Gulf Business’ list of the region’s most talented entrepreneurs of 2017 features Omani businessman Qais Al Khonji
Omani businessman Qais Al Khonji has made it to Gulf Business’ ‘Top 10 Entrepreneurs in the GCC-2017’, which is open to public voting to pick the most coveted ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ award*.
Al Khonji, who has made winning a habit, is the founder of Qais United Enterprises Trading and Genesis International. He has been a central figure in the sultanate’s entrepreneurial scene for several years. He launched his first company Qais United Enterprises Trading in 2010, followed by IT solutions firm Genesis International in 2012. A year later he established an enhanced oil recovery business, Genesis Projects and Investments LLC – EOR Lab Services.
Following his listing in the Top 10 GCC Entrepreneurs by Gulf Business, he attributed this new feather in his entrepreneurial cap to the financial performance of his companies. Talking to FACES about his personal achievement and the honour from Gulf Business, he defined it as a motivator to do more and achieve even greater heights. “I started my business in oil and gas at a very tough time in the region, but we have made it… This will encourage me further towards success,” he maintained.
Tracing his entrepreneurial journey in Oman, he stated: “I started in 2010, but some of the ventures didn’t take off. So my actual success started some time in 2013, with my current company Genesis projects and investment. We started from scratch, and today we have contracts with oxy and are on trials with other companies.”
With his business portfolio spread across fields including energy, smart technology, medical education and trading, Al Khonji has also made it his business to give fellow entrepreneurs the benefit of his experience. He is also an angel investor, has represented his country as part of a team discussing Indian-Omani business relations, and has helped introduce entrepreneurship into the country’s schools. Commenting on his interests to help local startups to find their niche in the market, he pointed out that his role as a board member of Sharakah, which supports local entrepreneurs to start their business with funding support as well as consultation, was to lend a helping hand. Besides, he has been involved in networking events such as the Entrepreneurs Conclave and has been invited to different universities and colleges in Oman to speak about his entrepreneurial journey and give advice, if needed. One of his pet projects has been to encourage the introduction of entrepreneurship as a subject in schools, which he hopes will become a reality soon.
However, entrepreneurship isn’t without its challenges, he admits, pointing out that he has had his share of personal trials too. “Any journey, even if it was well established, will have a lot of challenges. Nothing is easy – from obtaining certificates to actually operating the business… But I take challenges positively,” he notes, adding that it has been a spur in the learning process.
Having reached thus far, he now plans to grow his business further in terms of manpower and equipments, while concentrating on the oil and gas sector. “I believe it’s a sector that is full of opportunities. Although it’s a very high risk one, it’s worthwhile if well established,” he opines.
(Log on to http://gulfbusiness.com/vote-now-your-top-entrepreneur-gcc/ to vote for your favourite entrepreneur)