Dubai is often referred to as a land of opportunity – and with good reason. The emirate is home to numerous thriving industries, and not just those you may expect.
While the region is known for its oil and gas sector, it is estimated that industries outside of this sphere will account for around 80% of the UAE’s economy within the next few years.
Dubai has thriving aerospace and automotive, food and beverage, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, tourism, and marketing industries. And that’s just for starters.
Think of an industry, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a hub of entrepreneurs excelling at it here. There are plenty of business opportunities in Dubai.
But while industry may be vast in this part of the world, that’s not to say it is only the business behemoths that succeed. Dubai is the perfect base for businesses of all sizes, offering a welcoming environment, startup and SME support, and a favourable tax rate of just 0% on corporate and personal income.
If you’re looking to start a business out here and join this broad and fast-paced economy, here are some business opportunities for your consideration.
New business ideas in Dubai may be hard to come by. But you don’t need new business ideas in Dubai – so don’t let that hold you back.
Dubai is already set up to support a wide range of businesses, so don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, learn from those already here and hone your offering to differentiate it from others on the market.
The first step before starting any business in the UAE is to decide on your business activity. There are thousands to choose from. It is important to note, however, that you are only permitted to carry out activities that are listed on your business license.
With that in mind, here are some business activities to consider:
Marketing Management: Dubai is home to a thriving and competitive business environment – the perfect conditions for marketing companies to thrive.
The UAE’s businesses need assistance spreading their message, and you can be the one to help. In most cases, set up costs are low. All that’s required is knowledge of your industry, a computer and an internet connection.
Marketing management falls under the UAE professional license and allows you to assist businesses on marketing products and services to attract and retain customers, involving advice on planning, pricing, sale outlets, and more.
Information Technology: Dubai’s IT industry has long thrived – and with smart cities initiatives underway and Expo 2020 on the horizon, we can expect it to continue thriving. This industry is estimated to be worth around AED 20bn at present.
Again, this is an industry with minimal barriers to entry, barring some basic equipment and knowledge of your industry.
Information technology is also a professional activity and includes firms specialised in providing the services of subscribing and connecting to international information networking, as well as specialised information banks and exchange of electronic mail, which includes operating systems and applications such as electronic mail and the exchange of data electronically.
Human Resources Consultancies: Any region with multiple employers – both large and small – will see demand for HR service and consultancies.
Employee law here is rather particular, largely due to the large expat population and visa criteria, meaning your skills are always required.
Under the Human Resources Consultancies activity, you are permitted to prepare studies and consultancies concerning manpower planning as well as improving performance and assisting with employee issues.
Events Organizing & Managing: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dubai events industry has long been thriving. The emirate is built for events, as it is home to state-of-the-art conference facilities and venues. The Dubai World Trade Centre, a popular event location, contributes around USD 3bn to the UAE economy alone.
And all this is before Expo 2020, the largest event of its kind to take place in the Middle East, which is expected to give a huge boost to Dubai’s economy.
With an event organiser license, you can manage events from concept to logistics, including corporate events, marketing programs, general meetings, team building, gala dinners, award ceremonies, press events, children parties, hair and makeup shows.
Conferences & Seminars Organising: This is a good example of Dubai’s, and the wider UAE’s, specific licensing process. If you wish to organise conferences and seminars, you’ll need a separate license to events organising.
When licensed to carry out this activity, you can offer conference and symposium organisation and administration services to government or private bodies.
Once again, the abundance of great venues, along with corporations looking to run events, make this a perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs in Dubai.
Educational Services: Education services activities include all range of tutoring and teaching including lesson planning and skill enhancement.
Your business could work with educators to improve their offering or teach individuals a range of skills more directly.
Education is big business here in the UAE. The government recently ring-fenced almost USD 3bn for the education sector.
Science & Technology Consultancy: The science industry is currently a major area of focus in the UAE economy.
Huge recent investments in life sciences and the country’s space program are expected to encourage further growth across the sector.
This business activity allows you to offer advice and support on matters regarding nanotechnology, power technology and much more. To hold this license, you must have a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering as well as at least three years of hands-on experience in the field.
Management Consultancies: An encouraging business environment, an appetite for growth and community of ambitious entrepreneurs make the UAE the ideal base for management consultancies.
The country’s management consultancy industry is estimated to be worth in excess of USD 800m – making it the second largest in the Middle East, behind Saudi Arabia.
To become a management consultant in Dubai, you’ll require a B.Sc. in Business or Economics along with at least three years of experience in your field.
If you’re looking to start a tech business in Dubai, there’s no better base than Dtec.
Start your business with us and we’ll handle every step of the process for you – helping to outline activities, registering your company name, applying for your license and visas, and supporting you once you’re up and running.
For technology startups and entrepreneurs looking for flexible coworking or office space in Dubai, Dtec offers a nurturing, supportive community from which to set up your new business.
Our 10,000 sqm facility is home to an integrated ecosystem for hundreds of startups, SMEs and technology entrepreneurs from around the world.
Got a great idea you want to see realised? Everything you need can be found at Dtec. Our coworking space encourages collaboration, our accelerator programs and funding arm give a young business set up in the UAE a head start, and our networking events ensure you get your name out there and stay on top of industry trends. We take care of everything, leaving you to take care of your business.