The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the responsible government entity for issuing all licenses for corporate entities or individuals who desire to carry out business in the mainland of Dubai outside the free zones. A DED licensed enterprise is often known as a “local company”. In an effort to facilitate doing business in Dubai, DED acts as a one window service centre for all local companies.
For many SME’s, getting a local license works out as a preferred option because you can open an office anywhere in Dubai. For certain business activities, you will have no choice but to open a locally licensed company. However, unlike a free zone, you cannot own 100% of the company and will require a local sponsor (UAE National) or local service agent based on the activity that you choose.