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SaaS Company Licence Dubai: 2022 Guide

saas business in dubai

Dubai is an excellent place to base a software as a service (SaaS) business as the emirate has a highly developed tech and physical infrastructure, as well as many active investors and government incentives. There is also a significant cluster of tech businesses in the emirate that are available to collaborate on projects.

The tax regime in Dubai – where businesses don’t have to pay tax – is also a powerful incentive to set up in the emirate, as it means profits can be ploughed back into growing the operation.

If the question ‘How can I start a software company in Dubai?’, and more specifically a SaaS business, has ever crossed your mind then this article will give you an overview of how it can be achieved. This article will cover the following topics:

  • SaaS Business – What is it?
  • Steps to get a SaaS business licence in Dubai
  • Cost of opening a SaaS company in Dubai, UAE
  • About Dtec

SaaS business – What is it?

SaaS – software as a service – is the name for a business which licences and delivers software to other companies on a subscription model and that is centrally hosted in the cloud.

SaaS has become a common model across many business sectors, including accounting, management, CAD, design, customer relationship management, human resources and content management.

Most SaaS companies develop and manage their own software product(s), which are usually accessed through the Internet. Customers usually pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to access the software and services.

Globally, spending on the SaaS sector is predicted to grow to $140 billion, up from $100 just two years ago. And, like in many other places, the SaaS sector in Dubai and wider UAE is one of the fastest-growing in the entire IT sector and is set to remain so for some time to come as more companies convert to SaaS for their software requirements.

In Dubai, there are already numerous SaaS providers established, but the market has by no means reached saturation, so there is plenty of opportunity for businesses with good products and services to gain a healthy market share.

Steps to get a SaaS business licence in Dubai

Before applying for a SaaS business licence in Dubai, there are certain things that must be put in place first. Crucial first steps include naming the business and deciding on the activities it will conduct.

Dubai has certain conventions for naming a business. Firstly, it cannot contain any profane words in it – and it’s always worth checking the local dialect as words can have different meanings or connotations in different places – or anything blasphemous. In addition, it should be a name that isn’t used by any other businesses in Dubai. Finally, anyone wanting to use their name must use their full name – not just a surname or an initial followed by a surname.

To set up a business in Dubai, a licence is required, and different licences are needed depending on the activity the business carries out. Dtec can help entrepreneurs to define which licence to apply for and guide them through the application process. Contact Dtec today to find out more and receive a bespoke quote.

SaaS businesses can also be registered as a professional firm with full foreign ownership, as well as a business with a sole proprietor.

It is also recommended that a business plan is put together. While this is no longer required in the licence application process, it is useful if the entrepreneur wants to raise money from potential investors.

Another important step in the process sees the entrepreneur ensuring that they have an appropriate visa in place so they can work in Dubai. In addition, if the entrepreneur intends to employ people from overseas, they will also require a visa before they can move to Dubai and begin working.

Following this, a licence must be applied for. Dtec can help at every step of the application process.

With the application there are several documents that also must be submitted. These include a copy of the passport of the entrepreneur and those of any partner(s) in the business and evidence of address, proof that the initial licence payment has been made, a copy of the entrepreneur’s visa, passport size photos and an NOC for any foreign partners from their respective sponsor.

Any Dubai-based business must have a registered office. Dtec has the largest tech co-working space in the Middle East. Entrepreneurs can rent an office or coworking space – workspaces are flexible to needs and can grow with the business – at very affordable rates

It is vital that the application process is done correctly, along with all the correct documents being submitted, otherwise it can cause problems in the future and hold up the granting of a licence. For this reason, while entrepreneurs can tackle the process themselves, it is recommended to seek guidance from local experts to ensure it is accurate the first time it is submitted and the process is as smooth as possible. Dtec are experts in advising on the application process – contact Dtec today at for more information.

In addition, a corporate bank account for the company is required. This can be opened after the company licence has been granted. Specialist accounts for businesses are available through any of the many banks based in the UAE.

Cost of opening a SAAS company in Dubai, UAE

It does not have to cost a fortune to start a SaaS business in Dubai. The overall cost is, on average, AED 20,000 to AED 25,000.

The costs include the fee to register a new business with the DED, which ranges from AED 720 to AED 940, licence fees, and security deposits, among others.

Of course, there are other costs that need to be factored into any plans. For instance, the costs of visas, if you are planning to recruit employees from overseas. Then, the cost of the office space you need has to be considered, although there are some working spaces available that provide great value for money, not least through Dtec – contact us today for more information and a personalised quote. Also any hardware and software licences will also have to be bought, and it is always advisable to have an amount of working capital available in case of any unforeseen costs.

About Dtec

If you are looking to establish a SaaS company in Dubai, UAE, then Dtec can make the process smoother. Dtec aims to assist people to establish a new company and this includes providing help to process visas, giving access to high-speed wifi as well as a range of multi-functional meeting and event spaces.

Dtec offers flexible office or coworking space that technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs can rent. Dtec is the biggest technology innovation campus in the MENA region and is already the base for a range of innovative tech businesses from across the globe.

Dtec has everything that entrepreneurs could need to see their business vision become a reality, from collaborative coworking spaces to accelerator programs, access to funding and regular networking events attended by leading figures in the technology space in the region.

For more information on Dtec, please contact us for a personalised quote.