Business ideas in Dubai with 100% ownership


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Dubai may be famed for its oil and gas industries, its healthcare and technology sectors, or its thriving tourism scene. But these are just a few of the many areas in which entrepreneurs are succeeding out here in the Emirates.

And there are plenty of factors behind their success. The UAE tax rate on corporate and personal income is still 0% while VAT is a flat 5%. Then there is the country’s welcoming business environment, supportive regulation, and quick and simple company formation process.

But while Dubai may be built for business, starting and growing an enterprise out here requires expert support. When you work with Set Hub we can manage your company licensing and visa applications and are on hand to support you through every stage of growth.

With that in mind, here are five businesses you can start in the UAE, and how Set Hub can help you get off the ground.

What business should I start in Dubai?

Idea 1: Start a Supermarket

What are the benefits of starting a supermarket in Dubai, UAE?

It may not sound groundbreaking, but starting a supermarket business in Dubai can be incredibly rewarding. There is great potential to diversity that your offering, and it really stands out.

With such a high number of expatriates in Dubai, you could find a local niche and appeal to certain nationalities, or open a general store in an underserved location for example.

What’s more, Dubai is home to an affluent population who are prepared to pay for high quality produce. So there really is no limit to the types of goods you can offer.

Idea 2: Jewellery Trading

What are the benefits of starting a jewellery trading business in Dubai, UAE?

Dubai has been a thriving trading location for over 50 years. And one area that has seen success for much of that time is gold and jewellery.

Today the emirate’s malls and souks are lined with all manner of jewellery and accessories. To support this industry, the UAE’s rulers recently introduced a series of measures aimed at securing the country’s place as a global hub for the gold and jewellery trade. So, there’s never been a better time to get started.

Idea 3: Perfume Shop

What are the benefits of starting a perfume shop in Dubai, UAE?

Just as common as jewellery shops among Dubai’s many malls and souks are perfume stands. The UAE has a long love affair with scents.

So much so that the country’s perfume market is estimated to be worth over USD 520m. While the UAE market was once dominated by locally produced fragrances, today it is a major player on the international stage, trading with every corner of the world.

Idea 4: Spices Import and Export

What are the benefits of starting a spices import and export business in Dubai, UAE?

Spices are among the UAE’s most significant imports and exports. It is home to a thriving trade in cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, and much more.

The UAE is built for this kind of trade. A strategic location at the heart of the thriving markets of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and direct links around the world via air and sea, make it easy to import and export all manner of goods.

Idea 5: Vegetables Trading

What are the benefits of starting a vegetables trading business in Dubai?

Take a walk through the Al Aweer Central Fruit and Vegetable Market in Dubai and it’s clear how much potential there is in this particular idea.

Whether you buy wholesale to trade with the public, grow produce to order, or import and export vegetables with every corner of the world, there are few better bases than Dubai.

Steps to start a 100% ownership mainland business in Dubai

100% foreign ownership of mainland businesses is now permitted in the UAE in most cases. However, there are some exceptions to this rule and any 100% ownership will need to be approved by the relevant government bodies.

That’s why before starting any business in Dubai, you should first engage the services of a company formation expert such as Set Hub. Our expert team can guide you through the entire process.

Step 1: Selecting your business activities

First, we’ll help you decide on your business activities. The important thing here is that your chosen activities are in line with those on the official Department of Economic Development (DED) list. Chances are, they will be – there are over 2,000 approved activities to choose from, covering everything from consultancy to textiles trading.

Step 2: Choosing your company name

The next step is equally important: choosing a company name. There are a few key things to keep in mind at this stage – many that would not apply to anywhere else in the world.

Be aware that you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions. 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.

Step 3: Making your mainland license application

With the major admin out of the way, the next step is to apply for your trade license.

There are several license types to choose from. If your business activities fall into the category of industrial or manufacturing, then you will require an industrial license. If you are in the commercial sector – i.e., the buying and selling of goods – then you will require a commercial license. Similarly, those offering professional services will require a professional license.

As part of this application, you are usually only 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


Step 4: Making your visa applications

Finally, to trade in the UAE, you’ll require a visa, as will your employees, should you have any.

Again, with the right guidance, the visa application process can be incredibly straightforward. Most company formation agents can help you with this step as well as with your license application.

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

The maximum number of visas you can apply for will depend on the size of your company, your chosen setup and, for dependant visas, your personal earnings.

What is the cost of a mainland business license in Dubai, UAE?

The cost of starting any business in the UAE will depend on several factors. This may include the size, location, and precise nature of your business.

As a guide, you can obtain a trade licence with eligibility for one visa at Fujairah Creative City for just 22,000 AED. And when you apply today, you can spread the cost at 0%, meaning you’ll pay just AED 1,335 per month to establish your project management business.

Are you ready to start a new business in Dubai?

Hopefully this guide has made clear that if you’re armed with the right knowledge, setting up a business in Dubai doesn’t have to be overly complex or expensive.

That being said, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your license application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist in Dubai 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 visa 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.