Often described as a cultural melting pot where the East forms a bridge with the West, Dubai has wonderfully cultivated a business environment that has allowed established multinationals along with budding startups to blossom and grow.
Access to more than 30 Free Zones, various offshore and mainland options give entrepreneurs and corporations a brilliant opportunity to invest in Dubai, a dynamic business hub backed by state-of-the-art infrastructure and governmental policy support. Dubai has made the most of its strategic geographic location and has managed to attract the businesses both from the West and the East.
Decisions to be made before setting up a business
Before a business opens operations in Dubai, there are a few steps that need to be taken to allow the company to integrate seamlessly into the UAE business environment.
Firstly, the company needs to decide in what jurisdiction they wish to establish their business- ie Free Zones or Mainland. The important difference between the two is that Free Zones allow a company benefits like 0% Corporate and Personal Tax along with 100% foreign ownership with a caveat of working with local mainland companies in order to trade within the UAE. Whereas, on the other hand, establishing a Mainland business gives the company freedom and flexibility to directly trade within the UAE market with some restrictions to full foreign ownership.
Finally, the business also needs to apply for the requisite approvals to commence operations. A Free Zone company would need to attain their licenses and approvals from the relevant Free Zone authority. On the other hand, a company setting up a Mainland business would need to obtain from the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
Best locations for your business
Here are some of the best locations in Dubai for you business to set up shop-
1) Sheikh Zayed Road
Often given the title as the ‘most famous road in UAE’, Sheikh Zayed Road is the flagship of the UAE real estate success story. Home to some of the most recognizable buildings in the country like Dubai World Trade Center, Duja Tower & Emirates Towers, this location is the creme-de-la creme of real estate in the UAE.
Modernity blends with tradition in the most organic manner in the Deira region of Dubai. Littered with traditional businesses in the old Souks of Dubai, trade is literally in the very DNA of this area. An advantageous location that connects Old Dubai and New Dubai, Deira is sure to give business a big spotlight.
3) Jebel Ali Free Zone
Located in Western Dubai, Jebel Ali is one of the largest Free Zones in Dubai. An ideal location for business pertaining to the field of logistics, warehousing, real estate and property. Jebel Ali Free Zone, or JAFZA as it is known for short, is already home to more than 8700 global companies.
4) Dubai Airport Free Zone
Located in the premises of the Dubai International Airport, DAFZA or Dubai Airport Free Zone is spread over an area of 696,000 square meters and is home to more than 2000 international businesses. This location is ideal for companies from the IT, Telecommunications, pharmaceutical and cosmetics, engineering and luxury items sector.
5) Meydan Free Zone
Enjoying a strategic location in the Emirate of Dubai, Meydan Free Zone (Meydan FZ) offers small and large businesses a great opportunity to indulge in more than 1500 business activities. Located 15 mins from the Dubai International Airport, Meydan FZ gives entrepreneurs an option of economical pricing packages and easy formation procedures.
6) Dubai Investments Park
A group of two investment parks, namely- Dubai Investment Park 1 & Dubai Investment Park 2 sprawling over 5683 acres, was established in 1997 as a mixed-use development zone that contains commercial, industrial and residential areas. A benchmark in mixed-use projects across the Middle-East, businesses with large scale operations and staff can easily consider this zone for housing and business purposes.
7) Al Quoz Industrial Area
Specialized in Warehousing, Al Quoz is a stretch of land located between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road in Dubai. One of the oldest industrial areas that Dubai has to offer, Al Quoz’s location in a central part of the city along with economical tariffs for renting office spaces makes it an attractive option for new businesses planning to commence operations in Dubai.