The UAE startup ecosystem has undergone tremendous growth in the past few years on account of a series of regulatory changes to the company formation process, visa reforms, and a wide range of government-led support programs. The UAE also keeps on improving its ease of doing business, consolidating the country’s status as a preferred hub for foreign investors. However, no one can deny the role of the 45-plus active free zones in attracting foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in the UAE.
In this blog, we will discuss how free zones, over the years, have shaped the landscape of business setup in the UAE. Read ahead to know the role of free zones in bolstering the UAE startup ecosystem in 2022:
Support Through Cost-effective Packages
The cost of starting a business in the UAE free zones can intimidate foreign entrepreneurs planning their startup journey. However, many free zones offer cost-effective licensing options for company formation in the UAE. Free zones such as Sharjah Media City (SHAMS), Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), Meydan Free Zone, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), and International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) offer some of the cost-effective free zone licenses in the UAE. Business setup consultants in the UAE can provide you with a detailed cost structure for each free zone.
Special Mentoring Support
Free zones are at the forefront when it comes to fostering young startups in the UAE. Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA) has its own specially dedicated zone named Dtec to foster tech startups. Dtec provides mentoring and incubation support for startups in the form of special programs such as the Sandbox that helps early-stage tech entrepreneurs shape their future. Scality is a similar tech hub started by the Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA).
Funding Support for Startups
Finding adequate funding is the major hurdle faced by startups and SMEs aiming for company formation in the UAE. However, many free zones across the UAE have developed funding programs to help startups and SMEs. In 2022, Sharjah’s Hamriyah free zone and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF) signed an MoU with the Emirates Development Bank (EDB) to provide funding for startups and SMEs registered with them. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) also provides funding for Fintech startups in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).
Flexible Office Space Solutions
Renting office space is another major roadblock faced by startups setting up a base in the UAE. However, a UAE free zone license package comes with the option to choose a co-working space. Most free zones in the UAE offer the Flexi-desk option for startups that help entrepreneurs to cut down the cost of renting bigger office spaces. Flexi-desks come with modern facilities and save investors from spending money on unnecessary expenses. Business setup experts in the UAE can help entrepreneurs choose the right office space solution for their startups.
All Services Under One Roof
Free zones attract the attention of foreign investors as they provide flexible solutions for company registration in the UAE. When compared to the mainland, free zones provide leniency in regulations so that investors need not navigate any bureaucratic red tape. Moreover, most free zones provide all services under one roof such as license help, assistance with bank account opening, insurance services etc.
Modern Infrastructure and Strategic Location
Free zones are mainly meant for companies that trade within the free zones or internationally. Location is a key requirement for conducting international trade such as imports or re-exports. Since most free zones in the UAE are located near airports, seaports and superhighways, foreign investors get the advantage of strategic location. Moreover, each free zone offers excellent infrastructure to carry out trade smoothly. Consult with company formation consultants in the UAE to get details on what each free zone offers for startups.
Set up a Company through Business Setup Consultants in Dubai
Foreign investors opting for business setup in the UAE free zones must consider the wide range of services and facilities offered by each free zone before making the final decision. Most free zones offer all services under one roof and analysing the services on offer is critical before choosing a free zone for company formation in the UAE. Foreign investors may struggle to select the right free zone as they are unaware of the UAE business setup scenario.
However, business setup consultants in the UAE such as Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC) can advise you on how to select the right free zone. JBC can assist you with company registration, visa processing, MoA & AoA drafting, bank account opening etc. Furthermore, we provide services related to UAE Corporate Tax, Economic Substance Regulations (ESR), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) etc. JBC simplifies the company incorporation process in Dubai with our one-stop business setup solutions.