Category: Dubai Economy

Tax or no tax – is the UAE tax-free and what does it mean for your business?

The UAE doesn’t have its tax-free reputation for nothing. As the advisory firm PKF International puts it, there are no taxes levied by the federal government on either the income or wealth of companies or individuals. As long as you’re a tax resident, you won’t pay tax on your income. But is the UAE really tax-free? VAT looms for the first time in the country’s history and excise duty on selected goods was also recently introduced. So where do we currently stand, and what is in store in the future?

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What’s eating away at SME profit margins?

If you’re running a small or medium-sized company and seeing your profit margins eroded all round, you’re not alone. Dubai is often seen as a hotbed for SMEs in our region – even globally – yet comparing it with other centres yields a surprising result. Productivity in Dubai’s SME sector is actually lower than other trading and service-oriented economies, including Singapore and South Korea. The UAE Banking Federation reported last year that an initiative to support struggling SMEs had resulted in the restructuring of AED 7bn of debts held by 1,700 companies. In this article we examine four areas that are contributing to the SME situation in our region, and consider some solutions to help entrepreneurs develop better innovative reflexes, drive change and generate healthier profits.

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Fail to scale? 10 reasons why some entrepreneurs can’t grow their business

In a surprising number of cases, it is the business owner who is responsible for the stagnation of the company. The inspiration, single-mindedness, perseverance and attention to detail that breathed life into the business in the first place can become the millstone that drags it down. It’s important, then, for all business owners to be aware of the traits within themselves that can lead to the arrested development of their enterprise. In this article we identify 10 common problems, which, individually or combined, can keep a business forever knocking on the door of expansion but never being allowed in.

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Rapid growth, fast profits – the UAE e-commerce trading licence is an entrepreneur’s dream

E-commerce – essentially the buying and selling of goods and services online – is a huge global business. In 2016, e-commerce sales totalled USD 1.86tr worldwide with revenues expected to reach USD 4.5tr by 2021. Here in the UAE, the market is just as lucrative. Research by Hootsuite and We Are Social in 2017 found that 62% of the country’s internet users now shop online – spending an average of USD 332 per purchase according to KMPG. In total, the UAE is the largest e-commerce marketplace in the Middle East and is estimated to be worth USD 10bn by 2018 (up from USD 2.5bn in 2015). Naturally any industry growing at this speed offers incredible opportunities to the entrepreneur with the skills and motivation to see success. In this article we cover everything you need to know about the much-lauded UAE e-commerce trading licence.

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How to tough out those seasonal Dubai business slowdowns

When those difficult business lulls come around, they can spook even the hardiest of business owners. Slowdowns and upturns in sales are all part of the natural economic cycle; but that’s not to say the transitions are easy to handle. So, when business is slower than usual, it’s crucial that we keep cool heads and approach the situation with the same tools we use when addressing any other professional problem: objectivity and logic. It’s all about taking steps to keep our enterprises moving forward, regardless of the current climate. 

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Dubai World Trade Centre company setup

There are very few entrepreneurs in the UAE who haven’t at least considered setting up in one of the country’s free zones. This is particularly true of entrepreneurs from overseas – and it’s not difficult to see the reasons behind this. With 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption on offer, free zones make for an attractive proposition. But these are just the headline benefits. Each individual free zone also offers a host of advantages that differ from others in the region. One such free zone is Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). 

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How to start an events company in the UAE

Around the world, the events industry is booming. Last year’s American Express Meetings and Events 2016 Forecast predicted the largest growth globally in spend since 2011, while Alpen Capital noted the ‘GCC hospitality industry remains firm on its growth trajectory.’ Focusing more closely on the UAE, the events industry here is very much in keeping with this global and regional trend, welcoming millions of global visitors annually. Needless to say, this has left many entrepreneurs wondering how to start an events company in the UAE. In this article, we show you how it’s done.

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Ready for a new chapter in your working life?

Here’s what happened when two people, from different countries, with very different skillsets, followed a dream to start a business in Dubai.

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The business lessons hidden behind internet headlines

The internet is a very big place. Full of information, opportunities and… statistics. The problem is that these stats are not always relevant – and they’re not always true. Still, statistics can be thought-provoking. In this article we have drawn up a list of our favourite statistics and look at the actual lessons they can teach us – whether they raise a smile, an eyebrow or even a business case.

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Small businesses in Dubai: why Dubai’s booming global economy is a hotbed of opportunity

The Financial Times describes entrepreneurs as individuals who are ‘drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation’. All over the world, entrepreneurs are the people behind the businesses that become market leaders. The entrepreneurial mindset sees opportunities where others see competition or even saturation. But starting a business is hard work. An environment that’s geared towards making your idea a success will be a huge help, and Dubai and the UAE fit the bill. So let’s explore how you can get the best from starting up your business in the region.

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