The United Arab Emirates stands as a testament to entrepreneurial prowess. It has been boasting a diverse economy and a robust infrastructure that continually attracts global investors. As of 2024, the UAE remains an economic powerhouse, offering a stable and thriving business environment. Therefore, setting up your business over there is a profitable idea as it will open you to several good opportunities and a promising entrepreneurial journey.
However, starting a business in the UAE is no easy job. One is required to go through various processes and consider different aspects that we’ll discuss in this guide. So, without taking further ado, let’s dive in!
Top Benefits Of Starting A Business In The UAE In 2024
The excellent news is that the UAE has reached 16th position from the 21st in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business list. Below are the benefits you can enjoy once you set up your business in the United Arab Emirates:
- The stable and thriving economy of this country will provide your startup with a safe environment where it can grow and expand successfully
- Establishing your firm in the free zones will offer an exception from corporate and personal taxes, thus offering financial stability
- Foreigners will enjoy business-friendly regulations, achieving flexibility in company setup and ownership structures. Some sectors of free zones offer 100% ownership to foreigners
- As you establish your company in the global business hub, it gets exposure to worldwide visibility. You also get international networking opportunities
- UAE is a country with political stability, thus offering your company a stable and secure environment
Type of Companies That Is Suitable For Your Business
The United Arab Emirates mainly offers three types of companies that we’ll discuss below. Understanding each one will help you pick the suitable one for your startup:
It consists of companies working mainly within the UAE market and obeying the country’s commercial law. A local sponsor will hold at least 51% of your shares. Nevertheless, certain professional activities get permission to get 100% foreign ownership.
2. Free Zone
It works within the specific designated zone and enjoys various perks, such as 100% foreign ownership. You will also get full freedom from taxes and get all your profits. However, it also has limitations, such as restricted trading within the free zone or mainland unless it receives a special permit.
An offshore company is registered within the UAE but works individually and beyond the country. It also doesn’t require a local sponsor and gets better confidentiality, plus tax benefits. This type of firm is beneficial for international trade and asset security.
Process To Set Up Business In The UAE In 2024
Following are the processes that you’ll carry out to set up your company in the United Arab Emirates in 2024:
1. Determine Your Business Niche
Determine your business niche and select the most suitable legal structure. Conduct an in-depth market analysis to understand the demand for goods/services that you’re aiming to sell. Decide on a legal entity that aligns with your business goals, considering factors like liability and tax obligations.
2. Select A Business Location
Explore the differences between free zones and mainland locations. Free zones offer 100% foreign ownership and cater to specific industries. In comparison, mainland setups require a local partner or sponsor holding at least 51% ownership. Research various emirates and free zones to find the most suitable location for your business requirements.
3. Find A Local Sponsor Or Partner
Find a trustworthy local sponsor or partner if you’re investing in a mainland venture. Clearly outline roles, responsibilities, and profit-sharing agreements in the partnership contract. However, if you opt for a free zone, you won’t require a local sponsor. It will also allow you full ownership and control over your venture.
4. Reserve Your Trade Name:
Ensure the availability of a unique and memorable business name and register it with the Department of Economic Development. Consider trademarking your company’s name/logo for intellectual property protection, as it dramatically matters in legal processes. The title should be related to the nature of the business. There are exceptions for the branches of the companies.
5. Apply For Initial Approvals And Arrange Office Space
Identify the specific permits required for your business activity, and carefully follow the application process of relevant government departments. Secure suitable office space that complies with legal requirements and provides necessary amenities for your business operations.
6. Register Your Business
Prepare and submit all necessary documents for company registration, including business formation papers, partnership agreements, and any required No Objection Certificates (NOCs), to the respective authorities.
7. Open A Corporate Bank Account
Research various banks based on their services, fees, and accessibility. To open a corporate account, provide the necessary documents, such as trade licenses and company registrations. Registering a bank account in your firm’s name will simplify transactions and simplify business operations.
8. Obtain Visas For Employees
You may be required to recruit some workers to run your company successfully. For this, understand the visa requirements for hiring employees. Complete visa applications, and medical checks, and follow all procedures attentively for each required visa type.
9. Comply With Tax And Regulatory Requirements
Understand and comply with the UAE’s tax regulations, including VAT and corporate taxes in specific industries. Maintain accurate financial records and fulfil all reporting obligations to ensure compliance with the country’s tax laws.
How can an employee start a business?
If you are employed and still want to run your own business in UAE, obtain a No Objection Certification (NOC). It becomes problematic for most people as no company allows its employees to start a new business. This problem can be quickly resolved if you start your business in the free zones. The good thing is that five zones in UAE won’t need the NOC, and these are:
- Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) Free Zone
- Umm al-Quwain (UAQ) Free Trade Zone
- Fujairah Free Zone Authority
- Ajman Free Zone
- Creative City Fujairah
How do you obtain an NOC to start a business in the UAE?
There are some steps that you must follow to get a NOC:
- You need to place a request using the Dubai Trade Portal
- Submission of all the documents that are needed
- Payment of the NOC issuance fee (AED 500)
- Getting approval for NOC from the Department of Economic Development
- After the approval of the NOC, the document will be stored in the company’s record
Business Ideas With Low Investment That You Should Consider
Investments are essential for starting any business, but many people think their dreams would shatter due to lack of investment. It is critical when you want to run your startup but your pockets are empty. It is quite frustrating, but you can escape this situation by keeping calm and using the correct advertising strategy. Promotions can solve your problem, but you need to be very smart.
First, ensure that you have checked for all your investment funds. When you focus on the opportunities and concentrate less on the finances, you may find more open doors to success. Well, there are some business ideas that you can start at a low investment, and these are:
Arts And Crafts: If you are creative and know how to craft attractive stuff, you can do it. You can make customized mobile covers, diaries, jewelry boxes, patches, small mats, and other cool things in your free time. You can set up an online or offline store to sell them and generate income. You may have to work on its marketing and packaging to attract clients and increase sales.
Home-Based Cooking: If you are a cooking expert or love cooking, you can turn your passion into a startup. Cook at your home and sell your food products online. You can also set up your restaurant, food cart, or truck. You can also go for birthday cakes and other confectionary items if not the main meals. Food-related products make sales all year round in Emirati, except during Ramadan, so it is a profitable business idea.
Photography: Photography is also a good option! Just take out your camera and click some good pictures of people or things. You can create a page for it on social platforms and target an Emirati audience. Besides, you can rent a shop and set up your studio there. Initially, you may have to work for free to showcase your photography skills and attract customers. Gradually, you’ll start getting offers to cover photography sessions for events by clients. It is when you can charge them according to your offerings.
Set Up A Beauty Salon:You can set up a beauty salon if you’re a qualified beautician or interested in this field. With a low investment, you can get started and offer services to your clients. You can provide hair, nail, and skin care treatments and makeup or hairstyling assistance.
· What type of business is the most profitable in the United Arab Emirates?
Real Estate Development is the most profitable type of business. Tourism, hospitability, and e-commerce are lucrative options you can consider.
- What are the prospects for business in the United Arab Emirates?
The UAE is one of the most stable countries with low crime rates and high living standards. It has experienced more extreme growth than ever after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to prosper further in the coming years.
- What is the current business trend in UAE in 2023?
Technology usage has been booming drastically, and businesses are developing better ways to leverage innovations. The trend of free zones and e-commerce is also tremendously increasing in the UAE.
- How much money is required to set up a business in Dubai?
The overall cost will differ depending on whether you want to set up in the mainland or a free zone. Other significant expenses include office space leasing, registration fees, ongoing licensing fees, and more.
- How can I get my license for my business?
The first step to getting a license for your business is to select your niche and appropriate trade name. Choose the location where you would like to set up your startup, finish your application, and pay the applicable dues. Once your application gets accepted, you’ll receive a trade license that will allow you to start your company officially.
UAE is a perfect place to start your business journey. You must keep yourself updated on the UAE Business news to know about the market trends and recent policies. Consider the above-shared information while carrying out the processes related to your startup. Do check for all the legal requirements and consult someone with good experience in business before starting your own. Read about the different inspiring stories of other entrepreneurs to get some motivation. Lastly, we suggest you stay positive, focus on your entrepreneurial goals, and let your venture flourish.