Dubai is no longer the boring desert land it used to be decades ago; the city has been transformed into the world’s premier travel destination. However, many entrepreneurs get stuck wondering what businesses to start in Dubai.
Indeed, everyone from celebrities to regular citizens has included traveling to the city on their bucket list. Consequently, many have gone beyond mere traveling and decided to tap into Dubai’s moneymaking potential.
Although different UAE cities have similar policies on many things, the government has gone a step further. It has worked hard to ensure business opportunities in Dubai are enticing enough to draw investors and entrepreneurs alike.
If you’re one of those wondering what opportunities exist in the form of businesses to start in Dubai, this article has some great ideas for you to consider.
Before we explore the different successful business ideas in Dubai, here are a few compelling reasons you should start a business in Dubai.
Benefits of starting a business in Dubai
Dubai’s strategic location is one of the reasons one might consider starting a business in the city. The city is located in the sweet spot between the east and west.
This position gives it the advantage of easily trading with both sides through its numerous airports and seaports. Logistics can be a challenge to overcome in some other locations, but not in Dubai.
As can be seen from all the infrastructural and economic development that the city has undergone. The government and local authorities have bet heavily on turning the area into a cultural and economic hub similar to its peers in the United Arab Emirates.
A region with government policies favourable to the entrepreneurial spirit is a good place to consider starting a business.
Dubai is one of the places with the most admired infrastructure in the world. The country enjoys top-of-the-line road networks, buildings, and other amenities.
This is a market advantage for those interested in starting a business in Dubai.
No income tax
One of the key attractions for investors in Dubai is the fact that the government doesn’t charge income tax. This has played a significant role in attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Ease of doing business
Regardless of which business opportunity in Dubai you desire to start, creating a business in Dubai is one of the easiest processes in comparison to many other countries.
This is mostly driven by technological advancement and wide business opportunities available to entrepreneurs.
Free trade zones
Another reason why Dubai is a perfect city to start a business is the fact that it has free trade zones. These are areas where investors can freely start their businesses without being forced to partner with local businesses.
In some countries, investors are required to partner with local entities, especially in certain key industries. This makes doing business in Dubai unique.
Easy visa process
One of the most frustrating experiences for any foreigner moving into a new location is the visa process. However, in Dubai, the process for obtaining an employment visa and a residential visa is easy and stress-free.
For those who’d prefer to avoid the entire process, you can hire a business consultant to help ease the process.
Zero currency fluctuation
For entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in Dubai, there is one more important advantage of taking this step.
The UAE economy is relatively more stable, and therefore the currency is too. This is especially true when compared to other major currencies such as USD, Euro, and others.
Businesses to start in Dubai
This type of business has experienced exceptional growth over the past few years due to huge technological advancements. Additionally, the global lockdown during the pandemic made the concept of e-commerce commonplace.
Indeed, it is possible to earn good money selling a wide range of products or services with just the help of a great internet connection and a smartphone or laptop.
Dubai is a city undergoing constant change, as is evidenced by the ever-increasing magnificent high-rise buildings and other infrastructure constructed over the past decade.
With the support of the Dubai government, there is a lot of money to be made from the construction business in Dubai due to the numerous construction projects in the city.
Whether you’re interested in starting a high-end restaurant business or simply want to open a local street food truck, Dubai is the right city for your business. The city enjoys a high influx of tourists looking to experiment and try new things.
In addition, the local population can also provide a ready market for this business opportunity. This is one of the genuinely profitable business ideas to start in Dubai.
Interestingly, the business opportunities in the market are not limited to regular cuisine but can also be something niche, such as a bakery business. Whichever you choose, with a minimum investment and a valid trade license, you’re well on your way to building a successful business.
Statistics indicate that the tourism industry is expected to contribute roughly $280.6 billion by 2028.
The tourism business is one of Dubai’s core income earners and therefore generates huge earnings for the city. This is definitely an industry you can’t go wrong in.
As far as business in Dubai goes, this is one of the more likely to succeed business ideas. The tourism business setup process is not difficult, which is why the tourism sector attracts large numbers.
Business consultancy services have gained popularity and appreciation in recent years. With the number of foreign investors interested in working and living in Dubai, a consulting business guiding them in various aspects of the place is bound to succeed.
This can be started as a small business targeting niche areas or clients. Regardless of which industry you choose to specialise in, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy optimal growth due to the high market for specialised services.
Real estate business
The real estate development market in Dubai is estimated to be worth roughly $5.4 billion. This is one of the most highly demanded industries in the city and is sure to be a winner for anyone that knows how to spot and make good deals.
Despite what many entrepreneurs might think, not all successful business ideas must be new ideas. Simply tapping into an already established market can guarantee a steady stream of business coming your way on a monthly basis.
If you’re looking for a business with a relatively low investment requirement, then handyman services might be a great place to start. This is likely to be a success owing to the fact that there is a huge demand for such services.
Some people might doubt whether this can really be counted as one of the successful business ideas. They would be shocked to discover that it is one of the most profitable business ideas on this list.
With an increase in the local incomes and standards of living has come increased demand for luxury products and services. Therefore jewelry design and making in Dubai is now a popular business.
This is one of those business ideas that can either be started as an e-commerce business or a physical business. Regardless of which route you go, this business can grow into one of the most profitable businesses in the region.
The retail business industry in Dubai is ever-growing and shows no signs of stopping soon. According to statistics, the value of this industry is expected to grow to $7.5 billion by the close of 2025. In addition, the industry is also spurred forward by growth in the region as a whole.
The education business, such as training centres, institutes, schools, and tutoring services, has gained massive popularity in Dubai. With the influx of tourists from all parts of the world, increase for these services has increased both among the local population and the city’s visitors.
The cleaning business market has enjoyed significant growth in recent years. This is one of the easiest businesses to start in Dubai and yet promises to be a hugely profitable business for those with the right skill set.
Cleaning services seem too simple to be a huge money maker and yet have offered so many entrepreneurs the path to profits. Similar to many other business ideas in Dubai included on this list, it doesn’t require a huge capital investment to start.
Healthcare /IT Consultant
Similar to any other type of consultancy, as a health or I.T consultant, you would be poised to make good money in Dubai. The city enjoys a large metropolitan population with unique needs and the resources to fulfil them.
There might be a few formalities you need to fulfil before you can start a security services business in Dubai, but it is well worth it. Since the city attracts millions of visitors every year, there are bound to be a few VIPs in need of this service and willing to pay big bucks in exchange.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, more people gained an appreciation for the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Personal training requires little initial capital investment but has the potential to generate high earnings.
The beauty salon industry, which also includes barber shop services has experienced tremendous growth in Dubai. The market shows no signs of slowing down as more investors increase their investments in this well-known industry.
The travel industry lies at the heart of Dubai’s economic development. The travel agency business in Dubai is expected to generate $1569 million by 2027 and is one of the most profitable businesses to start in this city.
The increased use of the internet for everything and anything has driven demand for convenience on tap. The average person living in Dubai can have almost everything delivered directly to their location.
Although extremely competitive, delivery services business can be highly profitable if one can establish a trusted brand.
Food delivery business
The food industry has undergone a lot of change due to technology and also the pandemic. Studies have shown that most people are more comfortable having their food delivered as opposed to eating out.
This presents a great opportunity for those with the capital resources to launch this business. As far as business ideas in Dubai go, this should be one of your top considerations. The food business can be started as a small business and later scaled in accordance with the growth in demand.
Starting an advertising agency in Dubai is relatively easy and also a smart business move. While the world’s biggest brands vie for a piece of the middle east, you could be the one to introduce those brands to the local audience. Successfully done, this business has great potential to earn you millions.
Through an advertising agency, you could offer marketing services to both big and small businesses. Additionally, this business can be run online or offline at your discretion.
The world is going green, and Dubai is no different. With the enormous amount of waste products in the form of plastic, clothing, and others that can be recycled, this business makes a lot of sense.
Not only would you be doing good in the environment, but you’d also be making millions in the process!
This is one of the highest-growing industries in the city and doesn’t require a huge capital investment. It is one of the best business opportunities in Dubai. Businesses performing these services earn high profits.
Now that you know what business ideas you could start in Dubai. Let’s explore the process involved.
How to start a business in Dubai
The process to start a business in Dubai is one of the most straightforward and easy in the world. Almost anyone can start a business in the UAE, provided they follow the guidelines stipulated by the UAE government.
However, you’ll have to start by determining whether you want to operate your business in a free zone, mainland or offshore. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages which is why you will have to carefully consider them before making a final decision.
Another important part of the process of starting a business in Dubai is licensing. You will have to secure different licenses depending on the nature of the business you are pursuing. There are four basic licenses you will need to begin with:
- Commercial license.
- Industrial license.
- Professional license.
- Tourism license.
Collect Trading Licence.
Before you start operating your business in Dubai, you’ll need to be in possession of your trading license. The following documentation will be needed before you can be awarded your trading license.
- Copies of your passport and visa.
- Trade name reservation.
- Document showing initial approval.
- Tenancy contract.
- Trade license application.
- Required government forms.
- Memorandum of association.
- External approval (if requested).
Process in a nutshell.
- Determine your chosen business idea.
- Choose the jurisdiction under which your business will be set up. i.e., Mainland, Free zone, or offshore.
- Register your business trading name.
- Gain initial approval for company formation.
- Obtain additional approvals depending on the type of business.
- Submit the application and relevant documents to the Department of Economic Development (DED) if the business will be in Dubai mainland. Alternatively, send the application to the relevant authority in the Free zone or offshore.
- Receive business license in Dubai.
- Begin business operations.
Conclusion on how to start a Business in Dubai
There are many brilliant businesses to start in Dubai in different industries. Whether it’s a business in the healthcare industry, jewelry making, or something more complex such as web development, the process is simple and straight to the point.
Ultimately, the best business ideas are those that are uncomplicated and enjoy huge demand from the local population and numerous tourists who visit the city regularly.