SIT2LRN facilitator Jay Hourani has a rich background in business ventures and education - and then there’s the sabre fencing.
Jay, who started with the Southern Institute of Technology last August, helps facilitate the Bachelor of Applied Management and Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprise. Both programmes help students to develop the skills to effectively lead and grow people, and communicate well, as well as optimising organisational performance for efficiency and profitability, areas in which Jay has first-hand experience.
“I started in sales in the FMCG sector when I was 16, I branched out to trade in surplus goods and liquidation auctions. I started a range of small business ventures which ranged from recruitment, apparel and other goods and services. Whilst some succeeded and sold, I failed as well, learning good lessons on risk, research, resources, time, people and decision making.”
As a business operator, Jay learned how to raise capital and cash flow, and gained experience in different working environments, developing skills in research, human resources, finance, marketing and operations across a range of sectors.
“While bringing the above skills to my teaching practice, I was able to extract key and relevant areas from my management experience, and align them with academic theories and models, along with applying real-life examples and cases to my students’ learning.
“I initially entered the education sector by accident and discovered this exciting sector. I have worked in various fields with educational organisations.”
A desire to start a business which aligned with his own values, including a passion for culinary experiences and philanthropy, saw Jay set up The Good Honey Co. in 2017.
“I discovered Apiculture to be an excellent opportunity and industry to engage with. I managed to set up my operations and obtain my licence to source, pack and sell New Zealand honey products from a network of passionate and ethical beekeepers in New Zealand,” he said.
The company provides assurances regarding MGO (methylglyoxal) levels in its Mānuka honey and also offers a wider range of honey from different floral sources, to showcase other types of honey not exclusive to Mānuka honey. The company is also a member of Apiculture New Zealand, which supports, advocates for, and delivers benefits to the Apiculture industry.
“I also wanted to structure my organisation to operate for a purpose that is aligned with the best interest of the bees and the community, therefore, The Good Honey Co. sponsors and donates to children's charities, which I feel is the most rewarding part of the business.
“I am also on the journey to diversify the product base and seek further innovations, since the Apiculture sector is a high-risk sector and we have a dependence on the bees and their delicate habitat. I am hoping that I can engage more in research in Melittology, as bees are incredibly fascinating insects.”
And then there’s the sabre fencing, which also has strong parallels with the business world, according to Jay.
“I used to play baseball when I was a child, but I wanted to get into a new sport which requires planning and quick decision making. Sabre fencing for me disciplines the mind to become an efficient decision-maker and evaluator, and diagnose the 'hesitation' syndrome, which is a challenge business operators face.”
Although Jay’s had to step back from the commitment of sabre fencing training due to work and life commitments – at present he is enjoying horse riding, music, writing and visual arts - he hopes to return to it in the near future.
“Being pressured to make quick decisions can be healthy sometimes when you have calculated all your risks.”