How to Start a Small Business in Dubai?

A Guide to Starting a Small Business in Dubai

Have you ever considered starting up your own business venture? In hopes of catching up with multiple successful people across the globe? Success stories of Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates. They have all shared their own distinct challenges and hurdles along their path to fame. An idea of having to build your very own profitable business empire. Herein, take that first step out of your comfort zone by establishing a small business setup as your initial journey towards wealth and glory. And where else would you consider exploring various business potentials? Other than the famous country known as the land of opportunities itself: the UAE. With highly competitive business industries continuing to promote the local GDP of the country from last year’s $ 432 billion records. How to Start a Small Business in Dubai? It is now easier for Starting a Small Businesses in Dubai to establish by locals and ex-pats alike.

However, the country has set up different business areas. In its efforts to facilitate the better domestic economic growth of its local industries as well as provide a more streamlined process of managing the country’s diverse business sectors. These are seen in the formations of Free Zone and Mainland areas within the UAE. Hence, opening up a small business here in this land of posh and luxury requires an understanding of these two divides.

In taking the Mainland areas of UAE as the topic of discussion, you can take Dubai as a prime example. Opening a business in Dubai requires due precedence of its registration and approval processes. Incorporating a Dubai Mainland company is categorized into three main categories. Depending on your preferred business need, each with its own due processes to adhere to:

1) Professional Services Firm (Civil)

Civil services comprising of medical practitioners, legal attorneys, and other professional services are some of the permissible businesses allowed established in Dubai Mainland with 100% foreign ownership. These are essential components that provide sufficient welfare for the local community. hence it requires to be provided by the local authorities. However, a civil business firm needs to have:

A Local Service Agent – to manage administrative and legal obligations for the company to adhere to local laws

2) Company Branch (Offshore Companies)

Parent companies from any offshore or any of the Free Zone can opt to go for another branch company set up in Dubai Mainland pertaining to the approvals and legal authorizations from:

  • Department of Economic Development (DED) – registration and business license process via their e-portal.
  • Ministry of Economy – Company shareholder details and authorizations.
  • Local Service Agent – To accommodate the company’s filing process and administrative duties in due to local regulations.

Furthermore, the business opportunities are severely limited to which disapproves any business activities related to:

  • Trading
  • Public restaurants and cafes
  • Hajj and Umrah services
  • Employment services
  • Commercial activities

3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The most common form of business, LLCs are the alternative due to their flexibility in regard to common regulations. Having LLC as your business entity in Dubai Mainland. You are now allowed to participate in any of its business industries. Also, expand towards other Mainland in the UAE.

Nevertheless, LLCs will require:

  • Ministry of Economy – UAE national recognized as the MAJORITY shareholder (minimum of 51% shares) of the company.
  • Local Sponsor– Dependant on the Ministry of Economy’s approval

Having the above matters stated, it is conclusively not as easy as people would have thought in regards to the processes of a small company formation in the UAE. However, Free Zone areas provide much more leniency and are more accommodating toward local and foreign business investors.

Relating to business setup in Free Zone areas, any potential business allows having a 100%-owned company by a foreign individual.

Still, the advantages that you will get by Starting a Small Business in Dubai Free Zone areas:

  • Full company ownership
  • Completely free of taxes
  • No corporate tax charges
  • No income tax charges
  • Low operational charges

As we refer to all the points above, these are the current business environment that needs to look upon for a company’s formation in Dubai. However, these consider initial annoyances compared to the potential gains forecasted to be received in the running of your business.

Furthermore, having a corporate sponsor in Dubai tied to your growing start-up company will undoubtedly benefit your business as a whole. Upon a mutual agreement, you may save up those limited resources early on by focusing on other key factors instead of the branding and marketing side of the business. These are among the key aspects needed to be looked upon for any company formation in Dubai, UAE.

However, all these hiccups during the early stages of your company incorporation. It will certainly ease by having dedicated business setup consultants in Dubai as your company advisors, such as the Business Link UAE team.

By offering sufficient and correct advice and guidelines, our business consultant assists you with a Dubai company start-up. Business Link guarantees to be safeguarded from all the minor issues that usually plague other competing businesses in the industry. Furthermore, our PRO services in Dubai are in abundance if you are short on manpower to collate all those confidential documents and materials for your proper filing purposes, you can approach us. To know more about opening a business in Dubai costs and procedures, contact us at +971 43215227 or email at