. Secondly, fulfilling the criteria that they have benchmarked entrepreneurs against helped. The magazine asked 30 selected candidates to submit their audited revenues after which I was told that I had been selected as a part of the Top 10 entrepreneurs in the GCC region. So part of it was the background research they did and the other part was the financial performance of each of the company’s.
Give us a brief background of your entrepreneurial ventures?
I have started a couple of ventures that didn’t make it when I started in 2010. But my current success started in 2013 when I started Genesis Projects and Investments. It’s an upstream and a downstream oil laboratory service, started from scratch and today we can proudly state that we have contracts with big oil companies in Oman. As a part of Genesis International we make equipments and sell them to educational institutes.
You have been helping other entrepreneurs. Can you share details of the kind of work that you have been doing in encouraging other entrepreneurs?
I am a board member of Sharakah which funds SME projects up to RO200,000. In Sharakah we fund up to 20 projects per annum. I am also a part of networking events such as The Entrepreneurs Conclave where we bring together Entrepreneurs for team building events.
I have been a member with Entrepreneur Oman since 2009 and today we are 45 members in Oman and 10,000 members across the globe. We been bringing speakers and it’s been a platform to learn from one another. I have been invited to different colleges and universities to speak about my journey and to encourage business students to start their own venture by learning from my advice and experience.
Can you give us an insight into your activity as an angel investor?
I have been trying to setup this society in Oman, but so far it hasn’t worked out well. I’m still in communication with fellow Omani Entrepreneurs to establish this society and to fund projects through it.
What can be done to promote entrepreneurship in Oman?
I believe that it should be introduced in our school curriculum as a main subject. I believe in the power of education and knowledge. For example, the course can be introduced in grade 10 and can carry on till grade 12. Simple entrepreneurship education can create wonders, a 12th grade graduate will be able to understand the basics and fundamentals of entrepreneurship like market research, feasibility study, cash flow statements etc. and this will help.