Ramy Jallad, Group CEO, RAKEZ, discusses what makes this business and industrial hub in the northern emirate a big draw for global entrepreneurs
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) hosts an impressive list of companies from diverse sectors. Could you tell us about some of the top brands operating from RAKEZ?
From the start-ups and SMEs to large-scale industries, RAKEZ has more than 14,500 companies from over 100 countries.
In the SME segment, some of our top brands are Inmatec, which manufactures nitrogen and oxygen generators; Inoclad Middle East, a building contracting company; and Avionic Global, a general trading company.
UTICO, the largest full-service private utility provider in the region; vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland; Motherson Sumi Systems, a leader in the field of automotive wire manufacturing; Ahmed Tea; and Indian ayurvedic medicine and natural consumer products manufacturer Dabur Naturelle are some of our top industrial clients.
We have companies operating in the food, packaging, automotive and parts, industrial machineries, plastics and rubber, paper, chemical products, robotics and pharmaceutical sectors.
How does RAKEZ support SME investors start their ventures in the UAE?
We offer comprehensive SME solutions at a cost-effective rate. RAKEZ has wide-ranging licence types for thousands of activities, providing various SME-friendly facilities such as shared workstations; offices of different sizes depending on business requirements; and access to premier business centres with secretarial and admin services and advanced IT/Telecom infrastructure.
Starting a business at RAKEZ is easy and fast. Setting up a business takes just three easy steps — customise your package, submit application and documents and get your business licence.
We have two offices in Ras Al Khaimah, and one each in Abu Dhabi and Dubai where clients can accomplish everything in one go — from registration and licensing to leasing, visas and a range of support services.
RAKEZ can tailor-make packages according to individual needs. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approach, so we allow our clients to mix and match services according to their requirements and the stage of their company.
RAKEZ has specialised zones that help businesses thrive. Our Business Zone is a modern area at the heart of the city, the Academic Zone houses international educational institutions and service providers, while Al Hulaila, Al Hamra and Al Ghail Industrial Zones are meant for traders and manufacturers.
How many new companies started business over the first nine months of this year?
From January to date, we have attracted more than 2,000 new companies to RAKEZ.
What are your key source markets for investments?
India, the UK, Pakistan, Egypt, France, Jordan, Germany and Italy are our primary source markets for investments.
What makes RAKEZ unique in terms of location, incentives and services?
We are just four hours’ flight time to 31 per cent of the world’s population and situated at the crossroads of fast-growing markets. We’re supported by five seaports, including Ras Al Khaimah’s Saqr Port, which is the largest bulk commodity port in the Middle East, international airports and multi-lane superhighways connecting to neighbouring emirates and countries.
When it comes to the key incentives of setting up business in Ras Al Khaimah, no other economic zone in the region can match the cost-effectiveness that RAKEZ offers.
The cost of living and the cost of setting up a company as well as running it in Ras Al Khaimah are 50 per cent less than the region.
For us, customers come first. This means simplified processes, one-stop-shops, expert client representatives and a self-service client portal accessible 24/7.
How do you think free zones and economic zones in the UAE can stay sustainable in the long run?
The key to remaining sustainable is ensuring organisational agility, where free zones and economic zones must be fast enough to adapt to marketplace shifts.
RAKEZ launched the UAE’s first business set-up package for women last month. Could you give us some information on this?
We launched this package to empower women to become the businesswomen they are meant to be. There are not enough customised incentives and services that cater to women entrepreneurs. We consulted many women business owners to understand their needs and challenges before rolling out this special package.
The RAKEZ BusinessWomen Package has two options — one year and three years. Our package incentives start from Dh6,200, which includes a free-zone licence, shared workstation and a range of support services.
Going forward, what are your plans to attract more investments?
We will continuously enhance the infrastructure in our specialised zones, construct new warehouses and more labour accommodations while extending and upgrading the road networks, creating new entry and exit gates for easier and faster movements of goods of our clients.
We have plans to add more standard offices in our Business Zone and Al Hamra Industrial Zone. This year, we have partnered with three leading UAE banks — RAK Bank, Noor Bank and Mashreq — to offer our clients more banking options. Similarly, we will partner with other key organisations in the future.
We will set the direction for coordinated investment promotion activities in Ras Al Khaimah, in line with the RAK 2030 Vision. We will also hold more roadshows and joint exhibitions in different parts of the world to connect