Why start a business in the UAE?

Many multi-millionaires have grown their wealth by starting a business, regardless of how big or small. Whether you are an entrepreneur aspiring to build your business empire or you are already an established investor from overseas looking to expand globally, the UAE offers many benefits and incentives.

The following points show why you should choose the UAE – the heart of the Middle East – as the (new) home of your business.

One of the first few things you have to consider when starting a business are the tax laws and regulations in your chosen location. Fortunately, the UAE offers 0% corporate and personal income tax, as well as a minimal VAT rate of 5%.

In addition to these tax benefits, free zones in the UAE (special economic jurisdictions) offer customs duty exemptions on imports and exports. The UAE has over 50 free zones located across the seven emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

The UAE may have been a leader in the oil and gas industry for many years, but it’s considered an open and diverse economy, with thriving sectors such as high-technology, international tourism, real estate, manufacturing, financial services, logistics and transportation. Also, the UAE has become a home for startups and international companies, especially those who want to cut costs by shifting bases or opening an offshore division.

The country continuously flourishes, considering its stable inflow of foreign capital, high income per capita (USD 43,470 in 2019) and a high annual trade surplus. It has an economic freedom score of 76.9, ranking 14th in the 2021 Index of Economic Freedom, which measures a country’s freedom to trade, invest and do business, as well as its tax duties, judicial effectiveness and property rights.

Every entrepreneur knows that location can greatly contribute in making or breaking a business. The good thing is, the UAE is strategically located, with 1/3 of the world’s population within a 4-hour flying distance and 2/3 within 8 hours, giving you easier access to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

If you build and/or supply products to the market, the UAE has built good trading relations with China and India, two of the popular sources of raw materials that also offer limitless trading opportunities.

The UAE government has made sure that investors would find it easy to run their businesses in the country by investing in infrastructure and setting the bar high for transportation amenities (i.e. airports, ports and buses), road networks, railway system, utilities, internet speed, business centres, warehouses and office spaces.

For one, the Dubai International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports by international passenger traffic, while Jebel Ali ranks as the world’s 9th busiest port, the largest manmade harbour and the biggest and busiest port in the Middle East.

In addition, the UAE ranked 7th in quality of roads infrastructure, and 12th in infrastructure pillar, as per the Global Competitiveness Report in 2019. Hence, if you’re setting up a company in the UAE and you’re looking for a location that wouldn’t disappoint your potential clients and would make working more comfortable for your employees at the same time, the Emirates got you covered.

Employees are assets to a business, and with the UAE population’s literacy rate of 92.5%, the country’s workforce can surely deliver. The UAE is also a favourable country for employees and employees alike since it provides competitive wages and, as mentioned, has 0% tax on personal income. Even people from different parts of the world fly to the UAE to work. The country hosts over 200 nationalities who have made the UAE their home, enjoying a high GDP per capita and a high quality of life in one of the safest countries in the world.

So, if you are looking for people who can help your business grow, you can rest assured that the UAE has a wide and diverse talent pool for various skill and knowledge requirements.

Despite having federal rules for setting up a company in the UAE, each of its seven emirates has their own set of additional regulations and legal procedures for establishing a business. Their common ground, however, is that the procedures can be done quickly, and there’s minimal to zero paperwork involved. The processes for registration and licensing are also very straightforward. For example, setting up a free zone company can take only around seven working days.

The UAE allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to own and operate 100% of their businesses in free zones, as well as to send back 100% of their capital and profits to their home countries. However, in the mainland, the UAE requires companies to have a local sponsor or a local service agent for some types of businesses.

Business setup specialists like ExpressPRO offer a unique corporate nominee sponsorship service, which allows foreign investors and entrepreneurs to retain 100% beneficial ownership, as well as 100% control of their operations and finances.

The mid-year 2020 Crime Index by Numbeo ranked the UAE as the third safest country in the world. This is a great advantage for businesses, especially if the enterprise requires 24/7 operations, or if your employees need to work at night as well. Also, the UAE has always had a politically stable environment, which has a huge impact on the economy because of its influence on investor and consumer confidence. Furthermore, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch listed the UAE as one of the most immune countries to political risks in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa in 2020.

The business atmosphere in the UAE is considered as one of the most favourable in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. In fact, the country ranked 22 in the overall Best Countries rankings by the U.S. News in 2020, placing it ahead of some powerful countries such as Ireland, Russia and Greece. The list considered various metrics including agility, entrepreneurship, openness for business, quality of life, power, cultural influence, movers, social purpose, adventure and heritage. This alone speaks volumes about the advantages you can get by setting up a business in UAE.

Are you determined to start a company in Dubai or any other region in the UAE? Great! Reaching out to ExpressPRO will make the business setup, registration process, and licensing quick and affordable. If you’re already done with the startup phase and you need help in expanding your business, we’re also here to assist and provide business support services.