Hints and Tips for Starting a Business in Dubai

Starting a business in Dubai is a great idea for more than several reasons. First of all, it’s a place with lenient taxation, as well as the place where you’ll have to pass low barriers for governmental support. Second, the infrastructure of the place is amazing and business-oriented. More importantly, there’s a large, available workforce that you’ll get to tap in for your own benefit. This is particularly important when the time is right for you to expand. Lastly, this is a place that’s undergoing rapid economic growth, which means that moving there in several years’ time might be substantially harder.

#1. The structure determines the legal form

Unless your business is 100 percent owned by you (sole proprietorship), you’ll have to define the shareholding structure in order to see its legal form and jurisdiction. Therefore, you’ll be forced to choose between the LLC (limited liability company), general partnership, public shareholding, private shareholding, limited partnership, and several other options. Other than the legal form and jurisdiction, these types also determine the scheme under which you pay your taxes. Needless to say, this makes it all even more important.

#2. Approving your business activity

In the UAE, there are some commercial activities that are not permissible, while some others come with a couple of restrictions. Then, there are those that are completely prohibited, which is why a government-sanctioned body needs to approve of your business before you launch. Nonetheless, these rules don’t equally apply to the free zone businesses or offshore businesses. In other words, this is a mainland thing only. This is all the more reason why you need to get familiar with Dubai’s jurisdictions. Needless to say, all of this is something that you need to check before registering your business.

#3. Business setup costs are high

At the moment, Dubai is one of the world’s fastest-growing business hubs, which means that the demand for it is great as well. With great demands comes at a high price. You need to start by paying a commercial license in Dubai, which will greatly differ in the required amount for expats and locals. This is one of the reasons why so many people decide to find local partners to team up with.

Other than this, you’ll also have to pay for specialized licenses, depending on your industry. Sole proprietorships even have to get a quotation for a professional license, which further adds to the overhead. Sure, there are some ways to cut costs, like outsourcing this to Dubai company registration professionals, which is an option that you seriously have to consider.

#4. Proving the validity of your concept

Seeing as how this is a place of great interest for investors all over the world, one of the hardest tasks set before you will be to prove that your concept is financially viable. Here, there are requirements for minimum capital levels, whereas shareholders and incorporation procedures may depend on factors such as the type of business (something we’ve already discussed). Overall, finding financial resources will be a concept that you’ll have to take care of on your own, rather than rely on any form of local support.

#5. Invisible cultural borders

From the outside, Dubai may appear as a metropolis and a corporate utopia, yet, it’s still a city limited by the cultural borders of the UAE. This is why it’s incredibly important that you get familiar with the Dubai business etiquette before you attempt anything. This starts with the dressing code. For instance, even though modesty is always a good idea, non-Muslim businesswomen are not required to wear the hijab or a headscarf. Punctuality and a proper way to greet someone upon entering the place are also quite important. Still, even though this is a place in the Arabian Peninsula, it’s also a major melting pot, which is why you’ll meet people from various cultures, both employees and executives.


At the end of the day, you need to realize that starting a business in Dubai gets a lot simpler once you know exactly what you’re getting into. Sure, there are both limitations and advantages, but how is this different from what you would face in any other business hub? Carefully consider your next move and, whatever you choose, try to make your choice count.

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