Designing the future: Setting up a company in Dubai Design District Free Zone

19 December 2017 Category:
Setting up a company in Dubai Design District

If you’re considering launching a business in the UAE, you’ll almost certainly have cast your eye over the nation’s free zones.

There are plenty of reasons why they might draw your attention – 100% foreign ownership, 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption.

One free zone that continues to attract entrepreneurs around the world is Dubai Design District (d3). Located at the heart of the city, d3 is a hub for the creative industries – primarily those relating to design and fashion. The free zone’s world-class business facilities are home to companies large and small, from prestigious global fashion houses to local boutique design studios.

It’s not just d3’s state-of-the-art facilities that make it so popular. The market has a part to play here as well, with the fashion and design industries currently booming. The Dubai Design and Fashion Council predicts the market to be worth USD 36bn by 2020 – and there’s no better home than d3 for businesses looking to get involved. 

The Dubai Design and Fashion Council predicts the market to be worth USD 36bn by 2020 – and there’s no better home than d3 for businesses looking to get involved. 

Setting up a company in Dubai Design District Free Zone

If you’re looking to find a way into the UAE design and fashion industries, there are few better bases than Dubai Design District Free Zone.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Straightforward setup: A major factor behind d3’s growing popularity is its quick and easy setup process. The first step is to submit your application form for approval – you’ll also be required to provide a business plan and shareholder passport copies. Once your application has been approved you can reserve your office space (mandatory in d3) and you’re ready to go.

Low startup costs: Setting up a company in Dubai Design District is not only quick and easy, it’s affordable too. Licences in the free zone start from around AED 15,000 and the minimum share capital required is low at AED 50,000.

Work among the best: In its own words, Dubai Design District Free Zone sets out to be ‘…a place where creatives can live, work and play. Where aspiring designers can cut their teeth and learn their trade; where local talent can work alongside international design, art and fashion houses.’ And it certainly achieves these objectives. Set up here and you’ll be working alongside prestigious global brands like Adidas, Chanel, Givenchy and more.

People at work in Dubai Design District Free ZoneWorld-class location: As well as working among the world’s best, you’ll be working in a world-class location too. Set beneath Dubai’s stunning skyline and just minutes from the looming Burj Khalifa, d3’s extensive transport links make business travel easy – for both local and international businesses. d3 is flanked by the E311 and the E611 – putting the free zone within easy reach of several sea ports and both of Dubai’s international airports.

Set up with multiple shareholders: As you may expect from a free zone that’s home to large international corporations, d3 allows for company setup with multiple shareholders. These can be individuals, corporate entities or a combination of the two.

Visa options: Of course, multiple shareholders (and employees) require multiple visas, and d3 delivers here as well. The free zone offers flexible visa options linked to the size of your office – the rule is one visa per 80 sq ft of space.

Easily sponsor dependants: As well as making it easy to apply for visas for you and your employees, by registering your business in d3, you’ll also be able to sponsor dependants for their visas. Whether you wish to sponsor a spouse, child or domestic staff, the process is relatively easy – entry permit, status adjustment, medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping. As this is such an important process, it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses. This ensures that before you start an application, both you and those you’re hoping to sponsor meet the entry criteria.

As well as making it easy to apply for visas for you and your employees, by registering your business in d3, you’ll also be able to sponsor dependants for their visas.

Easy to arrange your corporate bank account: Once you’ve received your licence and established your business in Dubai Design District, you’re ready to set up your corporate bank account. The application process is quick and simple. D3 staff can advise on the best bank to suit your needs – and can even arrange meetings in-branch for you, should you wish. A company formation specialist can also provide the same service – or alternatively, you’re welcome to approach any local or international bank by yourself. 

Dive into Dubai Design District Free Zone

So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business in Dubai Design District Free Zone – what next? There are a number of steps that need to be undertaken, some complex, some less so. The first thing to do is choose your business activity. From here you can decide on your company name, complete and file your registration paperwork with the relevant authorities, open a bank account, and apply for any visas that may be required.

However, the specifics of this process will depend largely on the type of licence you are applying for and the kind of business you wish to run. That’s why before starting any of these steps, the first port of call should always be to a company setup expert who will guide you through every part of the application, ultimately ensuring the entire process requires little more than a few hours of your time.

About the author: Gemma Kennedy, Head of Sales, Virtuzone.
About the author: Gemma Kennedy, Head of Sales, Virtuzone.

As Head of Sales at Virtuzone, Gemma oversees the Company Formation Specialist team, which is responsible for consulting prospective clients interested in setting up a UAE free zone company. Gemma and her team provide all necessary and accurate guidance on the best path to UAE company setup, always delivered on a case-by-case basis for UAE entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their startup businesses. Gemma has extensive sales experience, having worked as a product representative for brands such as Tefal and Vidal Sassoon across New South Wales, Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Employment Relations, History and (Hons) Politics at the University of Wollongong Australia, a unique educational mix which empowers her with a socio-political outlook in dealing with a multicultural workforce and client base.