Already well-known for the huge success he has achieved in the tourism, hospitality, retail, and real estate sectors in a business journey that started over 30 years ago, Ahmed El Tayebi, Chairman and owner of Ra Sport, El Tayebi Developments and The Land Developers boasts an illustrious portfolio. eniGma sat down with the passionate businessman to discuss his many great successes through the years.
Having a diversified business portfolio does not happen overnight; it requires time and persistence. My knowledge of tourism, hospitality, retail and real estate was the result of decades-long experiences in each field. These years have allowed me to understand market dynamics and how they’re affected by the emergence of new technologies and the evolving customer needs. It’s also allowed me to see what some sectors have in common and how to capitalise on these similarities to be more efficient; to save time, money and energy,” comments El Tayebi. who believes that his diverse portfolio has benefitted him a great deal.
A major contributor to the country’s anticipated New Administrative Capital, El Tayebi’s journey in the real estate scene began in 2006 through establishing El Tayebi Developments, which specialised in developing upscale residential complexes for the expat society in Cairo, using internationally recognised standards and designs. In 2016, as partner in Sorouh Developments, he introduced the New Administrative Capital’s projects of Entrada and Citadel. He expanded even further in 2018 by becoming one of the area’s major real estate developers through The Land Developers, which he cofounded along with a number of businessmen, as well as Quality for Ready Mix company, which provides a number of real estate developments in the capital with a consistent supply.
Armonia residential compound is The Land Developers’ first real estate project in the New Administrative Capital. Located at the R7 area, very close to the diplomatic area in the New Administrative Capital, Armonia consists of 1800 units and features a mall that will stand out, raising the bar for shopping malls. With an extensive knowledge of sector dynamics and market needs throughout his cumulative professional experience, El Tayebi is introducing Armonia Walk, the company’s new commercial project, a product that delivers an unforgettable shopping experience for customers, while also providing state of the arts facilities and services for the retail sector.
El Tayebi was already the CEO of his own company at the age of 27, having had a propensity to take risks and venture into unexplored grounds. In addition, growing up within a successful family business allowed El Tayebi to observe first-hand the inner dynamics of a sustainable work environment while highlighting his areas of strengths and offering time for him to work on weaknesses. “I believe that my willingness to learn, as well as my appetite for leadership, majorly contributed to that decision which I took during the 1980s, a time that also provided an encouraging economic climate that enabled me to take that leap,” says El Tayebi.
El Tayebi founded Tay Travel in 1986, one of the first tourism companies in Egypt. “It was my first investment in the private sector. I did not have any partners, as I was aware that it only required a certain set of personal and professional skills, local and global connections, as well as a good knowledge of the market, all of which I acquired through my time at Titi Tourism in the period between 1982 and 1985, where I was in charge of the Foreign Tourism Department,” he recounts.
Tay Travel, specialising primarily in inbound tourism, grew considerably over the years, establishing three branches in Hurghada, Aswan and Luxor, and accommodating 15,000 tourists per year. In 1989, El Tayebi launched ‘Tay for Nile Cruises’ operating two Nile cruises between Luxor and Aswan. He also extended his immense industry knowledge into the hospitality sector by establishing Le Pacha Resort in 1992, a 300 room resort in Hurghada overlooking the Red Sea.
During the 1980s, banks and finance companies did not offer programs to help new businesses take off, instead their programs were primarily available to already existing, big businesses. El Tayebi recalls, “Funding small or new ventures was considered a risk, so to start a business you mainly counted on personal savings, family funds, and friends. Moreover, an independent business required more people to get the job done, a lot of travel, locally and abroad, as well as a lot of patience since things were not a click away as they are now. It was a different time when success depended mainly on personal qualities and communication skills, as well as the effort an individual was ready to exert.”
A major turning point in the life of the visionary businessman took place in 1993, when he extended the reach of his business to the retail market. “I knew I could make a tangible change in the Egyptian retail scene. I saw a huge gap in the market as far as global brands were concerned,” says El Tayebi. “Most of the population was made up of young people; a lot of them were interested in sportswear and had an appetite for global fashion brands, which the Egyptian market lacked at the time. Also, with the rise of international schools and parents encouraging their children to train and professionally pursue sports, the demand for quality sportswear and sports gear increased tremendously. The retail market during that time was made up of a number of independent stores, and there was a growing need for big conglomerates that offer the latest, high quality products, year-round. Therefore, in 1993, I established RA Sport and brought renowned brands with competitive prices to the Egyptian market,” he adds.
RA Sport manufactured casual and sportswear, and acquired the franchises of several international brands starting with Adidas. Later, it acquired the franchise of such famous brands as Timberland, Levi’s, Reebok, Geox and more, with a total of 13 brands operating through 120 stores across Egypt to date. The company had a total turnover of $50 million USD in 2015. “We were met with great success, which encouraged us to bring even more brands and branch out of sportswear to other lines of retail,” El Tayebi explains.
El Tayebi also acquired the franchise of the famous French café chain, Brioche Doreé, which currently has 10 branches in Cairo and Alexandria. El Tayebi worked very hard to exceed customers’ expectations supplying quality products with top-notch shopping experience, while satisfying the growing demand. “In order to maintain excellent quality at affordable prices, we agreed with all companies to manufacture products in Egypt under license, to avoid shipping costs and to ensure that products are always available,” he explains.
In a market that only continues to grow despite the changing landscape and global shifts, El Tayebi’s experience demonstrates not only the benefits of comprehensive approach towards solving problems, but also the leadership that inspires industry players along the way. El Tayebi concludes,“ Succeeding in doing something is only the beginning. Maintaining and nourishing that success with patience, persistence and an ability to learn is what makes a real and lasting difference.”
Check out our full interview with Mr. Ahmed El Tayebi below!