Khalid Al Abri, a self-made entrepreneur whose entrepreneurial spirit started to spark during high school. His dream back then was to have an advanced car service center with the latest tools and machines and the highest service standards. Graduating with a good grade afforded him a seat at Sultan Qaboos University in 2004 to graduate in 2009 with a bachelor degree in Geography.
During his undergraduate studies, the exposure to a diverse array of people with different backgrounds, dreams and personalities enriched his understanding of the world, adding more complexity to the entrepreneurial spark. He made a resolution not to search for a job after graduation, but rather start his own business to realize his dreams and make a positive mark in the society.
Immediately after graduation, he knocked the door of an entrepreneur's support center to incubate his business for three years. His idea was to create a business directory covering all businesses in Oman, but the idea faced grave failure, leaving him with debts to repay, a family to feed and a broken spirit.
Facing reality, Khalid had to move and secure a living! He worked on various ideas after that, including a graphic design business, photocopying, photography, import of electronics, furniture, cars and even cosmetics! In doing all of this, it was the need that drove him not passion, but he persisted and endured till 2016.
Khalid remained uncertain of his life, swinging between the occasional joy of good business returns and the depressing feelings of purposelessness. Like many others, Khalid was addicted to the morning cheap express tea, but it was not until a friend invited him to a cup of coffee at a brand house, that he realized the difference between that tea and that coffee, inspiring him for his next triumphant journey.
That single cup of coffee was the key to a long-forgotten treasure chest! He fell in love with coffee. He went on trying all international brands, blends, varieties, and studying everything he could about making the best cup of coffee. He bought his first home espresso machine, then the second to try and create that winning recipe that will be different than all that is served in commercial coffee houses.
The love of coffee was the start, but still nothing seemed to fulfil Khalid's own aspirations until another friend back in 2016 mentioned "Specialty Coffee" as the trend that was gaining momentum across the GCC. The idea was so tempting that Khalid couldn't resist, but immediately booked his ticket to Saudi Arabia in February 2016 to discover specialty coffee.
Khalid visited many countries, tried all coffee varieties, learned various techniques of preparing coffee and obtained international certification, whilst building his network in the business. After one and a half year he decided to start a new business with a brand inspired from the Omani history. Khalid started a new culture in Oman.
Ostool Albon (the fleet of coffee trading ships) kickstarted in 2017 in Muscat, and it was a great success story. Khalid and his business partners are now planning to expand with another branch. However, Khalid's dream doesn't stop at that! He dreams of exporting the first coffee sack from Oman, branded with Ostool Albon, to other parts of the world during 2019.
Khalid's journey saw different milestones that has shaped the person he is today:
– 2014-2019: He grew a passion for coffee, visited coffee houses and coffee roasting experts around the world, learnt the science and art of coffee making and took specialized course.
– November 2018: Took part in Riyada Program (both the competition and success stories program), organized by the Public Authority for SMEs Development.
– October 2018: Joined the Omani Youth Convoy to China, a visit organized by the China Foreign Affairs University.
– 2nd-6th February 2015: Enrolled in a training course on negotiation skills and communications, Athens, Greece.
– 3rd-5th December 2012: Took a business planning course by Shell Oman.
– 24th-29th March 2012: Joined the Empretec Workshop organized by the Entrepreneurs Behavioral Skills Development Program, Muscat.
– 9th-10th October 2011: Took a course in Public Relations and Media, by Shell Oman, Muscat.