Free Zones in the United Arab Emirates are one of its biggest economic success stories. Ever since its establishment in different parts of the country, it has encouraged enormous amounts of entrepreneurialism and exciting opportunities for both foreign and local investors. So, if you are thinking of starting a business in any of these free zones, you primarily need to be aware of the Dubai Free Zone Business Activities that are permitted for operation and the key considerations for setting up a Free Zone company in the UAE.
List of UAE Free Zone Business Activities
Selecting suitable business activities is one of the first and key decisions towards incorporating a free zone company in the UAE. The process is straightforward and you are even allowed to cover multiple activities under one license. UAE Expansion consultants can help you identify the most appropriate Dubai Free Zone Business Activities for your company and also ensure a seamless application procedure for your license.
Below are the categories of the most popular business activities you can choose from when setting up your business in the Dubai Free Zone –
Broadcast Management - radio broadcasting, TV broadcasting, and web streaming
Consultancy - business consultancy, lifestyle consultancy, investment consultancy, legal consultancy, HR consultancy, etc.
Education & Training
Event Management - conference organization, theatre production, and more
Film and Production - conceptualizing and planning projects, scriptwriting, casting, location scouting, securing financing, managing production logistics, coordinating crew and equipment, shooting and capturing footage, editing, adding visual effects and sound, and post-production.
Industrial – manufacturing and processing of raw goods, warehousing, etc.
IT services - information and communications technology sector, e-commerce, etc.
Media & Marketing - advertising, public relations, research, and more.
Music & Entertainment - music production and recording, music promotion and management, music rights, and theme park management.
New Media - photography, web design, broader digital media services, and mobile applications development and management.
Publishing - publishing of directories and guides, education and consumer books, magazines, online and electronic content, and more.
Trading - import or export-related dealings
Agricultural products trading - buying and selling agricultural products in bulk to retailers, distributors, or other businesses.
Auto garages - catering to luxury and exotic cars, electric vehicles, etc.
Turnstile installation - installation, configuration, and integration of turnstile hardware and software, such as sensors, control panels, ticketing or access card systems, and associated infrastructure.
Natural Cleaning & Hygiene Chemicals And Supplies - manufacturing, distributing, and selling cleaning products and hygiene supplies such as natural soaps, eco-friendly detergents, biodegradable cleaning agents, etc.
Cooking classes or Kitchen services - cooking lessons, interactive cooking tutorials, demonstrations, or professional culinary services
Human resources - recruitment, hiring, and deployment of individuals with specific skills, qualifications, and expertise to fill specific job roles.
Spa and salon – Hair styling and treatments, beauty treatments, makeup, therapeutic massages, and more.
Disposable Packing Trading - buying, selling, and distributing disposable packaging products such as containers, boxes, bags, wrappers, sealing machines, or labeling devices.
Wellness center - fitness centers, alternative therapies, beauty services, and holistic approaches.
Private Notary Public Services
Software consultancy and game programming - designing, developing, and implementing software solutions, creating and coding interactive and engaging video games.
Food grains trading - buying and selling of staple food grains on a commercial scale.
Luxury Transportation Services - high-quality vehicles, and professional chauffeurs for a comfortable and luxurious travel experience.
Trade Finance Consultancy and Portfolio Management - financing options, risk assessment, compliance with regulations, improving cash flow, overseeing and optimizing investment portfolios, diversification, risk management, and probability for returns.
Medical Tools & Equipment Trading - pharmaceutical products, medical supplies, surgical equipment, and requisites like bandages, dressings, surgical gloves, catheters, syringes, etc.
Get the complete list of Dubai Free Zone Business Activities and the associated categories at UAE Expansion.
Business Setup in Dubai Free Zone
Establishing a business in Dubai can be quite nerve-wracking and stressful. Moreover, going to the internet will only increase the stress given the immense amount of information provided there. So, here we are explaining a few considerations to start your company in Dubai Free Zone –
Every free zone in Dubai has its own specific set of permissible activities. Moreover, the authorities allow the business owners to select multiple Dubai Free Zone Business Activities to carry out within the particular Zone. However, the rules vary when it comes to choosing the amount of business activities. The more the activities, the higher the cost of the license.
Hence, to avoid applying for multiple licenses and paying any additional fees, it is ideal to choose several activities within one activity group, from the same license type (Commercial, Professional, or Industrial).
Type of Facility
The type of facility you will choose for your business will depend on your business plan. For instance, if you are not planning for a big expansion within the next few years, then getting a shared or flexi-desk at a co-working space would be better.
On the other hand, if you are planning to hire more employees and conduct regular client meetings, then you must opt for an office in a separate physical location. Most importantly, whichever facility you choose should be within the free zone where your company is registered.
The number of visas you will require will depend on the size of your facility. For example, there are only a limited number of visas for shared desk facilities, whereas, for a physical office space, the visa quota is more. Similarly, the proportion may differ from one free zone to another.
Proximity to ports
For a business to be efficient, especially a trading business, you need to have the most strategic transportation routes and hubs to avoid high expenses. If you are into trading, logistics, or manufacturing activities, find a location that is close to a seaport or an airport. Further, do some research to see who are the competing businesses in your chosen area.
Share capital requirement
Share capital amount is one of the common requirements for company registration in the UAE. The amount differs in each Free Zone. Therefore, you have to determine the required minimum share capital in a particular Free Zone for the specific business activity. Further, you have to deposit the amount either into your company account or the relevant Free Zone authority account and provide proof of the deposit as well.
Restrictions on shareholders
Some free zones may have restrictions for certain nationalities of shareholders. Therefore, it is better to consult with a business setup consultant at UAE Expansion regarding the high-risk nationalities and the restrictions involved in setting up a company in the Dubai Free Zone.
For setting up a company, you need to determine the applicable fees for registration, licenses, an establishment card, and rental fees for the first and second years of operation. The cost considerations must also include visa fees that the company has to incur for both employees and shareholders.
Calculating all of these alone can be daunting, which is why UAE Expansion business consultants can help you by sharing their experience and creating hyper-personalized solutions for your business.
Get bespoke business solutions at UAE Expansion
The business setup advisors at UAE Expansion help you start your company in Dubai with ease. To get all the information in a fast and professional way, reach out for free expert advice.