person starting an accounting business
Start Your Accounting Business in Dubai: 2020 Guide
August 25, 2020
Start a cyber security company in Dubai
How to start a cyber security company in Dubai, UAE
October 20, 2020

How to Start A Consulting Business in Dubai: Step by Step

Start A Consulting Business in Dubai, UAE

Sometimes you don’t need the next big business idea or innovative product. Sometimes, your business is you – the experience and skills you already possess.

Passing this knowledge on to others can be big business – especially here in the Gulf region. The GCC consulting market saw 9% growth last year, tipping the USD 3bn mark. Within that, the UAE is the second-largest market, totalling USD 850m.

And a bustling market is just one reason why consulting can be so lucrative in this part of the world. With the right support, setting up as a consultant out here is affordable and straightforward.

So, if you think you’ve got the skills to make a great consultant, here’s how to get started.

Starting a consulting business in Dubai and the UAE – key considerations

Before starting a consulting business in Dubai, there are a few factors you need to consider. The first is whether you have the requisite skills.

There are no formal qualifications required to become a consultant out here. However, you will be expected to be experienced and knowledgeable in your field. This could be through formal qualifications or significant time spent working in your industry.

If you feel you have the knowledge to pass on, then your next step will be to decide on where to set up.

There are two common setup types in Dubai – mainland and free zone. In most cases, the UAE’s free zones are the easiest and most cost-effective way to do business.

As well as offering universal benefits such as 100% customs tax exemptions and capital and profit repatriation, free zones allow entrepreneurs to maintain full ownership of their business. Most also offer office and coworking space, reception cover and access to meeting and conference rooms, as well as the use of telephones, broadband and the like.

Each free zone also offers a range of specific benefits, with some tailored to certain industries.

Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec) is a technology-focused free zone but offers a supportive environment and a range of workspace packages for businesses across numerous industries.

Once you have made this key decision, you can begin the formal process of starting your consulting business in Dubai and the UAE.

Start a consulting business in Dubai – step by step

 When you start your consulting business with a free zone, the entire process comprises just four simple steps.

Step 1: Choose your activities
Before making your application for a trade license for your consulting business, you must first outline your specific business activities – i.e. the area or industry you wish to consult in. With this complete, you can set about finding the right free zone to suit your business.

Step 2: Choose your company name

Next, you’ll have to choose a company name. It’s best to do this upfront as you’ll need to register it before you can trade in the UAE. You’ll need to abide by a few naming conventions. These include:

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

Step 3: Apply for your license
Now you can apply for your software license. You are free to make this application yourself, but it’s advisable to work closely with a free zone or company setup agent at this stage.

When setting up in a free zone, your dedicated account manager will ensure that your application is correct and prevent any complications further down the line.

When making your application, you are usually required to provide some basic documentation such as a passport copy and business plan.

Step 4: Apply for your visa

You’ll also require a visa to live and work in the UAE. When setting up in a free zone, the visa application forms part of the main company formation process. Once again, your free zone contact can manage this process on your behalf.

Consulting license costs

The cost of the license for a consulting business is just one factor to consider. If you are planning on working alone, there are few other overheads. If, however, you plan on setting up with employees or in a large premises, there will be additional costs involved.

But whatever the size of your operation, setting up in a free zone is usually the best way to keep startup costs low. Free zones such as Dtec offer package prices, inclusive of visa applications and the use of office facilities.

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.

Dtec also offers a license with fixed desks and eligibility for three visas for AED 24,200 per year, plus furnished private offices, inclusive of two visas per desk, for AED 47,820 per year.

 Starting your consulting business at Dtec

 If you’re looking to start a consulting business in Dubai, UAE, there’s no better base than Dtec. Apply 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 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.

As well as a great coworking space, Dtec is also home to a vast network of mentors, advisers, and educators, with many receptive to collaboration, pitches and investment opportunities. Our 10,000 sqm facility is home to an integrated ecosystem for hundreds of startups, SMEs and technology entrepreneurs from around the world.

Along with organic opportunities to engage and collaborate, Dtec also runs a range of formal events, including Partner Labs, the Corporate Partner Network, an annual pitch competition, and several acceleration programs.

Got a great idea you want to see realised? Everything you need can be found in 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.