The Power of Passion
Qurat Ul Ain Chairperson Drehomes Real Estate talks about her journey and the strength of following one's dreams
"Qurat is a strong-willed entrepreneur who emerged as the only woman to be sharing honours among compatriots in the UAE real estate industry after making a name for herself with over a decade of perseverance, passion and grit. She is a beacon of hope and optimism for other women entrepreneurs too and is a proof that dreams do come true if you are passionate about your work and stay committed too."
Walk us through your journey into entrepreneurship. What and who inspired you to take this path and why?
Let me start by saying that if you have ‘it’ in you, you’ll start ‘it’ someday. Most entrepreneurs started their business not just because their ideas were good or they had the money to try something, it’s because they were born to do it. I worked in different fields, even doing menial random jobs for a while. In fact, it was during that time that I realized my innate desire to start something of my own and I have been following up on that desire and living it ever since.
I think I had the sales skills from a very young age as I always tried to barter my things with my brother when we were kids and always ended up getting more. So, the move to real estate in Dubai was almost a natural progression and there’s nothing better than real estate when you see what transformation the city has gone through and what it’s set out to achieve, in terms of the infrastructure and development. There is a huge potential and I do my best to be a part and add value to this vision of our great leaders and what they foresee for Dubai.
As glamorous as it sounds to be your own boss, entrepreneurship isn’t an easy path to success. How has your experience been?
Being an entrepreneur or your own boss requires a lot of planning, a bit of risk-taking and a great deal of commitment to put you in that position of ‘boss’. While setting up a business in a field or niche, if you are passionate about it makes the whole process a lot easier for you to get better at being your own boss. However, the fact still remains that quite a lot of people dream about becoming their own boss and running the show, but not all of them are prepared for the hard work and dedication required to establish a successful business enterprise. Being self-employed may seem overwhelming at first, but in the long run, you’ll realise that the benefits of being your own boss far outweigh those of a regular day job. For me, the experience has been the best teacher wherein I have learned from all the ups and downs throughout my journey. It has made my tomorrow better planned than today.
Do you experience any gender biases in your industry and work?
As a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, gaining acceptance is challenging. History is witness to the fact that women are no less than men in terms of ideas and innovations. It’s just the acceptability and equality of opportunity which needs to be provided for harnessing the true potential of women. I strenuously feel that women should be encouraged in such ventures and their contribution recognised and acknowledged and credited where ever due. When you promote women at the same rate as men, you show them that their talents and expertise are valuable to your company.
What is your advice for women who want to take on this path?
There is a wide range of approaches and methods to empower women and my advice fits the same. Individuals and the government must work together to achieve this. Girls' education should be made obligatory so they're able to support themselves. Women, regardless of gender, must be given equal chances in all fields. Women empowerment may also be achieved through government-sponsored programmes as well as on an individual level. On a personal level, we should begin to appreciate women and provide them with chances equal to males. We should promote and encourage them to pursue jobs, further education, and entrepreneurial endeavours, among other things.
Every girl should follow her dreams. If I can, so can you.
Do you have any role model?
My role model has always been His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai. His vision and legacy are unparalleled. He has always been ahead of his times not only in revolutionising everything in the UAE, but also in giving equality of opportunities to all the nationalities and genders. What the UAE is today would have been unfathomable without his leadership and charisma. He undoubtedly is one of the top leaders of the world with a deep knowledge of things and an innate concern for his nation. It was ultimately his vision of the UAE which inspired me to take the real estate sector challenge head on. He for sure is my role model, someone I have always looked upon whenever I felt like giving up.
Gender inequality persists in every sector and industry. How do you think societies can narrow the gap and ensure support and success of women in their chosen work domains?
Education is the prime measure to be taken to make society free from such menaces. When we teach our new generation regarding the best social practices and gender equal rights, we can eradicate such menaces aptly. Many countries still have an ill informed society regarding gender equality and rights. It can only be erased from the deepest point by using education as the prime weapon.
What is your message on this Woman's Day?
I like to take cue from the saying 'To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can.'