How to Start a Business in the UAE
The current market trends in the United Arab Emirates prove that there are plenty of opportunities from which businesses can profit and grow. This is because of its strategic location and its ability to trade with almost 67% of the world. The UAE has opened its doors to a host of businesses from around the world. This opportunity is not just restricted to well-established companies but also start-ups too. However, this country has some procedures, laws, and policies that you should know which govern the setting up businesses. Below is the guide on how to start an enterprise in the UAE:
1) Hire a Business Setup Consultant
Business startup consultants know the ins and outs of starting and running a business in the UAE. To set up a business here, you are required to register and acquire a commercial license. The business consultant will prepare all the documentation needed to register and license your venture. Also, they help you and your employees qualify for the appropriate visas.
It would be best if you also considered hiring a consulting firm since. Through these services, they will help you set up a corporate bank account. Go for a credible consultant firm to help you start a business in the UAE and connect you with local vendors for the marketing of your company products or services.
2) Look For a Local Sponsor
Any non-resident starting a business in the UAE mainland is mandated to have a local sponsor as a liaison. The mainland is a non-free zone that is regulated and licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). In this zone, you are allowed to run business with the local market as well as internationally. The partner has to be an Emirates resident. He or she will hold 51% of your business shares. This sponsor is known as a sleeping partner since he or she will not contribute anything to your business.
It would help if you found a sponsor you can trust since they hold a major stake in your business. The company or individual sponsoring your business will require a yearly retainer fee. You need to negotiate the retainer fee before making this agreement. For safety reasons, make sure the agreement is written and attested in an Emirates court.
3) Consider Setting Up In a Free Zone
Despite UAE being a business hotspot, not all locations are convenient for business. There are over 37 such zones in the UAE. They do not operate by the countries trade laws. It would be best if you considered setting up in a free zone, which allows you 100% ownership of your business. They also give you a 100% tax exemption for imports and exports. You do not need a sponsor to operate here. In this zone, you can start any business be it retail, financial or hospitality.
4) Know the Cultural Laws in the UAE
The UAE is an Islamic state, so you need to make sure you know what is acceptable. Importing of some goods such as pork, weapons, and e-cigarettes, is not allowed. You and your employees are also supposed to dress modestly in public.