Foreign Aspirants Can Now Launch Their UAE Business Venture with 100% Ownership

Yep, you read that headline right. Foreign business aspirants can now launch their dream venture in the UAE while retaining 100% business ownership! And this also means that 100% UAE business ownership won’t just be restricted to the Free Zones, either. That’s some really big news!

This is a big deal. In the past, business formation within the mainland area required you to partner with a local sponsor (a UAE national) who would maintain 51% shareholding ownership of your company. But all that changed on June 1 with the implementation of this amendment to the UAE Commercial Companies Law!

How to Form Your Own Business with 100% Ownership on the UAE Mainland

Hopefully, we’ve gotten your attention by now, and your next logical question is probably this: “Well, how do I go about accomplishing my own business setup in the UAE?” That’s a great question, and thankfully we’re also able to provide you with some great tips to help make it happen

1. Formalize your list of intended business activities

Narrow down the list of business activities you want to conduct in Dubai. The Department of Economic Development (also known as the DED) maintains an exhaustive list of allowed business activities, and you’ll just need to choose the ones that apply to your venture. This will determine which licensing you’ll need.

Which kinds of business qualify for 100% foreign investor ownership under this amendment to UAE commercial law? Almost anything you can think of! Some of the diverse industries found on the approved list include agriculture, arts & entertainment, business administration & support, communication & IT, construction, education, food & hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, renewable energy, scientific research, transportation & storage, and more!

2. Decide the structure of your business

Most non-nationals choose a limited liability company (LLC) structure when it comes to company formation in the UAE. And with the newly-available 100% foreign business ownership option, starting your business is easier than ever. You’ll just need to enlist a local service agent (LSA) to help you set everything up. MSZ Consultancy can make it happen!

3. Choose and reserve a brand name for your business

Obviously, your business will need to have a unique brand name to go by. You’ll also need to ensure that your brand name falls within the guidelines of UAE business naming protocols. The name you choose should be relevant to your business, and shouldn’t include any terminology which could be perceived as derogatory or controversial.

4. Make plans for an office location

You’ve got options where choosing an office location is concerned. If your intention is to establish a mainland business, then settling on a physical office location can make good sense. You could look to purchase some space, but it would probably be much simpler, easier, and more cost-effective to rent. Rental office space isn’t hard to come by in the UAE, and it’s usually pretty easy to procure. Depending on the nature of your business, going with a virtual office can be a great solution, too. MSZ Consultancy can help with that, too!

5. Apply for a trade license in Dubai

Another box which much be checked is the procurement of proper trade license. Any business which wishes to operate in the UAE must carry a valid business license. Not sure how to go about obtaining one? Not to worry, a reliable LSA like MSZ Consultancy can help to orchestrate that process on your behalf! We can also help you arrive at a good estimate of what your total business setup cost in Dubai, and we’ll be glad to steer you in the right direction in terms of getting your local corporate bank account opened.


6. Obtain proper travel visas

Of course, if you intend to operate your business in person, you’ll need to apply for the proper visas for you, your family, and any staff you’ll be bringing with you from outside the country. Thankfully, the UAE strives to make this process no more cumbersome than is absolutely necessary, as they really do want your business to come here!

Why Has the UAE Chosen to Allow for 100% Foreign Business Ownership?

We also get that, as a business owner or entrepreneur, you may have a few alarm bells going off in your head right now. After all, this proposal from the UAE government almost sounds too good to be true. What’s in it for the UAE, exactly? That’s a fair question, so let’s look at some of the motivation behind the passing of this amendment:

• This will promote more growth in desired economic sectors

There are several specific economic sectors in which UAE authorities would like to help facilitate continued growth across the Emirates. For example, there’s an intentional desire to see more green technology development in areas like solar panel implementation and hybrid power plant utilization. Here are 13 key business sectors which appear on the approved 100% foreign ownership list:

1. Agriculture

2. Renewable energy

3. Food & hospitality services

4. Healthcare industry

5. Transportation & storage

6. Product manufacturing & distribution

7. Civil construction

8. IT & communication services

9. Space technology

10. Scientific activities

11. Administration & support services

12. Education

13. Arts & entertainment industry

• This will attract new foreign investors to the UAE

Similar positive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rulings have been shown to bring more foreign investors to the UAE in the past. UAE officials anticipate that this new 100% business ownership amendment will potentially help attract more foreign investors than ever before. Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Economy, believes that foreign investments will increase by a minimum of 35% as a direct result of this amendment.

• This will help position the UAE for even greater global competitiveness

Both government and financial leaders around the UAE are convinced that this move will increase global economic competitiveness for the Emirates. The new foreign ownership rule should serve to reaffirm the UAE’s position as a true global hub for investors, and should also make the UAE an even more attractive emerging market in which businesses can thrive and grow. There are currently around 300,000 companies in the UAE, and UAE leaders are hopeful that this number will grow to one million UAE companies within the next ten years.


The MSZ Consultancy is Here to Help You Launch Your New Business in the UAE!

Our office is located right here in Dubai, and MSZ Consultancy knows everything you need in order to launch a successful business in Dubai, or in any of the other six Emirates. We’re the UAE business setup consultants you need!

We’re well-versed in all the steps for founding Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore companies in the UAE, and we can help make your entire business setup process as painless and hassle-free as possible. And MSZ Consultancy doesn’t just stop there. We’ll walk you every step of the way, and we’re happy to offer our expert counsel anytime you may need us. In addition, we can help you navigate all the government-required regulations and paperwork through our best-in-class PRO business services in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. We don’t just want to help you launch your business; we actually want to see your UAE business grow and thrive!

Got questions? Ready to make your business happen? Get connected with us today to learn how we can help make all your UAE business dreams come true! Just give us a call at +971 52 544 1248, and let’s get the conversation started!

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