Business opportunities in Dubai

10 October 2019 Category :

If you are searching for attractive business opportunities in a region that has the potential to reach more consumers, then Dubai should be top of your list.

Businesses situated here have the potential to reach over one billion people from neighbouring countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. The emirate also boasts 0% personal and corporate tax.

Dubai is investor friendly, and its cost of living is lower than in most developed cities.

So, it’s these reasons and more that make Dubai the ideal location to launch a business in a wide range of industries.

Here are eight for your consideration.

1. Advertising
The advertising industry, especially digital media, continues to show signs of growth. The UAE was recently revealed as the top country for advertising spend in the GCC, accounting for USD 410m in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Within this vast market are many home-grown success stories, including the fast-growing agency DDB Dubai which counts Porsche, McDonald’s and Versace among its clients.

How to get involved
There are several avenues to consider when looking to get into the advertising industry, from brand development, consultancy and media buying, to events, social selling and more. As networking is such an integral part of success in this industry, setting up in a free zone among industry peers is a good starting point.

2. Information Technology
Dubai has set itself the goal of becoming the world’s smartest city by 2021, and the region has become an international magnet for tech-based businesses.

According to the latest Smart Cities Index Dubai is now one of the world’s top five cities using tech to improve residents’ lives.

How to get involved
Almost every sector offers business opportunities based on new technologies, and there are currently over 1200 tech startups here. There are several hubs for tech-based industries, including Dubai Internet City and the Dubai Silicon Oasis, an integrated technology park with state-of-the-art smart infrastructure, business services and housing.

3. Apparel
Dubai is a popular retail destination, with millions of customers from around the globe converging here to shop. So much so that apparel and footwear is the emirate’s largest retail sector, valued at USD 11.5bn. Local designers sit alongside the world’s most prestigious fashion brands.

How to get involved
The first step to getting involved in such a vast industry is to determine your business activity. There are plenty to choose from including tailoring, clothes design, costume rental, as well as import/export. Next, choose a location that is suited to your business, such as Dubai Design District which caters exclusively for designers, artists and creative thinkers.

4. Book keeping
With the sheer number of businesses in Dubai and the UAE, it’s natural there is a huge demand for professionals and firms that offer book keeping services. Although Dubai is home to many of the large international book keeping companies, there is also a thriving community of smaller companies catering largely to the emirate’s SMEs and startups.

How to get involved
If you have a background in finance or accounting, then this is almost certainly an opportunity here. And since the 2018 introduction of VAT, there is an even greater demand for your services. Providing you have a relevant qualification in accounting or a related subject then you need almost zero capital to start a book keeping firm. A business license, some accountancy software and your expertise is all it takes.

5. eCommerce
eCommerce is a growing sector with worldwide revenues expected to reach USD 4.5tr by 2021. While the market here is less developed than in the US or China, Dubai is certainly home to a keen market of online shoppers. Research from 2017 found that 62% of the country’s internet users now shop online – spending an average of USD 332 per purchase.

How to get involved
The beauty of the eCommerce industry is the ease with which you can get involved. If you’re looking to become the next Awok – the UAE-based eCommerce platform that recently raised USD 30m in its first round of funding – all you need to get started is a laptop, an internet connection and something to sell.

It’s even possible to establish your eCommerce business in Dubai and then run it from wherever in the world you wish, while having a permanent base in the UAE and taking advantage of the favourable tax environment.

6. Food trading
Dubai handles over 70 per cent of UAE food imports, re-exporting to over 160 countries. It also produces its own food for export and for trading within the UAE, a home-grown sector thriving through agricultural innovation. Dubai has become a leader in agro-tech, growing crops in the desert using indoor and vertical farming techniques.

How to get involved
If your business is based in a free zone you can engage in B2B trade, while a Dubai Mainland license enables you to trade everywhere. There are many profitable areas, including indoor organic farms utilising the latest technological innovations. The halal food industry is booming too, in both home and international markets.

You will need a UAE foodstuff trading license in order to compete in the Dubai market. There are strict regulations regarding food trading, and different licenses for different niches, so a clear business plan is essential.

7. Recruitment agency
The demand for skilled labour is ever rising. As the economy continues to grow, a skilled workforce is required to drive various industries. Each year, there are many businesses setting up offices in Dubai. Sometimes, these companies face challenges finding the right skills.

And with 70% of UAE employers saying they are looking to hire in the next year, the demand for recruitment services is clearly there.

How to get involved
Apart from demand, what makes recruitment agencies such a lucrative opportunity is that they need minimal capital. If you can solve a problem for Dubai’s businesses by connecting skilled job seekers from developing countries to companies in Dubai, then this is a potentially lucrative avenue for you. As well as a trade license, you’ll also need to register your recruitment company with the Ministry of Labor in Dubai.

8. Logistics
Dubai’s logistics industry benefits from world-class infrastructure, a progressive and supportive government, and the emirate’s strategic location between Asia and the West. The region is also a growing tourist destination, providing opportunities for tourist-based travel and transportation companies.

How to get involved
Dubai is an ever-growing hub for businesses offering supply-chain services, as the need for logistics goes hand in hand with a growing economy. Expo 2020, expected to bring 20 million visitors to the UAE, will be a boom time. An estimated 26,000 companies will be involved in the event, all requiring the services of the local logistics and supply chain sector.

Final thoughts
If you’ve identified a potential business opportunity in the industries listed above, setting up your own business has never been easier.

Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information on our services, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to info@vz.ae, or click here.

Setting up your own business has never been easier. Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to info@vz.ae, or click here.

About the author: Paul Bryson, Director of Domestic Structuring at Virtuzone.

About the author: Paul Bryson, Director of Domestic Structuring at Virtuzone.

Paul Bryson is the Director of Domestic Structuring at Virtuzone, based in Dubai, UAE. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates. A knowledgeable and active member of the business community in the UAE, Paul advises large multi-nationals and small startup businesses on how to best establish commercial presence in Dubai and across the rest of the UAE and Gulf region. Before embarking on his career in the Emirates, Paul graduated from the University of the West of Scotland with a Diploma in International Business.