Steps, Challenges, and Solutions to Starting a Business in Dubai

Start Business in Dubai - AKW Consultants


With its entrepreneur-friendly laws and regulations as well as government incentives, Dubai has created an enticing ecosystem for the establishment businesses, attracting entrepreneurial talents worldwide. The UAE’s “Fifty Economic Plan“, for example, outlines a visionary framework for economic growth. With a strategic government initiative, spanning from 2021 to 2030, that aligns with the interests of business owners and entrepreneurs, many have set their sights on setting up a business in the UAE. In this blog post we will explore the steps it takes to start a business in the most popular of the seven emirates: Dubai. We also delve into the challenges one can face during this process and their possible solutions.

The Process

First and foremost, when deciding to set up a business in the UAE, one must decide between setting up in a free zone or the mainland as the processes for each vary. We covered the finer details of what the key considerations and differences between setting up businesses in free zones and mainland are in a previous blog, but once the decision is made, below would be the steps that follow:

Free Zone:

  1. Determine Nature of Business Activity
  2. Legal Structure of Company
  3. Register Trade Name
  4. Select Business Space and Location
  5. Obtain Initial Approval
  6. Registration and Fees Payment


  1. Identify Nature of Business Activity
  2. Determine Company Legal Structure
  3. Register Trade Name
  4. Apply for Initial Approval
  5. Create Memorandum of Association or Local Service Agent
  6. Choose Business Location
  7. Apply for Additional Government Approvals
  8. Submit Required Documents
  9. Pay Fees and Collect License
  10. Register with Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Ministry of Economy has online portals for these processes and, for the most part, they can be completed online. However, these services should be used after careful consideration and preparations to avoid rejections and complications. Many who are not familiar with the business landscape of the UAE risk running into these complications and challenges. In the next section we discuss some of them.

Challenges Faced When Setting Up a Business In Dubai

  1. The Right License: Acquiring the right license can be time-consuming and may require in-person verifications in certain cases.
  2. Legal Processes: Entrepreneurs must navigate complex legal structures, each of which provide different benefits and advantages or have different requirements.
  3. Company Structuring and Taxes: Navigating taxation laws for the best business structure is crucial yet complicated.
  4. Banking Complexities: Corporate banking and financial compliance can be intricate and require a lot of paperwork.
  5. Talent Acquisition and HR: Attracting and retaining talent requires understanding local labour laws.
  6. Culture: Understanding local business etiquette is crucial when negotiating or overcoming challenges.
  7. Locations That Matter: Identifying the ideal business location is a multifaceted process that could make or break your business.
  8. Network & Connections: Building a business network from scratch can be challenging.

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Your Solutions

In the face of these challenges, engaging a business strategy advisor like AKW Consultants becomes paramount. Business strategy advisories serve as a comprehensive guide, addressing each challenge with tailored solutions:

  1. Managing the Licensing Process: Advisories take charge of the licensing process, handling paperwork and representation even for clients that are abroad.
  2. Legality: Advisories interpret legal requirements, ensuring compliant business establishment.
  3. Optimal Business Structure: They also provide guidance to businesses in determining the best legal structures for a sustainable growth.
  4. Financial Compass: Assistance in navigating banking systems, setting up company bank accounts and ensuring financial compliance.
  5. Talent Acquisition and HR Structures: They also help in attracting talent and setting up efficient HR structures and policies that align with the UAE labour laws.
  6. Cultural Liaison: They act as a cultural guide, providing insights for business interactions.
  7. Strategic Property Advice: With extensive knowledge of the country’s business zones, advisories can provide guidance on property laws, lease negotiations, and strategic site selection.
  8. Business Networks: Advisories can facilitate introductions and partnerships within their curated network, helping your business in its take-off phase.


While Dubai offers a fertile ground for businesses, the complexities of the setup process should not be underestimated. Partnering with a consultancy service ensures a smooth journey into the Dubai business landscape, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on their vision and growth. In this dynamic market, the right advisory service can be the key to unlocking success.

Considering a leap into the UAE’s dynamic business landscape? Let AKW Consultants be your trusted partner in this venture. Explore our Business Setup Services and embark on a journey filled with promise and potential or contact us on:

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