The Ultimate Guide on How to Start Your Own Business in Dubai

September 14, 2023

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There has never been a better time to start a business in Dubai than it is right at this moment. Not a fortnight goes by in which a new ambitious project is announced either by the UAE government or by influential magnates or by a foreign commodity which increases UAE’s economic growth making it worthwhile to jump on this particular bandwagon.

According to IMF, UAE is said to lead the Middle East in terms of economic growth surpassing Saudi Arabia- region’s biggest economy- by a whopping 2.5% compared to Saudi’s meagre 0.4%.

These projected figures, along with steady economic growth, have made Dubai a prime destination for increasing numbers of businesses. If you are thinking of starting a business in Dubai, then you have made the right decision.

As business setup in Dubai provides unlimited opportunities, including international exposure to your company increasing its chances of profit and elevating its brand value. Dubai is the place to launch your business as the city has mastered the art of establishing and starting businesses. It has become a launching pad for small business owners, entrepreneurs and SMEs.

It currently holds 21st rank for ease of doing business. The great city of Dubai provides a multitude of trade free zones to incite motivated and driven individuals to start a business in Dubai instead of sticking to their 9 to 5 job. These free zones provide an excellent platform for established business as well, with incentives like 100% company ownership for foreigners, minimum taxation and no restrictions on currency presenting endless possibilities to anyone wanting to start a business in Dubai.

Are you tempted to start a business in Dubai on account of the wondrous opportunities it presents? Who wouldn’t be?

Dubai’s Free Zones are Gold for Entrepreneurs

Before we go into the nitty-gritty, it should be known that Dubai has become the hub of all things business and has taken centre stage in ease of doing business only because of the policies that are employed in its trade Free Zones. Allowing foreigners to start a business in Dubai. The city has got more than 12 Free Zones that attract investors by the dozens and encourage them into starting a business in Dubai. This, in turn, has made Dubai’s economic growth rapid and stable.

The entrepreneurs can choose the type of company formation; it can be offshore, mainland or on one of the aforementioned free zones. Business in Dubai free zones is often the preferred choice. Whichever method you want with the right support it is guaranteed to be far less complicated than it seems at first. We have helped numerous companies during their starting phase.

Following is a step-by-step guide for starting a business in Dubai

Choose the Type of Business

The first and foremost thing that you should have decided long before you jump into the world of start-ups and business is the first decision that you will take as an entrepreneur, i.e., the type of business activity your company will be doing. Because based on this you will then decide which location is most appropriate for your chosen activity. As some Free Zones do not allow businesses pertaining to healthcare, media or transport. Apart from these restrictions, sometimes it is more reasonable to form a company in close proximity to similar companies. Other reason might be transportation links, in case of import-export business, it is best to choose a Free Zone nearer to the shore to reduce transportation costs.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) provides a list of over 2100 business activities to choose from. If you are still incapable of finding your specific business activity amongst the listed activities, you can always contact the DED directly and place a formal request.

Don’t panic if you still have not yet finalized the type of business activity your company will be performing, because Dubai Trade licence allows more than one business activity under one licence.

But you should try to narrow down the possible business activities as it will help you in making wise decisions and eliminating options that are not viable thus reducing overall cost of business setup in Dubai.

Hiring a consultancy firm can help you in making this choice as these consultants will tell you about the essentials like how much it costs to start a business in Dubai? And what can be done to minimize the cost?

Select the Name for Your Company

Selection of your company name is significant as, without a company name, the company cannot apply for any licences or is not able to start its business activities.

The naming convention in Dubai is very strict, restricting the use of any coarse language. Similarly, the usage of any religious and political groups is also forbidden. To make sure you obtain the NOC to do business in Dubai. The company name must conform to all the requisite naming conventions.

A preferred practice is to hire a company formation consultancy; they will assist you in the selection of a perfect name that is catchy and attractive and conforms to the UAE naming conventions.

Complete the Requisite Incorporation Paperwork

You should have completed all the required paperwork before applying for a trade licence in the Free Zones. The Required paperwork includes the company name and its activity, along with this, you also have to provide copies of shareholder’s passport to the concerned authority. Some Free Zones also require additional documentation at the time of company formation such as a NOC (No Objection Certificate) from your current place of work or a sponsor. That entails:

  • Copies of the partner’s passport.
  • A copy of the company name.
  • Company’s article of association (AOA) and Memorandum of association (MOA).
  • A cheque of AED 50,000 as guarantee.
  • Get approval from Department of Economic Development (DED).
  • Letter signed by the Dubai national partner declaring their trust in you.

As soon as you obtain NOC, your business is ready for operations, In case of rejection in obtaining NOC no need to fret, as Dubai Free Zones that allow entrepreneurs to do business despite this shortcoming. This is the most arduous task in the whole company formation process, but with the help of professionals, this task can become relatively pain-free.

How to Secure NOC if you are an Employee who wishes to start a business in Dubai

If you are currently working in Dubai as an employee and want to start a business in Dubai, then first and foremost what you need is to obtain NOC. To do that you, the employee must acquire the following documents:

  • Pay the NOC issuance fees of AED 500.
  • File a formal request with the Dubai Trade Portal.
  • Gain approval from The Department of Economic Development (DED) to obtain NOC.
  • Submit the documents mentioned above along with these.

Once the NOC is obtained, your current place of employment will keep a copy or in some cases the original in their records. In the case of the company not giving their approval, the employee still has the option of doing business by setting up a business in there spouse’s name.

Receive your Licence

The easiest of all tasks, as soon as your documents are processed, the government will issue the Licence for your company. Upon receiving the company can start its activities. At KWS Middle East we notify the client when the licence is ready for pick up.

Open a Bank Account

As soon as you receive your licence and have an approved company name, your business can now open a bank account for all your corporate needs. Dubai and UAE overall is home to many banks of high standards and quality like HSBC, Citi Bank, Barclays and Commercial Bank of Dubai. You can choose these banks to fulfil your financial needs either by approaching them yourself or hiring company formation experts to approach them on your behalf or ask them to arrange meetings with them to select the best option out of them.

Related ArticleOpening a Bank Account in Dubai for Non-Residents

Process Your Visa

The last but definitely not the least step in the process of company formation in Dubai is the application of Visa. Dubai and many of its Free Zones allow you to apply for your own Visa as well as Visa for your servants, employees and dependents. Some Free Zones allow only a limited number of Visa applications per sponsors. To make sure that you are not exceeding this limit it is highly- advised that you hire a Company Formation Firm to aid in the speedy attainment of Visa for you and your family. So that you can focus on building your business.

Are you passionate about starting a business in Dubai? If yes, then you need business consultants who will smoothen and simplify the process of Company formation in Dubai. KWS Middle East is a leading business consultancy firm that has helped entrepreneurs and established corporations in the business setup. Our team of skilled experts will guide you throughout the entire process.

Contact Us Today to book our commitment-free consultation call!

KWS Middle East your gateway to making your Dubai dream into a reality.

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