Dubai has a reputation for big business, with good reason. Many of the world’s largest companies have a presence out here from Google and Apple to Nike and Berkshire Hathaway.

But that’s just one part of the emirate’s business landscape. For every conglomerate doing business in Dubai there are many more startups and SMEs. So many, in fact, that they account for over 90% of all businesses in the emirate.

If you’re looking for the best small business to scale in Dubai, we’re here to help. In this article we’ll explore ten company types with great potential for growth, including:

  • Lead generation for small businesses
  • Event planning
  • Photography
  • Real estate agency
  • Recruitment agency
  • Freelance and content writing services
  • Virtual assistant
  • Dropshipping
  • Bookkeeping
  • Consulting business

Why start a small business in Dubai?

Dubai is one of the most welcoming environments in the world for small businesses. With the right support, the company formation process is quick and simple while the 0% tax rate is attractive to businesses of all sizes.

Then there is the emirate’s location at the heart of the Middle East. Coupled with incredible transport links via land, sea and air, this makes Dubai the perfect place to trade with Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.

Dubai also offers international investors a stable economic and social climate, regularly ranking highly for quality of life and safety and security.

10 small business ideas in Dubai with low investment

Lead generation for small businesses

Lead generation is often thought of a service for larger businesses. But, in fact, it is in high demand among smaller enterprises looking to expand their customer base.

You can reach smaller businesses by focusing your efforts in areas such as Al Quoz, which is packed with custom furniture makers, carpenters, vehicle repair shops and more. You can offer these companies online ad services as a relatively fast and affordable way to drum up new business.

If you don’t know how to run online ads, don’t worry, it’s easy to learn online or via YouTube or udemy.com.

Event planning

Event planning is another business idea that requires little in terms of upfront investment or resources. Simply advertise your services and get planning.

It’s a good idea to start small and scale. Perhaps begin planning birthday parties and similar before taking on large-scale or corporate events.


Photography services are highly sought after out here in Dubai, whether for private functions like weddings or corporate promos and events. If you can point and click, you could make a profit.

Of course, you’ll need a little equipment and expertise to get off the ground in this industry. But as long as you have an eye for composition and a reasonable camera, you can start taking bookings.

Real estate agency

The Dubai property market has provided attractive returns for investors for some time, often outperforming the likes of Hong Kong, London and New York. Investors, buyers and tenants alike require the services of property experts to guide them through this bustling market.

Whether you help buyers find property, manage tenancies or actively sell homes, you’ll find an audience out here in the UAE. And with no need for stock and inventory, this can be a quick and easy business to get started.

Recruitment agency

Over 30,000 business start up in the UAE every year, and that’s on top of the hundreds of thousands already trading out here. To drive growth, these businesses need talented and reliable new hires. But finding them is not easy.

That’s where you can come in. If you’ve the skill to screen and match potential candidates to the many vacancies across Dubai, businesses will happily pay you a fee for your service. And once again, with no need for stock and other overheads, this is an affordable business to start out here.

Freelance and content writing services

If you already have a talent for writing copy, this is probably the cheapest business to start here in Dubai. The emirate’s businesses are always looking for great content to entice their audience, and if you can supply it, you’ll surely be in high demand. As your words are your offering, all you need is some writing skill and a laptop. It couldn’t be easier to get up and running.

With sites like Bayt and Marketplace.ae hugely popular in the region, finding clients can be quick and easy too.

Virtual assistant

With more people than ever working from home, the popularity of virtual assistants has risen astronomically in recent years. To start this business, you’ll need to be personable and organised. You can work from home or a coworking space and need little more than a laptop and a phone.

As a virtual assistant, you’ll help entrepreneurs and businesses with administrative tasks like appointment scheduling, calling, travel arrangements and email management.


Dropshipping is a great way to make the most of Dubai’s incredible trading location without holding stock and taking on the associated costs. With this type of business, you set up an online shopfront to drive sales and the physical goods are shipped directly from a dropshipping company to the buyer.

There are plenty of dropshipping companies in the UAE that will take care of everything for you from inventory and fulfilment to shipping and returns. Some will even help you with the ecommerce side, offering hosting and website building packages.


Dubai may levy zero corporate and personal tax but there’s still plenty of financial admin that needs taking care of out here. Many businesses must submit audited accounts while all must keep up-to-date financial records. Larger companies tend to sort this in-house, but the vast majority of smaller ones will outsource to bookkeepers and accountants.

So, if you hold the relevant qualifications, you’ll find a large and receptive audience out here in the UAE. Getting started is easy. All you’ll need is a computer, accounting software and a place to work – you could be trading in days.

Consulting business

Dubai’s businesses and entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for expert advice and guidance. If you have relevant qualifications or field experience that you’re able to impart, you are sure to find many a welcoming ear.

With so many industries thriving out here, a wide range of expertise is in demand, in everything from technology and travel to food, textiles, mechanics and more. All you need to get started is a license and your knowhow.

Why choose Set Hub?

Set Hub is the perfect partner for all things relating to business setup in Dubai. Our expert team offers everything you need to launch, operate and grow your small business here in the UAE.

We pride ourselves on giving new businesses the best possible start, that’s why we take the time to get to know you, your requirements and your goals before we advise on the most suitable solution.

We are a highly dedicated team of company formation experts who are passionate about what we do. And we can help you bring your dreams of business ownership to life – today.

As well as assisting with trade license applications and company administration, we can also help you find and access banking services, guide you through the UAE visa and relocation process, and support you throughout the life of your business with our wide range of concierge services.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our expert team today on 800 SETHUB (738482), email [email protected], or pop in and visit us at our offices in Dubai and Fujairah.