What is Dubai Creative Clusters Authority – and how can you set up your company there?

The UAE’s free zones are popular with entrepreneurs from every corner of the world. A quick glance at the benefits on offer and it’s not hard to see why they grab the attention – zero corporation and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption.

For businesses in the creative industries – those that use intellectual capital as their primary input – there are even more benefits on offer thanks to the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA).

In keeping with other such initiatives – the Dubai Plan 2021, Expo 2020 and the Dubai Innovation Strategy – DCCA’s primary aim is to further Dubai’s reputation around the world as a leader in creativity, and as a strategic hub for innovation in business. Ultimately, the Authority was created to attract, support and nurture creative businesses here in Dubai.

DCCA’s primary aim is to further Dubai’s reputation around the world as a leader in creativity, and as a strategic hub for innovation in business.

DCCA – everything creative under one roof

Multiple free zones fall under the umbrella of DCCA, each with a focus on specific creative industries. They include: 

Dubai Internet City: The largest ICT hub in the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. DIC is home to some of the world’s largest online and technology businesses including Facebook, Google, Dell, Microsoft, Cisco and Nokia.

Dubai Outsource City: Dedicated to local and international outsourcing companies, DOC free zone specifically caters for business process outsourcing (BPO), HR outsourcing, IT outsourcing, back office and call centre operations.

Dubai Media City: DMC is home to thousands of organisations from a broad range of subsectors including advertising and communication, media and marketing services, media support services, event management, event support services, media consultancy, new media, and freelancers and associations (non-profit).

Dubai Production City: A hub for the global and local production industries, DPC is home to highly-qualified business professionals from around the globe, trading in a range of industries including printing, publishing, graphic art, packaging, and media production.

Dubai Knowledge Park: The world’s only free zone dedicated to human resource management and learning excellence, DKP features a variety of businesses and institutions including executive search firms, NGOs, academic service providers, assessment and testing centres, and numerous freelancers.

Dubai International Academic City: The world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education and the pursuit of intellectual growth, DIAC is home to many local and international colleges and universities, serving students from every corner of the world. 

Dubai Studio City: Open to businesses in broadcasting, film production, TV, music, and entertainment, DSC houses the largest sound stages in the region along with workshops, film studios, production offices, sets, backlots, recording studios, and water tanks for under water film shoots.

Dubai Science Park: Designed specifically for the needs of businesses and professionals who work in life sciences, DSP is home to ample office and laboratory space and aims to nurture businesses and entrepreneurs within the science community.

Dubai Design District: Offering a mix of office space for lease and open plan land for development, d3 free zone is aimed primarily at industries relating to design and fashion, home to many prestigious global brands along with local and boutique design studios and fashion houses. 

Want to set up in Dubai Creative Clusters Authority?

No matter which of DCCA’s free zones you choose to set up in, you’re sure to find a buzzing and nurturing environment, equipped with all the support and guidance to help make your business a success. If that sounds like the kind of business environment you’re looking for, here’s everything you need to know about setting up in Dubai Creative Clusters Authority.

1. Straightforward setup: Whether you decide to establish your business in DIC, DKP, d3 or anywhere else, you’ll find the setup process incredibly straightforward. In most DCCA free zones, you simply submit your application, provide some simple documentation such as passport copies, pay your licence fees and you’re good to go. The whole process often only takes a matter of weeks.

2. Work among the best: The DCCA name is synonymous with high quality – that’s why some of the world’s biggest companies have flocked to do business in its free zones. Dubai Internet City is home to Facebook, Google and Microsoft; Dubai Media City boasts Bloomberg, CNN and Dow Jones; while Adidas, Chanel and Christian Louboutin all work from Dubai Design District. However, while DCCA free zones are home to some of the biggest names in the business, they all readily welcome smaller businesses as well – giving you an incredible opportunity to work alongside industry giants.

3. Flexible setup: With so many free zones under one authority, you’re sure to find the exact setup to suit your needs. From standard office and warehousing space, through to studio lots, production facilities, sound stages and fully equipped laboratories, DCCA has everything covered.

4. Set up with multiple shareholders: Another major draw for businesses of all sizes to Dubai Creative Clusters Authority is that it allows for setup with multiple shareholders. These can be individuals, corporate entities or a combination of the two.

5. Multiple visa options: Whether you’re setting up alone or with a team of employees, you’ll find DCCA very accommodating. All DCCA free zones are on hand to assist with visa applications for both you and your staff. As for the maximum amount allowed, each free zone will have their own upper limit, often linked to the size of your premises.

Whether you’re setting up alone or with a team of employees, you’ll find DCCA very accommodating.

6. Easy to sponsor dependants: As well as making it easy to apply for your own visa, it’s also straightforward for entrepreneurs in DCCA free zones to sponsor dependants for their residence visas as well. Whether you wish to sponsor a maid, driver or family member, 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 all of the entry criteria.

7. Simple to arrange your corporate bank account: Once you’ve received your licence and established your business in your chosen DCCA free zone, you’re ready to set up your corporate bank account. The application process is quick and simple. Free zone staff can advise on the best bank to suit your needs – and can even arrange meetings in-branch for you. A company formation specialist can also provide the same service – or alternatively, you’re welcome to approach any local or international bank on your own.

Setting up in a Dubai Creative Clusters Authority free zone

So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business within Dubai Creative Clusters Authority – 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.

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: 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.