Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur but don’t know where to begin with? ‘Invest in Dubai,’ a new platform launched by the Dubai Economy and Tourism Department (DET), allows users to not only learn about the business environment in Dubai but also to set up their business entirely online.
Here’s all you need to know about using the platform to start your own business.
How to set up a business?
Users can find a list of DET-registered incubators and accelerators on the ‘Invest in Dubai’ website – www.invest.dubai.ae – which can assist them to develop their business ideas. These are some of the platforms that provide support and help to start-ups, according to Invest in Dubai:
- Scale2Dubai – a global entrepreneurship programme by District 2020.
- The Hamdan Innovation Incubator (HI2) – is an incubator by Dubai SME, DET’s small and medium enterprise division.
- Re-Urban Studio.
- The Co-Dubai.
- The Higher College of Technology-Dubai Men’s Campus.
- Business Incubator – Gems Modern Academy Schools.
- British Centers for Business.
- Amity University Dubai.
- ALG Incubator.
- The website also has a section dedicated to explaining how an entrepreneur can lawfully crowdfund in Dubai and seek strategic investments from ‘Invest in Dubai’ partners.
Can one own 100 percent of the business?
The UAE’s Commercial Companies Law was recently revised to allow foreign investors and entrepreneurs to own 100% of businesses established in the country. However, 100% ownership is not available in every industry or for every type of economic activity. If you want to start a business in the UAE that allows 100% foreign ownership, the Invest in Dubai website provides a list of business activities that allow 100% foreign ownership and allows you to register a trade name and start a business without having to visit any government departments or service centers.
In Dubai, how to start a business with 100 percent foreign ownership
1. Create an account
Visit invest.dubai.ae for more information.
Click on ‘Log in’.
You can either sign up with your UAE Pass or establish an account by giving the following information:
- Full Name
- Mobile Number
- Email address
- Date of Birth
- Emirates ID number
- Emirates ID expiry Date
- Passport number
- Passport issue and expiry date
- Home address
The program will ask you to create a password for your Invest in Dubai account.
The next question is whether you want to start a business or just reserve a trade name. Choose ‘I’m looking to start a new business in Dubai.’ Select the second option if you merely want to reserve a trade name for the time being.
2. Choose your business activity
To begin the business setup process, you must first decide the industry you wish to operate in. The choices are:
- Mining and Quarrying
- Accommodation and food service activities
- Trading and services
- Social and personal services
- Transport, storage, and communication
- Extra-Territorial Org and Bodies
- Real Estate, Renting
- Health and Social Work
- Electricity, Gas, and Water
- Financial Intermediation
Choose the industry that interests you, and you’ll be given a variety of business activities in the segment. To see which ones accept foreign ownership, go to the website’s ‘Refine Results’ section and check the box labeled ‘Show only foreign ownership.
Then you’ll be shown company opportunities in the UAE that allow foreign ownership. If you select Real Estate and then select ‘Show only foreign ownership,’ you will see four options:
- Buying and selling real estate
- Commercial complex
- Outlet Mall
- Shopping center
Choose an activity and then click the blue ‘Start a business’ option.
3. Register for the business activity
After that, you’ll be guided to the next stage, which is registering the business activity with DET. Fill out ‘Initial Partner Details’ with the number of partners and their nationalities if you want to start a business with them.
- Choose a ‘business legal type’ – This is the form of legal entity that is best for your company. Sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and branch offices are examples of legal types. Only the Limited Liability Company category allows you to have 100 percent ownership.
You might not be able to select specific legal categories in some circumstances. This is because, depending on your profile, they may not be available to you. If you choose ‘buying and selling real estate as your business activity, for example, you will only be given one legal option: ‘Single Owner (LLC – SO)’. Emiratis, GCC nationals, and foreigners all fall within this category.
- Select a license type
Similarly, you will be given the option of applying for a mainland or a free zone license.
- Partner Information
Enter your partners’ information if you have any. Make sure you have their contact information, including their address, phone number, and email address, as well as their personal identification numbers (Emirates ID), passport numbers, Unified ID, and jobs in the company, as well as their ownership share %.
- Initial Approval
To proceed with various licenses, you may need an initial approval as well as an ‘Initial approval certificate’ from the applicable body, such as the municipality of Dubai Civil Defense.
- Geographical location
Enter location details such as the area in Dubai, building address, and PO Box if you have already applied for an office space.
- Legal documents
According to ‘Invest in Dubai,’ legal documents such as a Memorandum of Association between the partners or any other document required for your business activity may be required, depending on the business activity and sector.
4. Create a Trade Name
You can either create a new trade name or reserve an existing one. The system will display a transliterated version of the name in Arabic once you enter the name in English.
5. Fees and payment
The fees will be computed based on the license, legal type, and activities you are eligible for.
6. Receive your license
You will receive your final license and other necessary documentation in a digital format once you have completed the application procedure and paid the price. All documents you receive will be saved in your online dashboard’s document locker.