Most Important Notes When Starting a Business in Dubai

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Joey Franklin
Your avatar
Joey Franklin
Most Important Notes When Starting a Business in Dubai

Dubai is the fastest-growing city in the world, with a population of more than 2.8 million people and an annual growth rate of 5%. This makes it one of the most attractive markets for businesses today. It's also full of opportunities as industries are booming such as tourism, real estate, and oil exploration.

However, when starting your business in Dubai you should be aware that there are some requirements that need to be met before opening a shop including registering with Dubai Municipality Chamber (DMC), getting a commercial license from DMC or licensing authority if applicable, registering at customs & excise department to import goods into UAE by either paying duties or through free trade zones which have lower tariffs on imported goods among other things like accounting and taxation requirements set by the UAE government. There can be a possibility that starting in a free trade zone means laws of commercial registration and taxation may not apply to businesses operating from such zones.

There are many advantages for doing business in Dubai (or UAE as a whole) including having a strong legal system, tax incentives, absence of national income tax on businesses which helps make it a favourable place for businesses.

Dubai is one of the most popular places for investors due to its booming economy, great foreign investment policies and wealth management system followed by the government which can help you grow your business if you know how to manage it well. Here are some tips that might be useful when starting your business in Dubai:

The world is now a global village and businesses can no longer ignore having their presence in the Middle East. Arab world offers growth opportunities that are not available or limited elsewhere on the globe. In UAE, Dubai is the centre of business activities because it's located at an intersection of three continents; Asia Pacific, Europe, and Africa which makes it easy to import and export products to and from Dubai.

• Make sure you are familiar with business laws (commercial, tax laws) of UAE before starting a business in the region as these may differ from one country to another within the Arab world.

• It is highly recommended not to be complacent or take things for granted when dealing with local authorities especially the Dubai Municipality Chamber (DMC) which is in charge of registering businesses as well as issuing commercial licenses and permits. Be sure to follow up on all your business registrations with DMC otherwise you will suffer penalties or fines for operating without a license.

• It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to register a Dubai company, or longer if the company name has already been registered to someone else. DMC needs a local sponsor who will be responsible for the company's registration, business activities as well as errors and omissions in procedures laid out by the UAE government. This local sponsor has to have an active UAE citizenship or legal residence status but does not necessarily have to be residing in Dubai.

• Registering your company with DMC doesn't give you the license to how to start a business in Dubai. Getting a commercial license from DMC or licensing authority (if applicable) is also important.

• Before looking for appropriate office space, it's best that you check with Dubai municipalities if your intended location falls within their jurisdiction. You wouldn't want them to surprise you later on with unexpected charges.

• When looking for local partners and suppliers in Dubai, it's strongly advised to conduct due diligence on them first to confirm their financial capability, trustworthiness and knowledge of the market. Do not be quick in making business decisions as such haste can cause unnecessary monetary losses or failure of business deals.

Dubai is a business-friendly environment and it's considered a great place for new international businesses. Dubai is considered the gateway to the Middle East because of its presence in countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain; countries that are not open to western businesses except through Dubai which makes Dubai an ideal location for doing business with other Arab nations.

• Check if your business idea fits one of the free zones or economic zones in Dubai. They provide numerous benefits to companies operating from such zones.

• Start doing business with existing local businesses first before venturing into the market directly. This can help you get an understanding of how your products and services are being used by locals as well as learn about the competition. It will also help you find potential local partners with whom you can do business.

• Be sure to research your target market to know their needs, demands and interests. Keep a track of the latest trends in consumer behaviour as well as regional developments that may affect your sales and marketing strategies.

• Always conduct due diligence on potential suppliers before making the purchase. This is a vital step in your firm's success as a product can be good but the supplier might not always be reliable.

There are over 500,000 expatriates residing in Dubai and this brings an influx of international workers from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. that work for western companies. There are also many businesses set up by westerners, mainly British in Dubai which takes the number of western firms to over 5,000.

• Western companies operating in Dubai should focus on exporting their products and services to surrounding countries like Pakistan and India among others rather than trying to compete with local businesses selling similar products at a much cheaper rate. Also avoid advertising your business as "Made in America" among Arab customers.

Dubai is one of the world's busiest and largest cargo ports in the Middle East, handling over 65 million tons of goods a year which makes it an ideal location for setting up a shipping business.

• Dubai has an efficient public transportation system comprising of transit buses, metro railways as well as taxis that you can use to help your customers get to and from their destinations.

• Tax-wise, it's advisable for you to get your company registered in the UAE rather than Dubai as there are no corporate income taxes or duties imposed on companies limited by shares. VAT is the only tax that applies for goods and services sold in all emirates of UAE apart from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

• It's important for you to choose the right legal and accounting firms in Dubai as they can help your business grow. They make sure that all business transactions are legally binding, give proper advice on taxes and savings, provide necessary financial statements and reports as well as ensure tax compliance through audit services. These firms also assist with the opening of bank accounts and corporate banking.

• Always make sure to prioritize your customers as they are the foundation on which your business will stand. You need to listen to their needs, address their issues promptly and ensure that you always meet or exceed their expectations for them to experience good customer service from your firm. This can help you reduce costs, build customer loyalty and increase your business's bottom line.

With a gross domestic product of over $360 billion, UAE is one of the largest economies in the Middle East region and Dubai contributes almost 20% to this GDP. Dubai has attracted huge foreign investments by multinational corporations as well as entrepreneurs from all across the world which makes it an ideal place for setting up a business.

• Being one of the seven emirates in UAE, Dubai has a population of over 2 million out of the total 10 million population spread across all seven emirates. Tourism is one of Dubai's major revenue generators accounting for almost 30% of its GDP and it employs 3 out of every 1000 people in Dubai which makes it one of the largest employers in the city.


Conclusion paragraph: It's no secret that Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, and for good reason. With a population of more than 2.8 million people and an annual growth rate of 5%, it stands as one of the most attractive markets today for businesses looking to grow their footprint internationally. There are also plenty of opportunities within industries such as tourism, real estate, oil exploration--more so than ever before thanks to new policies making foreign ownership easier on these sectors specifically. But starting your own business there comes with its challenges too; you'll need to be mindful about how competitive everything is (from labour costs to rent) while still being able to find ways around those obstacles in order to succeed.

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