‘Low-cost’ and ‘Dubai’ don’t seem to go together at first glance. After all, the emirate is a technological marvel, more than deserving of its status as one of the world’s most prestigious business and tourist hubs.
But, in fact, plenty can be achieved out here on a budget. Over 90% of Dubai’s businesses are SMEs, with many bootstrapping their way to success. If you want to join them, keep reading to find out how to get up and running with a low-cost business idea. We’ll be looking at these areas:
- Advantages of starting a low-cost business in Dubai
- Steps to set up a low-cost business in Dubai
- Tips to minimise costs during the business setup process
- How Worldwide Formations can help
When you’re ready to get started, get in touch with Worldwide Formations for a personalised quote.
Advantages of starting a low-cost business in Dubai
Thanks to its time-tested processes and welcoming business environment, Dubai is one of the best places in the world to start a low-cost business. When you trade out here, you can take advantage of the emirate’s strategic location, business-friendly government policies, skilled workforce, great infrastructure and growing demand.
Strategic location and global connections
Dubai is well connected by land, sea and air to some of the world’s largest markets and leading business hubs.
Situated at the heart of the Middle East, the emirate is perfectly placed to trade with Europe, Asia and North Africa, while two international airports put two-thirds of the global population within eight hours of flying time.
Favourable government policies and tax structure
The UAE remains one of the few countries to levy 0% tax on corporate and personal income. VAT is also low at just 5%. Custom tax exemption and other advantages are also available to free zone companies.
On top of this, Dubai is home to numerous private and government-funded incubator, accelerator and funding initiatives designed to help businesses launch and grow.
Access to a skilled workforce and modern infrastructure
Dubai’s rulers have a long-held ambition to build the smartest city in the world. And, already ranking first in the Middle East and 18th globally in the recent Digital Cities Index, they are well on track to achieving this aim.
As well as world-leading infrastructure, the emirate also benefits from a large and highly skilled talent pool. The UAE’s workforce ranked first in the Global Skills Report 2022 which measures competence levels in key categories such as entrepreneurship, strategy, operations and management.
Growing demand for various services and products
Dubai’s growing international population and concerted effort to diversify its economy away from oil and gas are driving demand for a wide range of goods and services.
Hundreds of sectors are in ascendance out here across diverse industries, including retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, logistics, travel, technology, healthcare, hospitality and many more.
Steps to set up a low-cost business in Dubai
The first thing to do before embarking on the business formation process in Dubai is to get in touch with the team at Worldwide Formations. After a short consultation to understand your business and its requirements, we’ll guide you through the following process.
Step 1: Outlining your business activities
First, you will need to clearly set out any business activities you wish to undertake. Your business activities can determine the type of license and setup that you require. So, it’s important to clearly lay out your plans at the very beginning of the process.
Step 2: Choose your company name
Next, you’ll need to choose your company name. At this stage, you will need to consider the UAE’s business naming conventions. Fortunately, there are not too many stipulations to keep in mind.
Your business name cannot be the same as one used by an existing business in the UAE. It should also not contain any blasphemous or offensive language or have any religious connotations.
Step 3: Apply for your trade license
With these decisions made, you are now ready to apply for your UAE trade license. The process will differ depending on your industry, the type of license you require and whether you choose to set up in the Dubai mainland or in a free zone.
In all cases, Worldwide Formations will manage your application on your behalf.
Step 4: Applying for visas
You’ll also need a residency visa to live and work in the UAE. This application involves a medical examination, blood test and biometric scanning for your Emirates ID.
As the holder of a UAE visa, you can also sponsor the visas of dependants such as your family or employees. Once again, Worldwide Formations can guide you through this process.
Step 5: Open a corporate bank account
Finally, you will need a corporate bank account to trade freely in the UAE. Worldwide Formations will work with you at this stage to determine the bank most suited to your needs.
Tips to minimise costs during the business setup process
From starting small to outsourcing, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down when starting a business in the UAE. Here are a few of the most effective.
Research and compare different business setups
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to company formation in Dubai. There are many license types and jurisdictions to choose from out here, and the one that’s right for you will depend on the nature of your business.
Before you commit to any, be sure to research all available options to find the most effective way forward.
Utilise cost-effective marketing strategies
A good product counts for little if you struggle to get it in front of your target audience. But the good news is, marketing your offering doesn’t have to be expensive.
Start by building a social presence to engage directly with your market. Facebook and Instagram ads can also be a great way to reach a wide audience on a limited budget. Consider localising your advertising, too, to avoid wasting your budget.
Use shared or virtual office spaces
There are a few easy ways to keep office costs down when starting a business in Dubai. You could set up in a shared workspace and pay a monthly fee for the use of certain facilities such as high-speed broadband, desk space and phone or printing services.
Another option is to use a virtual office. This way, you can get a postal address, business telephone number, discounted meeting room hire, and other support services while retaining the flexibility of working from home.
Outsource non-core tasks
Outsourcing can be a quick and easy way to add skills to your business without the expense of taking on a new hire.
By delegating admin, finance, e-commerce or anything else that is not your area of expertise, you can get peace of mind that it is in safe hands, gaining more time to focus on what you’re good at.
Network with other entrepreneurs and business owners
Word of mouth is one of the best adverts for any business – and it’s often free. So, be sure to show up at Dubai’s many coffee mornings and industry get-togethers to build your reputation and grow your brand.
Networking events also offer unmissable opportunities to collaborate, cross-sell and potentially add value to your offering.
How Worldwide Formations can help
Another simple way to avoid overspending when setting up a company in the UAE is to work with a local expert.
The team Worldwide Formations can assist with all manner of services related to business setup in Dubai. And we’ll ensure a fast, affordable and smooth service to save you both time and money.
So, whether you need help with licenses, visas, bank accounts or any other business support service, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Visit Worldwide Formations for more information and a personalised quote.