This is an exclusive interview between Stankevicius and Rassal Ahmed who is CEO of RAG Global Business Hub in Dubai. Rassal Ahmed has achieved significant growth over the years and he has accomplished building a strong and powerful business in Dubai. In this interview, we ask him about important insights and learn how he did what he did. Like many others, Rassal Ahmed is on the path to dominate the Dubai market even more.
Global Business Hub is a market entry specialist. Since its inception in the year 2013, RAG Global Business Hub has helped Entrepreneurs across various industries to start and scale up. Whether it’s a startup, SME, or an MNC, RAG provides corporate services that meet the needs of companies of any size through services like market research and feasibility studies, business center furnished offices, company formation, and other allied services like PRO service, and Visa service to name a few. For any company, whether it is based in the United Arab Emirates or outside the region, RAG helps them to establish their business in the UAE. RAG Global Business Hub’s commitment to excellence is further underscored by the certification from Dubai SME and Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2).
In the past year, what is the most significant business achievement you have achieved?
Rassal Ahmed: We have accomplished a lot, one of the things was the Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2) which is an initiative launched by Dubai SME and the Mohammad Bin Rashid establishment to empower Dubai as the entrepreneurial capital of the region. The incubator aims to enhance Dubai’s global leadership in creating innovative concepts by working with Emirati and international entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs. RAG Global Business Hub is one of the few companies that got certified by the Hamdan Innovation Incubator to run an incubation center to support entrepreneurs.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Rassal Ahmed: One of the real challenges we face right now is to find high-performing talent who can take the company’s vision of building UAE as a Nation of Entrepreneurs to the next level.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Rassal Ahmed: “Success” in the year to come holds a profound meaning for me, both personally and on a business level. On a personal level, I see success as continued growth and personal development. It’s about honing my leadership skills, fostering strong relationships within the industry, and giving back to the entrepreneurial community that has been so instrumental in our journey.
From a business perspective, success means expanding our reach and impact even further. RAG Global Business Hub has always been driven by a mission to empower entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to thrive. In the upcoming year, success will mean taking this mission to new heights. We aim to be at the forefront of facilitating global expansion for startups, SMEs, and MNCs, not only in the UAE but also across the wider region.
Our commitment to excellence, as exemplified by our certifications from Dubai SME and Hamdan Innovation Incubator (Hi2), will remain unwavering. These certifications not only validate our dedication but also inspire us to continuously innovate and provide top-tier services to our clients.
Moreover, success will involve forging partnerships with other key players in the industry, sharing knowledge, and nurturing a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. We want to be instrumental in shaping Dubai as the entrepreneurial capital of the region and contribute to the growth of innovative concepts.
In summary, success in the year to come means personal growth, continued commitment to excellence, and playing an even more pivotal role in empowering entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive in the UAE and beyond. It’s about reaching new milestones and making a lasting impact on the business landscape.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Rassal Ahmed: In my experience, one of the most underestimated aspects of running a company is the importance of adaptability and staying agile in the face of change. In the dynamic world of business, circumstances can shift rapidly, and unexpected challenges can arise. It’s crucial for business leaders to be flexible and open to pivoting their strategies when necessary.
An example of this underestimation comes from our own journey at RAG Global Business Hub. When we initially started in 2013, our focus was primarily on providing market entry services to startups and small businesses looking to establish themselves in the UAE. However, as we progressed, we began to notice a growing demand from larger multinational corporations (MNCs) seeking support in navigating the UAE market.
While it might have been tempting to stick to our original business model and niche, we recognized the opportunity for growth and expansion. We adapted our services to cater to the needs of MNCs, incorporating more comprehensive corporate solutions, for example, management consulting, to meet their requirements.
This adaptability proved to be a game-changer for us. It not only allowed us to tap into a new market segment but also strengthened our reputation as a versatile market entry specialist. It’s a testament to the fact that sometimes the most underestimated part of running a company can be the ability to recognize shifting market dynamics and adjust your approach accordingly.
In hindsight, it’s clear that our willingness to pivot and expand our services was a pivotal moment in our company’s growth. It taught us the value of being open to change and seizing unexpected opportunities, ultimately contributing to our success in serving a broader clientele.
Can you share a time when your business faced a significant challenge? How did you navigate through it?
Rassal Ahmed: Absolutely, like many businesses around the world, RAG Global Business Hub faced a significant challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a period of unprecedented disruption that tested our resilience and adaptability.
When the pandemic hit, it initially posed a severe setback for us, just as it did for countless others. The lockdowns, travel restrictions, and economic uncertainties had a direct impact on our core business of helping companies establish their presence in the UAE. Many of our clients postponed their plans, and we faced a sudden drop in demand for our services.
However, in the face of adversity, we recognized an opportunity to pivot and innovate. We decided to use this downtime as a chance to invest in our future growth. Instead of being discouraged by the challenges, we planted the seed for our second business center. This decision was a strategic move to expand our infrastructure and be prepared for the post-pandemic rebound.
Additionally, we made the deliberate choice to recruit more talented individuals during this period. We believed that by bolstering our team with skilled professionals, we would be better equipped to meet the evolving needs of our clients and provide even higher levels of service.
While navigating through the challenges of the pandemic was undoubtedly a complex journey, it turned out to be a pivotal moment in our company’s history. The setback of COVID-19 was transformed into a springboard for growth. It’s a testament to our ability to adapt, innovate, and turn adversity into opportunity. We’ve emerged from this experience more resilient and better prepared to serve our clients in a rapidly changing world.
How do you build a resilient team? What qualities do you look for in your team members?
Rassal Ahmed: Building a resilient team is a cornerstone of our success at RAG Global Business Hub, and it starts with careful consideration of the qualities we seek in our team members. While technical skills and industry experience are valuable, we place a strong emphasis on a few key attributes that we believe are essential for creating a resilient and cohesive team.
First and foremost, we look for individuals who exhibit a positive attitude towards work and their colleagues. We believe that a great attitude can drive motivation, collaboration, and problem-solving. A team member with a positive outlook can inspire others during challenging times and contribute to a more supportive work environment.
Another important quality we seek is the ability to work collaboratively. We value diversity in skills and perspectives within our team. We actively look for individuals whose skills complement those of their colleagues. This diversity of skills not only fosters innovation but also ensures that our team is well-equipped to handle a wide range of challenges.
Moreover, we prioritize adaptability and a growth mindset. In a rapidly changing business landscape, being open to learning and adapting to new situations is crucial. Team members who are willing to embrace change and view setbacks as opportunities for growth are better equipped to navigate through challenges.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about leadership in times of crisis?
Rassal Ahmed: The most important lesson I’ve learned about leadership in times of crisis is the critical importance of clear and empathetic communication. During challenging periods, uncertainty and anxiety can run high, both within the team and among stakeholders. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to provide a steady and reassuring presence.
Effective communication in times of crisis involves several key elements. Firstly, transparency is essential. It’s crucial to share as much information as possible about the situation, the challenges faced, and the steps being taken to address them. This transparency builds trust and confidence within the team and with external partners.
Secondly, empathy plays a significant role. Understanding and acknowledging the emotional toll that a crisis can take on individuals is vital. Leaders should be approachable and available to listen to concerns, providing emotional support when needed.
Moreover, decisiveness is crucial. In times of crisis, there’s often a need for swift and resolute decision-making. Leaders must be willing to make tough choices and take calculated risks to navigate through the storm.
Additionally, adaptability is key. Crises can be unpredictable, and plans may need to change rapidly. Leaders should be flexible and willing to adjust their strategies as new information emerges.
Lastly, leading by example is essential. Demonstrating resilience, composure, and a positive attitude can inspire and motivate the team. Your behavior sets the tone for how others will respond to the crisis.
In summary, the most important lesson I’ve learned about leadership in times of crisis is that effective, transparent, empathetic, and decisive communication is paramount. It’s a leader’s ability to guide their team through adversity with empathy and a clear sense of purpose that can make all the difference in emerging stronger on the other side of the crisis.