Dubai is an attractive business sector for many international companies as well as local entrepreneurs. It offers great opportunities for foreign investors, tax free. So if you are thinking of starting a business in Dubai then there are a couple of points you will need to consider.
If you are thinking of starting a business within the city and outside the free zone then you are likely to enter into a partnership agreement with a local sponsor. A UAE national will be the majority stake holder of the company at 51%. The advantage of having a local business is location advantage based on your budget. Make sure enter a written legal agreement with the local partner outlining the exact details of how much you will pay, the responsibilities of both parties, and exit contingencies.
Establishing your business in a free zone means you will be a sole owner of the business without having the need to have a local partner. All though you will own the business 100% you are likely to be at the disadvantage in terms of location, if that is important to your business. If you are planning to open a café or any other consumer focused business then perhaps you should enter a local partnership, however, if you are opening a .com business or a factory then a free zone business is an excellent option.
You must consider the type of business you will be running and all the procedures, import/export activity that goes in into running your business. Do not go with the cheapest license or control decision, make sure the business will fit the model.
Location is very important in order to succeed in a business. In the location your cost is not only the rent but also the distance, suitability for product and trade requirements of the business. If you are entering a free zone business agreement then you must be aware of the fact that different free zones have different start up procedures and fees.
Every business runs on people, and in order to hire those people you will need to provide visas’ for them. Visas are provided for all businesses however the numbers of visas issued out vary. If you entered a local partnership then you and your partner will need to work together to get the visas. The sponsor will need to apply for visas.
It is often easier to hire a business setup consultant to do the paper work for you. Consultants are an attractive option if you are new to Dubai or the UAE and not familiar with the way things work around here. Hire a consultant that has been operating in UAE for more than five years. Consultants with years of experience often know people within the offices that will push the paper work as a priority. You also eliminate long waiting lines, and collection and re-submissions of documents.
When doing research and picking out locations don’t make decisions based on paper. Always visit the physical location and go through all the motions of the business by building yourself an activity map. See if everything will work, is there enough parking space, outlets, garbage services? Conduct a full check list, after all you are investing your hard earned money and time into the business, so do it right!
Henri was born and raised in Lebanon and studied at University of Saint Joseph. He is an avid fan of extreme sports and RC car racing. He is fluent in French and Arabic, he has traveled extensively throughout the region and Europe for both for leisure and business.