Types of Business Setup in Dubai

Types of Business Setup in Dubai


In the UAE, Dubai is one of the flourishing Emirates with its splendid infrastructure, strong and quick growing horizons, making it one of the biggest business centers in the world. Dubai deals one of the best business policies with its extensive options to elect for diverse types of company formations, inviting chances and evolution for all those aspiring business people around the world. In the UAE, there are diverse types of company formations that would provide your requirement. The diverse types of business setup in Dubai are listed below.

  • Dubai Mainland Company Formation
  • Dubai Offshore Company Formation
  • Dubai Free Zone Company Formation

Types of Company Formation in Dubai

Dubai Mainland Company Formation

A few onshore company formations are listed below:

  • Dubai Commercial License: It is a sort of Limited Liability Company (LLC). Article 22 of the Companies Law specifies that there should be least 51% shares of the UAE National. This LLC will have a native share of 51% which will be paid yearly to act as a local sponsor. This local sponsor can either be a discrete or corporate sponsor.
  • Dubai Professional License: It is a category of Sole Proprietorship or a Civil Company. The license holder is allowed 100% distant ownership and sole proprietorship. In order to get this license, a UAE national must be appointed as Local Service Agent but he has no straight involvement in the business and the sponsorship fees are paid on an annual basis.
  • Dubai Representative Office: To maintain 100% of foreign ownership in the UAE it is favored to open a representative office. These offices do not have a distinct legal identity but are treated as an addition of the foreign company which eventually remains liable for their activities.


Dubai Offshore Company Formation


  • Jebel Ali Offshore Company (JAFZA): Jebel Ali Free Zone is one of the ancient free zones in the UAE with over 7,000 well-known companies now. JAFZA offshore companies permit to trade internationally and to own a property in Dubai. They are getting registered in the Emirate but have no resident visa.


Dubai Free Zone Company Formation


There are multiple free zones in Dubai. A few of them are listed below:

  • Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA): Jebel Ali Free Zone is one of the ancient free zones in the UAE with over 7,000 reputable companies now. It has been intended for manufacturing & trading companies.
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): Subsequently its inception in the year 2002 has around 8,500 companies registered in this zone by now. The supplies that can be operated through this free zone are tea, agricultural products, metals, gold, silver, diamonds, pearls, etc.
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA): The Dubai Airport Free Zone deals an office and warehouse space. For businesses having Logistics activity, this is a perfect place for setting up as it is located near to Dubai International Airport and deals an onsite customs clearance facility presenting well-organized cargo and clearance techniques.
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO): It is a 100% government-owned free zone recognized in Dubai Silicon Oasis is a technology park providing hi-technology working environment to the community.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC): The Dubai International Financial Centre is a financial center in Dubai. What makes it exclusive is that it has its own systems and courts and it is self-governing from the ones in UAE. DIFC is familiar as a platform for financial institutions to provide progress towards economic development in the UAE.
  • Dubai South: Dubai South is one of the master-planned city based on the contentment of an individual which is predictable to withstand a million population. As an economic platform, it is intended to support every conceivable type of business and industry.


Things You Need to Know About Free Zones in UAE

Things You Need to Know About Free Zones in UAE

Tired of your 9 to 5 job? If you have the guts and the determination to be your own boss and increase your earning potential, then the best way to do that is through running your own business.

free zones in uae

The good news is that the UAE offers lucrative opportunities for your entrepreneurial journey. With the huge number of free zones in UAE, the different parts of the country, you will get a chance to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • 100% foreign national ownership without the need for a local service agent (LSA) or local sponsor
  • 100% fund transfer
  • 100% repatriation of profits and revenue
  • Exemption from import and export taxes as well as personal taxes
  • Waiver of corporate taxes
  • Less documentation required
  • Simple, quick, and more affordable processing of recruitment and workforce
  • Quicker incorporation process
  • Long-term leasing options for up to 25 years offered at great terms to investors
  • Easy availability of housing, legal, labour, immigration, and other facilities

The Role of Free Zones in the Global Trade

Now that you already know the great things that free zones have in store, let’s take a look at its importance when it comes to the global trade.

In accordance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there are now over 3,500 Free Trade Zones or Special Economic Zones located in 130 countries.

Particularly, the Middle East handles $552bn worth of exports. In fact, statistics show that in 2017 alone, Dubai handled AED 434bn worth of goods. As per the UAE Central Bank, the exports from UAE free zones reached AED225.5bn, which marked a 6.6% growth from 2016.

The Number of Free Zones in the UAE

As a global hub for business, the UAE has among the highest number of free zones in the globe. Currently, there are a total of 45 and 10 others are under construction. It is also worth mentioning that 30 of those are Dubai free zones. Hence, if you are aiming to make your business big, this is the right emirate to set it up.

In a statement in Gulf Business, Shoaib Alrahimi, VP Business Park free zone at Dubai South, claimed that the free zone model is crucial for the region’s development as it provides an easy “in” for investors. He also noted that every government is eager to devise its free zone model in order to attract more investors, as this successful business model has an extremely positive effect to the country’s economic uplift.

The Biggest Free Zone in Dubai

Ever wondered which free zone is the biggest one in Dubai? Financial Times’ fDi magazine named Dubai Multi Commodities Exchange (DMCC) as the world’s top free zone for the third year running. It has 13,700 companies and makes a staggering 10-percent contribution to Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

These are just some of the things you need to know about UAE free zones and Dubai free zones. The best way to predict the future is to create it now. So, choose the perfect location and set up your own business!


What is Dubai DED? Starting a Business in Dubai

What is Dubai DED? Starting a Business in Dubai


The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is a government body that issues licenses for corporate individuals or entities with the intention of starting a business in Dubai mainland.

The Dubai DED develop economic plans and strategies, identify and aid strategic sectors, and offer services to domestic and international firms and investors.

The DED’s vision is to ease and quicken the process of starting a business in Dubai and to help budding entrepreneurs launch and expand their operations without the hassle of lengthy processes and administration.

The two primary jurisdictions to set up a business in Dubai are Dubai mainland and over 20 economic free zones in Dubai. If chosen to conduct business in Dubai mainland, it is required to register with the DED, who will issue a Dubai business license.


According to the Dubai DED, there are eight steps to start a business in Dubai:

  1. Decide on a business activity
    There are over 2,000 business activities​ to choose from in Dubai; they fall into various groups and classes including professional, commercial, industrial and tourism activities.


  1. Legal Form
    A legal form is a portrayal of the nature of the business being set up. The type of business and its activities, the nationality and number of owners, are to be considered before selecting a legal form.


  1. Trade Name
    The general trade name guidelines have to be followed when choosing a name for the business or establishment. The name can be applied online or through the authorized service centres​.


  1. Initial Approval Certificate​​​
    It is mandatory to apply for an Initial Approval Certificate, as it is a document stating that the Dubai DED has no objection in starting a business in Dubai.


  1. MOA and LSA agreement (if necessary)
    Based on the company’s legal form, the establishment partners may require to draft and sign a Memorandum of Association (MOA). In certain cases, a Local Service Agent (LSA) is needed to sign with a UAE national (Emirati), who will represent the firm with regards to licensing and conformity.


  1. Business Location
    Every organisation in Dubai must have a physical address, such as an office. A tenancy contract has to be signed with the landlord and the contract registered with Ejari (a registration system introduced by the Real Estate Regulatory Agency) for attestation.


  1. Licensing Approvals
    There are certain trade activities that require distinct licensing approvals by different departments of the government. For instance, To establish a medical centre, it is requried to also acquire licensing approvals from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).


  1. Business License Collection
    Once all the previous steps are completed, all required documents have to be submitted via the DED eServices website or the service centers​ located in Dubai.


The business can now commence its operations.



Profitable Small Business Ideas in Dubai

Profitable Small Business Ideas in Dubai

Small Business Ideas in Dubai
Are you looking for small business ideas in Dubai? Here are fifteen active small business ideas that may help budding entrepreneurs to decide the business of their choice.

1. Healthcare Business in Dubai

The country has seen a significant increase in demand for proficient healthcare service providers and facilities in the past few years. Dubai is a suitable location for healthcare professionals considering to start a private healthcare business.

2. Construction Business in Dubai

Dubai is known for its unique structures and buildings that are being erected on a frequent basis. It opens a massive gateway of opportunities for professionals and engineers in the construction sector.

3. Oil and Gas Business in Dubai

Oil and gas have been the primary source of income in the UAE for many years. The country’s current wealth can be attributed to the oil sector. In spite of the constant exploitation, the oil industry will still be able to accommodate new investors.

4. Financial Services Business in Dubai

Dubai has several sizeable businesses and therefore has a significant demand for financial based professionals including accountants, auditors and bookkeepers. The recent introduction to VAT in the UAE is also a compelling reason to start a business that offers financial services to firms in the country.

5. Food Business in Dubai

Dubai has consistently seen a high demand for foods and consumable commodities. The food industry is, therefore, a highly profitable market especially with snacks and fast foods.

6. Transport Business in Dubai

Dubai’s hustle and bustle have led to a high demand for transportation services. Investors have the opportunity to start a local cab service or an inter-city transportation services company.

7. Security Business in Dubai

Although there are fewer security concerns in Dubai, companies with significant investments and assets demand security sentinels and devices.

8. Business Franchises Business in Dubai

Franchising of firms is a relatively new concept in Dubai. The high population of expatriates in Dubai including diverse lifestyles of the individuals who live here, this concept is functioning efficiently for the past few years. Franchising the fast food industry is currently one of the most profitable business ideas in Dubai.

9. Environment Business in Dubai

With the recent introduction of all-electric transportation by Dubai’s RTA, it is imminent that the government is implementing and supporting new initiatives in protecting the environment. There are various unities in the UAE for enterprises that offer various environmental protection services such as waste recycling.

10. Tourism Business in Dubai

Tourism in Dubai is booming more than ever before and is one of the world’s most favoured vacation destinations. Moreover, this explains why there are many five-star hotels in the city. UAE hosts several thousands of visitors every year, and this opens huge business opportunities in Dubai that cater to tourists in one way or another.

11. Trading Business in Dubai

Dubai is one of the prime business hubs where traders throughout the world meet to exchange goods and services. Any merchantable products can be imported or exported, such as food and food products, fabrics, plastic commodities, and automobiles.

12. Energy Business in Dubai

There are various opportunities for establishments that help maintain the numerous power generation facilities available in the UAE. With the required expertise and capital, energy facility maintenance is an option to be considered when starting a business.

13. Travel Agency Business in Dubai

Dubai’s tourism industry plays an essential part in the government’s strategy to maintain foreign cash flow into the emirates. Dubai, UAE is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. A travel agency is, therefore, a reliable business to start.

14. Real Estate Business in Dubai

Real estate is one of the major industries in Dubai and the rest of the country. Construction is a common sight in Dubai, where construction firms work on several projects in various segments primarily dealing with office and residential properties.

15. Jewellery Business in Dubai

Dubai is occasionally known as the “City of Gold”. Dubai has a market share of approximately 30 percent in gold trade worldwide. A gold business in Dubai can be set up as a jewellery merchant, jewellery maker or a bead maker.


Why Dubai? Business Setup in Dubai

Why Dubai? Business Setup in Dubai

Business Setup in Dubai

Dubai, UAE is one of the most thriving cities in the world and has surfaced to be one of the world’s leading international business centre.

Dubai continues to make global headlines, making it an attractive destination for businesses and tourists alike. Dubai offers businesses a distinctive environment with its rich culture and diverse multicultural population from over 190 nationalities. Dubai is known for its quality of work and life unparalleled in the Middle East.

Starting a business in Dubai is relatively easy when compared to some of leading global markets. With abundant free zones, low import duties, excellent infrastructure and a strategic location, it is a great choice to form a company in Dubai.


Why Setup a Business in Dubai?


1. Diverse Economy

Dubai is the most prosperous economy within the GCC region for diverging away from oil. The economy has been booming with tourism, trade, transportation and logistics, accounting for over 60 percent of Dubai’s GDP. A significant revenue increase in exports, manufacturing, and transport and hospitality sector has assisted Dubai to maintain its economy after the setback during the recession in 2009.


2. Legal Structure

Trade Laws, Investment Laws, company regulations and incentives are constantly improving to advance foreign investment. Dubai is the UAE’s first emirate to encourage foreign ownership in its property market. The new UAE Companies Law is set to improve the economy’s competitiveness and performance of the business environment.


3. Free Zones for Business Setup in Dubai

There are more than forty Free Zones in the UAE that typically allow full foreign ownership. The major free zones in the country are located in Dubai, including the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The lack of personal income tax and capital gain tax for free zones companies remain one of the biggest incentives for foreign company formation in Dubai.


4. Government Support

The Department of Economic Development (DED) of Dubai supports the emirate to transmute into an innovative, diversified, knowledge and service-based economy to improve the business environment and increase productivity. The DED develops economic plans, support and identify strategic sectors, and provide crucial administration services to domestic and international businesses and investors.


5. Advantages of Business Setup in Dubai

Dubai being one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) benefits from other business setup advantages provided by the country itself.

  • Low Import Duties
  • No Taxes
  • Double Taxation Agreement
  • Free Trade Agreement
  • Robust and Competitive Economy
  • Strategic Location
  • World-class Infrastructure
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No foreign exchange control


Investment Law 51/49 remains in UAE’s New Commercial Company Laws

Investment Law 51/49 remains in UAE’s New Commercial Company Laws

UAE' Commercial Law

The new Commercial Company Laws (CCL) of the United Arab Emirates have been issued, and the investment law 51/49 has not changed unless the company is instituted in the Free Zone. The law remained although there were many speculations and claims that the law will be eliminated. Many laws of the UAE favour the country’s nationals, and one such law is the investment law 51/49. The law states that a “UAE company” should not have less than 51 percent of its share capital owned by UAE nationals. This law, therefore, prevents foreign investors from owning more than 49 percent of a UAE company excluding those incorporated in the Free Zone.

Foreigners cannot own more than 49 percent in any UAE company other than the ones incorporated in special free zones. The UAE commercial company law has maintained the mandatory requirement of national ownership of not less than 51 per cent of any company that is established in the UAE. Relaxation of this requirement was the subject of many calls within the business community, particularly that it is not a secret that the vast majority of the companies are not adhering to this requirement.

There are variations in ownership restrictions for a number of sectors and circumstances.
Such sectors include:

  • Insurance sector – foreign ownership is limited to 25 percent
  • Financial services sector – foreign ownership is restricted to 40 percent
  • Real estate sector – No foreign ownership is permitted in certain circumstances
  • Commercial agencies – Foreign ownership is not allowed by any means

The 100% foreign ownership allowance for special economic free zones has significantly improved the country’s economy. According to the 2010 Economic Freedom Index conducted by the Heritage Foundation, the UAE has scored a respectable 76.9, a 3.12 increase from last year. The higher score makes the country’s economy 8th freest out of 180 countries in the world. UAE has drastically improved its economic growth for the past five years (score of 69.3 in 2012, 35th world rank).


DIFC registers more than 200 ISPVs and SPCs

DIFC registers more than 200 ISPVs and SPCs


The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has reached a milestone as the number of registered Special Purpose Companies (SPCs) and Intermediate Special Purpose Vehicles (ISPVs) has surpassed the 200 mark.

DIFC offers SPC and ISPV structures that aid a wide spectrum of trade sectors including education, transportation, and energy. These companies include regional organisations, family establishments and international corporations.

ISPVs serve as a progression planning tool for family or private firms. They are used by a series of businesses, especially those that are vulnerable in the foreign markets. Furthermore, fund management companies use them to restrict assets and liabilities from other capital structures within the same company group.

Special Purpose Companies play a crucial role in financial markets by providing a new legal entity as a business limited by shares, amalgamated under the DIFC law to arrange specific structured monetary transactions. SPCs typically are used for either structured Islamic or conventional financial transactions, as a loan facility or financial transaction as part of a corporate acquisition.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, said: “DIFC is now home to more than 200 SPCs and ISPVs that are becoming increasingly popular as financing structures, particularly in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This milestone reinforces the financial hub’s status as a domicile of choice for innovative structured finance transactions.”

As the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, the DIFC continues to play a vital role in meeting the rising financial services needs of the MEASA region.

GCC Solutions provide company formation services within the DIFC jurisdiction. GCC can act as a nominee director for SPCs in the DIFC framework. GCC Solutions can also act as a single point of contact to provide a turnkey solution for our client’s needs in each market we serve. We operate across the GCC focusing primarily on the UAE in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait respectively.


ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market is Open for Business

ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market is Open for Business


ADGM – Abu Dhabi Global Market, the international financial free zone of the UAE’s capital has announced that it is now open for business and its Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA) will commence operations from October 21st, 2015.

Companies in Abu Dhabi can now apply for ADGM’s financial services that are trustworthy and internationally acknowledged by major financial centres across the globe. The ADGM also develops and aids member establishments with the regulatory framework, legal jurisdiction and the commercial environment they need for sustainable business development.

The ADGM has three independent authorities, namely – the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts. They ensure that the business operates in accordance with international practices that are recognised by major financial centres across the world. ADGM’s initial focus is on private banking and wealth and asset management

The ADGM is one of the first steps towards Abu Dhabi’s growth for financial service firms and the country’s economy. The Chairman of ADGM, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh said

Abu Dhabi Global Market is an essential pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision, acting as a catalyst for the growth of its dynamic financial services sector in the UAE. At the heart of Abu Dhabi Global Market is a premise of long-term partnership and collaboration – locally, regionally and internationally.

The ADGM is regarded as a significant element in Abu Dhabi’s enduring strategy of economic expansion, as set off in the Economic Vision 2030.

The ADGM Registration Authority has been operational and reviewing licence applications from non-financial services firms since June 15th, 2015 when the ADGM commercial regulations were published. However, an official from ADGM has said that the procedures involved in preparing and considering applications as well as granting membership to financial firms could take a few months. Its operations are likely to start during the first quarter of 2016 at the ADGM headquarters on Al Maryah Island, a business and luxury lifestyle destination in the country’s capital.

A number of large and reputable regional and international banks are expected to be considering the applications for ADGM membership.

GCC Solutions provides company formation services as an approved corporate service provider for the ADGM. GCC can provide government interface services, company secretary services and act as a nominee director for SPV’s in the ADGM therein.