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Steps to Starting a Business in UAE

October 13, 2021by Kate Williams

Many entrepreneurs from around the world want to do new business set up in Dubai, UAE. This is because the UAE government grants various incentives for establishing a company there. With a favorable tax environment, trading opportunities, educated workforce, access to natural & financial resources, UAE becomes an ideal place to launch a business. To Starting a Business in UAE or to know about how to start business in UAE, follow the steps below.

  • Decide Your Business Activities for Starting a Business in UAE

The first step in Starting a Business in UAE is to decide on your business activities. Your type of business activities will define the kind of license you need. Whether it’s industrial, professional, or commercial licenses, these will define the nature of your operations. The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has listed numerous activities from which you can choose.


  • Select Your Economic Zones

The niche market in the United Arab Emirates is divided into various economic zones (also called jurisdictions) like

  1. Mainland
  2. Free Zone
  3. Offshore

These economic zones have their own set of laws & regulations about the business setup. Selecting a jurisdiction for your business depends on your business activity & business requirements.

  • Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Deciding on the legal form or company structure is a crucial decision when it comes to Starting a Business in UAE. It sets the tone & structure for dealing with profits & losses & how you would organize your resources & assets. So, decide the legal form for your business during the starting phases of planning itself which will aid you to provide a layout for your firm. Given below are some of the company structure to register your business.

  1. Sole proprietorship
  2. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  3. Holding Companies
  4. Branch of Foreign Companies, GCC companies & Free zone company
  5. Local Company branch
  • Register a Business Name for Starting a Business in UAE

Choose your company name & it should reflect the nature of your business. There are some things to bear in mind when naming a business in the UAE. However, if it is a branch of another company, there must be specific rules to follow when it comes to the company name.

  • Get Approval for Your Business Name & Activity

The DED must approve the business name & your chosen business activity before you can move ahead & start the process of your company set up in the UAE. Once you receive the approvals then you can submit documents to apply for your business license in UAE.

  • Apply for The License & Register Your Company

Licensing & business registration is simultaneous process, but the whole process of documentation & approvals goes through different stages. You will get the approvals from the respected authorities as demanded by DED. Documents needed might vary based on the activity & nature of your business.

  • Find a Local sponsor

Starting a Business in the UAE mainland, it is essential to find a local sponsor (can be an individual or a company) as an associate who will hold 51% shares of your company. A local sponsor can execute supervisory powers and can serve as the service assistant for your company. For free zones, taking a local sponsor can benefit & take the business forward efficiently. Finding a local partner is the most difficult task when setting up your business in the UAE. With the help of the right business setup services in Dubai, you can make it easy.

  • Get Your External Approvals & Draft Your MOA

Based on your business activity, the DED may request additional approvals from other non-government or government agencies. For example, getting approvals from banks, municipalities, embassies & so on. The MOA (Memorandum of Association) is a kind of legal document that defines external activities in a business with its stakeholders, service providers & vendors. The MOA should be drafted concerning your business interests & the UAE government’s mandates.

  • Secure the Premises

Once you have done all your legal procedures, then you can settle your company location. You can search for your offices based on size, cost, location, etc.

  • Get the Initial Approval

Before getting your trade license, you will get the initial approval from the DED & this signifies that the government doesn’t object to you introducing your business in UAE. Once you receive this, you can proceed with the application procedures.

  • Collect the Business Licence

After completing the above-mentioned steps, the investor can collect the business license from service centers of the economic departments or through their websites.

Gearing Up for Starting a Business in UAE with Connect Services Middle East!

Setting up a business in Dubai is a challenging task. It involves planning, investigating, budgeting, & many more. If you need to set up a company in Dubai, UAE, you need the right guidance. When it comes to new business set up in Dubai Connect Services Middle East is the name you can rely on. We have years of experience in company formation in Dubai & offer complete solutions for your business setup in Dubai right from visa applications to all the essential government tasks. We can handle it all, putting you set free to walk on with your business and Contact us for enquiry regarding Company Formation in Dubai     |     PRO Services in Dubai    |   Business Setup in Dubai 

Business Setup Company in Dubai   |   Business Setup in Dubai Mainland    |   Business Setup in Ajman

Kate Williams

Kate is the Global Strategy Director at Connect Group. She is specialized in business setup in dubai , international business expansion and employee relocation. She studied in Southampton (United Kingdom) and moved to the UAE in 2014.

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