“How do I start a business in Dubai?” A question as old as Dubai itself, and an answer that changes almost as often as the roads in Dubai!

ACT Pro & Business Services has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs set up their businesses here in Dubai and we can tell you one thing—there is no one answer to this question!

The reason for this is that there are several factors you need to consider first, such as: type of service you would like to offer, desired location for your business, type of ownership, and many more. This is basically why you cannot find a definite template to follow because there are different policies for each and you would have to discuss these terms with a professional.

Now, if you think you are ready to bring that million-dollar idea to life, it is important that you do the following:

1. Understand the city of Dubai

UAE is a melting pot of cultures and each of these cultures has had a massive influence on the business style and processes within the government. At 44 years, the country still is young and is on a constant quest to improve its public services.

With the progressive thinking of the government, the UAE has sustained a rapid growth since its establishment; and it is important for businesses to keep up with the country’s development to stay relevant. A better understanding of the city will not only assist you in setting up but will also help you once your business starts its operations.

2. Know the different processes involved

The UAE offers aspiring entrepreneurs the choice to set up under different legal forms. Every set up has its own set of requirements. For instance, a limited liability company (LLC) with a foreign investor may only be set up in partnership with a local sponsor who, on paper, owns 51% of the business. It may seem like too high a risk and an unfavorable set up for people unfamiliar with the different procedures in Dubai. However, this business model has worked successfully for many years. To safeguard your interests, it is important that you find yourself a trustworthy business partner and to seek the advice of a consultant who can administer the contractual agreements.

The emergence of various free zones has also allowed foreign investors to set up businesses in Dubai with 100% ownership. However, these businesses may only operate within the free zone boundaries and are generally limited to performing activities as listed on their licenses. 

There is a wealth of information available online about setting up a business in Dubai with different steps to follow, but only when you go through the process yourself do you realize that you may have missed an integral step. One can easily be overwhelmed by the different requirements, rules, and regulations here in Dubai; which is why hiring a consultant would be an advantage for you to understand the different processes involved and assist you in setting up your company. This will ultimately allow you to focus more on much important aspects of your business by saving time and money.

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