10 online business ideas in Dubai, UAE


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In light of recent events, entrepreneurs are having to adapt. But while travel and face to face business may be limited for the time being, the business opportunities on offer in Dubai are not.

Dubai remains among the top locations for trade, situated between the markets of Asia, Africa, Europe and, of course, the Middle East.

For those looking to start a business during these unprecedented times, there are many online business ideas in Dubai which could see success.

Starting an online business in Dubai is easy and, in many cases, can be done without visiting the UAE. If you’re looking to scratch your entrepreneurial itch, here are several online business ideas in Dubai for your consideration.

10 online business ideas in Dubai

Here are ten simple business ideas that you can run from your own home.

Food delivery marketplace: The food delivery market is booming in Dubai right now. And you don’t need to own an eatery to get involved. You could run a delivery service, collecting food from local restaurants, and delivering it to people’s homes. Or simply collate local restaurants and cafeterias as an affiliate, taking a small commission on any clickthroughs.

Tutoring: You may already have a skill that you could turn into a business. Tutoring, both face to face and virtually, is increasing in popularity around the world. You could teach anything, from maths and science to cooking, crafts or a musical instrument.

Social media marketing: Dubai is full of businesses that wish to spread their message – and in the modern age, that means having an active and engaging social media presence. Social media marketing is famously time consuming, so many businesses are happy to outsource this task to an expert who can give it the focus it deserves.

Fitness instructor: Dubai’s residents have a passion for health and fitness. If you share that passion, you could quickly turn it into a career. You don’t need a costly premises to get into this field. You don’t even need to see clients face to face. Many instructors now hold fitness, yoga, and pilates classes via video conference.

Trading: Dubai is a world-famous trading location, so it is no surprise that its e-commerce sector is growing fast. You can apply for an e-commerce license in Dubai and run your business from anywhere in the world. And there are few limits on what you can trade – from homemade crafts to drop-shipped goods.

Consultancy: Consultancy has long been a lucrative career path in Dubai. And in the modern business world, it’s more accessible than ever. You can provide virtual advice on any areas of speciality from accounting to HR or marketing. All that’s required to get started is proven experience in your field and an engaging website.

Web design: A company’s website is often its most powerful promotional tool. And for that reason, businesses are willing to pay a high price for those with the skills to build a compelling and engaging online presence.

Virtual assistant: With more and more companies outsourcing remotely, virtual assistants have grown in popularity in recent years. There’s demand for almost any skill you can think of, from admin support to email management and more.

Archiving and data entry: While not the most glamourous of tasks, archiving and data entry is a necessity for many businesses. And in many cases, it can be carried out remotely.

Translation: Dubai is a famously diverse place with over 80% of residents coming from overseas. While Arabic and English are most common, it is not unusual to hear Hindi, Urdu or Mandarin. This makes it the perfect place to start a professional document translation service.

How can I start a small online business in Dubai?

Starting an online business in Dubai is easy when you work with a respected company formation specialist.

You should start by deciding whether you wish to apply for a full license or a freelance permit. The incorporation process is similar in both cases. Your company formation partner can help you decide the right fit for your business.

Next, you’ll need to decide on your business activity. The important thing here is that your chosen activities are in line with those on the official Department of Economic Development (DED) list.

Now it’s time to choose a company name. Be aware that you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions here in the UAE.

In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e. Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

Now for the most important step – deciding whether to set up on the mainland or in a free zone.

In most cases, free zone company formation is the most cost-effective and advantageous approach.

The UAE is home to many free zones offering affordable license packages and fast company setup options.

Free zones such as Fujairah Creative City, for example, offer benefits including a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions.

With these key decisions made, you can apply for your trade license or freelance permit. In either case, you’ll be required to provide a few details and some basic documentation, including:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy of the proposed owner or owners
  • Two colour passport size photos


Finally, unless you already have a valid UAE residency visa, you’ll need to apply for one.

Just like applying for your business license, with the right guidance, the visa application process can be incredibly straightforward.

As the holder of a UAE business license, you can also sponsor others for their visas. This could be a spouse, parent or child, or a domestic worker such as a housekeeper.

Are you ready to start a new business in Dubai?

If you’re intrigued by our suggested online business ideas, or have an idea of your own, it’s easy to get started.

However, forming a business in the UAE does requires a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, the process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you to ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a Dubai company formation specialist such as Set Hub when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are a team of company registration professionals who are passionate about bringing the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs and SMEs to life.

As well as handling your license application, Set Hub can also assist with the opening of corporate bank accounts and advise on the most appropriate financial institution to suit your specific needs.

We also offer visa and immigration services and can handle all government formalities, permissions, work permits and visas applications that are required to trade in the UAE.

In short, our experts can establish your company on your behalf, make your license and visa applications, and take care of all the necessary admin – leaving you free to get on with running your business.