“A serial entrepreneur is someone who is exceptionally creative in bringing up new business ideas and works hard on those ideas to set up a new venture” – Ihab Ramlawi, Co-founder and Managing Director of DUPOD industries.
Ihab Ramlawi is an accomplished visionary with a 25-year track record in developing and leading successful business entities. He is a self-made entrepreneur with an MBA degree from London Business School with an endless passion to explore new opportunities and innovative solutions. Ramlawi has led the establishment and growth of two construction companies in the GCC market leaders in the sectors they operate in the construction industry.
Entrepreneurial Spirit since Childhood
Ramlawi grew up under the influence of his entrepreneur father. He spent his childhood summer job in his father’s supermarket. Observing and taking part in how his father dealt with various business partners, employees, and issues, instilled a strong sense of aspiration within him to succeed, build and manage his own business. “That world opened my horizons to dream day and night which become then a belief and a drive that inspired me to have my first entrepreneurship experience at the age of 25,” recalls, Ramlawi. During his initial days, Ramlawi met his mentor Chebel Bsaibes who worked with him in Zamil Steel, a global company in the field of manufacturing based in KSA. Chebel noticed the entrepreneurial hunger in Ramlawi’s eyes and decided to inspire his entrepreneurial journey.
“I jumped into my opportunity in no time as I could not resist an offer that will place me on track to fulfill my childhood dream especially if I follow the trails of a self-made visionary who believed in me,” says Ramlawi.
Chebel offered Ramlawi to partner with him to establish the AMANA Qatar branch, leading to Ramlawi’s first exposure to entrepreneurship. Successfully, the duo managed to establish a company from the scratch in 1997 to become one of the leading specialized construction companies in Qatar.
As the company grew, so did Ramlawi’s dreams. “I was maturing in all other business aspects aside from the technical side, and I learned that building a new business takes more than technical skills and creative genius – it requires talent working together in a harmonized culture; I also learned the importance of having a vision and how this vision will enable you to draft a solid strategy which will guide that culture to deliver its best,” shares, Ramlawi.
Learning and working for years with the best, inspired Ramlawi to start a new venture on his own. In 2004, Ramlawi started Core Construction in UAE, a leading company bringing the experience to the design-build construction of the industrial and commercial sector and providing a quality, cost-efficient approach for the construction industry. By 2008, Core grew drastically and by the end of the year, a large investment group out of KSA, acquired a majority share in the company and completed 100% acquisition by 2011.
After completing his MBA in 2011, Ramlawi took a break and did part-time consultancy work in the fields such as turnaround, valuation of construction companies, and business development. Even during that time, his brain was exploding with ideas and Ramlawi was waiting for the right venture and the right ingredients to make it happen.
The Story of DuPod
Ramlawi laid the foundation of DuPod to complement the current modular construction offer in the AMANA group. He also wanted to establish a business beyond the construction field, and cater to market segments. Ramlawi says, “The marriage with the AMANA group again allowed me to work with my mentor after years of separation, capitalize on the group solid base and resources to establish in no time, and place the perfect vision to pave the way for years to come along the journey.”
DuPoD is a newly formed modular construction concept with a vision to provide an eco-system of Modular Products serving the construction Industry. The idea was to capitalize on years of research and development in the field of modular construction. Accessing advanced engineering and resources from within the group of AMANA, allowed DuPod to build on the know-how and establish this facility in no time.
The company consistently delivers plug-and-play convenience, smart construction solutions, and a shorter project lifecycle with a premium range of off-site manufactured utility, wellness, retail, and living pods. It is currently serving the residential, hospitality, retail, and healthcare sectors.
“Establishing DuPod was not an easy task, but I enjoyed every part of it as this venture is an entirely new industry and required a lot of innovation that needed a good amount of research to find out how it is being done worldwide,” shares Ramlawi.
Dupod has successfully delivered three projects with prime clients in the UAE and KSA. It has a solid engineering base based on 3D technology and research and development capacity that allows it to launch three products, the Bathroom Pods, F&B Pods, and the Kitchen Pods. Differentiation is a cornerstone of the company’s strategy and technology at the center. The company aims to create a complete echo system of modular products under one umbrella.
Personifying Traits of Success
Ramlawi believes that the biggest attribute for successful leadership is to believe in yourself, measure your capacity, and complement your weakness by working with the right people and partners. “If you don’t have a mentor, buy one. You will always need his insights and experience.” He adds, “Challenges are part of the game, and the more you plan, you should be able to overcome all obstacles along the journey.”
The ardent entrepreneur surely has a promising future ahead. With an empowered team, DuPod is sure to lead by example in the field of industrialized construction. It aims to become more efficient by using artificial intelligence and robotics to create modules with more speed and precision. By constantly utilizing technology solutions and implementing them throughout the end-to-end process in a platform that combines technology in engineering, material sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics in a single integrated system that provides one source of truth and increases efficiency.
“In our strategy, we will invest heavily in R&D to introduce more products and serve different sectors, taking us to markets beyond the construction sector as a start and eventually dealing directly with customers when we perfect the productization vision. I see us working in different markets and running various factories globally,” concludes Ramlawi.