Start an online educational business: 2022 Detailed Guide


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The UAE’s education sector is one of many to have benefitted from the country’s concerted move away from reliance on gas and oil.

An industry worth USD 4.4bn in 2017 is expected to grow to USD 7.1bn by 2023. Within that vast market are a wide array of business from tutors and coaches to educational tool creators, curriculum planners and academies and institutes.

The education sector is well-respected internationally, ranking 17th in the world for overall quality.

Both the reputation and size of the education sector is expected to grow in the coming years. By 2021, enrolment figures are on track to increase by 2% from 2017 while the arrival of prestigious institutes such as the University of Birmingham are expected to stimulate the market.

Greater numbers of active students means greater demand for educational services such as supplemental teaching and tutoring – much of which now takes place online.

Access to a growing market is just one of many great reasons to start an online educational business in the UAE. Set up here and you’ll also benefit from an easy incorporation process, a 0% tax rate and supportive business environment.

Want to know more? Below is your detailed guide to starting an online educational business in the UAE.

How to start an online educational business

The first step when starting any business in the UAE is to find a company setup partner.

While the UAE company formation process is not complex, any mistakes can prove costly, leading to delays and license rejection. So, before undertaking any of the steps below alone, enlist the services of an expert.

With the help of an expert, you can start an online education business in just five steps.

Step 1: Business activities

Before doing anything else, you’ll need to decide in which of the many education sub-sectors you wish to trade. Are you planning to write lesson and learning plans? Or offer online tutoring?

Once you have made this decision, you must align your chosen activity with one or more on the pre-approved activities list. This list is published by the local Department of Economic Development or emirate Municipality. Your company setup partner can take care of this step for you to save you searching through thousands of potential activities.

Step 2: Company name

When deciding on a name for a UAE business, you must abide by a strict set of naming conventions.

You should: Avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations. Avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e. Dave Mann Consulting, rather than D Mann Consulting.

Once you have made your decision, your company formation partner can register your name with the relevant authorities.

Step 3: Free zone or mainland?

At this stage, you should also decide whether you wish to set up a mainland business or a free zone business.

Mainland businesses can be established anywhere throughout the UAE. Free zone business, however, must operate from within the designated zone.

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

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.

Step 4: License application

You can now apply for your trade license. This application is made either to the local Department of Economic Development or Municipality, or to a free zone authority, depending on which setup type you choose.

In both cases, 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


When you start an online education business in the UAE, you’ll also need to apply for an Educational Service Permit and gain approvals from the relevant industry bodies. As with your license application, it is strongly advised that you allow a company setup expert to manage this process.

Step 5: Visa application

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.

Benefits of an online education business

There are many benefits to running an online education business in the UAE. For one, online businesses have few, if any overheads. Outside of a license, a computer, a reliable internet connection, and knowledge of your field, you need little else.

When applying for a license in a free zone, there is no need to take on physical premises, and many allow ad hoc use of facilities for a monthly or annual fee – often included in the cost of the license.

With the assistance of an expert, starting a UAE online education business is also incredibly straightforward, often taking days rather than weeks.

Finally, the UAE government is incredibly supportive of educational businesses, understanding their importance to the continued success of the emirate.

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 Hubcan 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.