Qais Al Khonji is an Omani businessman and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Qais United Enterprises Trading and Genesis International. He serves as a board member for many Omani companies and is known for assisting Omani citizens with overcoming the hurdles of starting small businesses in the country. Qais Al-Khonji graduated from Atlantic College in Wales in 1998, obtaining his IB in two years. Following his graduation, he moved to Leicester, England that same year and finished his Bachelor’s degree in business information systems in De Montfort University.
In 2010, Qais decided to begin his own business, Qais United, which was a simple trading company that bought goods from China and sold them to individuals.
In the year 2012, Qais established his second company (Genesis International), which is currently providing IT solutions, in addition to trying to implement the so-called (Smart City), which should facilitate electronic payment of bills for water and electricity within a certain population range. The company is now seeking to try to apply this system in the Omani capital Muscat and some parts of India.
In 2013, Qais established a successful enhanced oil recovery business called Genesis Projects and Investments LLC - EOR Lab Services and he is currently running it.
Also, Al-Khonji, a board member of Oman National Engineering & Investment CO. since 2009, a board member of Sharakah which specifically encourages and supports the development of entrepreneurs and SMEs in the Oman since 2011. Qais is also a board member of Muscat National Holding since 2013.
He has also been recognized by his government as a representative of the country and was appointed as a member of the Entrepreneurs` Organization to meet with former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to discuss Indian-Omani business relations.
He is also the co-owner and CEO of Genesis International, a medical education company based in Oman
As the founder of Qais United Enterprises Trading and Genesis International. Can you tell us when did you first become interested in starting your own company?
I use to be a banker in the corporate banking, that exposure has given me the energy and encouragement to start my own business. Despite that I also belong a one of the eldest family businesses here in Oman.
So the journey began in 2010 when I quit my job and started trading with goods that are not available in the country.
This didn't go well, because I have studied the market pretty well but this has led me to start my 2nd and 3rd companies. I have started dealing with services; it was defiantly a better area to explore.
So I started Genesis International and we decided to start in the solar power field. This has also faced a lot of challenges because of rules and regulations. My real success is my 3rd company Genesis projects and investments. It's a niche business; we started an upstream and a downstream oil analysis.
This also took a while to get recognition in the local market, as you Oman is a small market and it takes a while to be recognized.
Some people are born entrepreneurial, others are encouraged to become one. Can you give our readers an overview of how you became a successful entrepreneur?
My success took me a while to achieve; the best way to achieve success is by trying and practicing your passion. I have tried so many times till it finally clicked, it was easy. But once the door is open the sky is the limit. A startup is similar to a fresh university graduate, it taken him a while to find a job. The same I'm business you have to believe in your and in your idea and have lots of patient to succeed.
In your opinion what would you say makes an entrepreneur? What makes an Entrepreneur is simple yet could be complicated.
A- of willingness to fail, now I know this might sound funny but it's true. Nothing or rarely things succeed from the 1st hit; it's not a lottery ticket. It's a lot of efforts and passion towards what you want to achieve.
B- patient, patient and more patient. Time is a factor for any startup just keep trying and never U turn.
C- traveling and self-teaching, read educate your self learn from others and have a role model to follow his steps, also travel whenever possible it could really generate ideas into the mind of the Entrepreneur to be.
Would you say that Oman is a country with entrepreneurial opportunities and what education and encouragement are there for Omani entrepreneurs?
Oman is the land of opportunities; I very much encourage foreign investments to invest here. I also encourage Entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the service sector. Oil and gas and the industrial sectors are potential areas for foreign investments.
As for education, I have been trying to raise my voice through media and different committees that entrepreneurship should be taught starting from grade 10 in schools. This might take a while and more time, but it should take place one day. It would give students options after graduating from university. I truly hope it would be implemented into our educational system one day.
What advice would you offer to others who want to start up their own business?
I think I have been advising in my previous answers as I’ve been writing them. But my advices are usually on the same areas.
Be patient, believe in your idea, keep trying, don't give up if you fail nothing works out from the 1st time. Educate your self by reading and traveling.