Why are entrepreneurs and SMEs opting for Dubai as their new home

Op-ed by Hisham Al Gurg, CEO, Seed Group and the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum


Of the golden principles that successful entrepreneurs abide by, ‘choosing the right base’ always tops the list. It is a well-known fact among start-up owners and enterprising businesspersons that the city or the country you make your base, has a lot to do with how your business fares in the longer run. 

Of late, a number of global businesses have made the UAE, Dubai in specific, their new business address. On global indexes, Dubai has made its towering presence felt in terms of flourishing business landscapes for years now – thanks to its exemplary leadership, favourable policies, and forward-thinking approach to all things innovative.  

Projected to grow at an impressive rate of 4 per cent this fiscal, the emirate of Dubai in the UAE continues to consolidate its undisputed position as the global business hub. A slew of proactive and pragmatic measures, including stimulus packages worth Dh7.1 billion ($1.93bn), taken by the visionary leadership have not only kept the emirate’s business ecosystem safe from the negative headwinds of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also made it more conducive and lucrative for heightened commercial activities.

As per Dubai FDI Monitor, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East attracted a whopping Dh24.7bn ($6.7bn) in foreign direct investment through 455 projects in the last financial year. 

Founded in February, Invest in Dubai (IID) has already drawn 3,746 foreign investors from 77 countries, including the UK, Russia, France, and India. In a short span of time, IID has facilitated the issuance of 3,464 commercial licences and registration of 1,448 trade names by helping businesses obtain many government permits and approvals online. 

In the first quarter of this fiscal, over 15,000 new licences were issued in Dubai, 19 per cent more than what were allotted in the same month last year. The recent decision to grant 100 per cent business ownership and citizenship to foreign nationals and investors has made more investors and multinationals head to Dubai to expand their business operations in the Middle East. 

This only goes on to show how sensitive Dubai’s leadership is in promoting the private sector, especially the small and medium enterprises that employ 42 per cent of the total workforce and contribute 40 per cent to the emirate’s economy.

Reiterating the Government’s commitment to significantly increase the private sector’s role in the emirate’s growth, Crown Prince His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum last week directed officials to remove administrative hurdles for businesses by 30 per cent over the next three months to help them function freely. The emirate is also planning to grant the private sector more access to Government projects.

Besides creating more opportunities for established businesses, the authorities have extended exemplary support to innovators, start-ups and entrepreneurs to make Dubai the start-up capital of the world. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s entrepreneurship arm, Dubai Start-Up Hub, provided assistance to over 2,000 entrepreneurs last year to help them gain foothold in the burgeoning economy and carve out a brighter future for themselves and the emirate as well. The recently launched ‘Dubai Next’, a new digital crowdfunding platform, aims at helping innovators and entrepreneurs secure required funding to launch their projects. 

Although a business-friendly tax regime, involving zero corporate tax, and only five per cent VAT, continues to draw big players to Dubai, aforementioned initiatives have further deepened the confidence of the private sector in the emirate’s leadership and the ever-growing economy, where everyone is an equal stakeholder and has opportunities galore to grow exponentially. 

So, are you ready to let the city of superlatives help you scale your entrepreneurial dreams? 

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