Home Lead Meet the Judge: RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad

Meet the Judge: RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad

Inc. Arabia sits down with RAKEZ Group CEO, Ramy Jallad, to talk about how Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone is driving the growth of Ras Al Khaimah and what it means to be a leader and an entrepreneur in government.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Personable, excitable, and dynamic, Ramy Jallad, Group CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), is above all passionate about learning. He’s always been self-motivated and driven, he tells us, with a personal journey inspired largely by his father, who he describes as “competitive, nurturing, and educational.”

“I have a passion to seek knowledge and to do things right, and my father inspired me to be that,” he tells us. 

An engineer by training, he is meticulous and thoughtful, with a career that spans construction, sales, customer experience, and business development across sectors as varied as aviation, real estate, media, oil and gas, and education.

“My job is to develop a strategy and lead my team to achieve the best results because their success is mine and my success is theirs,” he says.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.   

Inc. Arabia: As Group CEO of RAKEZ, your role is a lot like that of an entrepreneur. Tell us more about the challenges and opportunities of being an entrepreneur in a government organization like RAKEZ.

Ramy Jallad: I think entrepreneur is a very broad word, but it's a characteristic that is adopted to show that there's innovation, diversity, and leadership. It also shows that you are looking and probing and mining for opportunities all the time.

RAKEZ is a very determined business that needs to be entrepreneurial to understand, work with, and deliver services to the entrepreneurs in our portfolio.

There’s also a need to develop fit-for-purpose products that you can monetize because whether you're a private business or a government, you want to make money for your stakeholders. Gone are the old days that differentiated between government work and private work.

I've been involved in this transformation and had the privilege of working in government entities that look at their businesses and services as private enterprises. And that's how we run our business. Businesses have to be profitable. They have to cater to the needs of personas and customers.

I am an entrepreneur at heart and I happen to find that in this ecosystem. I don't differentiate between government and private business. RAKEZ has a very unique position because we deal with entrepreneurs all the time, from startups and SMEs to large manufacturers or corporates, and being in that system is infectious.

IA: Who are your partners in creating a community around RAKEZ?

RJ: RAKEZ is about much more than just providing the office space or the land to build a factory. It's about building a thriving community where people can grow, network, find business opportunities, and identify the right customers.

So we have partners in banking, government, and healthcare, among others, to service our clients. And then we have a host of service providers such as the telecoms, hotels, the florist, and even the babysitter.

That is the value proposition of being in a free zone or a business park.

We also do community-building activities for the business and non-business community, so we host Toastmasters events to help people learn how to do public speaking at our co-working spaces and we sponsor events like the Terry Fox Run as a community fitness activity.

IA: How do you stay on top of the latest trends and developments in tech and business? 

RJ: I’m a techie and I love to learn. Because I need to be good enough to lead RAKEZ, I educate myself and I continually upskill. Luckily, I have two very tech-savvy sons, so they help me stay on top of things as well.

I'm teaching myself how to use AI, so I've learned how to use ChatGPT and other AI tools.

To run an organization like this, if you are not ahead of the game, you'll be left behind by the competition. We have customers who are even more tech-savvy than us, and if we don’t understand them, we will not be able to keep up with their demands. We are a young organization, so our team is very tech-savvy and we have instilled a culture of continual learning and innovation.

I believe that if you don’t teach yourself and upskill, you will be left behind. These are the people who will be obsolete and should be worried about their jobs being replaced.

IA: What is the number one skill that you think any leader should have?

RJ: I think leaders should be the guiding light in their organization. They should always be scanning the horizon like a radar, making sure that everything is going right. Leaders need to read the writing on the wall and anticipate what is coming next. They need to make the right changes at the right time to make sure that their organization stays ahead.

Ramy Jallad is one of the judges at Inc. Arabia's upcoming Best in Business Awards. 

To nominate your company or learn more about the awards, please visit Best in Business.  

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