Why Sharjah Media City Free Zone is popular with businesses

20 June 2018 Category :
Sharjah media city free zone

Sharjah is the UAE’s third largest emirate and has a long reputation as a media and cultural hub for the country and the wider region. In fact, according to the Oxford Business Group the first newspaper in what is now the UAE was launched in Sharjah in 1927, while Al Khaleej, the most widely-read newspaper in the Gulf, was founded in the emirate in 1970.

In 2017 we saw the opening of Sharjah Media City Free Zone – widely known as Shams – which demonstrated that the emirate is determined to hold onto its position as a cutting-edge destination for media companies. The free zone’s office spaces are designed to support entrepreneurs and businesses working in the sector and include all the IT and tech support media companies could need.

So, is Shams exclusively a destination for film, TV and print businesses?

Well, despite the name, Sharjah Media City in fact welcomes over 120 types of business – many of which are working in fields not traditionally considered as media providers.

With this in mind, any businesses that are considering launching in Sharjah should definitely include Shams on their list of places to consider.

With this in mind, any businesses that are considering launching in Sharjah should definitely include Shams on their list of places to consider.

Let’s look in a little more detail at why.

What are the most popular business activities in Shams?

Visit Sharjah Media City today and you may be surprised to discover that media companies do not actually dominate the free zone’s business scene. The community of freelancers, small businesses, consultants and established firms working in Shams are running enterprises as diverse as book keeping, HR, plumbing, publishing, hospitality, wholesale and retail, as well as a number of trading outfits.

Sharjah CityThe most common businesses in Shams are:

  • Event management
  • Trading (garment and automobile trading)
  • e-commerce
  • Film production/post production
  • Graphic design
  • Investment consultancy
  • Business/project management consultancy
  • Media
  • Marketing

As this list shows, your business does not need to have a direct link to the traditional media sector to be given a permit to establish itself in the free zone.

Looking to set up a company in the Sharjah Media City Free Zone? Read this blog for more detail.

6 reasons Shams is popular with businesses across the spectrum

Since opening in 2017, Shams has welcomed businesses from a wide range of industries. Why is it so popular with businesses from beyond the media industry?

1. Easy business setup and attractive benefits: Shams has aimed to make it as easy as possible for businesses to set up in the free zone and get working. As long as all paperwork is filed correctly, the authorities take a maximum of three business days to award the licence. And setting up in Shams gives entrepreneurs many of the common benefits of establishing their business in a UAE free zone, including:

  • Competitive company setup fees – starting at around AED 8,000
  • Multiple business activities can be conducted under the same licence
  • 100% foreign ownership is permitted
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • 0% corporate and personal income tax

2. Flexible office and desk space options: Shams provides a wealth of options when it comes to office spaces for entrepreneurs and young companies. Whether you are a freelancer seeking a dedicated or shared hot desk, or a business that needs its own private office, Shams can provide almost any kind of facility. What’s more, creative units are also available which provide users with a flexible space they can rearrange for diverse purposes – from using as a showroom to setting up a community area.

Office spaces
3. Thriving business community: One of the most important reasons that Shams is so popular is its thriving business community. The free zone organises a range of regular seminars, networking events and conferences where entrepreneurs can get together, share ideas and collaborate. The community can provide support from like-minded entrepreneurs, while also providing opportunities to meet new clients.

4. Training and media expertise: The Sharjah Media Free Zone also provides media-focused education and training. Businesses who set up in Shams – especially those working directly in the media sector – benefit heavily from the training opportunities that the free zone makes available on-site. Industry experts from around the world regularly run seminars, training sessions and Q&As at Shams where media professionals can go to polish their skills.

5. Extensive support services: The Shams free zone prides itself on offering high quality support services – from technical help to guidance on running a business. Shams also helps new customers by featuring them on its website and social media pages.

The Shams free zone prides itself on offering high quality support services – from technical help to guidance on running a business.

6. Excellent location: Finally, Shams is well situated and is easily reached from both Sharjah and Dubai international airports.

Attracting talent beyond the media sector

When interviewed by the Oxford Business Group about Shams, Khalid Omar Al Midfa, chairman of Sharjah Media City Free Zone Authority explained, ‘we are aiming to create an environment where people can work, live, learn and entertain. The focus is on attracting talent to explore opportunities and manifest them in tangible products and services.’

So, while the Sharjah Media City’s name suggests the free zone is focused purely on the media sector, the chairman has made it very clear that the true focus is on attracting talent – regardless of sector or industry. This emphasis, combined with great customer support and a unique business community, explains why Shams has become so popular with businesses beyond the media sector.

And the best part is that working with a company formation specialist will ensure that your free zone journey is smooth and straightforward and you’re ready for business as soon as possible.

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: Olga Melnik, Head of Business Development, Virtuzone.

About the author: Olga Melnik, Head of Business Development, Virtuzone.

Having spent the past seven years working in the field of legal company incorporation, Olga now works closely with entrepreneurs both locally and internationally in assisting them with their UAE company setup requirements. This includes both free zone and onshore in Dubai and other emirates across the UAE. Olga always advises each of her clients on the best legal setup for their particular needs, and in so doing she supports across the entire range of company setup, from legal translation to document certification to management of the entire communication and legalities with the local UAE company setup authorities. Olga was born and raised in the Ukraine and has a degree in Business Administration and International Law.