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Emirati 'Trep Rashed Harb's First Foray Into F&B Tejar Dubai graduate Rashed Harb takes to franchising Alouette Creperie as his first business

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Emirati entrepreneur Rashed Harb says that while he's franchising an existing successful model, it doesn't make his business any less a brick and mortar startup: "Even though Alouette Crperie is a franchise, I still consider it as my own startup and a beginning to many other businesses.

Since this has been my first actual business experience, the hardest part was the early stages where I had to gather a lot of information, and reach out to some people and sometimes get rejected." Abu Dhabi-based Alouette Creperie, an original concept by Majed Al Marzoqi, is exactly what it sounds like- a French-inspired dessert-lover's haven. The 24-year-old entrepreneur approached Al Marzoqi for franchising rights, and hopes to begin welcoming guests at his Dubai location in late February of this year.

"The idea of franchising originally came from my passion towards establishing ing my own business, but since I didn't have enough experience in this matter I decided to franchise an established business to gain an understanding of how the market works. I believe in fighting for what you're passionate about and following your dreams as far as they go, hence I approached Mr. Majed, who was very welcoming in negotiating a franchising opportunity in Dubai." Harb, an undergraduate of AUD with a Coventry University MBA, says that his Alouette Creperie will reflect the theme and menu of the original outlet, mentioning that Al Marzoqi undertook extensive research to develop the menu and decor for the F&B business.

In terms of finances, Harb is the sole owner and managed to get his project off the ground alone with the help of Tejar Dubai. "The projected ROI will be after two years of operating, and the total investment is AED1.2 million," explains Harb. The new location of the Alouette Creperie will be on Al Athar Road in Jumeirah, and Harb says social media is playing a heavy role in his marketing tactics.

"While discussing the marketing tools with the franchisor, we agreed that social media is one of the most effective ways of communicating with our customers in the UAE. Social media tools provide businesses with maximum exposure, and helps the customer realize what your business has to offer. In this modern world, marketing through the social media channels is the most appropriate way to expose a product, where you can reach the maximum amount of potential customers while saving some expenses on your marketing budget."

'Trep Talk Q+A

How do you stay motivated?

Reading about success stories and analyzing successful businesses has been my greatest motivator. Whenever I feel pressured and overwhelmed, I read about how small businesses with small ideas that made it to the finish line and became globally recognized.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Emirati entrepreneurs?

I believe that the greatest challenge facing Emirati entrepreneurs is translating their ideas into businesses. Even though many of them have the potential, the knowledge and the vision, they face the fear of taking their ideas to the next level. Taking the first step into the business world needs a lot of courage and help, and Tejar Dubai provides you with the perfect help, amazing support, and complete guidance. You, on the other hand, need to believe in yourself and step up for what you're passionate about. Some of the largest businesses in the world started with an idea that someone thought was a silly idea, but turned out to be a million dollar business. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs across the UAE in various forms, which led to a huge increase in the number of entrepreneur's in past couple of years. Following His Highness' vision, the country is developing a lot of opportunities and possibilities for young entrepreneurs to enter the business world.

What process did you go through with Tejar Dubai?

In order to gain Tejar Dubai's assistance, I had to go through couple of steps, which were interesting and challenging, but important to build the entrepreneur's knowledge and acknowledgment towards starting a new business. Dealing with Tejar Dubai was like joining a new family where every member of the family supports, cares and mentors the other from every aspect. From the beginning, Tejar Dubai showed me the milestones of starting a new business and the possible obstacles that I might face to prepare me for the journey. They helped me prepare the business plan, financial plan, and find the most suitable location for my business.

Finally, after gaining the confidence and knowledge through various workshops, they provided me with the financial support to transform my ideas into reality. Tejar Dubai transforms every entrepreneur's dream into a reality by providing all kinds of support, starting from the business plan up to implementing the business. Even after starting the business, Tejar Dubai continues to monitor and provide the needed help to insure that the business is going towards its projected plan.

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