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Meet the Team: Raidan

ROI’s Meet the Team Series is meant to showcase some of our exceptional team members and share in their passion for all things economic development. We also have a little bit of fun to help you get to know the ROI Team more personally.

We are pleased to introduce Raidan Al-Eryani, ROI’s VP of the EMEA region. Raidan has been working with ROI since 2014 and has been indirectly exposed to the world of economic development for most of his life.

Join us as we explore how Raidan’s personal story of being born in Yemen played a role in his understanding and appreciation for economic development – and ultimately led to his career at ROI.

Can you tell us more about yourself and how you discovered the world of economic development?

My journey into the world of economic development truly begins with my upbringing and life story. I was born in Yemen and was raised in a family that worked in politics. Growing up in a poor country with a family devoted to the public sector, I was exposed to the importance of economic growth at an early age and it was always a topic in our home.

We also moved back and forth between Yemen, Iran, and Austria until I was 17. Being brought up in this type of environment so early on really shaped me and gave me my first real understanding of all the classic forms of international development like access to basic rights, community, human development, and infrastructure development.

Being brought up in this type of environment so early on really shaped me and gave me my first real understanding of all the classic forms of international development.

I studied Political Science in Montreal and discovered ROI in late 2013 and so began my 8 year career on the FDI/Trade side of things. The fact that I spent so much time in Europe and the Middle East and gained so much experience working with so many different sectors/cultures at ROI played a key role in my advancement to overseeing the EMEA operations, out of Amsterdam.

What is your role here at ROI? 

My role is to drive and scale ROI’s operations in the EMEA region. It’s a multifaceted role that includes client services, in-market representation, business development, as well as leading, mentoring, and growing our European team.

What trends are you seeing in the world of economic development? What are clients looking for?

The trends have remained consistent; seek high job creation projects with high-paying wages. Everyone wants to make it big and quick. The regions that place an emphasis on innovation which often come from startups, scale-ups, or SMEs, may not yield the number of jobs sought out, but they are the ones that will find success seeing as there’s no end in sight to the tech revolution.

There is a beginning phase for most companies our clients want us to recruit to their respective region, so engage with them at this phase and get the conversations started despite the expansion projects being in the embryonic stage(s)!

Companies of that nature can not only quickly scale but also attract other prominent actors and ultimately create a thriving ecosystem that generates economic prosperity on several fronts.

There is a beginning phase for most companies our clients want us to recruit to their respective region, so engage with them at this phase and get the conversations started despite the expansion projects being in the embryonic stage(s)!

What aspect of working for ROI do you enjoy the most? 

I love the people and working within such a diverse group. It’s such a joy to interact with everyone and learn all about their cultures, traditions, language, cuisine, and countries.

What does economic development mean to you? 

At its roots, economic development generates economic prosperity. Economic prosperity is a fundamental duty and a priority of any state actor, thus, economic developers and facilitators of such transactions are part of this global plight.

Economic prosperity is a fundamental duty and a priority of any state actor, thus, economic developers and facilitators of such transactions are part of this global plight.

On a more personal level, economic development to me can simply mean helping regions or communities, companies, and in many cases the “less popular kids” in school, in other words, the “overlooked” regions, thrive.

If there was one thing you wish everyone knew about economic development, what would it be? 

The amount of work that goes into winning projects; from the number of stakeholders and/or facilitator engagement, to what it takes to reach success. It’s not easy, especially in a highly competitive and global marketplace.

Do you have an inspirational quote you enjoy? 

« If there is no struggle, there is no progress. »

Frederick Douglass

Which song can you listen to all day long? 

If you want me to stay by Sly and The Family Stone.

Would you rather live in the ocean or on the moon?  

The ocean! Did you know that more than 80% of our oceans are unexplored, unmapped, and never seen by humans? We love venturing light-years away for exploration, yet have not properly explored what’s right under our nose!

If you could compare yourself to an animal, what would it be and why?   

Peacock. I can be colorful at times, they say.

Teleportation or flying? 

Teleportation. I am banking on flying-like technology to be commercially available during my lifetime.

Interested in finding companies primed for expansion?

We’ll identify potential projects and schedule qualified meetings for you!
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