Creating a business out of guiding students

Hajar al Ruzaiqi –

Once you commit to living your dreams, the lids blinding your eyes will be lifted. A completely new world will be opened. You will notice opportunities that have been within your reach all along — the ones that your conscious mind simply didn’t pay attention to before. This is what Thekrayat al Fazari, a young Omani entrepreneur, has come to realise.

Thekrayat has perhaps struck gold with her new business venture organising foreign trips for Omanis who would like to learn English while at the same time learning about the destination and its culture.
Starting from scratch, her major is Business Administration, and it is her background in this field that has proven to be very helpful to her current endeavour.
Thekrayat joined the College of Technology when she was 19 years old. She was very committed in her studies in such a way she felt like she has been “deprived of having an entertaining life.”
This feeling lasted the whole time she was pursuing her degree. Because of her personal experience, she started looking at the experiences of other students closely as well to check if there was a common thread that related them.
She noticed that many students are keen on taking advantage of summer breaks and other holidays. Most of these students also have the yearning to develop their English Language Skills. Hence, a good number of them join Institutes to learn English inside Oman, while others prefer travelling abroad. An idea occurred to Thekrayat, which she believes addresses a gap in the industry. She decided to work as a guide for students who are passionate about learning English in London.

“After you’ve crossed the threshold of decision, you will find a new wellspring of energy, one that appears to be infinite”, she said. She kept encouraging herself that she can manage the project well and that she has what it takes to make it a success.
And thus was born Thekrayat Educational Programme, an SME  that specialised in bringing and simplifying Omani students’ trip to London. The duration of the study depended on the student’s choice and ability and can take one to two months. The company helps the students in taking care of many of the requirements for their trip to London.
Being an educational trip, she added some entertainment and tourism programmes so that students would enjoy their times while pursuing their studies.
She was studying and managing her company at the same time. Even though her studies also take a big chunk of her time, she divided her time well so that she will be able to cover everything.
She used to say that “my mother was the first to support me in my career and her prayers to me were my reason for success.”
One of the challenges she faced at the beginning is that parents of students refused to send their children with her since she has no experience. However, with her positive and charismatic attitude and demonstrating dependability and responsibility, she was able to gather a group for the first educational trip.
That first trip became the foundation of how she balances her time and how to manage the students as well as the business.
Since the first trip, a lot of other trips followed and today, Thekarayat has grown the business and in fact, has ventured to some others.
She shared that Thekrayat Tourism Company offers excellent summer packages for tourists, and because of her smart programming, the company has been doing well.”
You have to think smart to run a business”, she said. Other than the summer education programme and the tourism company, she also now owns a car wash shop that employs Omanis.
She also said that she’s just finishing the paperwork also to launch a “London boutique” that sells perfumes, incense, abayas and other Omani products. Locally, she is proud of the Thekrayat Cafe.
She also has several other businesses in mind, but all of it sprung from her original idea and taking that first step to becoming an independent entrepreneur.
Asked what she can advise to junior or young entrepreneurs, Thekarayat said that the most important thing is self-confidence in facing difficulties and focusing on the positive that there is a solution to every problem.
While she had a challenging beginning, Thekarayat right now is a confident girl in her twenties pursuing a series of dreams that guarantee a successful future, an Omani model for youth to follow who is filled with ambition.