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Omar Mohamed | Kenya | Nurturing My Passion

Director @ Educare International

Back in 2015 when I was pursuing my undergraduate education at Petronas University in Malaysia, many people would enquire about how I got to join a university in Malaysia, what the process was like, how much it costs and all the questions associated with studying abroad.

At about this time, I was deep into my career as a prospective petroleum engineer ready to take up an internship at Schlumberger, one of the Top Oil and Gas Companies and very much passionate in drilling engineering and Reservoir Engineering. When some of my friends reached out and asked for help joining Universities in Malaysia, I got down to work and made it happen for them, free of charge. This is especially because I was ripped off $200 in Nairobi when I was applying to university myself, and would not want the same to happen to someone else. Soon, I was assisting a handful of students and before I knew it, my passion to assist students had led me to recruit 45 students to Malaysia in one year. Malaysian Universities then reached out, hearing the good word of this “agent” who goes out of his way and does a great job for students for an official partnership.

(Nurturing My Passion)

Towards the end of 2016, I was nearing completion of my studies. Getting into engineering was one thing, but this, University Education Consulting, was becoming a greater passion. Shortly before my graduation, I partnered with my sister to set up our first branch in a shared office with a lawyer in Mombasa. Starting was the hard part, but looking back it was worth it. I remember us starting out in Mombasa, in a very small office with only my co-founder Siham and one staff member. We had to deal with everything in the company besides student counselling , from the communication, marketing, graphic designer, accounts and all the roles required to run the business. The more the business grew, the more overwhelming it became.

Around 2017, Educare International was fully operational. We started in Mombasa with hopes of someday expanding to other markets in Kenya and other neighbouring countries in East Africa. We also had a vision of expanding into partnerships with universities across other continents so that we could be a one stop shop for students interested in pursuing their further education in any country they may wish to explore. This brought challenges such as fully committing to the business. There was a lot of research and learning involved. I had to learn all the processes associated with the countries we wanted to expand into. Different country, different application process, different visa process & different timelines.

Within no time, we started hiring new staff and soon, we were establishing a branch in Nairobi, which is now our headquarters. We have since then partnered with more than 400 Universities across the Globe i.e. UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Europe, Dubai, Turkey etc. We have also set up offices in Eldoret and recently flagged off our Kakamega office in 2022. We have successfully sent thousands of students from Kenya to Top Universities abroad in various destinations. We have seen them graduate and doing great stuff and the feeling is priceless! With covid19 behind us, We look forward to bring our services closer to students within East Africa

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

One of the greatest challenges I encountered in the initial stages was unlearning all I knew about studying abroad and starting over from scratch. It is humbling to know that you don’t know what you don’t know. The study abroad industry is based on facts that are relevant at the moment. You have to know what is happening where all the time, because it determines traffic to those places. Keep in mind, I was from an engineering background in the midst of all this. Overcoming these hurdles of learning everything over again required me to study on countries, a lot of travelling to these countries as well as a lot of consultation with industry professionals. In summary, one needs to collaborate with others in order to overcome challenges in life. In the initial stages I had an idea, but I need assistance in order to scale it to where I envisioned it. I needed partners as well as a team who would walk the journey with me. I needed to ask around when I was stuck and needed guidance. If you are in a position, my advice to you would be, do not be afraid to ask and seek guidance. If you have a problem, chances are someone somewhere has had the same problem and has a solution to it.

Advice to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

The best time to start is now, your dream is valid right now and your solutions can change the world now. Why wait? Find a mentor and work your way up slowly. The trajectory is not smooth, but you will get there. Always be open to learning and unlearning what you know. This will help you adapt to your environment faster and remain relevant.

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