Emitech's journey to becoming top SME in Dubai

Emitech reveals its journey to becoming one of the top medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Dubai

ANALYSIS, MEP

Being named as one of the top 100 best-performing small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Dubai for 2015 is not a bad accolade to have on your CV. In fact, it’s very impressive. This very honour was bestowed upon Emitech, which was ranked in 21st place at the Dubai SME100 – 2015 awards.

The MEP contractor was set up in 2011 by Rahul Duragkar, who acts as managing director, and business partner, Mohamed Al Shereif. Today it employs 180 people.

Duragkar, who started his career as a mechanical engineer with India’s Blue Star, says the SME award has imbued the company with the confidence to grow further.

“It was a great achievement to secure 21st place in our first participation at the Dubai SME100 programme. We hope this recognition paves the way for greater and bigger growth and becomes an inspiration to be a more sustainable and internationally-orientated company covering the Middle East and beyond in the future,” he says.

Duragkar says the idea of running his own business came while working in Qatar for Unicon.

“They wanted my help to set up a proper MEP division,” he says. “It showed me that, financial acumen aside, to run a strong MEP company you need that strong engineering expertise. So I decided rather than developing businesses for other people I’d to if for myself.

“I hired from the market – Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Sudan: engineers who were willing to learn. Obviously getting people to work for a start-up isn’t easy.”

A tie up with Daikin to install its VRV systems helped Emitech to win its first few projects. The biggest of these was a AED17.5m ($4.7m) subcontractor deal from Al Shafar General Contracting on two RP Group-owned sugar warehouses in Jebel Ali, Dubai.

“That contract helped us to expand our team of five people, which was two sales engineers and two project engineers plus myself at the time, with additional project managers and engineers,” says Duragkar. “I realised that depending on subcontractors made it more difficult to control quality and delivery. I had to have my own core team.”

He admits that budgets were tight in the beginning, and getting financial backing from banks was a challenge.

“Whatever projects were awarded to us we got advances on those,” he says. “Plus we had made some initial investments in the company to help sustain it for another three to four months.”

One of his top tips for starting your own construction business is not to overload yourself with work at the beginning.

“You have to deliver on your promises and exceed expectations where possible,” he says. “People don’t know you – so building your reputation is everything.”

Emitech generated revenue of AED28m ($7.6m) in 2014, one of the performance indicators which helped it gain inclusion in the Dubai SME100 list says Duragkar. Last year revenues rose to AED42m ($11.43m) off the back of several significant project wins.

This included a contract with pharmaceutical firm Geltec, which Emitech began talks with towards the end of 2014 to deliver electro-mechanical services for a manufactory in Techno Park, Dubai. The project is currently in the testing and commissioning phase. Another Dubai scheme secured last year was Danube’s Dreamz residential development in Al Furjan – currently Emitech's most lucrative contract to date at AED34.5m ($9.3m).

Duragkar has set his sights on achieving turnover of AED100m ($27.2m) in 2017. He hopes that internal restructuring of the company will help in meeting this figure. Emitech now has four separate divisions: MEP, HVAC systems, solar water heating systems, and facilities management.

“This year we already have orders in hand of around AED80m ($21.7m), and after splitting the divisions into separate cost centres in 2015, we are in a better position to have a more focused and integrated approach to the projects we bid for and the added-value we are able to offer to clients.”

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