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United Arab Emirates: Tips for Setting up Your Business

It is possible to start a business in the Emirates faster than anywhere else in the Middle East. Here are some practical tips that will help you get started and overcome any obstacles.

The World Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business Report ranks the country in 31st place, far ahead of its neighbors, Bahrain (65th), Qatar (68th), or Saudi Arabia (82nd). Its strengths: the numerous free zones, the quality of infrastructure, the absence of taxes, the low import duties, and the strategic location. 

However, starting a business in the Emirates requires overcoming certain obstacles specific to the country. 

1. Don’t skimp on the initial investment

From requirements in terms of paid-up capital to the obligation to own professional premises, including license fees, entrepreneurs must reserve up to 36,730 dirhams (8,900 euros) for their annual fees, depending on the type of company they want to create.

2. Don’t rely too much on banks

Many entrepreneurs have had to dip into their woolen socks or borrow money from friends and relatives to get started. In fact, Emirati banks are reluctant to lend to startups, preferring to study the company’s performance over several years before granting a loan.

3. Know how to sell yourself seven days a week

The Emirates has one of the best internet penetration rates and have an excellent technological infrastructure, making it an ideal destination for connected startups. However, some companies, especially those relying on social media, may find it difficult to go through the registration process and obtain a license.

4. Find talent

The geographical location of the Emirates, at the crossroads of three continents, and their interaction with the rest of the world have attracted professionals from nearly 200 countries. However, bringing together the right team is sometimes an obstacle course.

5. Know how to diversify

As the UAE’s population is relatively small, large companies need to be international. But trade opportunities may differ from country to country.

Diversify yourself so that you are not dependent on a sector or region and never run after money. Instead, try to build a business that is profitable in the long run. Organize your corporate events at Ambassadors Club Dubai to gain networking opportunities and expand your business. The Emirates are at the forefront, and the competition is fierce. It is relatively easy to set up a business there, as long as it can rely on excellent infrastructure. But the environment there is very competitive. Caution is, therefore, in order.

6. Don’t wait too long to get started

Living in Dubai is expensive when you are not earning a salary. Those who set up their own business without outside investment must, therefore, have enough money in the bank to last a year.

Time matters more than money when you’re your own boss. If an entrepreneur decides to spend nine months designing an application, it’s nine months without earning anything and allowing your competitors to catch up or get ahead.

7. Do not neglect the cultural factor

You don’t do business in the Emirates as you do in your home country for several reasons. Everything is based on Muslim values, from the legal regime to the world of work. Entrepreneurs must take this into account.