One-stop for aspiring business owners in the United Arab Emirates
Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) holds every service required by anyone looking to launch their startups, positioning Ras Al Khaimah as a prosperous business hub. Ramy Jallad, Group CEO, RAKEZ, tells Khaleej Times and The Jerusalem Post how the company has adapted to 2020 demands and how it aligns with the emirate’s long-term goals 

Can you tell us a few reasons why investors should look into Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone?Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is a powerhouse business and industrial hub, offering a wide range of cost-competitive packages that are packed with incentives and benefits. The cost of operating and living in Ras Al Khaimah is also up to 50 per cent lower than other regions. 
Investors can find tailor-made packages according to their individual needs — they can mix and match according to their company’s requirements, selecting their own activities, licence and facility type.
At RAKEZ, the customer is at the heart of everything we do. Our goal is to offer a seamless and efficient customer experience with simple and fast processes. We are a focal point to external authorities such as RAK Immigration, RAK Department of Economic Development, RAK Civil Defence, etc., and therefore, a one-stop-shop for all business requirements. We have two offices in RAK, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai. 
RAKEZ has been adapted online as a ‘one-click shop’ via RAKEZ Portal 360 — a self-service client portal where investors can submit service requests, settle their balance and even download important documents related to their company. Through this portal, all RAKEZ services can be accessed by clients from anywhere at any time. It allows clients to submit applications, upload requirements and make payments online. Setting up a business has never been simpler. Guided completely by our expert team of business development consultants, investors can set up businesses with RAKEZ online in three simple steps, with no physical presence or original documents needed.

What role does a free zone such as RAKEZ play in boosting the economy of the UAE?
Economic zones are integral to attract businesses from all over the world. RAKEZ encourages business owners to set up shop in Ras Al Khaimah and take advantage of its cost-effective ‘work, live and play’ ecosystem. This positively impacts the UAE by further diversifying Ras Al Khaimah’s economy and positioning the emirate as an ideal regional business destination. Today, manufacturing in Ras Al Khaimah contributes to 26 per cent of the UAE’s GDP. 
At RAKEZ, we support the Ras Al Khaimah Industrial Strategy 2030 that aims to boost its GDP contribution and manufacturing jobs through our initiative ‘Make, Manage, Move’, where traders, manufacturers, logistic providers and other supply chain players benefit from our cost-effective industrial packages.
We also support the growth of entrepreneurs and SMEs, who happen to be the majority of our clients and contribute to job creation and economic diversification. 
What challenges has RAKEZ faced in the past year concerning business and otherwise?
The year 2020 definitely brought about challenges to the business world. RAKEZ received aggressive competition from its competitors, especially online, which was not the case before the pandemic. To overcome this, we focused on adding more value for our clients — more services and incentives to support their businesses in challenging times.
We were agile to innovate in a short period of time. We can keep up due to some of the talented employees in our organization, allowing us to be quick on our feet and implement new strategies, innovations and contingency plans.
RAKEZ services and facilities continue to be in great demand due to the packages we’ve recently launched to support investors. We are constantly enhancing our services and constructing new facilities.

What measures has RAKEZ undertaken to become more attractive to investors in the current economic scenario?

The use of technology is crucial to the adaptability of any business in today’s digitally-driven world. Especially when the pandemic hit, businesses had to depend on technology for business continuity. We are focusing on digital transformation to enhance the ease of doing business within our zone as well as reach more people. Pre-pandemic, RAKEZ had been leveraging technology tools to tap into its market. When 2020 came, we were able to adapt easily as we have already been utilizing different digital strategies.
We transformed our business set-up procedures. We are now allowing investors to register their companies online — from submitting applications to issuing the licence through the RAKEZ Portal 360.  We’ve also expanded our reach by holding virtual events where we can reach new markets and meet potential investors remotely. We are going digital and paperless — not only for business continuity but to provide a seamless journey to our clients. With IT and communications infrastructure, we are truly moving towards being an ‘ease of doing business’ hub in the region.
What are the special packages that entrepreneurs and SMEs can benefit from at RAKEZ?

We have a wide range of business set-up packages, offering more value for money, packed with incentives and benefits:

> RAKEZ BusinessWomen Package: A first-of-its-kind product in the UAE that is designed to empower women to chase their entrepreneurial dreams; from Dh6,200 per year with licence, facility, option for zero balance account and eligibility for the UAE residence visa.

> My Business Package aims to turn uncertainty into opportunity for Dh11,500 per year, including a business licence and visa.

> E-commerce Package packed with a variety of discounts and benefits to support investors in launching an e-commerce business with ease. 

> Virtual Educational Packages for education professionals who wish to tutor individuals online from Dh10,500

> SME Packages, which offers up to 40 per cent discount guaranteed for life.

> Global Product, a mid-shore company set-up that provides investors with the benefits of both free zone and offshore formations.

> E-gaming package, for investors in the fast-growing gaming value-chain from Dh7,725.

> Make, Manage, Move, the most cost-effective industrial set-up packages in the UAE, which targets manufacturers, traders and logistics and supply chain providers

What are the main goals and objectives of RAKEZ in 2021?
RAKEZ aims to continue making processes easier for investors and achieve service excellence, which impacts the journey of our clients in our zones. We plan to innovate with more products based on market demands, such as virtual-related set-up packages. We will launch more initiatives to support the Ras Al Khaimah Industrial Strategy 2030. We will also strategically collaborate with partners such as fellow government authorities and other reputable third-party entities for the benefit of our clients.

As for infrastructure developments in the pipeline, we are building new warehouses and labor accommodations at our Al Hamra Industrial Zone to meet the growing demand from industrial players. We will also construct a medical testing center in our service center at Al Hamra as well as add serviced offices in various RAKEZ facilities. 

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