Believe In Yourselves: Emirati Entrepreneur Randa El Himyari

By Abdul Basit Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The UAE provides an excellent environment for young entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and grow the business in the country and globally.

This was stated by Randa El Himyari, an Emirati entrepreneur, in an interview with Khaleej Times. El Himyari opened her second nursery in April 2014 after the success of her first one, which was established eight years ago.

She is also running a "learning difficulty centre" in Dubai. Her latest venture is a spa for ladies and she is also planning to establish another business but declined to disclose the details.

The mother of three daughters loves children and said her all businesses are inspired by kids except the spa business. Talking about the nursery, she said the idea was to serve the community and change the lives of children and generations.

She said opening a nursery is not an easy thing but one of the most risky businesses. "Children are the most precious for parents and they need extra care and attention," she explained. It's a very lengthy procedure to open a nursery in Dubai but it's good because it's all about security and safety of children.

A nursery trade licence requires a lot of approvals from different government departments and the Ministry of Social Affairs looks after nurseries in the UAE, she said.

She said the start-up environment is perfect in the country for entrepreneurs. "I believe the weakness is not in the system but in people," she explained. A majority of young entrepreneurs want to become successful overnight and that's not possible in any business even they have sufficient funds to support the business.

Khaleej Times visited El Himyari's new nursery and found that it was like others in Dubai. But she claimed that her nursery was unique. "We developed our own curriculum that fits in the UAE culture. It's in Arabic, English and French," she explained.

"I'm serving the community as there was a need of a French nursery in Dubai eight years ago," she added.

There are a total of 63 employees to look after 200 children of different nationalities in both the nurseries, whose ages are up to four years.

Talking about her mentor, she said there are a couple of mentors including her mother, father and leaders of the UAE.

She said the first 12-month period was very difficult after opening the first nursery. "I was about to collapse in the first year... as there were only five children in the nursery but my mother's advice put new energy in me."

When asked if there is any role model company for her, she replied: "When I look at others, I still think myself unique."

El Himyari advised upcoming entrepreneurs that they should first believe in themselves. Entrepreneurs need to be innovative as the market is very competitive, she said, adding that they also need right team as they are going to be backbone of the company.

Talking about social media's role in her business, she said it doesn't work for all businesses. "When it comes to nursery, only Facebook is the right social media for us. We need to take parents' approvals before publishing any of their kids' photos," she explained.

She mentioned that the first nursery was established by her own funds but all new ventures were established with the help of Tejar Dubai. Under its three key pillars of assess, assist and attain, the Tejar Dubai initiative, launched by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, provides youth with access to an extensive development programme, including classroom learning, on-site training, mentoring and business advice, as well as networking opportunities with local and international business leaders and access to investment capital while helping them establish their own small-to-medium-sized businesses.

With its commitment to the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which emphasises that entrepreneurship is the shortest route to a bright future, the training programme aims to find and train creative and commercially-minded youth to help them turn their business ideas into a reality.

She pointed out that the Tejar Dubai programme's training workshops and guidance help create an ideal platform for the development of young entrepreneurs and provide them the advice and expertise needed to launch their projects.

Randa said Tejar Dubai programme guides entrepreneurs from A to Z and also provide financial support. A lot of young people have ideas but don't have the right tools to develop the idea, she said adding that Tejar Dubai has supported many entrepreneurs.

The programme provides right tips, guidelines, feasibility study, financial analysis, marketing study, she explained. The chamber programme keeps guiding entrepreneurs even after the establishment the businesses. The initiative also opens doors of international markets for entrepreneurs by providing access to international meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, she said.

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