As one of the World’s most desired locations to invest, UAE ranks in the top leagues of most economically stable, business diverse and financially versatile countries. In the course of a decade, UAE has diversified its GDP from its oil-dependent economy and expanded several industries further down their sector to influence investment and facilitate a prosperous environment for startups, SMEs and Large Enterprises to grow. Currently UAE ranks in the 21st spot as the world’s easiest places to incorporate a company set up according to 2018’s index. With several new projects and schemes on the pipeline, 100% tax exemption, ownership privileges as well as the world Expo 2020 just around the corner, investing in a company setup in UAE can yield sound returns for many years to come.
Starting a business in UAE can be divided in to 5 major steps, each of which are as equally important as the next. Any form of company that incorporates in the UAE must declare its activity, company structure, trade name, legal form and office space.
Any business that plans to establish a company presence in UAE must first declare its activities. This includes the specific sector where the company’s operations will take place. For instance, a business belonging the media sector will need a license that fits its needs as a media company. This classifies the license type such commercial or professional license.
Second step is choosing the right jurisdictions as a business vehicle. UAE supports 3 major types of company structures in UAE, Mainland LLC, Free zone and Offshore. Mainland company setup allows fast incorporation for consultancy businesses with the exception of 51% shares to a local Emirate. Free zone businesses are a great option for trading businesses with 100% ownership, however, limits operations only inside the zone. Offshore companies are legal tools for specific business needs, mostly for asset protection and international fund transactions. Selecting the right jurisdiction can mean a great deal of specialized benefits that dedicated zones offer to specific business activities. A zones that is solely based for creative business activities often allow special benefits for creative businesses.
Trade name is imperative for pursuing legal status of your business and protecting your intellectual property as per UAE’s laws. Trade name plays a significant role in propagating a company’s corporate identity and building a strong digital footprint in the local market.
A legal form establishes how the company is incorporated, ownership is distributed and how its tends to conduct its operations. A sole proprietorship for example is owned by one individual only where as a joint liability company or JLC is owned by 2 or more owners. Other legal forms include simple limited partnership, joint venture, public joint stock company, private joint stock company, limited liability company or partnership limited with shares.
Finding an office space is the final stage of incorporation. This involves buying or leasing an appropriate physical space to head the business and hire staff. Most offices can be leased in affordable prices and flexible plans in UAE. investors can also go for serviced or furnished office space in UAE to get preinstalled facilities and added services.