Main Popular Directions for Opening a Business in the UAE

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Popular Business Directions in the UAE

Many budding entrepreneurs as well as medium and large business owners choose the United Arab Emirates as a platform for development. This is due to many favorable factors that promote advancement for business owners among both local residents and foreign entrepreneurs. However, to take an effective position in the local market, it is important to study the most relevant business directions in the UAE.

Advantages of Starting a Business in the UAE

Entrepreneurs choose the UAE not only for startups but also as a part of the geographical expansion of their company to enter the international market. At the same time, business registration in the United Arab Emirates is considered by owners of companies that have fallen under economic and political sanctions. Meanwhile, doing business in the country is beneficial for foreign entrepreneurs due to several stimulating factors.

Presence of Free Zones

Depending on the business activity plans, you can open a business in the UAE on the mainland or in a free economic zone. Free zones offer favorable conditions for foreign owners, such as tax benefits, the possibility of full foreign management, and operation without the involvement of local specialists. Moreover, you can choose a free trade zone specific to your business activity.

Government Support

The state actively stimulates the development of the domestic economy, which is reflected not only in organizational and legal aspects of opening a company in the UAE but also in the manner of interaction with local regulatory bodies. Simultaneously, the authorities facilitate the attraction of foreign capital by organizing international platforms for finding investors and partners, as well as industry exhibitions and specialized clusters within certain sectors. This is particularly noticeable in the field of scientific and technological developments and innovations.

Geographical Location

The advantageous location at the intersection of Europe and Asia makes the UAE an attractive platform for entering the international market. Developed logistics and the availability of all types of transportation facilitate interaction with foreign partners for businesses related to manufacturing or sales of goods. This also takes into account the multinationality of the country's population: this is important for hiring staff or finding counterparts. Often, this factor becomes decisive when launching educational projects, as working in the UAE requires highly qualified personnel.

Financial Stability

When registering a business in the United Arab Emirates, it is necessary to open an account in a local bank. This provides advantages for foreign businessmen both in conducting activities within the UAE and in performing financial operations beyond its borders. For example, transaction confidentiality and a stable cost of banking services regardless of the company's turnovers. For legal entities, local banks offer fixed rates for services with comprehensive client manager support.

Simplified Company Registration Procedure

The duration of the business opening procedure in the UAE depends on the specific chosen industry jurisdiction. In most cases, it involves two stages: application for preliminary approval of the company's name and verification of the founders' documents by the authorities controlling the relevant niche. Thus, the average company registration period ranges from 2 to 30 days depending on the requirements for the chosen activity within a particular emirate. Usually, the process extends to the maximum period when the owner needs to rent a physical office or warehouse in the UAE, open a corporate bank account, and obtain additional permissions from regulatory bodies, such as the Dubai municipality. On average, the duty cost is around 20,000 dirhams.

What’s Better - Buying an Existing Business or Starting from Scratch

Before launching a business, it is necessary to consider all current and potential nuances. Primarily, the company type, which is chosen based on internal or international activities, the need for headquarters, or other premises within a specific emirate, affects the business format. Thus, in the UAE, you can register a company in a Free Zone or a full-fledged enterprise. In some cases, it is advisable to purchase an existing business, but here it is essential to study information about the company's founders, the need to involve local citizens in business management, and information on the possibility of changing or adding the type of activity.

Popular Business Sectors

Not only budding entrepreneurs face the challenge of choosing a business direction in the UAE: many large businessmen, during geographical scaling, open branches of international enterprises in the country or register a company from scratch. Formally, all commercial activity directions are developed in the United Arab Emirates, but it's always necessary to consider the specific niche for opening a business in the UAE.

Information and Educational Business

The main difficulty in registering a company in the field of education in the UAE lies in obtaining the appropriate license and permission from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority. At the same time, you can open both online and offline businesses. Depending on the chosen jurisdiction, approval from regulatory bodies is required - the UAE Department of Education and local authorities. For example, in Dubai, additional permission from the Emirate's Ministry of Education is required. The license type for educational and information business is determined based on the training format: pre-school education, additional education, professional and qualification improvement programs.

IT and New Technologies

The government of the United Arab Emirates supports the development of the scientific and technical sector and IT developments not only in terms of simplified startup launches but also by organizing special venture funds to attract foreign capital. Therefore, many entrepreneurs in the field of new technologies use the UAE as a platform for business registration and investor search, although the actual activity is conducted in other countries. The state stimulates the development and promotion of new technologies by launching industry forums or competitions. Within many of Dubai's free zones, scientific and technical clusters operate permanently, allowing young scientists and developers to interact within one platform and create joint projects.


With the imposition of economic and political sanctions, the significance of the local transport hub increases, and hence the prospects for business in the logistics sector. Thanks to the advantageous geographical position, all types of cargo transportation are available in the UAE – road, air, sea, and rail transports. At the same time, the state supports the sector and facilitates the opening of separate logistical towns in free economic zones, where simplified schemes of multimodal transportation and temporary cargo storage, as well as customs clearance and work with a customs broker, are in operation.


Since launching or running a business requires entrepreneurs to comprehensively study the economy's features and legal aspects of the state, many turn to intermediaries and choose consulting companies to accompany transactions with individuals and legal entities. Consulting services are relevant in all areas but require significant involvement in local administrative orders. Therefore, when launching a business in the consulting segment, it is better to involve local specialists who guarantee not only quality but also quick results.


The tourism business is one of the most popular directions in the United Arab Emirates. Its development is also supported by state aid: for example, the Dubai government positions the emirate as the "City of the Future" and facilitates the development of the tourism sector. At the same time, the tourism business in many emirates is closely linked to the restaurant industry.


As the economy of the UAE grows, there is a need for expanding residential and commercial construction, so the construction business is also popular here. However, it requires not only adherence to all architectural and construction standards but also ownership of modern technologies and offering current solutions. For effective promotion in the UAE construction market, the company must establish itself as a reliable business partner and cooperate

with verified contractors and experts in the field of innovative technologies. However, a company in the construction segment can also offer auxiliary services for construction.

Service Sector

Dubai is renowned for its high level of service. Thanks to the constant increase in population and high demands on service personnel, the service sector needs highly qualified specialists. In most cases, the service sector is adjacent to consulting, but it works not with legal, but with physical persons. The peculiarity of opening a business in the service sector is associated with the need for an appropriate license. At the same time, it is important to focus not only on current activities but also on plans for scaling the business and the possibility of attracting local specialist employees.

What to Consider When Choosing an Industry

Opening a business in the United Arab Emirates goes through several stages from business planning to trademark registration and payment of all necessary duties. However, the very first step is choosing a relevant niche. Here, it is advisable to base the choice on the characteristics of your own current activities and business ideas, comparing them with the level of consumer demand in the UAE market. It is also important to rely on other factors:

- Plans for company scaling - necessary not only for forming a business plan but also for official business registration and choice of jurisdiction. For example, if the owner plans to operate only in an online format, it would suffice to open a company in a free zone;

- Sales mechanics - when opening a production or offline trading or e-commerce company, it is important to consider sales channels, optimal shipping schemes, customs duty volumes, etc.;

- Attracting specialists and counterparts - due to the development of the UAE's economy, competition is rising in most business sectors. Therefore, for effective market penetration, it is crucial to offer high-quality goods or services, and hence, work with qualified personnel;

- The possibility of conducting specific activities in a Muslim country - when local trademark registration is necessary, it's important to consider local culture and traditions. For example, the production and sale of alcoholic beverages are restricted in the country and strictly controlled.

For international companies, some emirates have additional conditions for company registration. This is mainly related to the local trademark registration if it was previously registered in a country not part of the international Madrid Agreement.

The procedure for registering a business in the United Arab Emirates does not take much time but requires step-by-step planning of each stage. At the same time, it is particularly important to correctly choose the direction of business in the UAE. The Level Consulting conducts a comprehensive analysis of the domestic market and helps budding entrepreneurs to buy a business in the UAE or start their own company from scratch. Entering the UAE market, regardless of the business sector, allows immediate access to the international market and attracts not only the target audience but also foreign investors.

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