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Dubai Startup Incubators: 2021 Guide

Dubai Startup Incubator

Dubai is home to hundreds of thousands of businesses, with thousands of new ventures starting out here every year.

There are many reasons behind the pull of the emirate for the entrepreneurially minded. Dubai is centrally located in the Middle East, putting it at a crossroads between the vast and thriving markets of East and West.

It also offers an attractive tax regime, still levied at 0% on corporate and personal income. For entrepreneurs setting up in UAE free zones, the benefits continue – 100% customs tax exemption, zero currency restrictions, as well as capital and profit repatriation to name a few.

And that’s not all. Dubai is also home to numerous startup incubators, designed to help fledging businesses grow and establish themselves in the region. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best incubators in Dubai and the benefits of working in each.

What is a startup incubator?

The term startup incubator can mean different things to different people. And while two incubators are rarely the same, most share several features.

Many startup incubators offer workspace such as hot desks, coworking facilities, and serviced offices. Most also provide easy access to mentors and networking opportunities. There is rarely a set formula for the process of working in a startup incubator as new businesses can vary wildly in their needs.

Overall, Dubai’s incubators offer a combination of the following services:

  • Business advice
  • Legal advice
  • Mentoring
  • Seed funding
  • Training
  • Workspace provision

What are the benefits of working with a Dubai startup incubator?

The exact benefits of working in a startup incubator will depend on the one you choose to set up in. However, whatever incubator you choose, you should be able to take advantage of:

Professional facilities: Most incubators will provide professional workspace inclusive of desks, meeting rooms, reception cover, printing facilities, free wifi, and much more.

Exposure to experts: Incubators often have initiatives in place to connect businesses with business leaders and industry experts. As well as arranging mentoring opportunities, many incubators also host networking events, workshops, and keynote talks.

Business support services: Some incubators offer support for the entire lifecycle of your business – from assisting with license and visa applications to providing bookkeeping, marketing, mail, and telephone solutions.

How do I start a startup in Dubai?

The first step is to partner with a startup hub such as Dtec. The startup incorporation process in Dubai is rather particular, so it pays to work with an expert.

One of the first tasks we’ll help you undertake is outlining your business activities. Making this clear upfront will make the rest of the process much easier.

Next, you need to choose your company name. Again, it’s best to do this upfront as you’ll need to register it before you can trade in the UAE. There are a few naming conventions that you must comply with. They include:

  • Only full names allowed, no abbreviations.
  • Cannot include any potentially offensive or blasphemous words.
  • Must be available to register.

With these decisions made, you can make your license application. There are several steps to this process.

You can make this application yourself but again it is advisable to work closely with Dtec at this stage. We can make sure your application is correct and prevent any undue hassle further down the line.

As part of your application, you will be asked to provide some basic documentation such as a passport copy and business plan.

At this stage, we can also assist you with your visa application. Dtec offers several license packages inclusive of multiple visas. The flexi desk package, for example, includes a service license, the use of a workspace in a common area and eligibility for two visas. This package starts at AED 18,000 per year.

Startup incubator programs in Dubai and the UAE
Some of the most popular and effective startup incubators in the UAE include:

Area 2071: Overseen by Dubai Future Foundation, Area 2071 is a unique ecosystem that nurtures global talents to start and grow their business in the UAE. Members of Area 2071 have access to a network of strategic partners, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Hub71: The Abu Dhabi government established Hub71 to support technology startups in the emirate by attracting top venture capital funds and investors. Hub71 collaborates with major business stakeholders such as Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Mubadala Investment Company and other key business players to foster the next generation of tech innovators and startups.

Fazaa Center for Business Incubators and Accelerators: Fazaa Center for Business Incubators and Accelerators provides logistical support, training, qualification, studies, and consultancies to Emirati entrepreneurs. The centre enables them to establish their projects through their services that help them to overcome the challenges of managing, financing, and marketing entrepreneurial business ventures.

Join the Dtec incubator programme

Whatever business you wish to start in Dubai, UAE, there’s no better base than Dtec.

Our incubator and accelerator programs offer intense, rapid, and immersive education aimed at accelerating the life cycle of disruptive UAE startups – compressing years’ worth of learning-by-doing into just a few months. Get in touch to find out more.

We offer entrepreneurs access to a coworking space in Dubai, and a network of mentors, advisers, and educators, to get you rapidly ready to pitch your business ideas to potential investors. Dtec also offers startups help with setting up a company once you have graduated from the program.

And our 10,000 sqm facility is home to an integrated ecosystem for hundreds of startups, SMEs and technology entrepreneurs from around the world.

So, if you’ve got a great idea you want to see realised, everything you need can be found here. Our coworking space encourages collaboration. Our accelerator programs and funding arm give a young business setup 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 growing your business.