Small business startup in UAE

A big business starts small………………….Richard Branson.

The UAE market has high potential for private investors to set up small businesses compared to other parts of the world since expatriates make up most of the residents and entrepreneurship is encouraged across all the diverse communities living in the country.

A major economic reason the Government encourages private enterprises is that it aims to decrease dependence on the Oil & Gas sector. The UAE Vision 2021 aims to diversify the country’s economy away from oil by developing its non-oil sectors and private businesses are expected to play a major role in facilitating the transformation. The UAE’s Economic Vision specifically highlights ‘Innovation’ as a focus area with start-ups and small businesses earmarked for encouragement so that they together with other businesses can fulfill the objective of making the country a hub of advancement, a forerunner in many fields making breakthrough and setting global records.

The emphasis on innovation and technology has led to the introduction and establishment of a plethora of companies transacting business online. E-Commerce is an area which affords a high return on a competitively low investment. An excellent bandwidth that promises to leapfrog into the future of 5G ahead of other countries in the region and beyond is further assurance that online businesses will thrive if they have been well thought through and set up.

The success stories of the online business in UAE is led by Dubizzle which connects buyers and sellers of a range of products and services. Dubizzle was founded in Dubai in 2005 and allows users to advertise household items, property and job opportunities. Eight years after launching, co-founders J.C. Butler and Sim Whatley sold a majority stake to Naspers for $120m and stepped down from running its daily operations.

Another remarkable success story is Careem, an Emirati transportation network company based in Dubai, with operations in over 100 cities in 14 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. The company was valued at over $2 billion as of 2018. In March 2019, Uber acquired Careem for $3.1 Billion. As part of the deal, Careem maintains an independent brand and operates separately competing successfully with its global parent.

A more recent venture is home-grown eyewear e-commerce platform, Eyewa founded in August 2017 by Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri. From a team of 2, the team size grew to 30 in May 2019. Combining a seed round in January 2018 and the recent Series A round of $7.5 million, eyewa has raised total funding to $8.6 million. Currently, Eyewa offers contact lenses, sunglasses and prescription glasses.

The other area small businesses thrive in is the service sector which also offers a return on a low investment. With Dubai being the commercial capital of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, most of the international companies operating in the region are headquartered here. Add to that large private business houses such as Al Futtaim, Al Ghurair and Al Rostamani that have been operating for decades as trading houses, there is a large requirement for professional services that is fulfilled by small and medium companies.

These services range from Accounting to Marketing to Consulting and cover hundreds of requirements of big business, government and other SMEs.

Apart from the value service businesses add to the economy in financial terms and by providing employment, they serve to bring professionalism to businesses taking them to a higher level of global competitiveness.

While the market potential is exciting, setting up a business in UAE can be a daunting task with the number of options available. The first choice is between the various Economic Departments of the UAE and, at last count, 40 Free Zones. Within each of these sectors are numerous possibilities with varying advantages for different businesses. 

A leading service business that offers the potential business investor a promising start is the multiple service business set-up firm that combines market knowledge with market research, legal expertise with experience in tapping the myriad resources new businesses need from banking and accounting to human resource deployment. Investing in employing the services of a reputed business set-up firm with a repository of knowledge, experience and expertise is invaluable for the would-be entrepreneur in UAE.

For detailed information, professional advice, and cost-effective assistance to start a business in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE. Contact us today!


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