So you want to start your own business?!

So you want to start your own business?!


Starting and running your own business is one of the most exciting choices anyone can make but trying to establish a company in Dubai is never easy especially given the plethora of information that exists. One of the most common questions we encounter from our clients is whether it is more beneficial to set up an onshore or offshore business and the differences between the two.

In the past decade, Dubai has seen phenomenal growth in company formation and is considered a top business destination for many foreign investors primarily due its historic zero rate of corporation tax. This alone makes it an attractive option for a high number of investors and entrepreneurs who are keen to establish a base in the UAE. The most popular options available to an entrepreneur when considering the most suitable way to invest in the UAE market are:

  1. Establish a business entity in mainland Dubai (also known as ‘onshore’) which is licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED)
  2. Establish a business entity in 1 of the 50 plus Free Zones that are dotted around the UAE with the majority situated in Dubai
  3. Establish a company offshore [1]


here will be a table


The above factors should be taken into consideration when starting your own business, its advisable to seek advice when choosing the right trade license and that your company is set up in the right jurisdiction. By utilizing our expertise, you can benefit from:

  • Reduced bureaucracy allowing you to focus on your business
  • Scalability from being in the right location for your industry sector and client base
  • Long term cost reduction


Given there are 250 licenses in the UAE and nearly 60 free zones its definitely not the case of one size fits all and a license that may be suitable for your business now may not be compatible in a year’s time. Here at Vital we take a personal approach when dealing with our clients to establish what the right fit for your business is now and the future.




[1] Companies who do not wish to engage in any business within the UAE can establish an entity under the offshore regulatory system. In most cases these businesses act as holding companies and do not perform commercial activities.

[2] Important to note that there are a few restricted companies that require 100% local ownership while some allow complete foreign ownership on certain professional services through a local agent.

  • Patricia
    Posted at 19:27h, 24 August Reply

    incredibly informative and very well written,short and to the point

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