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Business is not about training but how to make it happen.

How did you start?

Jolly: We are a Healthcare training and development company. We serve the needs of
continuous professional development of healthcare professionals - doctors, nurses, and
technicians. I started the company focused on training needs of the nursing profession.
If Im a doctor what would bring me to trainings which you provide?
Jolly: Healthcare system is getting complex every day. New technologies and developments
are getting mainstreamed. Professionals who take care of our health need to keep
themselves updated with new developments. This is now mandatory. The health authority
has imposed it since professionals were not willingly investing in keeping themselves
current. Licenses to practice medicine are normally renewed every two years. The health
authority made a certain number of credit hours of training equivalency as a requirement to
renew licenses. This is where we come in. We train health professionals and they get the
credit hours required.
What inspired you to leave a profession and become a businesswoman?
Jolly: Inspiration and coincidence.
I am a qualified nurse. Nursing is my passion.
A person inspired me. She, a teacher, started a school with a thought, passion and drive.
She did this despite personal challenges.
I was a nurse working in the military hospital in Sharjah. I used to see nurses unable to use
their knowledge in their practice seeing gaps in their dealings with patients. I used to pay
from my pocket to attend courses and trainings to remain up-to-date. I thought that there
must be others like me willing to pay for their professional development. This perception of
need evoked a desire to resign and start Eduscope in 2008. Dubai Healthcare City was the
coincidence. I helped a friend conduct seminars to recruit nurses for the US. She established
a professional training company. I took over the license when she wanted to close her
Where did you get the motivation to do a business?
Jolly: I have been acquainted with people who have started businesses. They all had
courage to start. Many succeeded, some failed. I reflected on why they succeeded. The
successful entrepreneurs lived their business; they focused, giving one-pointed attention
on the business, and were motivated with a desire to succeed. I was motivated by them. I
compared myself with them. I was similar in some ways and dissimilar in others; stronger is
some traits and weaker in others. I was thinking and discussing this for two years with my
family. I have a housemaid, 65 years old, who brought me up from childhood. She is like
family. She was the one who said go for it. My husband instilled the confidence that I could
do it. Everybody was ready to support me. Even my superiors in the army, hesitant in letting
me go, offered a fallback, if I wanted to return. By that time my motivation had crossed a
limit, a threshold that I just wanted to start with full risk. It was then easy to start.

You had no personal fears?

Jolly: Initially no. I was very ignorant.
What happened?
Jolly: I plunged into a lot of things. I was willing to do anything. Doing business was not easy.
I was innocent of how business worked. I started dealing with friends. Some of them took
advantage of my poor business understanding at that moment. I had a network of
relationships in Dubai. I made introductions to solicit business for others that resulted in
contracts. I was then forgotten.
I did not understand money in business when I started. I did not understand that business is
about doing cold transactions. And that while doing business people focus on transactions
and often do not value relationships. Relationships were valuable to me when I started. I
have changed. I have learnt to document all work-related relationships.
How did the business start?
Jolly: Very slowly. Professional development training delivered in Dubai was a new business
for Dubai. We had to work with many Government departments to make them aware of the
need for continuing trainings of healthcare professionals, and the value of our service
proposition, trainings in Dubai. It took a while but we succeeded. Professional development
became mandatory in 2010-11.
You started the company in 2008.
Jolly: We organized seminars and trainings within organizations between 2008 and 10.
Who did the training?
Jolly: I did the training in the early days. We engaged experts for programs I couldnt do.
Did participants acquire credit? And did the participants pay for knowledge?
Jolly: Yes. We certified the credits. The certificate was based on number of hours spent in the
class. The certificate said ABC participated in a learning seminar conducted by Eduscope
and delivered by XYZ who is a respected person in the field, profession, or specialization.
Did you know how to price trainings? And manage the costs to deliver?
Jolly: I didnt have a clue. We used a thumb rule; we priced 20-30% above cost. I dont know
whether what we did was right or wrong. In subsequent years we tested the price. We raised
prices and saw our results dip.
Did you go to organizations and offered services like training and seminars? What
is the kind of reception did you get?
Jolly: Not very good. Most people were disinterested. They had no need for training. It wasnt
mandatory then. And if they wanted to pay, their willingness to pay wouldnt cover our
costs. The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi supported and guided us how to go about getting
business. They were our first client. They gave us accreditation and directed us to

organizations that needed our services, what was needed, and how to go about working with
How did you select which courses to start?
Jolly: We started with courses based on my nursing experience. I collected evaluations and
feedback as we implemented the program. Many customers, nearly 60%, of my initial
customers were self-paying. Others got support from their employers. I learnt that the real
market need is for professional self-development.
Few organizations invest money in development of their people so a lot of people invest in
programs to self-develop. And they are careful and judicious of where they go based on
quality. This has changed because of the mandatory requirement. Now we are unable to
identify where they are coming from and their motivation. I have some participants who
have attended 100 hours of training where the law requires only 20 hours.
Do you make more money versus your salary when you left the army?
Jolly: The business starting paying me a salary greater than what I was making three years
after I started.
Have you changed as a person?
Jolly: I have become a tougher person. People used to fool me. I used to do a lot of free
work. I am more careful. I am more commercial. I calculate a lot. Sometimes even in my
dreams. It wasnt like this before. I sit in a lot of meetings. I get preoccupied with work so I
need to keep some time to reflect on what I am doing. I cant just flow with the current.
Any surprises, things that happened differently, from what you were expecting.
Jolly: I was surprised at behaviors of customers. As I engaged with organizations I would
sense that they wanted to do programs with me based on what they were saying in
meetings. Then they would make a U-turn. They would give weak reasons for declining like
the terms offered by us. I learnt to manage disappointments after engaging with
organizations, committing lots of effort and time.
Have you learnt to identify who is a good potential and somebody with whom you
dont need to spend too much time?
Jolly: I can figure this out.
Was anything easier?
Jolly: When I started I had not thought of the number of years required to create a business. I
didnt think on those terms. I thought we are going to start and it would begin working. I had
not thought how slowly it would start to work; It would take long to convince everyone what
we were doing and make them pay for it.
When did you realize that business would not be automatic? Give me an example
how you began to control the business.

Jolly: I realized late in the second year that it doesnt work because I am there and I created
a business. In the beginning of the 2 nd year I was still thinking of going with the flow. Then I
changed and said let us do it this way.
You started making more choices.
Jolly: In the first 2 years I learnt what to market and who to market. And now I manage my
tense moments. I have more tense moments than relaxed moments. When I do a training
program I am tense till the training finishes. When we get experts from overseas sometimes
I am tense because often they decide not to come at the last minute. I get tense because
unforeseen things can always happen. A new training commences as soon as another one
finishes, most moments are tense.
How much did you invest?
Jolly: We put money in stages. Around AED 800K. I did not draw salary for the first three
years. I dont draw a fixed salary even today.
Jolly: We organized one training in the year we started - Continuous Medical Education
Training for Accreditation. We are now investing in more specialized trainings e.g. training
provided by the American Heart Association etc. This will enable participants to get
specializations in Dubai itself. We are also getting approvals from the National Board of
Health and Safety from US a training facility. They have inspected us. I am waiting for their
course details and faculty.
We developed some new curriculums to help nurses become specialized; we worked towards
differentiating nurses working in schools and hospitals. This has been our biggest
achievement. Until now a nurse got a license that enabled her to work in all locations where
nursing services are needed. I presented to the Health Authority a curriculum for nurses
working with children in schools based on the additional skills needed for taking care of
children. To demonstrate the need I did research in schools and worked closely with the
Health Authority to make special training certification as a part of the licensing process. We
then trained school nurses in schools of Abu Dhabi in what we call School Nurse Refresher
Youre now in the situation where youre able to go to identify needs, work with
the authorities, create a curriculum, deliver it and even help them certify it.
Jolly: Yes. We are trying to develop a program for nurses working in prisons. I prefer to work
with an organization and take care of all their needs. We have also trained doctors, nurses
and technicians, working in Abu Dhabi police. We went to their work environment to
understand what they do, sat with an educator to make the curriculum, and then presented
it to them.
I am yet to learn how to work with many organizations to create a policy.
How many do you train every year?
Jolly: Approximately 500.

Your biggest challenge for achieving growth?

Jolly: To reach key decision makers and make them realize the importance of training.
Is Jolly today more of a salesman?
Jolly: I had to learn the art of selling. I may not do clinical nursing but I do a lot of reading
and research. I also need to keep in tune with what is happening in the country.
What worries you about the business?
Jolly: The uncertainty and how to handle the unforeseen opportunities that arise.
Opportunities arise that we never thought would come our way and others have emerged.
Once we started business this has been happening continuously.

We got an opportunity to work with the Clinton Foundation to prepare a School Health
Index, followed by preparation and execution of the plan to help improve the ranking. I can
say all this is potential. But it is not like Eureka kind of opportunity that is ready for
execution. Once we work on an opportunity, disappointments also arise as we work to
realize the opportunity. I am challenged because I often wonder why other people dont see
it the way we see it, a high-impact or result opportunity. The School Health Index is one such
Was there a time when you wanted to give up the business?
Jolly: No. Never.
What did you unlearn when you started this business?
Jolly: Im a quality obsessed person and this doesnt work. The world doesnt pay for the
quality. You have to throw away your ideals and get ready to be flexible. It is wrong in the
heart but right in the head. I try to always sell to the customer what I think he wants. But I
have to give him what he wants. That makes me uncomfortable when I know it is a
compromise. If I am providing training services I want to provide the best trainer. But the
best trainer is not affordable by the client. I have to settle for a more viable alternative
versus the best alternative.
Guidance you would give to an entrepreneur?
Jolly: You have to be ready to see yourself in the middle of the sea without a raft or a
lifeboat. You got to learn to live and manage by your wits. Entrepreneurship will bring you to
a place where you will feel you are alone and lost. You will have to manage with only your
own strengths. This is my way of looking at it.
Businesses dont get build on their own. Entrepreneurs build businesses. You need the right
kind of people on the boat with you.
You had challenges?

Jolly: People are assets when they share a vision. If they have different agendas it is tough.
Recruiting the right person takes time. It really takes time. You have to have with you the
right person who understands what you exactly want to do and how you want to do.
Business is not about training but how to make it happen.