Al Sharqi Shipping, an innovative logistics firm in their second generation run by two brothers who are both alumni of UOWD, Atif Rafiq (Bachelor of Commerce: Finance 2006) and Kashif Rafiq (Bachelor of Commerce: Finance and Management 2009) has recently been recognized as one of Dubai’s top 100 small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the prestigious Dubai SME 100 ranking.
Launched under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, the biannual list aims to help grow the emirate’s top-performing SMEs into world-class enterprises.
With 4,522 companies competing for a spot on this year’s list, Al Sharqi Shipping’s appearance at number 83 marks a significant achievement for the company, which was founded by the brothers' father, Mohamamd Rafiq, in 1989. The family is also celebrating being ranked sixth on the list overall for growth, with ambitious plans to expand the company’s footprint into the emerging markets of Africa, the Far East and the Subcontinent.
Commenting on the recognition, Atif Rafiq, Business Development Director, said: “It is an honour to be included in this prestigious list, especially considering how the competition has intensified significantly with entries increasing by 49 per cent since 2013. We feel our hard work, our family values that are a big part of our work culture, and our customer centric approach has taken us to where we are today.”
“As a family, we have been in the industry for more than 25 years and it was a very rewarding experience watching my Dad go on stage to receive the award after years of hard work and dedication.”
Atif and Kashif both believe that they owe a lot to their time spent at UOWD for the company’s outstanding growth.
“Studying at UOWD really refined our approach to business” comments Atif. “Kashif has a true bird’s eye view of the logistics industry both globally and locally. I was able to hone my skills in acquiring and building relationships during my time as a Vice President and President of the Student Representative Council (SRC). Interacting with a huge student population from all corners of the world has given us a true understanding of cultural difference, which has been crucial in the success of our overseas expansion into Africa and Asia. Of course, some of the theoretical side of running a business has been learnt from our Dad’s experience, but much of it has come from our time at UOWD too.”
Sights are firmly set on the future for the brothers, whose previous successes have been largely focused on providing a high level of operational and customer service. Their energies are now turning to adopting new technologies that interact seamlessly with their current systems to improve efficiency and drive innovation.
“Quite frankly, we want to go where no man has gone before” Atif remarks. “Our goal is to be on an enterprise level – to be the Uber of Shipping and Logistics.”
The full Dubai SME 100 list can be found at: http://dubaisme100.ae