Aramex, a company in Muharraq
About Amarex Courier Tracking Company:
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He says he takes personal charge of, on average, one client query a day. People will monitor how you react — and you had better be prepared for it. Mr Ghandour — who says prospective entrepreneurs send him three or four business plans a day — has already scored a hit with his investment in Maktoob, an Arabic language web portal bought by Yahoo of the US in So finance will come, I think.
He praises the infrastructure available for start-up companies in Jordan and says he believes efforts are being made at political reform, in the face of sporadic protests and changes of government over the past year and a half. Copyright The Financial Times Limited You may share using our article tools. Fadi Ghandour is not much of a yoga person. A one hour swim gets him going in the morning. He lets go, focuses on his breathing and meditates.
Ghandour, 53, hits the ground running, switching gears between firefighting, attending meetings, talking on the phone, reading emails and tweeting to his 14, followers. Getting to where Ghandour is and where Aramex is was no easy ride. When family friend Bill Kingson came up with the idea of starting a courier company and entering the industry, Ghandour was fresh out of George Washington University and working in a car rental shop in Amman.
Meanwhile, FedEx was in overdrive, playing commercials on US television sets on why America needed to deliver their packages overnight and not wait for the post office to do so in three days or more. Make no mistake, this is a giant in every sense of the word, with 12, staff in different locations across 60 countries.
But getting here has been no cakewalk. The key challenge for any start-up and for a company that comes out of this region is competing with giants. Aramex, a small company then, was in a market that was highly regulated.
For building a brand and attracting people, talent was critical. Another issue, as with all start-ups was managing cash flow. It found a niche in the Middle East market by selling its services to global express players like FedEx and Airborne Express, where it became the outsourcing arm of these firms delivering their packages in the Arab world instead of them using competitors.
Technology makes small businesses more competitive. It helps reduce the exclusivity of markets that may be beyond their reach and the alliance with Airborne Express opened doors for Aramex.
Not only did we learn the business from them and others but because of the strategic alliance, they provided a network of interconnected computers connected to a central mainframe in Seattle that allowed everybody in the strategic alliance around the world to actually have visibility on their shipments and real time tracking and tracing. Working with FedEx and Airborne Express not only allowed Aramex to learn about the courier industry, what the requirements of global companies are, but it also provided valuable know-how related to tailoring customer service, managing operations, and delivering information on time.
These were the early days, and then eventually it became about building the Aramex brand in the Arab world and creating a global company through its own physical presence on the ground or through building alliances. In the countries Aramex did not exist, the company aligned itself with similar enterprises and created global strategic alliances to essentially deliver a global service.
The partnership with Airborne took the company only so far and angel investing in the mid s was very rare if non-existent in the Arab world especially in a company that was and remains non-asset based and does not directly own transportation infrastructure. Failing to raise money in the Arab world forced Aramex to go to the Nasdaq in and Nasdaq, according to Ghandour, is what made Aramex today in terms of its governance, its reporting, its management, its understanding of global markets, responding to investors and their needs.
We needed cash to grow the business, we were growing fast like every company even though we had been in operation by that time for fourteen years.
But this was not a dotcom era, it was a hardcore bricks and mortar business. We are a product of Nasdaq. It changed me as a person, it changed me as a CEO, as a disciplined manager. It changed me completely. Nasdaq was the one single milestone. The minute you have debt on your books you are much more financially disciplined in order to be able to deliver back on your obligations.
In Aramex went public again, this time on the Dubai Financial Market. The internet and the advent of e-commerce changed the way Ghandour and Aramex did business. Out went the conventional means of communication and in came new arenas for dialogue and trade. As products and services were being ordered online rather than through traditional sales outlets Aramex adapted and its business grew in tandem.
He helped establish and back Maktoob. In a region where 65 percent of people are under the age of 30, which has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, where the educated emigrate, where million jobs need to be created over the next two decades, where the culture of family businesses and protectionism linger, Ghandour thinks entrepreneurship is key to overcoming obstacles and driving the maturity of local economies.
In he founded Amman-based Ruwwad, a regional initiative that aims to empower disadvantaged communities and help them overcome marginalisation through youth activism, civic engagement and education. If you want to see a good leader today, look at the people that work around them. For aspiring entrepreneurs Ghandour says patience is as important as determination. I have to keep my eyes and ears open all the time. That means not just looking at my industry. What worries me today is what is happening in the internet, in e-commerce, in the retail industry, in manufacturing, these are things that affect how we evolve and how we remain focused on our clients.
So it continues flowing like a river. So Arabnet is here. If you are a regular visitor to the Beirut conference you are going to see a very strong Jordanian presence.
For a country with less than 6 million people, few god-given natural resources, in a mostly desert kingdom, with very little water, Jordan is a superstar of entrepreneurship in the Arab world. So how did this happen? What is the story of Jordan and tech entrepreneurs? Here is my take as a Jordanian, an Arab that roams the world, and an angel investor that has been doing business in every single Arab country for the past three decades:.
There is no safety net. When you know someone is going to pick catch you hint: Well, entrepreneurs are risk takers. When risk is minimized and we are dependent on the generosity and grants of others, then we have no incentive to make it happen.
The private sector leads, thinks and drives the story. The public sector plays only as an enabler… this formula works and works very well! Political will and policy are driven by clear vision. When there is a will there is a way. Yes, the private sector can work with the public sector, and yes, good things can come of it.
It has open systems and no web censorship. Aramex gained Federal Express as a client in The company expanded its operations to locations in 33 countries, primarily emerging markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia by This resulted in Airborne Express exiting the Airborne Alliance. Aramex is chairing the alliance which uses a shipment management system developed by the company.
Aramex went public on the Dubai Financial Market in February World-renowned writer and columnist Thomas Friedman used Aramex in his book, The World Is Flat , as an example of companies that benefit from what he calls the flattening of the world. Aramex launched Aramex Bio, a medical courier service in March The company supported the Ruwwad Al Tanmeya initiative in