Women entrepreneurship has undergone stellar progress in the UAE, especially after the country’s rapid recovery from the pandemic disruptions. The government’s policies, incentives, and supporting programs have made the process of business setup in the UAE perfectly aligned for women entrepreneurs. In 2020, a year plagued by the global pandemic, women-owned startups witnessed a 68% increase in the UAE compared to 2019, while those launched by men were up 46% (as per a Gulf News article).
The rise of women entrepreneurship in the UAE is a huge fillip for the country’s economy as well as the entire business community of the region. As the 2022 Emirati Women’s Day is around the corner, it seems worthwhile to discuss the factors contributing to the growth of women-owned businesses in the UAE. Women entrepreneurs wishing to leverage this upbeat momentum can consult with business setup consultants in Dubai to launch their business in the region. Meanwhile, keep reading the blog to understand ‘Why this is the right time for women investors to start a business in the UAE’:
A Business Environment That Supports Gender Equality
More women are confident about becoming an entrepreneur as the environment of business setup in the UAE is supportive of gender equality. The UAE government gives paramount importance to gender equality and women are guaranteed the same access to employment, health and welfare facilities. The UAE was ranked 18th globally and 1st regionally in the Gender Inequality Index (GII) of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2020.
Due to the government’s efforts toward gender equality, the UAE advanced eight positions from its previous rank of 26 in 2019. Moreover, the government has passed many laws recently to accelerate women’s rights reforms including a new labour law that introduced anti-discrimination and harassment provisions, along with equal pay and extended maternity leaves. Moreover, the UAE Security and Commodities Authority issued a mandate in 2021 that says listed companies must have at least one woman on their board of directors.
A Safer Environment for Women to Do Business
The UAE is regarded as one of the safest countries in the world for women to travel, live, work or do business. The stringent law and policing mean the rate of crimes reported against women is lower in the UAE compared to other major economies. Numbeo, the world’s largest cost of living database, has recently released an index of safest cities in the world in which Fujairah and Abu Dhabi came at No 1 and No 2 spots respectively. Ajman, Sharjah and Dubai were ranked at No 7, 8 and 9 respectively in the 2022 Numbeo safety index.
Exclusive License Package for Female Investors
Foreign investors seeking flexible and easy licensing procedures, among other benefits, often go for setting up a business in the UAE free zones. There are more than 40 active free zones in the UAE that offer benefits such as modern infrastructure, co-working spaces, strategic location, 100% foreign ownership etc. Interestingly, some free zones also offer women-only license packages in the UAE. Business setup consultants in the UAE can help female investors to obtain such exclusive license packages without any hassle. The following are some of the free zone license packages exclusively designed for female entrepreneurs in the UAE:
- Businesswomen Package by RAKEZ free zone
- Women in Innovation Package by Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park Free Zone (SRTI Park)
- Women Entrepreneurship Program by Masdar City free zone, Abu Dhabi
Women Can Leverage the New Business Reforms
The government has recently passed many reforms to instil a positive impact on the landscape of business setup in the UAE. Even if those reforms are not gender-specific, they may have a positive impact on the progress of women’s entrepreneurship in the UAE. The most notable of these reforms is the introduction of 100% foreign ownership in the UAE mainland companies. The government scrapped the previous mandatory requirement of granting 51% of the company shares to a UAE national partner.
Now, foreign investors can fully own their mainland Limited Liability Companies (LLC) without the need for having a UAE national as the local sponsor. This applies to more than 1000 business activities including the General Trading Licenses in the UAE. Women investors can leverage this opportunity by applying for trade licenses that guarantee 100% company ownership in the UAE mainland. Business setup consultants in Dubai can help women entrepreneurs to apply for a trade license from relevant licensing authorities in the country.
New Residency Reforms to Benefit Investors
The UAE has recently introduced new visa options that offer long-term residency for foreign investors. The UAE Golden Visa offers 10-year residency options for foreign investors while the Green Visa offers a five-year residency option. Even though not a gender-specific option, many female entrepreneurs, artists, professionals, and influencers were granted the coveted Golden Visa in recent times. Business setup consultants in Dubai can help women, and investors, obtain Golden and Green Visas without any hassle.
The Success of Women Entrepreneurs in the UAE
The success of women’s entrepreneurship in the region is a strong motivation for women investors planning to set up a business in the UAE. As of 2021, the number of total licensed companies owned by women has reached 80,025, with more than 32,000 businesswomen managing projects valued at more than USD 10 billion (as quoted in The National). The UAE had the highest number of women on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen in 2020.
Start a Business Through the Best Business Setup Consultants in Dubai, UAE
The environment of business setup in the UAE is perfect for women investors on the back of the factors enlisted in this blog. However, women entrepreneurs may need professional assistance from business setup consultants in Dubai to navigate the licensing procedures, immigration laws and labour laws. Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC) offers customised business setup services in the UAE that women entrepreneurs can leverage to launch their companies.
JBC has a team of highly qualified business setup experts in the UAE who can help investors navigate the UAE immigration and labour laws. We offer services such as visa processing, drafting documents, bank account opening etc. JBC can also assist the entrepreneurs to meet compliance requirements related to Economic Substance Regulations (ESR), Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO), and Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT). Talk to our consultants today to avail yourself of the best business setup packages in the UAE.