5 Dos for Small Business Startups in Dubai


Dubai’s authorities greatly support the development of new businesses in the emirate. As a result, more and more investors are now considering starting a new company in the City of Gold. One of the main advantages for startups in Dubai is that the emirate is very welcoming towards foreign investors.

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However, there are some conditions you need to familiarize yourself with if you want operations to go as smooth as possible. Here are the five most important Dos about starting your own small business in Dubai.

Choose Free Zone to Run 100% of Your Business

If you want to run your company without the help and interference of local partners, you would need to situate it in a Free Zone. Startups who found their companies in one of the city’s Free Zones will enjoy a full ownership and duty free customs boundaries. In addition, they will be able to found their business faster.

Find a Local Partner

However, you should also know that Free Zones have their disadvantages. For example, most of them are located in places which are not appropriate for businesses like retail shops or restaurants. Also, you may not be able to pay your rents there. If these drawbacks worry you, you should find a local sponsor. In other words, you need to partner up with an LLC business that is registered in the area. This sponsor actually becomes your business partner and takes 51% of your business. Although you won’t have a full control over your company, you will have the chance to enjoy many other opportunities. For example, your would be able to situate your business in pretty much any area in Dubai. In addition, your sponsor may help you with the local authorities if you encounter any problems.

Pick a Nice Location

We already mentioned that the location of your business is often very vital. You need to find a place where your customers can easily find and reach you. Different companies and services have different hot spots around Dubai. Therefore, you need to do some research. Also, you must sign a tenancy contract. You should make sure you have all the basics for a startup like storage and telecommunications.

Get Your Visas

Foreign investors who want to start a business in Dubai need to obtain visas for themselves and for their employees. Nearly every type of company license grants you a visa. The good news is that getting a business visa in Dubai is quite easy compared to other places in the world. That is due to the fact that the city’s advinistration is very encouraging when it comes to startups. Keep in mind that if you don’t own 100% of your company, your local partner will be the one applying for your visa. However, your sponsor may allow you to apply for visas for your employees.

Find a Business Consultant

Hiring a professional to help you up at the beginning is a very good idea, especially if you are a foreign investor with no experience in Dubai. Business consultants will not only guide you through the process, but they will also do everything that has to do with the founding of your company. In addition, these professionals are familiar with the local law and they can build you a simple startup strategy.

Starting a small business in Dubai as a foreign investor is not particularly challenging. However, it still requires some preliminary knowledge that can give you a key head start.


  1. your info with regards to local partner is incomplete. If local partner has invested 51% he becomes your business partner or else you pay him a sponsorship fee which is agreed upon with mutual understanding. Yes, by law on paper he owns 51% but in reality if he has not invested he does not own anything. Mostly local sponsors are honest and do not interfere but as five fingers are not alike one in a million will cheat the expat partner. Such incidents are rare but occur and am aware of once such case where the local sponsor has cheated the expat.


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