The ecommerce field has been growing dramatically in recent years, and was of course fostered by the Covid pandemic that brought it to levels we expected to see only around 2025.
One of the main growth channels was the cross border trading, in fact, by now, one out of four items is purchased by foreign buyers which means that 25% of online sales are cross border sales, while The value of cross-border ecommerce is expected to exceed $2.1 trillion in 2023, increasing from $1.9 trillion in 2022.
This presents a unique opportunity for all the SMBs. Online export sales are not just an additional channel that is nice to have, but a necessary one that helps find new clients all over the world and grow your business in large scales in a relatively short time.
But like in every new field we choose to enter, there are obstacles and knowledge that needs to be gained in order to fully fulfill the potential of the opportunity presented to us.
How do we reach new clients in new countries? How do we ship our goods? How to handle the technical part of online sales and more.
This is where choosing the right channel to sell online becomes crucial. Opening an independent store of course has its advantages in terms of brand uniqueness, but will require massive budgets to market your product outside of your country of origin, in fact out of the world’s 10 biggest retail websites only 5 are independent websites owned by the largest brands in the world such as “Samasung”, “Apple” and “Ikea”.
The other 5 websites on the list are Marketplaces that present the opportunity for SMBs for a smoother entrance to global sales by providing various tools and guidance in the field in addition to the most important thing a business needs – Traffic.
eBay for example, provides sellers with access to over 133 Million buyers globally in 190 markets, which is over 13 times the entire population of the United Arab Emirates. It also gives the possibility for sellers to sell to the markets with high purchasing power, such as the USA, the UK, and the EU countries where the average purchase size is way bigger than in the local markets.
In addition to a huge solvent audience, ecommerce platforms such as eBay give sellers a trustworthy brand which already has a high level of customer credibility, a convenient platform for business operations, including category insights, marketing tools and fulfillment solutions.
In order to increase our support in the UAE, and help as many businesses to sell all over the world on our platform, we also launched a special growth program for businesses from the region that wish to successfully sell online.
Businesses that will join the program will enjoy the help of a personal Growth Advisor at eBay within the next year, a free subscription for an eBay Store for 3 months, and auto listings service. The benefits of this program are worth thousands of dollars per participating business, and are offered completely for free for UAE small and medium businesses, that wish to succeed selling globally with eBay.
Given all of that, it is important to remember that selling successfully online won’t happen overnight and does not involve magic. Like every other business it requires time and constant learning and improvement to yield good and fruitful results
Dubai’s real estate has consistently risen since its 2020 recovery, promising a profitable venture in 2023 despite the potential impact of interest rates. As experts in business licensing procedures, Meydan Free Zone can simplify your entry into this booming market, assisting with licensing and incorporation. To succeed in the UAE’s real estate sector, it’s crucial to understand the requisite steps, third-party approvals, and regulations.
Why and how to start a real estate business in Dubai?
According to the Zoom report, luxury real estate in Dubai will have another impressive year, with an anticipated 13.5 per cent increase in prices in 2023. The report says this is the highest increase among the top 25 foreign destinations. Setting up a real estate company in Dubai, thus, is a smart move considering the investor appetite and confidence in the market.
What are the real estate business activities in Dubai?
Dubai’s real estate market offers numerous profitable opportunities. Selecting an activity approved by RERA, such as consultancy, mortgage, or brokerage, is crucial. At Meydan Free Zone, we simplify this process and provide support for setup, scaling, paperwork, and more, ensuring your real estate business thrives in this competitive market. Our detailed recommendations for real estate activities are provided below.
6499.98 Real Estate Development
This activity refers to businesses that develop and finance real estate ventures, encompassing residential and commercial buildings, tourism initiatives, and related infrastructure and recreational facilities. Additionally, it includes the sale of properties or projects as per the freehold property ownership regulations, irrespective of whether they’re owned by the license holders or by a third party via an agreement between the developer and the landowner. Before starting the project, this contract must be registered with the Escrow Accounts Department. This operation is only permissible with other activities under Group 4 of RERA, like buying and selling real estate.
Real estate development licenses require a title deed in the name of the license holder or a partner. This deed is verified electronically. To market the project, a permit from the Trakheesi system is mandatory.
The license will be issued from Meydan Free Zone with authorization from the Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai, after having approval from RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) for fulfilling the above requirements. In Meydan Free Zone, we can assist you in getting external approval from RERA. Having this done will allow you to focus on establishing the company rather than fretting about getting additional approval and documentation involved with it.
Activity: 6619.94 Real Estate Mortgage Consultancy
Include firms that specialize in advising clients on how to mortgage property to get loans from financial institutions. Choosing a financial institution to finance freehold properties, the process of mortgage and release of property, documentation, and disclosure, defaulting and mortgaging in the middle, refinancing and mortgaging fully paid properties, remortgaging and transfer to another financer, evaluating financing rates, etc., are all involved in the financing process. Such firms cannot seek or carry out their own mortgages.
6619.96 Real Estate Mortgage Broker
Includes personal and corporate brokers who advise and assist borrowers in obtaining the best borrowing conditions from lenders and commercial banks to acquire or build properties; such service is against commission without exercising direct lending to borrowers.
6810.99 Buying and Selling of Real Estate
Includes firms engaged in buying and selling real estate, such as residential and non-residential buildings and land; such firms are not allowed to practice activity in Real Estate Development.
6820.93 Real Estate Consultancies
Includes providing sound advice to potential buyers and developing strategies to achieve their goals and objectives; it involves showing properties, analyzing sales statistics, sourcing appraisers, referring mortgage service providers, contractors and renovation providers, examining contracts before making offers, closing and escrow expertise. The activity can, however, only be combined with other Group 3 RERA activities.
6820.94 Real Estate Valuation Services
This includes the appraisal and assessing the monetary value of fixed property. In particular, plots of land and building, for various reasons commissioned by specialized surveyors or by official authorities. Activities of this type can only be combined with other RERA Group 3 activities.
6820.95 Property Inspection Services
Includes firms specializing in the inspection of housing and commercial properties providing comprehensive, objective, and professional reports for proprietors, sellers, buyers, and real estate agents to facilitate negotiations and transactions and to provide buyers and sellers with reports and remarks ahead of the completion of buying and selling stating the condition of the property and indicating any technical flows. RERA Group 3 activities can only be combined with this activity.
6820.96 Self-owned Property Leasing & Management Services
Includes firms engaged in managing commercial, residential, and industrial buildings owned by the owner and his first and second-degree relatives, also handling contractual arrangements with the firms in charge of maintenance, security and as well as issuing tenants contracts, such firms are not allowed to practice real estate Brokerage. This can only be combined with other Group 2 RERA and requires additional approval from RERA.
6820.97 Real Estate Management Supervision Services
Includes firms specialized in managing and supervising properties contracting with maintenance companies, cleaning and security services, dealing with administrative issues for the property’s owner, and coordinating with lease brokers for finding tenants for vacant properties. Firms like these are not allowed to practice selling, leasing, or releasing properties and can only be combined with other Group 1 of RERA.
6820.98 Prefabricated Houses Rental
This includes renting prefabricated houses. For example, for majlis, event management, residential, oil and gas industries. You don’t need any pre-approvals for this activity. Talk to a Meydan Free Zone expert for more information on the conditions and criteria.
6820.99 Owner Association Management Services
This activity covers service charge evaluation and invoicing, accounting and ﬁnancial management, generating non-dues revenue and fundraising. It is also essential for owner association management companies to be familiar with laws and regulations applicable to associations and other regulatory bodies like RERA, Dubai Civil Defense, DEWA and Empower. This activity cannot be merged with other activities.
7010.94 Real Estate Representative Office
The purpose of this office is to represent any international company or enterprise in the UAE. Potentially, this would be for marketing and promoting its property outside the UAE or enable commercial transactions between the parent company and its clientele. It is not permitted for such an office to carry out any activities or enter into real estate transactions on its own, unless they are conducted outside the UAE.
7110.99 Real Estate Survey Services
Activities involved in surveying buildings and residential properties. To illustrate, surveying a building to determine the number of floors and joint spaces. Surveying includes lands, buildings and units, vertical and dimensional surveying, joint spaces in buildings lands surveying, drafting maps and construction sketches. This can only be combined with other RERA Group 3 activities.
7490.90 Real Estate Registration Trustee
Refers to a real estate business that owns and operates income-producing properties. For example, investing in real estate with high-income potential.
7490.97 Real Estate Services Trustee
This includes firms approved by Land Department to carry out real estate services via a computerized system. It involves the registration of tenancy contracts in Ejari, enrollment of the training courses, and issuance of “to whom it may concern certificates”. All of these services require regulations to be preserved.
Dubai Land Department requires license holders of real estate registration trustees, real estate service trustees, real estate promotion trustees, and real estate service centers to sign an agreement.
8230.95 Real Estate Public Auction Organizing
The activity involves firms that organize property public auctions against the commission. A standard process would include handling licensing formalities, fixing the auction date and venue, advertising the property in the media to promote its features and sale terms and conditions, offering consultancy and evaluation from industry experts, coordinating payments and ownership transfer, and conducting the auction remotely in the absence of the concerned parties.
8230.97 Real Estate Exhibition Organizing
This activity includes businesses that organize real estate exhibitions to promote property locally and internationally. It is necessary to obtain permission from legal authorities to hold such an exhibition.
8549.78 Real Estate Training Institute
Offering real estate training programs to develop professional abilities and competencies, enabling them to participate in various real estate-related activities and sectors. In addition to obtaining approval from DED, it is necessary to get external approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Applying for a KHDA permit for a real estate training institute in Dubai requires several forms and documents.
9609.95 Special Purpose Firm
This includes a firm that is limited by shares. Special purpose firms can only provide financial services with the approval of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). It may not hold the Trustee, General Partner, or Investment Company position for an Investment Trust or Partnership.
Service terms for real estate activities in Dubai
For real estate development licenses, organising real estate exhibitions, buying and selling lands and properties, real estate representation offices, and leasing and managing private real estate services.
- Submitting a license application through Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.
- Registering in the Trakheesi system through Dubai Land Department’s website www.dubailand.gov.ae
- Applying for a professional practice card for a real estate activity must be done immediately after the application for a real estate license is submitted and approved.
Cost of starting a Real estate business in Dubai
We facilitate easy business setup in Meydan Free Zone, Dubai’s entrepreneurial hub, with flexible customization of your real estate license. Our Pay-As-You-Go model lets you start your business and pay according to your terms, with packages beginning at AED 12,500. Additional costs, such as AED 1850/visa, investor/family visa (AED 4000, valid for two years), and residency/employment visas (AED 3500, valid for two years), plus fees for medical and Emirates ID card (AED 2,250) and for Establishment or Immigration card (AED 2,000), depending on your needs. You will also get exclusive discounts using Meydan Free Zone Cost Calculator and can save up to 15% on a multi-year setup.
Dubai is one of the most sought-after destinations for both tourists and residents alike, offering a high standard of living and a thriving business scene. However, visa rules and regulations in Dubai have recently changed, so it’s imperative that you keep up with the changes.
Whether you are looking for new job opportunities, launching your company in Dubai, or a safe and secure place to raise a family, you must ensure that you are fully compliant and able to take advantage of all the opportunities that Dubai has to offer. From updates to residency visa requirements to new regulations for tourist visas, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest developments and what they mean for those looking to live and work in Dubai.
This blog will cover:
An Overview of the New UAE Visa Rules 2023
The UAE recently implemented significant changes to its entry and residency visa policies as part of reforms that took effect in October 2022. These reforms have streamlined procedures, expanded the long-term Golden Visa scheme, and introduced a new five-year residency visa called Green Visas. In addition, there have been increases in visa service fees and longer grace periods for leaving the country after visa expiration.
Validity of Freezone Visas Modified:
The validity of free zone visas in the UAE has been reduced from three to two years, with the change taking effect in October 2022 as part of the UAE visa reforms. The move standardizes the validity of work visas, which were previously three years for free zones and two years for the mainland.
Visa Fees Increase:
The fees for availing all services offered by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) have increased by AED100. This includes the additional smart services fee for Emirates ID and residency visas.
Emirates ID Replaces Visa Stamps on Passports:
The UAE has discontinued the practice of stamping residency visas on passports. Instead, residents will use their Emirates ID as their official residency document.
Visa On-arrival Policies Have Changed:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a favorable visa policy for travelers from different countries. Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are exempt from obtaining a visa or permit to enter the UAE. They only need to produce their GCC country passport or national ID card upon arrival. Other nationalities may be eligible for a 30-day visa on arrival, which can be obtained without prior visa arrangements. There are also some countries that are eligible for a 90-day visa on arrival. Indian citizens holding a normal passport and either a visit visa issued by the USA, a green card issued by the USA, a residence visa issued by the UK, or a residence visa issued by the EU are eligible for a 14-day visa on arrival, given that the visas or green card is valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival into the UAE. It’s important to note that passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE and the list of countries eligible for visa on arrival may change, so it’s advisable to check with the UAE embassy in your country before traveling to the UAE.
New Visa-free Destinations:
The Emirati passport provides its holders with visa-free entry to 112 countries, granting access to more than 50% of the world without a visa requirement. The passport also grants visa-free entry to the Schengen area, which includes many European territories. Some of the countries that Emiratis can visit without a visa include France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain, among others. The duration of stay without a visa varies from country to country and ranges from 15 to 180 days. This visa-free travel is a significant perk of holding an Emirati passport and makes travel easier and more convenient for its holders.
Smart Ways to Apply for a Visa:
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has introduced a new video conferencing service to complete residency visa applications. The service was launched on January 11, 2023 and allows applicants to submit documents and complete the application process digitally. Customers can follow up on their transactions through video calls and send any required documents through a chat box. The aim of the service is to achieve a “zero visit” goal, but in rare cases, if an application cannot be completed, an officer will send a link to schedule an appointment to visit the administration in person. This new service is a step forward in providing smart government services and making it easier for entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Dubai. The option to visit a service center in person is still available to those who prefer it.
An In-depth Look at the New UAE Residency Rules 2023
The UAE government implemented a sophisticated visa system in October 2022, leading to several alterations to visa policies, and these recent reforms are part of the major residency and entry permit reforms implemented by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP). The cost of all UAE and Dubai visas, including 30-day and 60-day tourist visas, has risen by AED 100. The ICA’s one-month visit visa fee, for instance, has increased from AED 270 to AED 370.
Changes to the UAE Golden Visa in 2023
The UAE has made significant revisions to the Golden Residence Scheme and expanded the categories of the Golden Visa to simplify the eligibility criteria and include more beneficiaries. The UAE Golden Visa is now valid for a 10-year period for all categories, providing the holder with the right to reside and work in the Emirate for a decade.
Investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, and skilled workers are eligible for the 10-year Golden Residence. The new rules also permit Golden Residence holders to sponsor their family members, including spouses and children, of any age, as well as unlimited support services labourers.
The grace period for expats after a residence visa expiration or cancellation in the UAE has been extended from 30 days to 6 months for Golden Visa holders and their family members. Expats now have a 6-month window to either renew their status or leave the country without incurring fines. However, if the Golden Visa holder fails to renew or cancel their dependents’ visas, they may be subject to overstay fines.
The UAE recently launched an online eligibility quiz for aspiring applicants seeking the Golden Visa. The visa is now available to scientists, researchers, skilled professionals, exceptional talents, and real estate investors.
For scientists, a PhD or Master’s degree in engineering, technology, life sciences or natural sciences from a top-ranked university and a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council is required.
- Skilled Professionals
Skilled professionals must have a contract of employment in the UAE, a job under occupational level one or two as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and a minimum salary of AED 30,000 per month. They must also have a bachelor’s degree. Skilled professionals (classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification) are entitled to an extended grace period of 6 months.
- Exceptional Talents
Exceptional talents in fields such as art, culture, digital technology, sports, medicine, and law can apply for the visa with approval from a federal or local government entity. The 10-year Visa will be awarded solely on the basis of the individual’s talent. Education, employment status, salary, or professional status will not be a factor in the selection process.
- Real Estate Investors
Real estate investors can obtain the Golden Residence by purchasing a property worth at least AED 2 million or through approved local real estate companies. The new amendments also allow investors to obtain the Golden Residence when purchasing a property with a loan from a specific local bank. Furthermore, the residence can be obtained when investors purchase one or more off-plan properties from approved local real estate companies for at least AED 2 million.The grace period for expats after residence visa expiry or cancellation has been extended from 90 days to 6 months for property owners. As a result, expats now have a grace period of six months to either amend their status and apply for another residence visa or leave the country without paying fines.
Entrepreneurs and startup investors can receive a Golden Visa if their company is registered in the UAE as a small or medium enterprise (SME) with yearly revenue of at least AED 1 million. Additionally, the Golden Residence for Entrepreneurs can be obtained if the person was a founder or one of the founders of a previous entrepreneurial project sold for a minimum value of AED 7 million or needs approval from the Ministry of Economy or the relevant local authorities for their current project or idea.
Students who have excelled academically, with high grades from UAE secondary schools or universities, are eligible to apply for the 10-year Visa or Golden Visa program. Additionally, students who have graduated from one of the world’s top 100 universities based on academic performance, graduation year, and university ranking can also apply for the Golden Visa program. Note that students who have completed their studies are eligible for an extended grace period of 6 months.
- Humanitarian Pioneers
People who have made humanitarian contributions, including members of international and regional organisations, outstanding members of public benefit associations, recipients of humanitarian awards, and distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts, are eligible for the Golden Visa.
- Doctors and Nurses
Doctors and Nurses are offered a long-term residency in recognition of their efforts and sacrifices, including those who have played a critical role in the COVID-19 response, and they are now eligible to receive the Golden Visa. Seven centres associated with the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship have been set up throughout the Emirates for in-person visa applications.
Creative professionals, including artists, singers, dancers, musicians, performers, curators, and others aged 25 or above, can apply for a long-term Cultural Golden Visa, regardless of their educational background, employment status, salary, or professional level. They must obtain a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Culture and Youth and be in the country at the time of their application.
- Executive Directors
Executive directors who hold at least a bachelor’s degree accredited by the Ministry of Education, have a letter of experience in the same position for 5 years, have a salary certificate of at least AED 50,000, and have a valid work contract can apply under this category.
Changes to the UAE 5-Year Visa or Green Visa
The UAE Green Visa has undergone significant improvements aimed at attracting talents, experts, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs with a new 5-year residency option. The residency requirements have been simplified and made more flexible, and additional benefits include longer grace periods of up to 6 months after the residency permit has ended to facilitate family members’ stays.
The Green residency for skilled employees has been updated, offering a 5-year residency period for skilled workers without a sponsor or employer. To be eligible, applicants must have:
- A valid employment contract
- Classification in the first, second, or third occupational level, as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- A minimum educational level of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- A salary of at least AED 15,000.
Please note that third-level skilled professionals, as classified by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, are eligible for a 90-day extended grace period after the expiration of their Green residency.
Freelancers and Self-Employed Individuals
The new Green Residence for freelancers and self-employed individuals offers a 5-year residency in the UAE without needing a sponsor or employer. The following criteria must be met:
- Obtainment of a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- Possessing a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma
- Having an annual self-employment income over the past two years of AED 360,000 or the ability to demonstrate financial stability during the stay in the country.
Investors and Partners
The Green Residence for investors and partners is designed to encourage investment in the UAE and offers a 5-year residency for those involved in commercial activities. The following requirements must be met:
- Approval of the investment and proof of investment
- Calculation of total invested capital for investors with multiple licenses
- Mandatory approval from competent local authorities.
Children of Emirati Mothers
The UAE has recently extended the validity of residency visas for the children of Emirati mothers and foreign fathers, from three years to five years. This move is seen as a positive and progressive step towards granting these children the same rights as other citizens in terms of healthcare and education.
UAE Residency Re-entry Permit
Residents of the UAE who have been staying outside the country for more than six months can now return by applying for a re-entry permit, according to travel and typing centre agents in Dubai. The re-entry permit will allow UAE residents who have been away for over six months to return to the Emirate within 30 days of permit approval.
With the re-entry permit, residents can now remain outside of the UAE for more than 6 months without having their residency cancelled. However, to be eligible to apply for the permit, residents must provide a reason for their extended absence and provide proof of the same. The re-entry permit can be applied for through the official website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP).
Benefits for Family Members
The United Arab Emirates has recently introduced new benefits for family members of Golden Visa holders. The holders can now sponsor their parents for a 10-year residency, compared to the previous one-year stay. They are also exempt from paying the deposit required to sponsor parents and only need to provide a certification from their consulate as the sole caregiver. In addition, Golden Visa holders can sponsor residency for their first-degree relatives, including their spouses and children, for a five-year stay.
The grace period for Green visa holders and their family members to exit the UAE after a residency visa cancellation has been extended to 6 months, with no fines during this time. However, if the green visa holder fails to renew or cancel the visa of their dependents, they may face overstay fines. The Green Residence holder can bring their first-degree relatives, with their residency matching the same duration as the original holder.
Entry Visa Rules 2023
The UAE has recently introduced ten new types of entry visas that do not require a sponsor or host, aimed at simplifying the entry requirements for visitors to the country for different purposes. These new visas offer flexible durations and are available for single or multiple entries, valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
- The Job Exploration Visa is aimed at attracting young talents and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities in the UAE and do not require a sponsor or host.
- The Business Entry Visa is for investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities with easy entry processes.
- The Multi-entry Tourist Visa has been introduced for all nationalities and allows tourists to enter the UAE multiple times on self-sponsorship, with a stay of 90 days on each visit that can be extended by another 90 days. The only requirement is proof of having a bank balance of AED 14,700.
- The Family Visa rule has also been changed to allow male children under 25 and disabled children to be sponsored by their parents, and unmarried females can be sponsored indefinitely.
- The entry permit for visiting friends and relatives, a temporary work mission, and study and training have also been introduced, with specific requirements for each.
- A residence permit may also be issued for humanitarian cases, such as the female resident whose husband passed away in the country and has one child or more or the parents or children of a UAE citizen who holds foreign passports.
UAE Entry Permit Extension
According to reports, some UAE entry permits may be extended for up to 90 days based on the purpose of the visit and other factors. The applicant’s passport must have a minimum validity of 6 months, and tourist entry permit applications must be submitted by the relevant tourism company.
An entry permit extension can be granted within 48 hours for eligible applicants who meet all requirements and conditions. The extension can be requested online through the website or mobile app of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICA) by following these steps:
- Register and create an account on the ICP smart service system
- Apply and pay the required fees
A 30-day extension, which can be issued twice, costs AED 610. For GCC residents, a 30-day extension application costs AED 260 and must be accompanied by a passport copy.
In three specific cases, the extension may exceed a month:
- Healthcare entry permits – may be extended up to 90 days for AED 510.
- Entry permits for those accompanying GCC citizens – may be extended up to 60 days for AED 260.
- Study permits – may be extended up to 90 days for AED 610.
The stay period for visit entry permits will be determined based on the visitor’s purpose of visit and at the discretion of the authority, but it must not exceed one year. The head of the authority may also extend the visit entry permit if there is a valid reason for the request and all fees have been paid.
Visit Visa Extension Rules 2023
The UAE has recently introduced ten new types of entry visas that do not require a sponsor or host, aimed at simplifying the entry requirements for visitors to the country for different purposes. These new visas offer flexible durations and are available for single or multiple entries, valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
The UAE Immigration department has ended the practice of extending visit visas without leaving the country. Those seeking to extend their visit visas must now depart the UAE and reapply.
The prior relaxation of visit visa extension rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been withdrawn, and procedures have returned to pre-pandemic norms. At present, there has been no official confirmation from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) regarding the new visa extension rule; however, reports indicate that visa extension applications submitted within the country are being denied.
Visit Visa Overstay Rules 2023
Foreign nationals who have exceeded their visa validity in the UAE cannot depart the country without obtaining an outpass or exit permit first. The outpass for Dubai/UAE can be acquired at the airport immigration offices or land borders and may also be obtained at the Al Awir Immigration office for a reported cost of AED 200 to 300.
Visitors who overstay their visas will be required to pay full fines, which amount to AED 50 per day of overstay. UAE visit visa holders will be granted a grace period of 10 days from the date their visa expires, after which the overstay fines will start to accrue. It is important to note that the overstay fines will not be imposed on visitors who are unable to leave the country due to airport closures or flight cancellations.
If you’re thinking about obtaining a UAE residency visa and starting a business in Dubai, you no longer have to worry about the cumbersome paperwork and time-consuming process of setting up a business. With Meydan Free Zone, you can now take advantage of a digital, paperless experience and simplify the entire process. Take the first step towards a better future today and switch to an all-digital experience with Meydan Free Zone to grow from Dubai.
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Meydan Free Zone is a thriving economic district in Dubai, offering innovative investment and lifestyle benefits in a secure and regulated environment. The team of professionals at Meydan Free Zone will assist you with all your business needs, from registering your company name to maintaining your licenses and visas. The free zone is located in the heart of Dubai, with airport links and advanced infrastructure and technology to support your business. Contact Meydan Free Zone for assistance with your visa application process, including e-fee payments, website design, documentation preparation, and global payments.
*Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance license or freelance visa options.
In the UAE, you can use your company shares as collateral for loans. This involves temporarily transferring share ownership to the lender, who gains a security interest in the shares, which can be sold if you fail to repay the loan. Both mainland and free zone areas allow share pledging, but rules can differ, especially in free zones that attract foreign investors due to business ease and a favorable legal framework. Understanding the prerequisites is crucial before considering share pledging.
What is a Share Pledge?
Share pledge refers to a legal agreement in which the owner of shares in a company (the “pledgor”) transfers the temporary ownership of the shares to a lender (the “pledgee”) as collateral for a loan or other financial transaction. The lender holds a security interest in the shares, meaning they can sell them if the borrower defaults on the loan. The pledge agreement is usually recorded in the company’s register of shareholders, and the lender is often given the right to vote on the shares while they are pledged. This way, the company can raise capital or secure financing without issuing new shares or taking on debt, but it also gives the lender security against the loan.
Benefits and Risks of Share Pledging
When considering whether to pledge your shares, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the potential benefits and risks of doing so. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Pledging Purpose: Understand why you’re pledging shares and if it aligns with your financial goals.
- Alternatives: Consider other capital-raising or financing options and their benefits/risks.
- Collateral Value: Evaluate the value of shares to be pledged for desired loan or credit.
- Pledge Agreement Terms: Review agreement terms like interest rate, repayment, and default penalties.
- Ownership Impact: Understand possible ownership dilution and the lender’s potential voting rights.
- Legal Framework: Know the country’s legal and regulatory setup where shares are pledged.
- Financial Standing: Assess if you can fulfill the pledge agreement and have a default plan.
Share pledging involves several potential risks as well: default risk, where borrowers risk forfeiture of pledged shares if they default on the loan; dilution of ownership if lenders seize and sell the shares; restrictions on shareholder rights due to possible voting power by the lender; the risk of share price decline decreasing the pledged shares’ value and loan security; legal risks from binding contracts and potential penalties on default; and the risk of losing shares and loan money if the lender becomes insolvent. Therefore, borrowers should scrutinize share pledge agreements’ terms and conditions and seek expert advice before agreeing.
Share Pledging in the UAE
The Dubai Development Authority allows companies to manage to share pledges in the UAE, with the Dubai Economic Department (DED) accepting notarised pledges for UAE Central Bank-regulated entities. A share pledge is an agreement where a shareholder temporarily transfers ownership of shares to a lender as collateral. The lender can sell the shares if the borrower defaults. This is a popular way for companies to raise capital without issuing new shares or debt but carries risks, such as lender takeover in case of default. The terms vary by company and circumstance, and it’s advised to consult experts for guidance.
Federal Law No. 18 of 1983 (Commercial Code) recognizes a commercial pledge as a security for commercial debt and categorizes UAE LLC shares as “movable property” which can be pledged. The UAE Commercial Companies Law 2015 permits shareholders to pledge their LLC shares in line with the company’s memorandum of association (MoA). Any pledge must be notarised and registered with the DED in the relevant emirate.
The Conditions for Pledging Shares
According to the Amendment Law for Commercial Companies, the following conditions must be met for a pledge over shares of a limited liability company:
Pledge Compliance Mandatory with Company’s MoA Terms: The Amendment Law stipulates that it is necessary for free zone companies to expressly authorise the pledging of shares by the partners in their Memorandum of Association (similar to the provisions of limited liability companies).
A pledge must be under an official document: An “official document” implies a share pledge agreement executed before an authorized authority, like a UAE notary public, prior to its registration in the Commercial Register. This aligns with the standard practice of the Dubai Economic Department and various free zone authorities in the UAE.
Pledge per the Commercial Companies Law amended by the Amendment Law: Under the proposed Amendment Law to register a pledge over shares in the UAE, a pledge cannot breach any clause of the Commercial Companies Law or any UAE law. In addition, parties to the share pledge are required to ensure that the pledge does not infringe on any statute nullifying security and preventing enforcement.
Enforceability of a Share Pledge
Article 81 of the Amendment Law provides a mechanism of enforcement against a partner’s share, noting that a creditor may agree with the partner (the debtor) and the company on the method and terms of sale (i.e. by way of private arrangement); else, the subject shares shall be offered for sale at a public auction. Article 81 further states that the company may, within 15 days from the date on which the auction is awarded, recover the shares on the same terms as awarded at the auction (effectively giving the company a pre-emptive right).
Can a Share Pledge Be Withdrawn?
Before withdrawing, review the pledge agreement to understand any penalties for early withdrawal. Withdrawal from a share pledge can be through:
- Full loan repayment, releasing pledged shares.
- Offering alternative collateral to release pledged shares.
- Mutual agreement between lender and borrower.
- Pledge agreement expiration, automatically releasing shares.
Ensure adherence to the agreement terms and relevant free zone laws. Professional consultation is advised to ensure legality and accuracy of the process. Note that pledge agreements are governed by UAE laws, inseparable from free zone laws.
Share Pledging in Meydan Free Zone
Share pledging in Meydan Free Zone, as in other free zones in the UAE, is a means of securing financing or raising capital by temporarily transferring ownership of shares to lenders as collateral. The Meydan Free Zone Authority regulates the activities of the companies, and the regulations for share pledging may vary depending on the company and the specific circumstances. In general, the pledge agreement is governed by the laws of the UAE and the Free Zone Authority.
Dropshipping is an order fulfilment strategy where businesses do not purchase or hold their stock in-house. The customer first makes a purchase from the online business owner. If a wholesaler, manufacturer, or retailer agrees to function as a dropshipper, the online business transfers the customer’s order to them. Picking, packing, labelling, and shipping the goods to the consumer are thereafter the responsibilities of the supplier and not that of the online business owner. As a result, the business need not buy all of the product inventory necessary. The basic idea of dropshipping is that third-party stores and ships the products that the business owner sells in their online store.
5 Important Practices to Follow When Dropshipping without a Warehouse or Inventory
Online retail sales are predicted to double over the next five years. With the majority of growth coming from online and digitally influenced offline sales, dropshipping grows alongside e-commerce.
Dropshipping allows many retailers to increase their product offerings without having to store more inventory physically. Here are five essential practices to pay attention to if you wish to guarantee a successful operation in the UAE.
Analytics is Everything
For effective drop-ship management, full order visibility and vendor performance are vital. Monitor vendors to ensure SLA adherence. Track dropshipping metrics like growth, GMV, exceptions, and YoY. To improve product strategy, consider new vendor partnerships based on order history and demand.
Treat Your Vendors Well
To attract and retain vendors, offer flexible integration options like EDI, API, JSON, and web portals. Ensure vendors connect in ways that benefit them and still leverage automation. Don’t overcharge vendors. Reward top performers and use vendor scorecards. Prioritize vendors with a reliable track record for timely deliveries to enhance customer experience.
Work in Real-Time
Real-time inventory updates reduce out-of-stock sales risks. Instant shipment insights enhance customer experience and highlight delivery delays. Immediate order issue notifications allow proactive solutions before clients reach customer support.
A data-driven merchandising strategy guides assortment choices. Reports highlight core products, allowing for complementary inventory additions. Effective merchandising boosts cart additions and sales. Expand offerings creatively using customer data, and monitor analytics to ensure optimal client service.
Invest in the Right Dropship Technology
Selecting the right technology is crucial for dropship program success. A good partner provides essential data, offers vendor integration options, and helps establish connections with reliable brands and vendors.
How to Start Dropshipping Without a Warehouse or Inventory?
Setting up your store on one of the platforms to accept orders is the first step in starting an internet business without any inventory. Read on for a closer look at each stage.
The Benefits of Dropshipping Without a Warehouse or Inventory
- Cost-Effective: Minimized capital investment with no immediate inventory requirement.
- Low Overheads: No inventory management means fewer expenses.
- Reduced Risks: No stock or warehousing needs lessen financial risks.
- Streamlined Management: Suppliers handle stock, reducing operational complexities.
- Location Freedom: Operate from anywhere with just internet connectivity.
- Diverse Product Range: Easily expand offerings without inventory investment.
- Scalability: Suppliers manage bulk orders, allowing focus on sales and service.
- No Inventory Hassles: Free up time by avoiding stock management.
- Product Testing: Gauge customer preferences and test market trends easily.
Why Choose Meydan Free Zone
With Meydan Free Zone, dropshipping without a warehouse or inventory has never been easier. We provide e-commerce licenses in Dubai and can assist you with every stage of business setup in Dubai. We provide a variety of dropshipping business packages, including Flexi-desk options, so you have everything you need to succeed in dropshipping in Dubai. If you wish to begin dropshipping with or without a warehouse, get in touch with us via email@example.com or 800FZ
According to new UAE regulations, digital media creators such as bloggers and influencers must obtain licenses and third-party permits in order to operate legally. The National Media Council (NMC) is the regulatory organisation in the UAE that oversees all media-related programmes and operations, and it authorises and licenses social media influencers in Dubai and throughout the UAE. The NMC falls under the Media Regulatory Office – Ministry of Culture and Youth, and it is mandatory for anyone who receives financial compensation through their work, including advertising, reviews, or ‘product placement’ in their content, to get additional approvals from the department. Such laws apply to activities and permits in free zones as well.
What is Media Regulation in the UAE?
In the UAE, media regulation ensures free expression, media freedom, market regulation, and public interests like media diversity. The Media Regulatory Office (MRO) oversees media activities and media-related free zones, taking over roles previously managed by the National Media Council.
Media Regulation Authorities and Laws in the UAE
In the UAE, Media Regulation Authorities handle licensing, content vetting, and violation penalties. To legally run a business, entrepreneurs must obtain necessary permits from these authorities, underscoring the importance of understanding their functions and guidelines.
UAE Federal Publications and Publishing Law of 1980
The UAE’s Federal Law No. 15 of 1980, the Publications Law, governs all content, digital or traditional. It regulates what can be published, including topics on religion, politics, national security, individual rights, and public morals. The law also details penalties for breaches, targeting publishing businesses and editors.
The National Media Council (NMC) mandated 2010 that all media institutions, spanning digital, audio, visual, and print, follow the standards set by Federal Law No (15) of 1980. In 2018, NMC introduced a system to oversee all digital and electronic media activities across the Free Zones and Mainland. This system addresses all forms of expression, from writing to photography.
The Electronic Media Regulation provides that the following activities require prior approval:
- On-call printing and electronic publishing
- Electronic advertisements
- Trading, selling, printing, and showcasing audio and video content on social media and websites
- News publishing
- Any other activity deemed appropriate by the Council to require such approval may be added.
A new federal law regulating the media, publications and online content
NMC Licensing Laws mandate influencers in the UAE to get approval from the National Media Council (NMC) before operating. This includes those in media, publications, and online content. The law targets social influencers who market or sell on their platforms, covering both paid and unpaid promotions. Even “gifts” from brands, if used for barter, are under its purview. Although the licensing process seems daunting with paperwork, once understood, it’s straightforward, and licenses are approved swiftly, enabling content creation.
Licensing of Social Media Influencers
Influencer licensing in the UAE covers any electronic promotion, paid or unpaid, ensuring responsible content and shielding the public from harmful material. This rule encompasses digital creators on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, bloggers, and vloggers.
Influencers must pay the Meydan Free Zone fee and the NMC license fee. Even influencers bartering services require licensing. Meydan Free Zone doesn’t offer freelance licenses; influencers pick from 3500+ business activities. A license from Meydan can start at AED 12,500, fluctuating based on visa needs. Additionally, an annual AED 1500 permit from NMC is required. Permits are issued or renewed within 30 days. Unregistered influencers or those breaking rules face fines and account closure. Meydan Free Zone doesn’t offer freelance licenses or visa options.
What is the UAE Media License?
Introduced by The National Media Council, which falls under the Media Regulatory Office – Ministry of Culture and Youth, the new UAE Media License for electronic media is intended to make online advertising more professional and transparent for corporations, influencers, and consumers. The adjustments will make media material more balanced and accountable, shielding the public from the unpleasant, deceptive, or deadly impacts of advertising.
To summarise, the new regulations compel everyone engaging in commercial activity via social media to register for an e-media license if they intend to continue. This regulation will only affect individuals who are compensated for endorsements, not all bloggers or social media users.
The National Media Council, the regulators driving the reform, have stated that they do not seek to oversee social media accounts or blogs that do not make money from their activity, or those who receive products in exchange for a review. Only commercial influencers are affected by the changes.
Activities That Require NMC Approval
According to the new system, the following media activities require prior approval:
Trading, showcasing, selling and printing video and audio materials on websites and social media
Electronic publishing and on-call printing
Any electronic activity that the council deems appropriate to be added.
Fees and How to Apply for the UAE Social Media License
Social media marketing or affiliate marketing on your website or social media will almost certainly require you to obtain a license.
- You must first apply for a trade license from Meydan Free Zone in order to begin the process of obtaining a social media influencer license in Dubai, UAE.
- You must then apply for a permit from the National Media Council to complete your license procedure.
- To obtain NMC approval, you must meet the requirements and fulfill the conditions and choose from the 3 available licensing options. You can choose from the following:
- Category One
Influencers can opt for an “individual license” at AED 15,000 if they wish to work independently, but it requires a separate trade license.
- Category Two
Small groups of influencers (often friends or family) can choose a partnership license. They must form a company, register it, and obtain a trade license before seeking the NMC’s e-media license, also priced at AED 15,000.
- Category Three
Influencers can join an NMC-certified agency with a license covering all its influencers. They can operate in the UAE if registered exclusively with such an agency. Influencers must align with only one agency; all paid deals should be routed through that company.
- Category One
- During the application process, select the “websites and social accounts specialised for online advertising” option under business activity, and if you have many social media accounts, you only need to apply for one license, but you must list all of them in your application.
- If approved, you will receive an e-license through email and the licensing website within five to seven working days.
In order to renew your license, the Ministry of Culture and Youth, UAE, states that you can:
- Electronically submit the renewal request
- Submit a photocopy of the license holder’s passport (to ensure the passport is valid)
- Attach a copy of the most recent renewal of the media license, a copy of the commercial license, and a copy of the lease contract.
- Pay the financial fees prescribed by cards (can be paid online)
As an influencer, if you are attempting to commercialise your creativity via sponsors, or being branded by large organisations through a paid arrangement, then you need to get a UAE Social Media License.
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Be part of the UAE’s rapidly growing digital content industry with Meydan Free Zone’s support. We offer licensing services to digital creators with a streamlined process. With cost-effective services and a seasoned team well-versed in free zone operations, Meydan is your gateway to obtaining a UAE Media License. Contact us today to kickstart your journey!
Dubai, a dynamic hub for work and life, offers a thriving economy and a superior standard of living, making it a magnet for career-driven individuals. Recognized as a top choice for expats looking to set up businesses, this city has seen rapid growth, thanks to its shift from an oil and real estate-centric economy. Its skyline, adorned with architectural marvels and innovative projects, reflects its ambition. As the emirate’s population hit 3.5 million in 2022, projections by Arabian Business anticipate a climb to 5.8 million by 2040. With its captivating neighborhoods, cutting-edge infrastructure, and vast economic opportunities, Dubai beckons to global talents.
The Checklist for Moving to Dubai
1. Visa Requirements
For those looking to relocate to Dubai, the UAE offers a versatile visa policy catering to investors, students, professionals, remote workers, and retirees. Once a resident, you can sponsor immediate family members. A valid residency is essential for obtaining an Emirates ID card, opening a bank account, getting a UAE driving license, renting property, registering for Etisalat or Du services, and accessing other local amenities.
You will need the following documents:
- Passport: For various procedures.
- Emirates ID: Official UAE ID with personal details; ensure originality.
- Photos: Passport-sized color photos with white backgrounds for applications.
- NOC: Sponsor/employer letter for activities like renting or purchasing.
- Language: Arabic documents are binding; many forms require Arabic.
- Pay Slip: Officially stamped income proof on company letterhead for some services.
- Additional Docs: Birth/marriage certificates, licenses, records, divorce papers, or power of attorney may be needed.
2. Cost of Living
Contrary to popular belief, Dubai’s cost of living has become more affordable recently, thanks to UAE’s efforts to attract global talent and entrepreneurs. Declining prices in areas like real estate due to deflation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have benefited expatriates. Consequently, Dubai was 42nd in the 2021 Cost of Living Survey. The city caters to various budgets, be it modest or lavish, ensuring quick housing solutions, and overall, living expenses in Dubai are reasonably priced.
3. Business Hub
Strategically located, Dubai serves as the primary trading hub for the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. The influx of multinational corporations, especially in IT, telecoms, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors, has opened ample opportunities for expats. The import-export business thrives here, with zones like Meydan Free Zone offering advanced logistics support. The real estate market spans development, property management, and brokerage.
Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 highlights ‘Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment’ as a key subsector, pointing to opportunities in health-tech innovation, health tourism, and increasing local healthcare demand.
Dubai boasts an excellent healthcare system with state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics accessible to locals and expats. While public hospitals offer quality care, many expats opt for private facilities. English is prevalent, and a significant portion of the medical staff are foreign-trained.
Taxation in Dubai
People are drawn to Dubai for a variety of reasons, including career opportunities, tax-free income, luxurious hotels, and year-round sunshine, to name a few. They also incorrectly assume that Dubai is completely tax-free due to the absence of income tax and the emirate’s many economic free zones, which offer business incentives such as exemption from corporate tax, zero customs duties, and full repatriation of capital and profits.
Businesses are subject to UAE Corporate Tax from the beginning of their first financial year that starts on or after 1 June 2023, according to the UAE Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on taxation of corporations and businesses (the “Corporate Tax Law”). A form of direct tax levied on the net income or profit of corporations and other entities from their business, Corporate Tax will be at 0% for taxable income up to AED 375,000, and 9% for taxable income above AED 375,000.
Free Zones have special tax and customs regimes. A Qualifying Free Zone Person can enjoy a 0% Corporate Tax rate on their “Qualifying Income.”
In the UAE, it is implemented as follows:
- 50% on carbonated drinks
- 100% on tobacco products
- 100% on energy drinks
- 100% on electronic smoking devices
- 100% on liquids used in such devices and tools
- 50% on any product with added sugar or other sweeteners
Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT is a tax levied on the purchase or use of goods and services. At the point of sale, a 5% VAT is levied. Businesses collect and remit taxes on behalf of the government.
A business may choose to register for VAT voluntarily if their supplies and imports are below the mandatory registration threshold, but exceed the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,500.
There is no individual income tax in Dubai, no export tax, and no import tax on goods imported into Free Zones until they are transferred to the local market.
Do’s & Don’ts in Dubai
Dubai is a modern and cosmopolitan city, but it is also a Muslim country with a conservative culture. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit, it is important to be aware of and respect the local customs and laws.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when moving to Dubai:
- Residents and visitors are required to dress modestly, particularly in conservative areas and public places.
- Swimwear is permitted on private beaches and around private swimming pools, but visitors should cover up elsewhere.
- Cross-dressing is frowned upon and may result in detainment by authorities.
- When visiting mosques, religious sites, or older parts of town, both men and women may feel more comfortable wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover shoulders, arms, and legs.
- When entering mosques, women are typically required to wear a headscarf.
- Avoid beckoning or pointing with your finger.
- If you need to use a hand gesture, use the whole hand.
- Making obscene hand gestures in public may result in imprisonment.
- Making obscene hand gestures in public may result in imprisonment. In Public
- Being drunk and disorderly in public is illegal and may result in a fine or worse. Drunk driving is not tolerated in the UAE.
- Photography should be done with caution, and always ask permission before photographing a UAE national or resident, especially if the subject is a woman.
- Public drinking is strictly prohibited, as is having alcohol or other illegal substances in one’s possession at any time.
- Public displays of affection should be kept to a minimum; holding hands is acceptable but kissing and hugging is not.
Interactions and invitations
- Accept food and refreshment before moving on to business if you are sharing a meal with your host.
- Standing up for new guests and older or higher-ranking people is important, and men are expected to stand when a woman enters the room.
- When greeting a Muslim member of the opposite sex, do not offer to shake hands unless they first extend their hand – both men and women (most commonly women) may prefer not to shake hands with the opposite sex for religious reasons.
- It is customary to accept food and drink with your right hand; you should also eat with this hand.
- If you have Muslim guests, do not serve alcoholic beverages or pork.
Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures and religions, and by following local customs and laws, you will show respect to the country and its people. If you are considering relocating to Dubai to start your own business, it’s also imperative that you do the groundwork and choose the right establishment to set up your business with.
Why Meydan Free Zone
Meydan Free Zone offers excellent business opportunities, with many successful entities already benefiting from our facilities. Enjoy a world-class business environment and free zone perks like leasing, investor visas, and employee visas without dealing with Ejari or MoHRE. Meydan Free Zone is ideal for starting in Dubai, providing quality office space and a conducive, thriving environment. Contact us to Grow from Dubai.
With the Dubai Economic Agenda – D33, designed to double the city’s economic growth over the next decade, create growth opportunities for expats, and diversify the UAE’s economy, entrepreneurs will have a variety of good reasons to choose Dubai as a location to set up a business. Furthermore, according to Abdullah bin Touq, Minister of Economy, 2022 has been a great year for the UAE economy, with trade crossing Dh1 trillion and re-exports crossing Dh300 billion for the first time ever. It is, therefore, the perfect time to open a business in Dubai if you have been considering it.
For entrepreneurs with an eye toward establishing or expanding a business in Dubai, Meydan Free Zone caters to over 3,500 business activities. However, when starting a business in Dubai, certain additional approvals may be required for your business to operate legally and compliantly. These additional or third-party approvals from government departments and regulatory bodies are crucial to issuing and renewing your license and keeping it valid. Hence, to avoid getting shut down or paying expensive fines – and to ensure that your business is set up for success right from the start – you need to be aware of the additional approvals required for starting a business in Dubai.
This article will cover the key details you need to know about additional approvals and what you need to do to get third-party approval in the UAE.
- What is an additional approval /third-party approval?
- Why is additional approval required?
- Who is issuing the additional approvals?
- What kinds of business activities require additional approvals?
- What are the requirements for obtaining additional activities and the authorities involved?
- How much does it cost to obtain additional approval in the UAE?
What is an additional approval?
In addition to a business operating license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development or a Dubai-free zone, certain industry-specific or government-mandated external approvals need to be obtained depending on the type of business you are planning to establish. These external approvals are referred to as additional approvals or third-party approvals. As the name implies, it is a confirmation/permit or approval from a third-party governmental establishment allowing you to do a particular activity or action. NOCs – No objection certificates or NOC letters – are the most common additional approvals in the UAE.
For example, businesses in specific sectors such as finance, healthcare, or education may require additional regulatory approvals from relevant authorities. Similarly, companies involving certain activities, such as food production or handling hazardous materials, may require additional permits or certifications. Additionally, a business that involves Foreign Direct Investment requires additional approvals from Dubai’s Foreign Direct Investment Office (FDI).
You don’t have to worry, though. If a business activity requires third-party approval, business owners don’t have to seek all the relevant permits – Meydan Free Zone will help you. This is just one of many benefits to make setup straightforward and cost-effective, from quick and simple incorporation to hassle-free company bank accounts.
Why is additional approval required?
There are several reasons why additional approval may be required when starting a business in the UAE. Some of the main reasons include:
- Compliance with regulations : Depending on the type of business, there may be specific laws and regulations that need to be followed. Third-party approvals can ensure that the company complies with these regulations.
- Health and safety : Some businesses, particularly those that involve manufacturing or handling hazardous materials, may require approvals from health and safety authorities to ensure that the company operates safely and responsibly.
- Industry-specific requirements : Certain industries have specific needs and standards that must be met. For example, businesses in the healthcare or education sectors may require additional approvals from relevant government bodies.
- Protection of consumer interests : Third-party approvals can help protect consumer interests by ensuring that businesses meet specific quality standards.
- Protection of the environment : Approval from the environmental authorities is needed while starting a business that may affect the environment negatively.
- Protection of Intellectual property : Intellectual property rights holders must be protected. Businesses that involve certain activities, such as using a trademark or patented technology, may require third-party approvals to ensure that they are not infringing on any rights.
It is important to note that laws and regulations in the UAE are subject to change, and it’s best to check the current requirements and consult a business setup expert in Meydan Free Zone, who can help ensure that your business is operating in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
What kinds of business activities require additional approvals?
Generally, any business activity impacting human life or the environment requires additional approval in the UAE. There are many examples, but here are a few of the most common:
If you wish to conduct business in these sectors and acquire a business license in Dubai, you will need a No Objections certificate or NOC. In such cases, an additional approval certificate will be issued by the government agency responsible for regulating the sector in which you want to work.
Identifying your business activity category is the first step. Free Zones in Dubai, like Meydan, has divided business activities into broader categories from which you can choose. Whether starting a company in Dubai or expanding an existing one in Dubai, Meydan Free Zone caters to over 3,500 business activities. If your business activities fit outside the provided categories, our business setup consultants in Meydan Free Zone will be able to help you choose the best approach.
You can visit Meydan free zone website and search for your business activity. Once you find it, the activity sheet will also tell you whether your business requires additional approval. You might be required to provide additional documentation, undergo a particular application process, and pay separate fees to get your third-party approval.
After receiving third-party approval, you can proceed to the pre-approval process, which requires you to submit your business license application form, identification, and a business feasibility study. While this process may seem daunting, completing it correctly is crucial for a successful Dubai business formation. The good news is that experienced business setup consultants at Meydan Free Zone are available for a free professional consultation.
Who is issuing the additional approvals?
With Meydan Free Zone, you can start your business with total confidence by taking advantage of our expertise. The following steps will be guided by your dedicated account representative.
Even though free zones provide a more relaxed environment for businesses to operate in, there may still be certain additional approvals that are required for a free zone company in the UAE. Major third-party bodies for additional approvals include:
- Licenses and permits : Depending on the type of business you are planning to establish, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits from the relevant authorities. For example, a company involved in food production may require a food safety permit from the local health department.
- Accreditations and certifications : Some businesses may need to obtain specific accreditations or certifications to operate legally. For example, a company involved in the medical field may need to be accredited by the Ministry of Health.
- Approval from government authorities : Depending on the nature of the business, you may need to obtain approval from various government authorities such as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Dubai Civil Defense, Dubai Legal Affairs Department, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), Dubai Tourism Authority, Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC), Federal Transport Authority Land & Maritime FTA (MOEI), Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), Ministry Of Climate Change And Environment, Ministry of Justice, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), Regulatory & Supervisory Bureau (RSB) etc.
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry Membership : Free zone companies are required to register with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in their respective emirates; this will allow them to participate in various trade fairs, exhibitions and other business-related activities by the Chamber.
- Dubai Municipality approvals : Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain approvals from the Dubai Municipality for things such as food safety, building and construction, waste management, and public health and safety.
- Department of Economy & Tourism (formerly DED) approvals : You may need to obtain a commercial license and other DET approvals to register your business and obtain the necessary permits to operate.
- Dubai Health Authority (DHA) approvals : For businesses involved in the healthcare sector, such as clinics, hospitals, or laboratories, you may need to obtain approvals from the DHA to operate legally.
- Dubai Civil Defence approvals : Businesses involved in certain activities that require fire safety inspections, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail shops, may need to obtain approvals from the Dubai Civil Defence.
- Dubai Police clearance : You may need to obtain a commercial license and other DET approvals to register your business and obtain the necessary permits to operate.
- Dubai immigration approvals : Some companies may need approvals from the immigration department for their sponsored employees
- Dubai Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approvals : Businesses which are planning to have foreign investment in their companies may need to get additional approvals and clearance from the Foreign Direct Investment Office (FDI).
Keep in mind that these are only examples, and other third-party approvals may be required depending on the specific nature of your business. It’s advisable to consult with a business setup expert at Meydan Free Zone to determine any additional approvals that may be required for your specific business. Meydan Free Zone can assist you in obtaining all the necessary approvals for your business activity.
What are the requirements for obtaining additional activities and the authorities involved?
10 common business activities that require additional approvals
- 1. Restaurants/cafeterias/coffee shopsHaving simmered over the years, Dubai’s food scene has heated up! The emirate now boasts some 13,000 establishments, and some have garnered global recognition. Due to the increasing popularity of cloud kitchens, a license can be issued in as little as a day. In any case, relevant authorities must inspect your facility to ensure it meets their requirements and issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) before you begin operating.License type : Professional
Restaurants/cafeterias/coffee shops need two categories of additional approval.
Category 1: Location
- The area must exceed 200 sqft
- Ample space for cooking equipment
- Provision for waste disposal
- Smoke management system
- Storage areas
- Non-absorbent, washable, and fireproof walls, floors, and roof
- No pests
- A separate wash basin for vegetables, meat, and utensils
- Blueprint of the restaurant/cafeteria, with floorplan indicating the locations of the food storage and processing; the locations of windows, entrances, and exits
Category 2: Food safety
- Consignment release license
- Permit for food-transporting vehicles
- Additional permits for handling and serving non-halal items that include pork or alcohol
- Dubai Municipality (DM) – Food safety and public safety departments.
- Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – This special approval for business is required if your restaurant or cafe is in a hotel.
- 2. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and accessories tradingSelling e-cigarettes without registering the product is a crime in the UAE. Products that are unregistered and flout the standards set out by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (ESMA) are considered fakes. Penalties and other punishments will be imposed if you try to distribute e-cigarette products that don’t comply with ESMA regulations.License type : Commercial
- To ensure public safety, traders must display health warnings similar to those shown on tobacco and regular cigarettes.
- Ejari is mandatory. Traders can choose to set up shop in either malls or standalone buildings.
- Emirates Standardization and Meteorology Authority (ESMA).
- Dubai Municipality – Narcotics Department.
- DED – NOC from the relevant official.
- 3. Selling or serving non-halal productsThe UAE has an advanced and globally competitive halal industry system. It is no secret that alcohol and pork are major prohibited items in Middle Eastern countries. Yet, the UAE respects and cares for all its residents regardless of their personal, lifestyle, or religious beliefs. Non-halal goods, however, are subject to strict regulations.License type : To sell pork products in supermarkets, a commercial license is needed, while to deal in alcohol, you will need a liquor trading license based on the activities you wish to carry out. These can include importing, selling to third parties, and serving in a hotel, restaurant, or club.
- Stores/Supermarkets that sell pork meat and other products that contain pork must have a separate area of at least 232 sqm away from regular products. They should also appoint dedicated employees to handle pork products and control the freezer temperature.
- Restaurants serving pork must clearly describe pork dishes on separate menus in English and Arabic.
- Alcohol can only be served in restaurants located in four- or five-star hotels.
- Do not advertise the sale of liquor.
- 4. Wireless telecommunications equipment trading and wired & wireless communication systems installationWith Dubai’s urban population and fast-paced cities heavily relying on technology, UAE is highly concerned about telecom equipment users’ safety and streamlined experiences (general public). Considering that wireless communications are sensitive, UAE closely monitors them.License type : Commercial & Professional
- A Commercial license is required to trade equipment that helps transmit voice, data, text, audio, and video via mobile phones and other devices.
- Professional license for installation services
- Networks shouldn’t be interfered with or damaged by imported equipment.
- Devices must meet specified technical standards.
- “Type approval” from Telecommunications And Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA).
- A commercial space (a shop or an office) is mandatory.
- 5. Jewellery/luxury goods tradingAmong the many things that make Dubai famous is its gold market, the Dubai Souk. There is much potential for profit when starting a jewellery business in Dubai. Whether it’s high-quality jewellery or antiques, there are plenty of buyers.Businesses in Dubai’s jewellery and gold sector may also import and export precious metals or provide diamond exchange services. The operation of this business requires strict inspections, approvals, and a customs code number.
License type : Commercial
- The store should be at least 150 sq ft to 200 sq ft in size.
- It is mandatory for owners to install surveillance cameras, security alarms, and a video guard.
- 6. Women/gents haircutting & hairdressing salonsLooking good is big business. Dubai is home to millions of style-savvy and image-conscious residents and leads the region when it comes to haircutting & hairdressing salons. A total of USD 3bn is predicted to be generated by the haircare industry by 2025, including skincare and more.
License type : Professional
- The outlet should have a minimum space of 200 sqft
- Dubai Municipality (DM) Health & Public safety department
- DED Commercial compliance & consumer protection sector
- 7. Educational services/support servicesFollowing the UAE government’s recent educational reforms, this is the right time to launch an academic business in Dubai. Several business activities fall under the category of Educational services/support services, including tutor training, university application assistance, and exam preparation. The UAE, however, prohibits private tutoring.License type : Professional
- Provide a list of services
- Template of certification (if applicable)
- Proof of affiliation to local or foreign institutes
Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) issues a variety of additional approvals for businesses. Aside from that, this authority has a stringent policy regarding permits for educational establishments.
- 8. Real estate company/activitiesReal Estate in Dubai is always in demand. During the first half of 2022, Dubai’s property market recorded 43.2k transactions worth AED 115 billion. To qualify for the real estate license, you should register for the Dubai Real Estate Institute’s Certified Training for Real Estate Brokers course (DREI). This certification is necessary for the license-issuing process. You must pass an exam at the end of the course to become a registered real estate broker in Dubai. In addition, obtain a Good Conduct Certificate from Dubai Police after passing the course.
To open a business in the Dubai real estate sector, you must apply for a RERA license through the Trakheesi system online.
RERA provides oversight of the following kinds of businesses:
- Real Estate Consultancies
- Real Estate Brokerages, Leasing Companies And Mortgage Consultancies
- Real Estate Management Companies
- Businesses Providing Real Estate Services In Dubai
- The Buying And Selling Of Real Estate
- Real Estate Promotion And Advertising
- Any Kind Of Dubai Real Estate Inspection Service
- Owner Associations
- Many Other Related Parties
At Meydan Free Zone, our consultants can provide guidance and advice on submitting your application online and support you at each step.
License type : Commercial
- If you are not a UAE national, get a valid residency visa and Emirates ID
- Apply for a business trade name that complies with the United Arab Emirates business naming rules
- Next up, you must submit various documents and complete your online registration. If you are based in a free zone like Meydan Free Zone, you will also need to receive a no objections certificate (NOC) from the free zone authorities to permit you to work in the real estate sector. You will also need to collect signatures from all shareholders and obtain your payment voucher.
- Register For DREI Certified Training And Take The RERA Exam
- Get a realtor license.
- Dubai Land Department is the government body that oversees activities related to real estate in the UAE. Before operating a real estate brokerage business in Dubai, brokerages must receive approval from the Dubai Land Department (DLD).
- You must also register your real estate brokerage company with the Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD) and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) to employ foreign employees and sponsor their visas.
- 9. Transportation-related business activitiesBusiness activities that involve transportation, like private taxis, auto rentals, sale of autos/business vehicles/bicycles (new/pre-claimed), sale of imported autos/bicycles, auto/bicycle modification workshops, garages and so on, require endorsement/NOC from RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) before they can have a permit from Department of Economy & Tourism or some other licensing authority.
Dubai Municipality requires the gate level permit if you want to get any approval for building in Dubai. Gate level is basically the relative height of the building entrance with respect to the road level. If you are a private building owner, consultant, contractor, or government agency, you are eligible to get RTA approval.
License type : Commercial
- Copy of the trade licence
- Preliminary approval from the Free Zones to add the activity.
- Effective Plot Plan (depends on the nature of activity)
- Topographic survey around the plot
- Roads & Transport Authority
- Department of Economy & Tourism
- Dubai Municipality
- 10. Art/Media related activities and selling related materialsThe United Arab Emirates has one of the highest rates of internet penetration in the Arab world, according to Internet World Stats, with over 12.1 million internet users in July 2022.
All administration services in the UAE are ensured to be of high quality, transparent, and efficient by the National Media Council. Furthermore, it ensures compliance with Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning Press and Publications.
In 2018, UAE National Media Council implemented a new system to govern all electronic and digital media activities on the mainland and in free zones. According to the new system, the following media activities require prior approval:
- trading, showcasing, selling and printing video and audio materials on websites and social media
- electronic publishing and on-call printing
- electronic advertisements
- publishing news
- any electronic activity that the council deems appropriate to be added
You can also choose between other types of media-related business activities, like the following ones:
- Advertising and communication
- Marketing services
- Media services
- Marketing consultancy
- Media associations
- Event management and support
- Media consultancy
- Business information
Additionally, influencers in the UAE, who accept paid advertising on their social media accounts, need a license from the National Media Council (NMC).
License type : Commercial
- A minimum age of 25 is required.
- You must have a good reputation, which means you have never served a prison term.
- Be sure to specify “publishing” (if applicable) when applying for a trade license. Unless your license specifies this activity, you must notify the appropriate authorities. You must request a change after notifying it.
- And as we previously mentioned, the company owner must have a valid UAE residency visa. This requirement also applies to the person in charge and the magazine’s chief editor.
- The only companies that are eligible for an NMC permit are visa package companies with a company immigration card.
- The Media Regulatory Office – Ministry of Culture and Youth
How much does it cost to obtain additional approval in the UAE?
The additional approval, in most cases, involves a one-time charge, and sometimes it comes with a periodic payment. However, due to the differences in business activities and the variety of business opportunities they provide, each activity has a different fee structure. For example, fees for a personal trainer activity cannot be compared to fees for a business activity for education service or support activities. You may therefore contact a business advisor at Meydan Free Zone for a free professional consultation and to find out what it will cost to apply for a business license and to obtain the necessary approvals.
Are you considering getting a UAE residency visa and starting a business here? Have you been searching for a way to eliminate all the paperwork associated with setting up a business in Dubai? Wish there was an alternative to the hassle of finding and visiting a centre to complete a visa process? Now is the time to make the switch to an all-digital future! With a 5-minute video call, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) will process your visa virtually, and Meydan Free Zone offers you a digital escape with a paperless business setup experience. Isn’t that interesting?
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) capped off 2022 by processing millions of transactions and serving customers with top-of-the-line smart services. The immigration services in Dubai processed 62.2 million transactions in 2022, including 47 million entry and exit transactions through air, sea and land ports, and nearly 4.5 million residency visas were processed, including new visas and renewals. In addition, the number of golden visas issued in 2022 increased from 47,150 in 2021, indicating that the demand for UAE resident visas is rising.
In this article, you will learn how to apply for a UAE residency visa via video Call in 2023 and apply for a Dubai business license with an IBAN from Meydan Free Zone, which integrates people, products, and processes 100% digitally. We will be covering the following:
Benefits of having a UAE residence visa
The United Arab Emirates is a safe and politically stable country with a prudent business environment and financial resilience.
A UAE residence visa is required to become a resident of the United Arab Emirates. In Dubai, The GDRFA provides residence visas for all the residents, including UAE-free zones, mainland companies and investors, providing the opportunity to live, work and invest in the UAE.
To maintain a residence visa in Dubai, there is no requirement to stay continuously in the UAE. However, visiting the UAE at least every 180 days is sufficient to keep the UAE Residence Visa.
How to apply for a UAE residency visa via video call?
GDRFA, or the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, is a government entity that regulates the entry and exit of international travellers from Dubai and the residency of foreign nationals in the city. Over the years, the regulatory authority has streamlined its processes resulting in quick, prompt responses. Previously, the GDRFA only offered two means of applying for a residence visa: through its official website or by visiting any of its service centres. Now applicants in Dubai can use video conferencing services to complete their visa applications.
The service was launched on 2023 January 11, enabling customers to submit documents and complete residency-related application procedures digitally. The new service can be used if visa officers discover a document is missing or unclear or need additional information from the applicant to issue the visa. Besides submitting documents, customers can follow up on their transactions through video calls. If there are any inaccuracies in the application process, customers can send the required documents through the chat box, and the officer will upload them and attach them to the application. This eliminates the need to visit the administration in person. Applicants still have the option of visiting a centre if they wish to.
The department aims to achieve a “zero visit” goal, but in rare cases, if an application cannot be completed, an officer will send a link to schedule an appointment to visit the administration.
Customers inside and outside the UAE can access this service on any device with a front-facing camera. GDRFA’s new video call service covers all services, including residence visas, golden visas, financial claims, legal advice, entry permit services, and the issuance and renewal of electronic passports. Users can get assistance by calling the Amer service number 8005111, the GDRFA website, and the mobile app. The video conferencing service will eventually operate 24 hours a day, reducing the need for physical visits to the service centers. Currently, hours of operation are during official working hours from morning to 6 pm.
This new service is a step forward in providing smart government services and making it easier for entrepreneurs to get started in Dubai.
Why should you set up a company in Dubai with a Meydan Free Zone license?
The UAE offers many business advantages, which is why so many companies are setting up branches or organisations here. Let’s begin with the many benefits of doing business in Dubai. In the first place, you’ll benefit from an incredibly strategic location at the heart of the Middle East – perfectly positioned to conduct business with Europe, Asia, and Africa. Additionally, the UAE has a 0% tax rate on personal incomes. Another advantage of getting a trade license in Dubai is that dependents can be sponsored easily.
The additional benefits of the Meydan Free Zone company setup are as follows:
Award-Winning All-Inclusive Digital Platform
Meydan Free Zone supports entrepreneurs in building a digital platform where you can perform all transactions with ease and speed. As part of our digital transformation, our award-winning platform is designed to eliminate all the ‘paperwork’ side of your business. You can log in to the portal from anywhere worldwide and access our services, select your requirements, and finally pay online. You’ll have access to our innovative customer platform when you set up in the Meydan Free Zone. This is designed to ease operations and simplify setting up your business. The platform combines all aspects of compliance and regulation for your company (such as UBO, ESR, and AML) in a single interface. In addition, you can choose from a wide range of licenses, immigration services, business support services, and a choice of workspaces to streamline the workflow seamlessly from right within the platform – and you can manage all your company’s records and business documents in a single place.
Designed for Ease of Expat Ownership
Meydan Free Zone’s trade-friendly environment is designed to be as attractive as possible for the budding entrepreneur. You will benefit from the following:
- MOFA recognised business licenses with IBAN
- 100% foreign ownership
- Tax-free policies
- Low-cost setup starting from AED 12,500
- 3,500 business activities to choose from
- Modern infrastructure with Flexi-desk, dedicated offices and meeting rooms.
- No currency restrictions
Being at one of Dubai’s most sought-after centrally located commercial addresses puts you minutes away from major pulse points and the city’s vital commercial and financial hubs. Meydan Free Zone is 8 minutes away from Downtown Dubai.
Easy Start Up
Benefit from a smooth registration process with access to priority government relations assistance and broad support services tailored to your business needs, all from a click of a button on an award-winning digital platform.
A Vibrant, World-Class Community
Take advantage of the unique opportunity to live, work & play in Meydan’s premium mixed-use developments offering innovative office spaces that encourage business growth. Setting up your company in the Meydan Free Zone also provides access to a unique community that inspires growth through innovation and collaboration. Meydan City boasts a sprawling freehold housing community, schools, a hospital, and recreational amenities. The prime location in the center of Dubai gives you direct access to everything you need to start and grow your business. The city is home to countless startups, SMEs, and multinationals from various industries and sectors.
How to get a Meydan Free Zone company license?
With Meydan Free Zone, you can start your business with total confidence by taking advantage of our expertise. The following steps will be guided by your dedicated account representative.
Our first step will be to help you choose and register your company name. It’s important to adhere to UAE naming guidelines. As part of our initial consultation, we will go over these rules.
Furthermore, we will assist you in aligning your business activities to the approved list published by the UAE’s various Municipalities and Departments of Economic Development. Therefore, you should list all activities you intend to conduct on your business license.
You can now rely on us to handle your UAE Trade License application. During this process, you will be asked for information about your business and its shareholders and proof of address and identification. The application is completed on an online portal. Once your MOFA-recognised license is issued, you will need to apply for a residency or investor visa. We can help you with your visa application too.
Once your e-visa is issued, you will need to undergo a fitness test, blood test, and chest x-ray; the medical assistance team can help you with the appointments. Once your visa is approved, and you get your Emirates ID, You can also sponsor the visas of others, such as your dependent spouse, Children, parents, your spouse, and any domestic staff.
Additionally, if you get paid in the UAE, you’ll need a UAE business bank account. Meydan Free Zone can help with this step, too, advising on the right bank for you. In addition, we have partnered with multiple local and international banks providing zero-balance digital business bank accounts.
How to legally work with mainland companies with a trade license from Meydan Free Zone?
Free Zone businesses are not permitted to trade directly with customers in Dubai and the UAE mainland; however, some select free zone companies can do business in Dubai mainland, but they will require necessary approvals from the free zone. To ensure their chosen business activity can avail this benefit, they should contact Meydan Free Zone.
That being said, many free zones do not permit direct business in mainland Dubai. They are only permitted to trade internationally or with other companies based in the same free zone. Non-compliance can lead to fines of as much as AED 100,000. However, there are a number of ways that free zone companies can trade with the mainland if they decide they would like to. These include:
- Find a mainland logistics partner who can move goods within the UAE for you.
- Free zone-based e-commerce companies can use a courier or delivery partner for delivering goods in the UAE.
- You can also set up a branch of your business on the mainland, through which you can trade with companies in Dubai (it must have the same name and activities as your free zone company).
In addition, these businesses will also enjoy all free zone benefits, such as integrated services of leasing, investor/partner visas for shareholders, and employment visas for staff without having to deal with Ejari or the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
The Meydan Free Zone offers a fantastic base for your entrepreneurial ambitions. With a great mixture of quality office space, location, smooth business setup, and an environment that encourages success, Meydan Free Zone brings together everything you need to start your company in Dubai.
If you’re ready to set up your Dubai business, choose the Meydan Free Zone.
Instagram’s shoppable posts and Facebook Shops make the two the ideal platforms for product discovery and have given brands a chance to rethink their marketing strategies and customer interactions. In the same way that their user base, business features, algorithms and technological capabilities have evolved, so has the platforms’ impact on the world of eCommerce.
90% of Instagram users follow a business account, and over 60% of Internet users worldwide are on Facebook, which means that they are quickly becoming a preferred way for consumers to discover new brands and products and purchase them.
The UAE market provides a great opportunity for digital merchants to expand their businesses and reach their target audience. According to the International Trade Administration, in 2020, the online retail sector in the UAE surpassed a record $3.9 billion in sales, making it one of the most desirable markets to establish an online store.
Interested in starting an online business and selling on Facebook and Instagram in the UAE? This blog will cover:
What Is the Difference Between Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Shops?
Facebook Marketplace is ideal for those who want to sell from a personal account, have fewer products, or sell for a limited time and do not want to create a brand or store name.
Facebook Shops are a great way for any business owner or seller to build a brand and gain more customers. Shops, in particular, give customers confidence and allow businesses to track and extract data from customers in order to analyse the data and further strengthen the business.
Marketplace allows you to sell products through your personal account while Shops provides you with the opportunity to sell products through your business account (page) in the name of a business or institution.
Marketplaces sell only locally, and they cannot be boosted, while Shops are available worldwide and can be boosted.
Shops allow the customer to contact the page’s Admin or someone on behalf of the business owner or company, while Marketplaces let you contact the owner or seller directly.
What Is Selling Online Through Facebook & Instagram Like?
In a world where social media has taken over search engines, companies that plunged headfirst into eCommerce have seen their profit margins grow exponentially.
Finding customers is the most challenging part for any new small business; however, leveraging a network of billions of consumers classified by age, action, and interest can be extremely beneficial. And Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are more than happy to fill that void.
Setting up a Facebook or Instagram Shop helps increase sales and allows you to understand your customers’ interests and needs better, allowing you to tailor your promotional campaigns to them. Even if you’re new to eCommerce, have never advertised on social media, or are simply not tech-savvy, getting started with selling and advertising on Facebook and Instagram is simple.
For fast and seamless connection and sync with both platforms, a single product catalog is used across Facebook and Instagram. Your product catalog can then be used to reach over 2.85 billion potential customers on Facebook and another billion on Instagram.
If your product catalog is linked to a Facebook Business Page, you can also set up an Instagram Shop to:
Tag products in Instagram posts so that users can find them easily.
Sell directly in your Instagram Stories with product stickers.
Get your shoppable posts featured in the Explore section, where thousands of potential customers can see them.
Get a permanent Shop tab on your Instagram Business Profile with all of your tagged products, so shoppers can easily access your purchasable products.
What Do I Need to Start Selling Online Through Facebook & Instagram?
If you don’t already have a Facebook business Page or a catalog, you can create both when you create your shop.
If you already have a Page and a catalog that you want to use for your shop, follow these steps:
- You must be an admin in order to manage your Page and catalog in a Meta Business Manager account. Check that you have Manage permissions for both the Page and the catalog.
- You’ll also need an Instagram business account if you want to promote your shop on Instagram. The Instagram business account to which it is linked must be owned by your Business Manager.
Note: You do not need to create or provide a Facebook business Page when creating your shop in Commerce Manager if you only want to sell on Instagram Shops.
To open your shop, follow these steps:
- Select Create your Shop and click Next. If you’re already selling on a partner platform, simply import and sync your products.
- Select a checkout method from the three options. Click Next.
- Create a new Facebook page or choose your existing page if you want to sell on Facebook. Select your Instagram business account if you wish to sell on Instagram. Click Next.
- Select your Business Manager account or create a new one. Click Next.
- Select the catalog you want to use for your shop and click Next. Catalog eligibility requirements for shops must be met in order to select a catalog. Note that this catalog cannot be switched later.
- Once you have reviewed and agreed to the Seller Agreement, you can click Finish setup.
Now that you have created your shop, you can start selling. The next step is to:
- Manage your catalog to add products you wish to sell. By default, your shop includes all items from your catalog, but you can select which ones to display.
- Organise your shop by creating a collection of products you’d like to sell.
- You can customise the look and feel of your shop.
- Make sure your shop is published. Upon approval, your shop will be visible to the public.
10 Tips to Sell Products Through Instagram Shopping
Here are some great tips to keep in mind for when you’re selling your products through Instagram Shopping:
1. Use eye-catching visualsBecause Instagram is a visual platform, make your images look more than just grid-oriented! Make sure your photographs and videos are as high-resolution as possible and that you are up to date on the latest image and video specifications.
Show your product photographs in use or real-world setting to give them an engaging, journalistic sense. Sharing detailed images could also be an excellent choice.
2. Include hashtagsIncluding shopping-related content in your Instagram hashtag strategy is smart for all your posts. These hashtags can increase your chances of being discovered by newer consumers, opening up a whole new world of possible engagement. The Explore page, which contains a distinctive “Shop” button and is visited by more than half of Instagram users each month, can also be reached by utilising the appropriate hashtags.
3. Share discounts and coupon codesRunning a promotional campaign is an excellent way to boost sales because everyone appreciates a good deal. Users that are interested in your offer can simply click through while you are advertising it. When you advertise a coupon directly in your shoppable Instagram photographs, more shoppers are likely to take action.
4. Showcase your products in actionOn Instagram, tutorials and how-to videos are the most popular type of video content. Furthermore, because it provides viewers with proof-of-concept and product education, this style is ideal for articles that urge viewers to become customers.
5. Authenticity is keyOne of the social media engagement principles that applies to all product posts is the golden rule of authenticity.
You don’t have to stick to product copy. Allow your originality and voice to shine through here. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to captivate your viewers with a well-written caption that offers surprising insights or an emotional connection. Mention the piece’s inspiration and why it was produced. Telling stories has always been a sales tool.
6. Get creative with coloursDon’t be afraid to use a vibrant colour as the background for your product shot. You want to be able to attract and keep your customers’ attention. Avoid popular colour schemes to halt scrollers in their tracks.
7. Select a signature lookMaintaining a consistent style on Instagram will help your brand recognition and identification. Furthermore, it allows people to immediately identify your posts while scrolling through their feeds or viewing the Explore tab. Businesses that incorporate product tags in their feed postings often generate 37% more sales.
8. Practise inclusivityIf you want a large audience to view your brand, ensure your images are realistic representations. Given that Instagram has over a billion users, it’s safe to say that its users are a diverse group. Keep this diversity in mind when you create marketing campaigns for your products.
9. Share and engage with user-generated contentUser-generated content refers to Instagram posts or Stories from users that feature your products. These posts not only provide new, consumer-perspective images of your products in use, but they also boost your credibility. This is due to the fact that comments made by actual users are considered more authentic, and authenticity boosts trust. They act as visual testimonies.
10. Create interesting CTAsA strong call to action is the best way to match a beautiful image. Instructions such as “Buy now!” that encourages the reader to take action, or “Share it with a friend!” are good examples.
Why Choose Meydan Free Zone?
Creating your own eCommerce business that sells products on Facebook and Instagram has never been easier.
Meydan Free Zone, which is dedicated to making the dreams of budding entrepreneurs a reality, is located 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport and provides easy access to Downtown Dubai and Sheikh Zayed Road. The premium company address can assist you in acquiring top-tier clients. As a member of the Meydan Free Zone family, you will also have access to a fully equipped Business Centre and weekly networking events. Our Business Centre offers a world-class professional environment and an atmosphere that encourages performance while retaining privacy.
If you want to start selling online on Facebook and Instagram, talk to the consultants at Meydan Free Zone.
Taxation is an unavoidable reality for any business, and if you are an entrepreneur planning to set up your business in the UAE, it is critical to understand the fundamentals of corporate taxation so that you can ensure compliance and minimize your tax burden.
First announced at the beginning of 2022 by state news agency WAM, the UAE will implement a 9% corporate tax beginning June 1, 2023, with a profit threshold of AED 375,000 for businesses. This threshold was set in accordance with the government’s efforts to assist small and medium-sized businesses and startups.
Read on to learn the crucial details about corporate tax that UAE residents and businesses must know.
What Is the Federal Corporate Tax?
On December 9, 2022, the UAE issued a federal decree on corporate and business taxation to lay the groundwork for a 9% rate on taxable profits of more than AED 375,000 ($102,000). The legislation will take effect on June 1, 2023.
The UAE’s corporate tax, which is one of the lowest in the world, will be levied on the company’s profit rather than its total turnover. Levied in almost every country, it is worth noting that many of them have levied it at a rate that is more than double that of the UAE.
Profits under AED 375,000 will be taxed at zero percent to assist small businesses and start-ups, which means smaller businesses may still be able to claim money back from the tax administration as a result.
What Do UAE Residents Have to Know about the Corporate Tax?
UAE residents earning more than AED 375,000 will not be required to pay tax because it is not applicable to their salary. As for business owners earning managerial remuneration from the entity, a payment or benefit made to a connected person is deductible from revenue as an expense if made at arms’ length (Market standard level), and any excess payment or benefit is subject to corporate tax. The connected person includes the taxable person’s owners and directors.
Corporate tax will not be levied on personal income derived from bank deposits, savings and investment programs, dividends, or foreign exchange gains. Real estate income may be subject to corporate tax basis if it is derived from economic activity (leasing, selling, transferring, etc.), as conditions are stipulated in the executive decision in this regard. However, income from real estate investments in which the investment manager performs commercial activities may qualify as exempt income.
If you are a freelancer with a freelance permit, working under self-sponsorship and earning more than the threshold, you will be subject to corporate tax.
*Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance license or freelance visa options.
What Do Non-residents Have to Know about Corporate Tax?
Non-residents are also subject to corporate tax if they have a permanent establishment in the UAE, as well as state-sourced income (from the sale of goods, provision of services, and so on) in the country. Non-residents’ earnings from operating aircraft and ships in international space are exempt from corporate tax. A non-resident is also exempt from corporate tax on income earned through an investment manager on real estate or other investments.
What Do Businesses Set up in a UAE Free Zone Need to Know?
The UAE’s free zone companies have been a significant driver of the country’s international trade. Exemptions available to free zones include 100% foreign ownership, 100% customs and VAT exemptions, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, corporate tax exemptions, and so on.
The new corporate taxation allows the UAE Government to meet its agenda of economic reforms with growth because tax exemptions to such free zones act as a multiplier if certain conditions are met.
A qualifying free zone entity that meets all of the requirements outlined in the Executive Regulations of the UAE Corporate Tax Law will be exempt. Entities in a free zone would be eligible for tax exemptions if they:
- (a) maintained adequate substance in the UAE
- (b) derived “qualifying income”
- (c) complied with transfer pricing rules and maintained the relevant documentation, and
- (d) did not opt to be subject to Corporate Tax.
If a free zone entity earns non-exempt income (i.e. non-qualifying income), the entire income, including the ‘qualifying income,’ is taxed at 9%. However, the federal decree law seems to suggest that zero percent will be applicable on “qualifying income” and 9 per cent will be applicable on “non-qualifying income”. Subject to cabinet approval, such category-based taxation would provide significant relief and allow free zone entities to continue domestic operations.
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Once you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, pursuing the venture you are passionate about will become your top priority. Setting up a business involves making important financial decisions, completing a series of legal steps, and planning ahead, and Dubai’s Meydan Free Zone is an obvious choice given its significance as a business hub.
With technology-infused services and digitalized registration processes, Meydan Free Zone is a more than qualified hub to establish your business in, ensuring your start-up has a competitive advantage. Meydan Free Zone, located in the heart of Dubai, is surrounded by towering skyscrapers and excellent transportation systems, and its launch is sure to boost your business. Throughout the registration process, our team of experts is ready to respond to and listen to every question and request in order to ensure that the registration process is error-free.
Dubai has always been at the forefront of welcoming talent and diversified proficiency from foreign lands in order to boost its economic performance cordially. Over the last few decades, tourism and business have been the focus of the Dubai government’s schemes amongst its successful attempts to build magnificent infrastructure, luxury-centred hotel facilities and efficient transport links. The UAE is quite inviting in terms of its business culture, and according to the International Trade Administration, it is one of the reasons Dubai’s population consists of 80% talented expatriates from over 150 countries
Attractive business customs, beneficial taxation policies, and the bolstering tourism industry are only some of the factors that play a role in winning a large pool of tourists and expats. With the government paying close attention to this, introducing a 5-year UAE multiple visa has piqued the interest of those who want to forgo the process of reapplying for visas repetitively. The business viewpoint of things is that a 5-year UAE green visa would allow entrepreneurs and employees to boost their revenue and conduct activities without hassle during each visit at their preferred convenience.
Read on to explore the new visa scheme in detail, covering;
- The new Entry Permits and Tourist Visa changes
- What is the 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa?
- How to apply for a 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa
- Documents required for application
- Who is eligible for the application of a 5-Year UAE Multi Entry Visa?
- Benefits of the 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa
- How much does it cost to apply for a 5-Year UAE Multi Entry Visa?
- What to do in case of rejection or need to extend Tourist Visa
- Why Meydan Free Zone?
The new Entry Permits and Tourist Visa changes
For the first time, the new system allows travellers a selection of visa types for various visit purposes without requiring a host or sponsor.
The new entry permits and tourist visa changes that came into effect on October 3 2022:
- Visit visa
The new visa for visiting the UAE will allow for a stay of 60 days, as opposed to the 30 days allowed previously.
- Multi-entry tourist visa
In addition to the usual tourist visa sponsored by UAE tourism establishments, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa is now available. This long-awaited entrance visa will allow visitors to explore the UAE more extensively. This new visa will not necessitate the involvement of a sponsor. The applicant must have a bank balance of $4,000 (or the equivalent amount in another currency) for the six months before the visa application. People can stay in the UAE for 90 days in a row, with the only restriction that they do not stay for more than 180 days in a year.
- Entry visa for job exploration
This visa is awarded to people identified as being in first, second, or third skill level by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, as well as fresh graduates from the world’s top 500 universities with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as the minimum educational level. It does not require a sponsor or a host.
- Business entry visa
The purpose of this entry permit, which does not require a sponsor or host, is to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
- Entry permit to visit family or friends
A visitor can apply for this entry permission if he or she is a relative or acquaintance of a UAE citizen or resident, according to the current amendment. It is not necessary to have a sponsor or a host.
- Entry permit for study and training
This permit is intended for those taking training and study courses and those participating in internship programmes. Universities, educational or research institutes licensed in the country, and government or commercial enterprises, can serve as sponsors. It necessitates a letter from the entity outlining the contents of the study, training, or internship programme, as well as its duration.
- Entry permit for a temporary work mission
Entry permit for a temporary work mission The employer sponsors this visa. It necessitates a temporary employment contract or a letter from the employer defining the purpose of the visit, as well as proof of health and fitness to work.
What is the 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa?
The 5-Year UAE Multi Entry Visa was introduced to UAE’s law of business conduct during a Cabinet session in March 2021. Valid for five years, this UAE green visa permits its holder to sponsor themselves, eliminating the necessity for a UAE national or employer to sponsor their visa.
The main purpose of the visa is to allow business expatriates and tourists to enter and re-enter Dubai multiple times based on self-sponsorship. During this time, businesses that require constant travel can experience higher productivity whilst jobseekers can come across multiple freelancing opportunities.
Visitors will be granted a five-year multiple-entry visa to the UAE; however, their stay in the country cannot exceed 90 days in a calendar year. Because the e-visa is only valid for 60 months from the date of issue, the applicant must travel to the UAE within 60 days to validate it.
Whether the visitor is a part of a company with a large portion of employees that are required to travel abroad or wants to start a business without being completely present in Dubai—this visa is a golden opportunity to pursue new ventures.
How to apply for a 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa
Applying for a multi-entry visa is mainly done through an online website or a mobile application. The websites are inclusive of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA), and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), or you can contact a visa applications service centre to complete the process online. Follow the below steps to ensure your visa application process is smooth.
- Access the official website
Log onto www.gdrfad.gov.ae or www.icp.gov.ae and select ‘Public Services, ’ which will provide you with an array of visas to choose from.
- Select the visa type
Select the visa type which pertains to your requirements for a multi-entry visa. There are various options available—ranging from visas applicable to certain countries to citizens of India residing in the Western region—it’s important to choose one for ‘all nationalities’.
- Complete the application process
You are required to fill out a form that involves filling in information like your name, email, personal details, and addresses in and outside the UAE. Along with this, there’s a significant amount of documentation and paperwork that needs to be handled. At Meydan Free Zone, our team of consultants can assist you every step of the way so that you can focus on your business plans.
- Pay your fees
After reviewing your application and making sure all the relevant information is available, make sure you pay the applicable visa fees using a sufficient debit or credit card. It’s better to scan and nitpick all your documents; making sure there aren’t any errors or obtaining your visa on time can be a hassle if rejected.
Documents required for application
Applying for a 5-year Dubai visa requires you to submit documents carefully. Here’s a list of what you need:
- Coloured passport-sized photographs taken on a white background
- Coloured copies of the last and first page of your passport
- Bank statements to prove your liquidity and sufficiency of funds
- Proof of health insurance
- Proper personal and financial details of a guarantor
- Copy of flight ticket
- Proof of residence
Who is eligible for the application of a 5-Year UAE Multi Entry Visa?
Citizens of all nationalities are eligible for the five-year multi-entry tourist visa. To be qualified, the visitor must have a passport with a six-month validity period at the time of submission, a passport-size photograph, medical insurance valid for the UAE, and a bank statement from the previous six months showing a minimum balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in another currency.
Benefits of the 5-Year UAE Multi-Entry Visa
The new entrance permits would make it easier for expatriates to discover the UAE as a desirable tourist destination and benefit many segments of the market that want to travel and conduct business in the UAE.
It is ideal for:
- Freelancers and Job Seekers
A 5-year visa which allows you to travel to Dubai multiple times, can reduce the costs of travelling back and forth drastically while improving your convenience. Normally, people who visit Dubai seeking jobs face the limitations of not being able to land a proper job in such a short period of time, resulting in having to return to their home country or halt work. With the 5-year UAE tourist visa, job opportunities can be more in abundance and long-lasting. Obtaining a freelancer permit will be easier due to the lower visa limitations, as visiting, working and exploring Dubai will give visitors more opportunities to land a job or start a business.
Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance visa options. Nevertheless, you can get in touch with Meydan Free Zone to explore a wide range of business licenses, including an investor visa that allows you to establish your own business in Dubai.
- Visiting Family Or Friends
This license makes it so much easier for an individual to visit their family and friends without the need for a local sponsor. If you have any relatives or friends studying or working abroad in the UAE, the cost of visiting will dramatically reduce as there’s no need to travel to the UAE every six months to maintain potency when it comes to residency.
- Exploring Opportunities
You can work on temporary business or research projects without the need for a local sponsor or agent. On top of that, probationary periods and short business periods can smoothly commence. Dubai is abundant with many business activities on the rise, whether e-commerce, dropshipping or trading—there are too many profitable business ideas you could pursue in the span of five years.
How much does it cost to apply for a 5-Year UAE Multi Entry Visa?
With Dubai’s continually evolving rules and regulations in relation to its visa facilities, it’s suggested that you constantly check on the changes in visa prices and compare application fees and registration fees that align with your future objectives as an individual or an entrepreneur. Generally speaking, the 5-year UAE multiple visa costs approximately AED 650, with an additional AED 50 as a service fee price charge. This includes e-fees, issue fees, request fees and other fees altogether.
With the Meydan Free Zone, additional charges and unnecessary costs can be reduced to a great extent due to our specialisation in digital payment schemes, applications, and an educated panel of consultants.
What to do in case of rejection or need to extend Tourist Visa
The immigration authority has the discretion to grant or deny the applicant’s visa. If your 5-year tourist visa Application visa is denied, you will receive a notification explaining why. The most prevalent causes for visa denials are:
- Female visitors under the age of 25 travelling alone.
- Applicants with a prior criminal record for misbehaviour or fraud in the UAE or their home country.
- Visitors with unskilled passports (such as labourers and farmers).
Make sure you correct any errors before submitting all your documents so that the chances of getting rejected are lower.
If a person chooses to extend his annual stay in the country for more than 90 days but not more than 180 days, he can file a request to extend while still in the UAE.
Therefore the least amount of days you can make use of this green visa is 90 days, and if an extension is approved, you can stay for an additional 90 days—meaning, the maximum a visit allows with a request would be in fact, 180 days.
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Meydan Free Zone is located in the heart of Dubai, surrounded by high-rise, glass hotel buildings and bustling life throughout the day and night. To bolster your business revenue and presence, airport links, commendable infrastructure facilities, and technology-immersed processes are all supported by the engineering of the Meydan Free Zone.
Specifically, if you are looking to register your business in a free zone like Meydan, our team of consultants is more than ready and responsive when assisting you with your green visa application process. Paying your e-fees, designing websites, preparing documentation and paperwork and making global payments can all be facilitated by Meydan Free Zone. Contact us for future inquiries!
*Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance license or freelance visa options.
Outsourcing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a popular strategy for growing startups. It can help you scale quickly and affordably, but it’s not suitable for every company. In fact, many tech startups end up with a product that doesn’t meet their needs and, because of poor choices in developers, doesn’t deliver.
That’s why it’s important to know what to look for when considering outsourcing and understand if it’s right for your business and product. Remember, an MVP is the software equivalent of a prototype in a manufacturing environment, so its success, or failure, can significantly impact the direction your business takes.
On average, in the US, outsourcing accounted for 13.6% of the total IT budget in 2020/2021, and 70% of companies who choose to outsource their software development projects do so to save money.
So clearly, software development outsourcing is popular, but what advantages are there other than cost – and are there any drawbacks? Today, we’re running through everything you need to know about MVP outsourcing.
The Basic Steps of Effective MVP Development
Before diving headfirst into outsourcing, let’s quickly look at the basics of planning MVP development as part of your wider business. The process can be divided into six distinct steps.
1. Market Research
Some ideas just aren’t marketable. Before starting an MVP Development process, you need to take reasonable steps to ensure there is a market for what you want to create. More information and insight give your MVP the best chance of success. Don’t just speak to consumers – look at what your potential competitors are doing too.
2. Understand How Your Product Can Add Value
Based on your market research, what does the market need or want? What gap exists that competitors aren’t already filling or aren’t addressing effectively? What can you build, in a short time, that will give users something new that they want and need? These questions will quickly shape what your MVP will look like.
3. Map the User Flow
The design of your MVP is crucial, and it must be user-friendly. Every time you make a decision that will impact how a user will interact with an MVP, you need to view it through their eyes. Great flow from a user perspective will mean they never notice ‘using’ anything – it just works. This is what you should be aiming for.
4. Define Your MVP Features
At this stage, you can decide which features to include in your MVP and which are less important. The features that you must create are the ones that fulfill the user needs you established in your market research. If you have the time and money, you can leave in some of the features that cover their wants, but you need to focus on what is most important at the start.
You’ve done all the hard work designing and developing an MVP at this stage. Now, you need to get people to use it. This will likely begin with a small group of candidates you may have pre-selected as people whom the MVP will be particularly useful for so that you can guarantee they’ll use it and help with the final step in the process.
6. Test, Test, Test
Every step in this list is critical. But it will all be for nothing if you don’t test how your MVP performs. You need quantitative and qualitative feedback on what you’ve built if you take it from prototype form and develop it further.
How Does Outsourcing Development Work?
If you’re looking to outsource your tech team, it’s crucial to understand how it works. Outsourcing is the process of hiring a company or individual to perform a task or set of tasks that would otherwise be done internally by an employee of your company – pretty straightforward.
MVP development can include anything from writing code, designing websites and apps, managing databases and servers, building hardware prototypes, or all of the above so that your complete solution, at least the final one, is built by another team.
Day-to-day, you can organise your developers however you like. Perhaps you want to retain project management and design in-house and just have the coding work taken care of outside your organisation. Some companies, though, are happy to put the whole MVP project in the hands of an outside development team, freeing them up to focus on the rest of their business objectives.
It’s also vital to consider what development model to use when outsourcing, as this will have a significant impact on anyone you have working on development in-house.
Pros of Outsourcing
As we’ve already mentioned, the major advantage of outsourcing software development is cost reduction. Typically, you’ll outsource to a less wealthy country or region where there are plenty of talented developers, but the price of hiring them is lower.
Outsourcing can be an excellent way to test the market. If you’re unsure whether people will buy your product, it might be worth outsourcing your MVP so it can be developed at a lower cost. This is especially true if you don’t have enough capital to risk creating a product that no one wants.
If outsourcing is done properly, it can be cost-effective and time efficient, allowing you to capture market share before any of your competitors catch on. There are drawbacks to being first to market, but it generally has several key advantages, including establishing brand recognition and buying time to make your products more cost-efficient.
Outsourcing can be used as an alternative to hiring new employees and as part of your business strategy – especially if you have plans for growth in the future. In 2022, hiring developers has never been so difficult because of how competitive the market is. Outsourcing development cuts out the time and effort required to find and onboard great tech people.
Cons of Outsourcing
Outsourcing is a long-term commitment, so you’ll be relying on your partner to perform the work for some time. If they can’t fulfill your needs, you can do nothing about it except request that they fix their work or get another partner, which is a big drain on time and money. Also, it might take a while before you find an outsourcing partner to begin with who can meet your requirements and is available at the right price point.
Offshore outsourcing sacrifices perfect clarity of communication due to time zones and language barriers, so the cost advantage of outsourcing to countries further afield can sometimes be outweighed by the additional time it can take to communicate effectively.
Ultimately, if you get someone else to do development on your behalf, you have less control over the quality of the finished product than you would if you did it in-house.
Successful Examples of Outsourcing
You might not know, but many big-name companies started with an outsourced product. We’ve given a few examples below, with links to their full stories if you’re interested in diving deeper.
1. Alibaba: The world’s biggest marketplace wouldn’t be available if not for a team of specialised developers from the US. Using offshore support in web development, Alibaba surpassed eBay in China and now has an operating revenue of over $130 billion.
2. Slack: First, the company collaborated with MetaLab and, after six weeks, was provided with its logo, web, and mobile apps, along with its very own marketing site. In 2020, Salesforce purchased Slack for $27.7 billion, showing how a great idea, developed quickly and effectively, can have a big impact.
3. GitHub: This open-source software community started on its road to success with the help of talented outsourced consultant Scott Chacon. In the beginning, the founders of this company hired Chacon as the company’s outsourcing consultant and quickly developed a platform that is now used almost ubiquitously.
Is Outsourcing Right for You?
The first question to ask when deciding whether outsourcing is right for you is: are you happy having less control over the development of your MVP? Yes, outsourcing has cost and time advantages, but they won’t be worth much if you aren’t comfortable with your product being built by someone outside your organisation. On the other hand, if you just want to focus on your company’s core competencies while letting those who specialise in certain areas take care of the rest, then outsourcing is a great idea.
It’s also incredibly important to understand where your business is right now and what your goals are. If you have big growth plans for the next 18 months, then you probably don’t want to spend the next six months building a team of developers. But, if you have more time and money to play with, and your MVP doesn’t have to be in the market as soon as possible, you probably don’t need to outsource.
How to Choose an Outsourcing Partner
Choosing the right outsourcing partner is a critical step for your business. The best ones will share the same values, be trustworthy, and have experience with your industry. A quick Google search will bring back pages and pages of different developers you can partner with. Here in Dubai, you’ll find a few names: Niyati and Unity, so these might be good places to start your outsourcing inquiries.
Here are some quick pointers on things to consider before you open a dialogue with a developer:
GETTING STARTED WITH A DEVELOPER: THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Do they have a good cultural fit? You want to work with people who are friendly, open-minded, and willing to help. If you have any doubts about this, ask former clients how they felt about their relationship with the company.
- How do they treat employees? When interviewing potential partners, look at their track record on the treatment of staff – paying them fairly and giving them development opportunities are good signs that you’re dealing with an ethical business that values its team members.
- How long have they been in operation? A well-established company will have more knowledge than one just starting, so there’s less chance of something going wrong during your project if they’re used to working with businesses like yours.
- What kind of support do they offer during development? Think of things like documentation review and QA.
- How often does communication happen between teams? Will it be daily or weekly, and what tools will they use to communicate?
Outsourcing can help you get a product to market quickly and affordably, but it’s important to understand how to find the right partner.
In our experience, outsourcing is a great option for companies with limited funds or needing to get something done quickly. However, being selective about whom you work with is extremely important because they can do more harm than good if they aren’t the right fit. If you choose the wrong developer, any time or money you could save outsourcing might quickly be wasted having to undo work that isn’t up to scratch or doesn’t fit your customers’ needs.
Remember, once your MVP is complete, you need to move on to developing your Minimum Marketable Product (MMP), so if you’ve found an outsourced development firm that does good work and aligns with your needs, you’re probably going to need their help again.
The years 2021 and part of 2022 were when the global economy rebounded from the pandemic, and companies looked to hire. “Great Resignations” had now become a widespread phenomenon, forcing companies to ramp up hiring rapidly and on a large scale to address the high level of turnover. Therefore, when recruiting the best and brightest candidates, the competition for top talent can be fierce. That’s even before considering that the UAE’s employment rate has stood between 94% and 99% over the last decade. That means your next hire is probably not actively seeking a new role.
The best talent will not settle for anything less than the best employer, so you’ll need to get creative and put effective recruitment strategies in place if you want to get suitable candidates through your Dubai or UAE-based business door.
So, if you’ve ever had difficulty recruiting the right talent or even had problems attracting your preferred candidates, here are ten ways to boost your recruitment efforts from some of the world’s biggest global brands.
1. Define Your Value Proposition
When you think about it, future hires are similar to new customers. They’ve got a challenge – the next step in their career –and they need your help to overcome it. So it’s essential to define your value proposition. If you want them to stick around for the medium to long term, you need to sell them for more than pay. You need to deliver on a promise – such as clear career progression – alongside a key critical differentiator: what is it about working for the company that will make them choose you over a competitor?
Creating fast-paced and disruptive video content as part of your recruitment campaign can clearly define your employer value proposition and brand. Take the world-leading sparkling water brand SodaStream. Their ‘Join The Revolution’ campaign video features a series of comical interactions, including their CEO, employees, and Game of Thrones Star, Thor Bjornsson, and aimed at attracting ‘extraordinary global talent.’
2. Build Your Employer Brand
As soon as you’ve made your first hire, you’ve got an employer brand. Now it’s down to you as an employer to shape that brand to make it as appealing as possible to the best and brightest talent. Why’s that so important? Studies show that around 75% of job seekers consider the employer brand before applying.
An employer brand goes much deeper than simply managing people and their work. Like your business brand, your employer brand helps to define your value proposition, not only as a place to work but in terms of personal growth and career progression. Your employer brand defines your company culture, represented by your people and work. It shows future employees what it’s like to work for you and why they should stick around for the long term once they’re through the door.
An effective employer brand will create excitement around your business as a workplace, making it more desirable for future hires. Take BUPA Arabia, for example. In 2021, it won two prestigious CIPD awards for its employer brand and employee engagement initiative based on various criteria, including diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee retention, and team performance. LinkedIn also awarded BUPA Arabia the ‘Best Employer Brand’ based on the impact of its employer branding strategies.
3. Seek Referrals
Finding the right talent for your organization is a constant networking activity backed by the ongoing promotion of your employer brand and the continuous building of a talent pool. Good people tend to know good people, so referrals from new or existing employees are a great way to source top talent. Research shows that the number one way people discover new jobs is through referrals. A simple way to do this is through an incentive scheme.
Salesforce uses Recruitment Happy Hours, where employees invite referrals they feel would be an excellent fit for a company social event, making it a fun, informal, and more relaxed way to network with potential hires.
4. Promote Company Culture
When it comes to being an employer, your biggest advocates are existing employees. They offer prospective employees a window into what it’s like to work for your business. As well as providing a network of referrals, existing employees can help promote the company culture by sharing their experiences working for you on social media and your website – whether that’s re-posting and commenting on special events or writing blog posts about their experiences both inside and outside the company. Employee testimonials are a powerful way of promoting your company culture and making it appeal to candidates.
It’s also vital to promote company culture within your organization as well. Dubai-based luxury retailer the Chalhoub Group currently has17 people experience communities that advocate and promote a happy workplace and a positive company culture. The result? They’ve been awarded the Great Place to Work® Certification for three years in the UAE.
5. Increase Online Engagement
Amplifying your employer brand via social media channels is a great way to attract talent to your company and build a relationship with them. Research by LinkedIn shows that 65% of professionals use a social media platform to find new job opportunities and potential research employers. For employers, increasing your visibility on social media is vital if you want to engage with the right talent.
However, many employers in the MENA region still rely solely on more traditional channels to advertise open roles, such as job postings or careers pages. That doesn’t mean they should stop using these methods – quite the opposite. Employers can leverage social media as a recruitment tool to drive potential talent traffic to the careers page of their website or a job posting on a recruitment platform.
Global Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR), McDonalds, uses social media to meet its millennial target audience where they are – on Snapchat on their smartphones. Their revolutionary ‘Snaplication Campaign’ invites potential candidates to record and upload a 30-second resume video to a recruitment portal. Of course, the social media platform you choose depends very much on the age group you’re targeting.
6. Have An Open House
Another stumbling block for recruiters in the UAE is the limited uptake of emiratization in the private sector, with only 28% of employers targeting nationals. This means a considerable amount of top talent is going under the radar. However, the comprehensive federal program Nafis aims to readjust this balance by providing financial incentives and creating employment opportunities.
One way to encourage interest in your company is by hosting open house events in the office or at a location such as a racecourse to give potential candidates a deeper insight into your company culture, employer value proposition, and what it is like to work for you. Another great way to showcase your offering as an employer is through video. Retail giant Amazon co-creates video content with highly engaged employees to promote its employee value proposition. The employee stories focus on their experiences and a sense of purpose, alongside the career opportunities on offer – giving prospects a glimpse of their potential future career.
7. Show Them The Future
The best and brightest hires need to see a career roadmap laid out in front of them. If there’s nowhere to go and no clear opportunities for progression, you will struggle to attract top talent and retain them. The role they sign up for today might differ from the one they’re doing in a year.
When you recruit, keep one eye on the future and have the candidate’s potential at the forefront of your mind. The best talent will always be on the lookout to grow – so show them the future opportunities of your organization. For example, the Emirates Group, which offers a wide variety of career opportunities, shares via its website ‘a day in the life‘ interviews with current employees working in different roles. This also includes a typical daily schedule so that potential candidates get a clear picture of their day-to-day.
8. Optimize Job Postings
In the MENA region, there’s a discrepancy between the skills employers value and the skills employees value. According to LinkedIn, whilst employers tend to privilege skills such as analytical skills, technical expertise, creativity, and openness to other cultures, employees place great importance on education and time management.
That’s why it’s important to get job postings and job descriptions right. It’s worth crafting your job descriptions to appeal to your ideal candidates. At the same time, transparency is key. With a permanent placement, there’s no point getting them through the door only to lose them six months later because your company or the role didn’t live up to the initial promise.
The Emirates Group Careers page provides prospective candidates with information about potential roles and clear and straightforward information about career progression to ensure that only the right candidates apply.
9. Streamline Your Recruitment Process
In the current climate of the global job market, top talent doesn’t hang around for long, and your competitors will undoubtedly be using evermore efficient and time-saving tactics to bring in the best hire. So what can you do to keep up? Streamlining your application process is one way to ensure you keep potential hires engaged and in the running. You can still be thorough in your screening and selection process, but do you need three rounds of interviews and a cognitive test?
If you’re an international entrepreneur or global business setting up in Dubai, one way to streamline your hiring process is to set up within a free zone, such as Meydan. This means that everything from business licenses to employment visas can be processed quickly and efficiently through an online portal. This eliminates the need to print and post relevant documents manually.
10. Hire Faster But Go Steady
It pays to do your Research. By sourcing potential hires before the recruitment process begins, you can tailor your efforts toward your preferred choice of candidate. Applying the marketing principles of a target audience, or even a particular niche, helps you narrow your search. Taking steps to hire faster does not mean dropping your standards. It means finding ways to optimise your hiring process to get the right hire at the right time. Rushing the hiring process can leave you wide open to the wrong candidate selection, and you can end up wasting time and money on putting things right.
People at the top of their game know their worth, so coaxing them out of a secure role with another company, and attracting them to your business, takes skill and determination. But by applying some of these tried and tested recruitment strategies, you make the right hires for your business, bringing the best and brightest talent onboard.
With Dubai widely regarded as the global hub of influencer culture, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and marketing professionals in the region are uniquely positioned to leverage the economic benefits of influencer marketing.
Spanning almost every market you can think of, from video games to cosmetic surgery, social media influencers now play a powerful role in both consumer culture and marketing. When it comes to global reach, the numbers speak for themselves.
A study in 2021 revealed that over 65% of Instagram influencers had between 5,000 and 20,000 followers in the UAE. A further 21% had between 20,000 and 100,0000 followers. For that reason, top influencers command a premium per post. Take Dwayne Johnson, ‘The Rock’, for example. In 2020, he had around 187 million followers and was able to charge more than $1 million per Instagram post.
As any marketer will tell you, bringing leads into the funnel relies on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Tapping into a deep and loyal social network gives your product or service a wider, more authentic social reach.
Depending on your offering, it can also help your business to make inroads into a particular niche and grow your influence and credibility. As your company or brand becomes better positioned within that niche, so does the opportunity and potential for peer-to-peer sharing of your content, with existing customers or prospects spreading the word for you. What that means is that with the right influencer in place, your brand is not just reaching their followers, but their followers’ followers.
Whilst you may not yet be in a position to hire ‘The Rock’, tapping into the lucrative world of social media influencers is an important marketing strategy for ambitious businesses looking for new leads and strong growth.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone, typically a content creator, with the power to influence others. Influencer marketing is a form of branded content, in which your brand pays for promotion by a content creator. One of the earliest forms of influencer marketing was products with celebrity endorsement. These days it’s a bit more complicated than that.
In the age of social media, content creators typically build niche audiences and cultivate groups of followers who are actively engaged in consuming their content. This is a valuable resource for brands looking to reach out to audiences who share the same values, and are ultimately an ideal match for your product or service.
An influencer is seen as an expert and an educator within their particular field who has gained a large following on social media. Having gained the trust of their following, these influencers hold considerable sway – especially when it comes to new trends and decision-making. When you hire a social influencer, you’re effectively buying their influence on social media platforms.
From a sales and marketing perspective, if you go after everyone, you’ll get no one. Whilst celebrities like Kylie Jenner might have millions of followers, they’re likely to work exclusively with major brands. They may have vast followings as a result of their fame in fields such as music, movies, and sport, but it’s an expensive scattergun approach. In effect, their influence is less effective because it’s broader.
That’s where the value of niche social media influencers comes in. Influencers established within more niche markets may have fewer followers, but they command greater influence within that niche – meaning their followers are more likely to take action as a result of their advice. For that reason, the influencer must be the right fit for your industry.
What Are The Different Types Of Influencers?
When it comes to the different types of influencers, they’re essentially categorised by their follower numbers, their preferred social media channels (such as Instagram or TikTok), or the type of content they create (like blogs or short videos).
- Nano-influencers are people with small numbers of followers, typically less than 1,000. They tend to be experts in very obscure or specialised fields and exert a powerful circle of influence within their niche. If that’s a niche you’re in, then that’s great. Otherwise, you may need to work with multiple nano-influencers to reach beyond a very specific target group.
- Micro-influencers tend to be everyday people with established expertise within a niche. They have cultivated a loyal following of between 1,000 and 4,000 followers, with whom they have become a trusted expert in a specific area. Often when this type of influencer is approached by companies to promote their products or services, they’ll need careful handling as they’ll be conscious of the impact.
- Macro-influencers are generally less well-known celebrities who are potentially more accessible than mega-influencers. This category also includes online experts who have attracted a following of between 40,000 to 1 million. Their high-profile and plentiful supply means you should be able to find a good match for your brand. And when it comes to working with brands, they’re likely to be savvier than micro-influencers.
- Mega-influencers are the Ronaldos, the Rocks, and the Kardashians of this world with millions of followers and a celebrity background in something other than being an influencer. They tend to work with equally big brands and their product lines.
Who Are The Top Social Media Influencers In The UAE?
With almost 100% of the UAE population using social media, the top influencers take their influence far and wide, often across multiple social media platforms. Here are five of the most popular influencers right now:
Taim Al Falasi
Restaurateur, vlogger, and filmmaker Taim Al Falasi is one of the UAE’s biggest influencers with around 4 million Instagram followers and counting.
Famous make-up artist and founder of the UAE-based beauty brand Huda, Hudda Kattan has amassed over 50 million Instagram followers with make-up tips and top trends.
This Dubai-based model and comedian, otherwise known as Bin Baz, has over 5 million followers on Instagram, where his mix of comedy and pranks prove ever popular.
Mohamed Beiraghdary, AKA Mo Vlogs
With around 4 million Instagram followers and 11 million YouTube subscribers, Mo Vlogs gives his followers a glimpse into the lives of wealthy guest stars in Dubai.
How Do I Get Started With Influencer Marketing?
Like any competitive market, increased demand for top influencers means not only can they command higher prices but, depending on your industry, it can be challenging to narrow down suitable candidates for your company.
The first important step is to identify influencers within your industry and narrow this down to those with an audience similar to your own. Once you’ve identified potential influencers, it’s time to build a relationship with them. Comment on their content or engage with them before inviting them to collaborate. There are different ways to connect with influencers. Here are a few tried and tested approaches:
- Post on your influencer’s website or invite them to post on yours.
- Push them free products or services in exchange for a review, which can be published across multiple social channels.
- Pay influential bloggers in your niche to write a blog or article for your company website, and promote it on social media.
Influencer Licensing In The UAE
Influencers working in the UAE, who accept paid advertising on their social media accounts, need a license from the National Media Council (NMC).
To be clear, however, for those not taking payment for promoting companies’ products or services, an NMC license is not required. Many social media influencers are well known for their particular niche but do not approach it from a commercial standpoint. For example, there is a number who focus on the UAE and all the great things it has to offer residents and tourists alike.
Such social influencers can have loads of followers and could, for example, plug certain travel and tourism companies naturally as part of their daily posting – without charging for it.
Whatever position you might find yourself in, being an influencer is a highly rewarding and satisfying undertaking – or indeed, a career. Are you ready to be heard?
For Dubai-based entrepreneurs and startups in the retail sector, it can be a challenge to know where to base your business: physical, digital, or phygital? The reason for this dilemma is that while global adoption of online shopping continues to rise steeply, regional and cultural trends tend to tell a different story.
In actual fact, some digital-first retailers are even taking steps to open physical stores to improve their market penetration in retail strongholds such as Dubai. By the same token, big money acquisitions of regional retailers, such as Amazon’s purchase of Souq in 2017, clearly indicate the global value of the UAE’s flourishing e-commerce ecosystem.
If you’re thinking of catering to the growing demands of the consumer market, continue reading this article to gather a comprehensive understanding
This article covers all you need to know, including;
Global Versus Regional Trends
There is no doubt that over the last decade or so, online retailers have enjoyed a period of sustained growth in the UAE, the wider MENA region, and the rest of the world. With 100% of the UAE population making use of the Internet, and an ever-growing generation of digital natives, the conditions look set for that trend to continue. In fact, between 2018 and 2022, the value of e-commerce sales in the UAE more than doubled, from $12.34 billion to $27.08 billion USD. So where does that leave physical retailers?
Particularly in the UAE, the shopping mall and the experiential retail experience are part of everyday life. Malls are commonly viewed as lifestyle destinations, with shopping just one part of the package alongside things like entertainment and food. Although consumers in the UAE might be developing an online shopping habit, bricks and mortar retailers maintain multi-generational popularity and appeal. Interestingly, despite the shift in consumer habits as a result of the Internet penetration coupled with the global pandemic, e-commerce has less than a 4% penetration rate in MENA.
Does this suggest huge potential for e-commerce growth, regional resistance to online shopping, or is the answer somewhere in between? Let’s take a closer look at the strategic strengths of each type of retail.
What is an Online Store?
An online store is an online marketplace, a webpage on a social media site, or a dedicated e-commerce site where customers can browse and purchase products for home delivery.
Some companies have an online store as part of their wider business model, often alongside physical stores or in addition to their main product or service. Other companies are online-only, but may choose to have some form of presence in physical retail.
And in certain sectors of the retail industry, online shopping is fast becoming the norm. For instance, in Dubai only 7% of residents say they never use grocery delivery apps.
The Advantages of an E-Commerce Store
Deciding to launch an e-commerce business has a number of clear business benefits:
- Barriers to entry
Setting up an online store has a lower barrier to entry because it’s relatively simple to set up, especially when compared with its physical counterpart as it discards the need for physical presence.
- Lower risk
There’s also less risk involved in the early stages because there are fewer overheads. It doesn’t require the premises or employee wages associated with physical stores. Furnishing the office space and buying equipment is not needed with an online website as an alternative. Hence, there’d be lower overhead costs and operational costs in the earlier stages.
- Higher reach
If retail is all about reach, then opting to set up an online store enables your business to serve the entire global community, providing you can ship internationally. Reaching a vast amount of target audiences and customer segments would not be a problem with a strong online presence.
- Easy to start
Depending on your business model, online retail can begin at home if you can handle the packing and shipping. Alternatively, you can use third parties to pack, ship your goods and help with the needful administrative and accounting tasks.
Occupying a physical space in a mall means adhering to their regulations and opening times with no restrictions that come with physical space. With online retail, you’re open 24/7, with the flexibility to work towards your own schedule.
- Lower costs
With fewer overhead costs, online retailers can raise their profit margins. They can also utilise website data to analyse consumer habits and their marketing efforts.
What is a Physical Store?
A physical store is an independent business or franchise which occupies a physical space in order to display and market its products, from a market stall to a rented retail space in a mall.
Commonly referred to as ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers, these companies employ in-store staff to assist shoppers with their purchases, take payment at the point of sale, update displays, and stock.
Physical stores can be located within other institutions, such as art galleries and museums, sports venues, hotels, and private buildings. Types of physical stores vary greatly. Some rely on catching the attention of passing shoppers with window displays and offers. Others provide niche products, which attract a recurring and specialist audience and therefore require a less prominent location.
When it comes to shopping in the Middle East, there is a clear trend for consumers to visit a physical store where there are personal shopping services, personalised promotions, and exclusive offers. 34% of shoppers in the Middle East choose physical retail because it’s perceived as a fun pastime. They can also test out a product (typically clothing or luxury items) in-store before making a purchase.
The Business Benefits of Bricks and Mortar
For any retailer, it’s important to be where your customers are. And it’s clear that shoppers in the Middle East value physical, experiential retail. For example, Dubai-based eyewear retailer eyewa began life as an online startup before expanding into physical stores. They currently have seven bricks and mortar stores in the UAE.
So what are the business benefits of bricks and mortar?
- Middle Eastern shoppers value the social aspect and more personalised experience of shopping in-store.
- The touch and feel aspect is also important. People like to see certain products in person to check if the quality, size, or fit meets their expectations.
- People forge a deeper, more personal connection with luxury, one-of-a-kind items such as jewellery. Physical retail can offer more exclusive or limited-edition offerings.
- Buying items in-store means there are no shipping costs and returns are much simpler. Customers also avoid the delay associated with returning online purchases.
‘Phygital’ Retail: The Best of Both Worlds
Taking the best of physical and digital retail, ‘phygital’ combines the benefits of online shopping with the social and more personalised experience of shopping in-store.For instance, Dubai launched its first phygital retail store in Dubai Hills where both online and offline shopping preferences are being catered to. The store uses a productivity infused network with in-store warehouse systems to ease the process of fit-ons and choices for customers.
Providing a more immersive brand and shopping experience, tech-savvy retailers are not only merging their online and offline retail, they’re actively using technology to enhance the physical retail space and create a unique and memorable shopping experience for their customers.
A basic example would be the ‘click and collect’ service. Shoppers can browse online, compare prices, read reviews, and refine their search to get the best offers. But they still collect the item in-person from a store. This makes it easy to return, and they still get to see the product before leaving the store.
However, with the right technology in place, the future of phygital retail is set to become much more sophisticated. Automated checkouts are already common in grocery stores, but they could lead to employee-free shopping experiences.
Similar to external geolocation tools like Google Maps, indoor location technology is starting to assist shoppers in large department stores and shopping malls with digital wayfinding. Location-based technology is also making personalised offers a reality, as smartphones pick up push-notifications on entry to a physical store.
Augmented and virtual reality and related technology is also starting to provide virtual experience of products or services in-store – such as virtual changing rooms. Digital signage is enabling retailers to engage shoppers with personal, relevant, and anticipated marketing information in real-time: things like flash sales or recommended related products.
Choosing the right type of retail format comes down to two things: the type of product you’re selling, and where you’re most likely to find your core customers. But rather than competing through a single channel – online or offline – tech-savvy retailers in the UAE are exploring the business benefits of combining the best of digital and physical stores through phygital.
The term “low-cost” may be the last thing that comes to mind when you think of Dubai. However, the cost of setting up a business in Dubai is significantly lower than in other major cities worldwide. In the UAE, small and medium-sized enterprises are the main driver of economic growth.
In this article, we’ll discuss costs and tips for growing your business in Dubai, covering the following topics:
Advantages of starting a business in Dubai
Starting a company in Dubai opens you to a world of possibilities. There are more than 200 different nationalities living in Dubai, making it a multicultural oasis that promotes tolerance, inclusion, and safety.
Dubai’s municipal infrastructure, legal system, public transportation, parks, entertainment, and more make it an ideal place for businesses to flourish. The UAE Dirhams were pegged to US dollars in 1973 and have been fixed since 1997. Furthermore, Foreign Direct Investment is made possible by free economic policies, minimal government oversight, and private sector regulation.
GETTING STARTED IN DUBAI: THE TOP REASONS
- Business Hub
- Flourishing Economy
- Top Class Amenities And Infrastructure
- Ease Of Doing Business
- Zero Tax Policy
- 100% Repatriation Profits
- Beneficial Geographical Location
- A Comfortable And High-Quality Way Of Life
- The Simple Visa Application Process
- Exceptional Government Assistance
- A Diverse, Expatriate Population
- Political Security
- Reduced Crime Rates
- Business In Free Zones
- No Physical Office Requirements
With direct flights from 97 countries, you can be confident that your home-away-from-home will help keep you connected. This, together with the provision of long-term visas, has made Dubai a sought-after international business destination. In addition, if you would like to know more about visas, such as The Golden Visa, we can help.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Business in Dubai?
A low-cost business license in Dubai costs AED 12,500. This includes an LLC trade license, three business activities, and a lease agreement. However, this package does not offer any visa allocations.
If you require one visa allocation, you can opt for the next package, which costs AED 14,350. If you need more than one visa, a payment of AED 18,050 gives you up to three visas. All these packages include the same benefits.
The cost of starting a business depends on multiple factors. You will need to include the cost of the premises, equipment, and any other permits or licenses you may need.
To get an exact price quote, contact Meydan Free Zone. Based on your unique requirements, we can give you an up-to-date price.
Steps to Start a Business in Meydan Free Zone
Incorporating a company in Meydan Free Zone has advantages, particularly in terms of cost. However, one must remember that there are numerous free zones, and the cost of incorporation will vary. Aside from the location, the cost of the business depends on many factors. An example would be the company’s structure, nature of its business, infrastructure requirements, number of visas required, and access to suppliers and raw materials.
Regardless of budget, starting up a company in the UAE is straightforward. Here are the four steps you need to follow:
HOW TO START A COMPANY IN 4 EASY STEPS
- Step 1 – Select your business activity
Meydan Free Zone has many commercial and professional business activities. You may only engage in the activities specified on your license. You can easily add more later if you decide to broaden or diversify your product offering.
- Step 2 – Choosing your Business Name
Choosing a business name is crucial to starting a business in the UAE. It is essential to keep a few things in mind while you decide. Adherence to the strict naming rules in the United Arab Emirates is necessary. As a general rule, you should not use words that may be considered blasphemous or disrespectful. You must also ensure that the name you want is available and not already in use.
- Step 1 – Select your business activity
- Step 3 – Applying for your Trade License
Your next step is to apply for a business license. The licensing procedure in Meydan Free Zone is digital, saving time and effort. The platform combines licensing with compliance and regulation, including UBO, ESR, and AML. As part of this procedure, you will need to provide the following documents:Passport copy
A digital passport-size photo
Emirates ID copy (if applicable)
Residence visa copy (if applicable)
- Step 4 – Applying for your Visa
To live in the country, you will require a resident visa. The visa application procedure is as follows:Getting an entry permit
Changing your status
Taking a medical exam
Getting your Emirates ID and visa stamp
You may submit visa applications for your employees and family members simultaneously with your visa application.
Contact one of the Meydan Free Zone’s business setup managers if you have any questions about the prerequisites.
Tips for Scaling your Business
It is easy to set up a low-cost business in Dubai. Here are five essential tips on how to scale your business.
- Follow a Process: Creating a process map helps you understand the stages required to achieve continuous improvement. The approach relies on simplicity. Complex processes drain resources since they need more coordination meetings and communication, which slows down the scaling process.Smart owners know how important it is to simplify things so that a broader range of people can easily grasp them. If you can, try to develop SOPs (standard operating procedures) that explain in detail how things work in the company. A consistent operational approach helps boost process efficiency, prevent mistakes, and decrease possible miscommunication.
- Focus on Customers’ Needs: As your company grows, you should not lose sight of your customers. Businesses that only provide the best goods and services can reap significant rewards, including cost-free word-of-mouth marketing. Enhancing guest engagement boosts customer relations for companies that depend on visitors. With improvements in client acquisition, you must continue to satisfy your existing consumers. Improving their experience can enhance interaction and loyalty to the company.
- Never Leave Out Employees: Investing in your staff’s personal and professional development has many benefits. Engaged employees work harder and are more dedicated to the company’s success. Also, by providing them with the resources and tools, they can be more efficient and successful in their work. For example, a receptionist app may free front desk workers to focus on other vital activities.
- Maximize Local Resources: One of the most important things a company can do to succeed is to use local resources. Consider partnering with other small, local companies to help each other grow. In addition to lowering expenses, it may open the door to new alliances, making it easier to scale the business.
- Working on and Not in the Business: Scaling a business requires using appropriate resources, including people and technology. So, hiring and delegating crucial responsibilities to employees with the greatest expertise and experience is necessary. This way, you can focus on the company rather than administrative duties. When business leaders “see” the business instead of just “looking” at it, they can better predict possible adjustments and changes, which helps the company change direction and adapt.
It takes time and patience to grow a business to its full potential. Focus on your clients, give your staff recognition, make the most of your resources, and work on your company incrementally.
Why Start a Small Company in Meydan Free Zone??
At Meydan Free Zone, we aim to help set up companies and turn them into successful enterprises. We provide several benefits for business owners, including no personal or corporate tax, complete foreign ownership, and full repatriation benefits on profits and financial assets.
Additional services, such as our e-commerce support service, Meydan Commerce, and Easy Payment Plans, enable you to stretch out the setup cost over months and help your business develop and thrive.
Get in touch, and one of our consultants will support you with all aspects of your business setup in Dubai.
No matter how niche your product or service, at some point in the future you’ll inevitably be competing to maintain a sizable market share, retain customers, and protect your profits.
When you’re running a UAE-based company offering a unique product or service in a highly competitive market, how can you protect your offering and ward off the competition?
The answer is mediaeval: build a moat. Like the defence around a stronghold, an economic moat can help deter your competitors and keep your business safe from financial harm.
Here’s everything you need to know about economic moats, and some ideas for how you can build one.
What Is an Economic Moat?
An economic moat is a term used to describe a company’s ability to protect its competitive advantage and market share from rivals.
Generally speaking, a moat is something that is difficult for competitors to imitate or replicate. For that reason, it helps to sustainably maintain a business’s performative edge, protects its profits, and piques the interest of investors over an extended period of time.
Put simply, an economic moat gives a company, which is offering a similar product or service to its competitors, an advantage that enables it to outperform rival companies.
The term, popularised by legendary investor Warren Buffett, is derived from the popular defence system deployed around mediaeval castles – a deep ditch, usually filled with water, which made it more difficult to attack.
Why Build an Economic Moat for Your Business?
Building an economic moat for your business is a way of using a unique differentiator to ensure long-term sustainability and profitability, and shield your market share from competitors. Why is it important? A general principle of economics is that no matter how unique your offer, over time competitors will make up ground, using similar or better tactics to seize the advantage.
Take this recent example. In the first quarter of 2022, the world’s largest streaming giant, Netflix, announced a drop of around 200,000 subscribers, and a loss of around 40% of its market value.
In recent years, the streaming market has reached saturation point in key territories like the US and Canada. Netflix is also facing increased competition from rival media groups such as Disney+ which, as well as replicating the subscription-based model and production of original content, has its own roster of big-name media franchises and brands.
It could be argued that, in terms of its model, Netflix missed out on an economic moat. It might be a streaming innovator and market leader, but it has yet to identify a wide economic moat that sustainably safeguards its position for the future. That’s because economic moats can be tricky to pin down; they take many forms and leverage different advantages.
Benefits of Economic Moat
An economic moat is a desirable competitive advantage that allows a company to be successful in the long run.
- Companies with an economic moat are more likely to outlast their competition and preserve market dominance in order to thrive.
- It helps a business in maintaining desired profitability even in times of depression. As a result, in the event of a depression, when many businesses are compelled to close their doors, businesses with an economic moat are more likely to survive.
- Because the company’s goods and services have a growing value among competitors, they maintain the market share and make customers choose their products.
- As a means of “locking in” customers, companies create high switching costs. This means that it is difficult for customers to switch to a competitor, enabling the company to increase prices year after year to achieve hefty profits.
- An economic moat can be used to charge premium prices for competitive goods and services.
- Competitive advantage is often attributed to cost-effectiveness, that is, to lower prices for goods and services compared to competitors. In this way, it eventually helps reduce various unnecessary and avoidable costs.
Wide Moats Versus Narrow Moats
A wide economic moat creates a high barrier to entry for competitors because it is difficult to duplicate. For this reason, a business with a wide moat is likely to have a large market share or a patented product which is intrinsic to their offering, such as Coca-cola’s unique recipe, or, in the case of Google, their trade-secret algorithm for indexing and searching web pages.
On the other hand, a narrow economic moat gives a company a minor competitive advantage. Typically, this occurs in highly competitive industries with lower barriers to entry and limited protection over intellectual property. A narrow economic moat will give a business the edge for a limited period of time. This is because new competitors are regularly popping up, and there is little scope to protect intellectual property rights.
Ways to Make an Economic Moat
Like the mediaeval defences that inspired them, economic moats can be different shapes and sizes. Whilst it’s possible for a company to stumble across its economic moat retrospectively, many well-known types of moat are premeditated attempts to protect market share and ward off the competition.
Taking different forms, cost moats are a common and robust defence against competitors.
For example, large retailers are able to leverage economies of scale to offer lower prices than their competitors. If they can drive down costs in the supply chain whilst increasing growth, they create a competitive advantage.
Sunk costs are another way of building an economic moat for your product or service. If the customer has already made a sizable investment with you, they may be reluctant to look elsewhere (and incur further costs).
In recent years, the subscription model provides the same sort of lock-in with the opposite rationale. By offering a product or service on a subscription basis, it’s easy to present the freedom of choice. The customer can leave at any time.
However, when a recurring monthly fee is nominal – take Apple’s iCloud plans as an example – customers are less likely to think about cancelling their subscription. Doing so would create inconvenience, like having to relocate multiple files to a different cloud storage provider.
Potential inconvenience and additional costs cause many people to stick with the same trusted product or service when they think about switching. By baking in trust and reliability to their customer relationships, some businesses are able to build a moat by deterring consumers from switching – even though their offering might actually cost more.
When your company’s resources are unique, they can become a valuable tool for creating your moat:
- Regulatory moats cultivate regulatory relationships which can be hard for competitors to break down.
- Intellectual property (IP) which cannot be duplicated by competitors can be a lucrative advantage for businesses. This is especially common in healthcare, where pharmaceutical companies obtain the patent on a particular drug.
- Knowledge is another way of creating a moat, although it’s potentially difficult to defend in the long term. This kind of moat is common in technology companies with unique knowledge around a particular product or service.
Luxury brands are able to charge premium prices for products or services, which are similar to their competitors, because they’ve cultivated a distinct culture and value proposition – sometimes something quite intangible, which has turned them into a status symbol which attracts repeat customers. You only have to compare the latest smartphone price points for Apple and Samsung to see the power of culture on people’s brand perceptions, and their willingness to pay more.
Products culturally ingrained into society can also develop a secure economic moat. For example, although Dyson may be the most popular brand of vacuum cleaner in the UK with 12 million users in 2020, the brand name ‘Hoover’ is still commonly used to describe the act of vacuum cleaning. Hoover may have slipped down the rankings in that particular market, but it still has a secure foothold, even though its moat has been breached by Dyson. Meanwhile, its usurper’s moat is reinforced by multiple patented technological advances.
When a product or service has a network effect, its economic moat is strengthened because its value grows in correlation to the number of users. Social media networks are an obvious example of network moats. When it comes to network moats, technology provides three main opportunities: data, platforms, and marketplaces.
Data is the new currency, so when companies utilise relevant and available data, they’re able to gain a clear data-driven advantage over the competition. Google’s data moat ensures it continues to hold around 86% of the search engine market – a share 12 times larger than its nearest rival.
Platforms, such as Facebook, build their moats by sustaining user engagement with new features and releases, adding value to their existing offering and making it increasingly inconvenient to switch to a different ecosystem.
Similarly, online marketplaces – where suppliers and customers are brought together – create a moat by adding more and more suppliers to their ecosystem. This creates healthy competition and ultimately creates better value for consumers. In turn, lower prices attract more customers and therefore drive growth.
The Right Moat for Your Business
Some economic moats are only viable for giant organisations, which can take advantage of economies of scale. Others rely on intellectual property laws to keep the competition from catching up. For some businesses, their moat only comes into focus when they’ve been on the market a while.
Whatever moat works for your business, the bottom line is that building a business moat is a powerful way to protect your enterprise, both now and in the future.
FAQ 1: What do you mean by Economic Moat?
Business owners and managers use the term “economic moat” to refer to their ability to maintain competitive advantages and market share over their competitors over a long period of time.
FAQ 2: What are the types of Economic Moat?
There are four main types of economic moats:
- Low-Cost Producer – A company that is able to deliver its product or service at a low cost is likely to have an edge over its competitors because they can undercut their prices as a result of economies of scale.
- High Switching Costs – When a customer switches over from one product to another, they incur one-time expenses. For you to consider switching again, you’d need a really good reason, such as a package deal on an account and mortgage.
- The Network Effect – Network effects are among the most powerful competitive advantages, and they are also the easiest to recognize. More people using a good or service increases the value of the good or service both for new and existing users.
- Intangible Assets – It is possible for some companies to gain an advantage over their competitors because they have nonphysical assets, or “intangible assets.” Among the intangibles are intellectual property rights, government approvals, brand names, unique company cultures, and geographic advantages.
FAQ 3: How do you identify Economic Moats?
A strong economic moat enhances the chances of companies thriving on the stock market and producing significant cash flows over time. Most customers immediately choose these companies because they have products/services that are obvious and best for them. Ultimately, a company with a strong economic moat should be attracting customers from competitors, which should be reflected in its financial performance.
FAQ 4: Why are Economic Moats advantageous?
A company’s economic moat is its competitive advantage over its rivals due to deeply embedded benefits such as intellectual property, a lower cost of capital, a network effect, or brand recognition. As competitors struggle to cross the metaphorical economic moat, this combination of tangible and intangible assets strengthens a company’s market share for years or even decades.
To anyone working outside of marketing or the tech world in general, the term ‘martech’ might sound like just another sales and marketing portmanteau in a long line of technologies – which include fintech, medtech, edtech and more.
But this rapidly expanding area of technology is creating a huge impact on businesses – including those here in the Middle East. Why? Because it enables those seeking to harness the potential of big data to run ever-more sophisticated marketing campaigns that bring in the right leads, faster and in greater numbers, at the wide end of the funnel.
Over the last ten years or so, martech has fundamentally changed the way marketers optimise their campaigns and interact with other teams, such as sales and customer acquisition. In the Middle East, events such as Vibe MarTech Fest are a strong indicator of the region’s growing maturity in this sector.
For entrepreneurs and business owners alike, it’s important to understand what martech is, what it does, and how it can benefit your bottom line.
What is a martech stack?
A martech stack – marketing technology stack – is the collective noun for a group of technologies, many of them software-as-a-service (SaaS) or no code or low code tools, which enable marketers to streamline, automate, accelerate, and analyse their marketing efforts.
With almost 10,000 different marketing technologies on the market as of 2022, this rapidly expanding market coincides with the dawn of ‘big data’ which is growing exponentially in ever greater volumes and variety.
Using data-driven insights, marketing teams can optimise their efforts throughout the customer journey, making communication ever-more personalised and effective at channelling leads into prospects.
What are some examples of martech?
A martech stack is assembled from a wide range of software and systems which may be cloud based, on-premise, SaaS, or internally developed.
Your martech stack contains the tools that marketers use to execute and analyse campaigns, so it covers a broad spectrum of marketing approaches, from social management platforms to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Here are some examples:
- Email marketers might use a no-code email creation platform to ideate and execute email marketing campaigns more collaboratively and quickly.
- Content Marketing Platforms (CMP) help content marketing professionals with the process of creating and analysing content (assets) that engage customers and prospects.
- Social Media marketers use social management platforms to manage multiple social media accounts, including posting, monitoring, and tracking.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) require tools to research keywords, measure the performance of optimised content, and analyse competitors.
Why do you need a martech stack?
Like any technology stack, your martech stack contains all the technologies and services needed to streamline day-to-day workflows. Put simply, with the right martech stack, your marketing team can do more with their day.
Here are five benefits to creating an effective martech stack:
- Automation: Marketing automation platforms can save time and costs by automating tasks and freeing up time for optimisation and innovation.
- Efficiency: When a process can be templated, it enables you to repeat, share, and roll out the best strategies to improve efficiency.
- Insight: With every marketing and customer action essentially generating new data, you can build a much clearer picture of customer needs, and drive sales success.
- Innovation: As a steady stream of innovative martech comes to market, your company has an opportunity to absorb new techniques and gain a competitive advantage.
- Analytics: Software can provide oversight over campaigns, allowing you to evaluate their effectiveness, and continuously improve efforts to attract and engage customers.
It’s important to note that the tech itself won’t solve your marketing problems, it’s how your teams use its potential that will give your business the competitive edge.
What are the core components of a martech stack?
There are several core components required for an effective martech stack. But when it comes to choosing the right pieces, the choice can be overwhelming.
To give you an idea of the scale and rate of growth of the martech market, according to Scott Brinker, in 2020 1 in 5 martech solutions didn’t exist in the previous year.
And whilst ‘all-in-one’ solutions are available, they don’t necessarily include all the functionality that your marketing team needs. So let’s take a look at the core components.
- Marketing Automation Platform: A tool which provides oversight and control over multichannel marketing processes. Popular examples are Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, and ActiveCampaign.
- Content Management System: Software such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Drupal enables users to create, manage, and edit website content.
- Digital Asset Management: If you’re handling thousands of digital assets, repositories such as Adobe’s Experience Manager and Bynder can help to centralise them, enabling you to control versions and access.
- Customer Database & Analytics: This intelligent and interactive database records all your relevant customer data. Analytics tools, from the likes of HubSpot and Salesforce, leverage actionable insights from this data.
- Search Engine Optimisation: SEO is a strategy for growing organic traffic to your website by ranking for higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for specific keywords. Related tools include SEMrush and Moz.
- Web Analytics: Tools such as Google Analytics and Optimizely enable digital marketers to understand user activity, web traffic, and the quality of user experience in relation to campaigns.
- Social Media: Smart tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social can now manage and monitor social posts, measuring things like brand sentiment and customer engagement.
How do you build a martech stack?
Building the best martech stack for your business requires a well-thought-out strategy. Without a proper strategy, things can quickly get complicated.
Your budget will also be a key consideration. SaaS usually offers a monthly subscription model, which means you’re not locked in, and it’s much easier to switch or drop a service if it’s not right for your business.
Sometimes, it’s possible to purchase a single ‘seat’ and share the log-in with an entire team, making it much more cost-effective.
- The first step in building your martech stack is to ensure your marketing team knows their primary marketing strategies. This will help determine the tools they need to get their day-to-day duties done more efficiently.
- Secondly, listen to the challenges that marketing needs to overcome. How do these challenges relate to your overarching marketing goals? If you can connect the two, it becomes much easier to ascertain what kind of tool is required.
- The third and final step is to research the products or services which meet your marketing needs. Your marketing team is best placed to do this as they’re the ones using the tools on a daily basis. And don’t forget about non-marketing tools to compliment your stack, things like project management platforms and collaborative software.
Overall, due to the ever-increasing volume of martech on the market, it’s important to retain a strategic approach to your stack, only incorporating new pieces that complement existing tools and offer value across the organisation, so that workflows remain uncluttered and everyone is aligned with the same goals.
How big is the martech industry?
Within the past decade, there has been phenomenal growth in the martech industry. Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic has been charting the rise of martech since 2011. In 2022, there were nearly 10,000 martech solutions, compared with 150 in 2011. With the government firmly committed to digital transformation in the UAE, we’re starting to see a growing number of martech solution providers firmly establishing themselves in the region.
As martech continues to see year-on-year growth at an exponential rate, it’s important that entrepreneurs and business owners in the MENA region build smart martech stacks which have the ability and agility to keep up with the latest innovations and keep their marketing efforts ahead of the competition.
FAQ 1: What is Martech?
Martech, or Marketing technology is a range of software used by marketing teams to optimise their marketing goals, leads, engagement and customer reach.
FAQ 2: What are the benefits of a Martech stack?
Martech stacks provide improved conversion rates, reporting and analytics, data accuracy, better communication and agility—all with the use of efficiency-driven marketing technologies.
FAQ 3: What goes into a Martech stack?
Martech stacks are a combination of cloud-based software, homegrown systems, SaaS offerings, legacy softwares, social media tools, email marketing tools, and optimization tools.
FAQ 4: How do you make a Martech stack?
Choose the appropriate tech tools for your team and configure them so that your future team can utilise and understand them. Determine what your technology requirements are for your business, assess or refine the marketing tools you already have, look into negative or weaker points in your systems, consider different options, compare and contrast different technologies, vendors and platforms, and finally implement the needful.
The Metaverse broke into many people’s consciousness recently when Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of the business behind Facebook and Instagram to Meta and talked widely about the potential of the Metaverse for revolutionising almost every aspect of life.
It is not just Silicon Valley that is getting excited about the Metaverse and its potential. In Dubai, the government has embraced its potential and revealed ambitious plans to develop it in the coming years.
The world is at the beginning of a major change, and if the Metaverse becomes as ubiquitous as social media, it will present almost endless business opportunities.
The Metaverse – What Is It?
The Metaverse may be a new concept to many people, but the ideas contained within it are well established. Basically, it is a perpetual virtual world, which means it continues to exist even when a user has logged off. It exists in virtual reality but also has augmented reality elements, where virtual objects can be seen in the real world.
The term was previously associated primarily with online gaming, such as Fortnite, but now it has a much broader scope. There are ambitions to create digital versions of cities and use them to help provide healthcare and education services to people.
Dubai’s Big Plans for the Metaverse
Dubai’s government has embraced the Metaverse concept and announced grand plans for developing it in the next few years.
For instance, in May, the government unveiled its Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which sets out plans for the Metaverse sector to contribute $4 billion per year to the emirate’s economy by 2030 and support 42,000 virtual jobs.
There are also plans to set up a virtual Dubai in the metaverse. The digital twin, named One Human Reality, will combine elements of social media, AR, VR, video games, cryptocurrencies, and other emerging technologies.
To this end, a regulator has already been established, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which has announced plans to set up a headquarters in the metaverse. VARA will devise and implement rules and controls to govern how transactions of virtual assets are made.
Business Opportunities in the Metaverse
Most importantly for our readers, the Metaverse has the potential to open a new world of opportunities for entrepreneurs, selling products and services virtually.
One of the more obvious opportunities is to sell virtual assets, such as virtual properties and non-fungible tokens. Much like in the real world, these assets can be traded, but using virtual currency that can be transferred into cash.
In fact, anything in the real world can be created and bought and sold in the metaverse, from shoes to furniture, and businesses could set up to specifically trade virtual assets.
The Metaverse could also revolutionise shopping by providing an immersive shopping experience. Shoppers can visit a fashion outlet as a digital avatar of themselves and not just look at clothes or glasses but wear them on their avatar, allowing them to see how a pair of trousers or a dress fit.
Retailers could also use a store in the Metaverse to try out new collections virtually and get feedback on what is or isn’t popular before releasing more costly physical versions in traditional stores.
Another opportunity is organising, curating, and hosting virtual events for games such as Minecraft, music concerts, or even business conferences. As the pandemic showed, there is an appetite for online conferencing and events. Even when restrictions have been lifted, there is interest as it can bring people from all over the world together, without the time and expense of having to travel there – and that’s not thinking about the environmental savings.
Allied to this, there is potential to sell advertising and product placement in the Metaverse and sponsorship of events, such as gaming tournaments. Advertising and sponsorship have moved with the times – witness the rise of online and social media advertising – and it is almost certain they will move to the metaverse, too.
As mentioned, gaming has long been associated with the Metaverse and will have an important role in its future. There are already VR games available, but more are in development. Existing games such as Fortnite, which already has metaversal elements, could also develop more gameplay in the metaverse.
But the business opportunities will not just be in the virtual world. If the Metaverse grows as anticipated, then there will be increasing demand for the hardware that is used to access the metaverse, such as headsets, gloves, and the like. This will present opportunities to those who develop and manufacture the hardware and sell it. Currently, the price of the hardware is high, but that will come down as popularity and availability increase.
How the Metaverse Can Help Business Setup
The Metaverse could also revolutionise the business setup process. For instance, a business could be planned entirely in the metaverse, along with how office or retail spaces could look, before they are physically built and furnished in Dubai.
Product development can also be done in the Metaverse through digital twins – digital models of a product in development that can perform as it would in the real world. This provides an inexpensive way of testing, and any problems can be solved faster as real components do not have to be physically manufactured. This could significantly cut development time and costs for businesses setting up and establishing.
Those businesses looking to set up in the Metaverse will also need the services of specialised business setup experts, which will be a completely new opportunity.
Similarly, there will also be opportunities for Metaverse service providers – those who help existing companies to move into the Metaverse – in much the same way as there are consultancies that help businesses with their website and social media strategies.
The Future of the Metaverse
The Metaverse currently is akin to the early stages of the internet or social media: it has the potential to become a standard part of everyday work and life within just a few years. This means that early adopters stand to make big profits and establish a leading place in the market before it becomes saturated as others rush to take part.
The potential of the Metaverse to transform business in the coming years is enormous. Estimates about how big it could get in terms of value as a marketplace vary, but it could be as big as $800 billion.
Dubai is in the vanguard of this revolution, meaning it will attract businesses and entrepreneurs that want to be part of the Metaverse and take advantage of the infrastructure here, providing many opportunities for the business setup sector to capitalise.
And to emphasise just how serious the initiative is being taken, it’s worth mentioning that the rulers of Dubai recently set up a committee to help Dubai become a key city in the Metaverse and track the latest developments in the digital economy. Among its many tasks, the committee will look to implement Metaverse technologies that help people and professionals in the real world, such as surgeons and engineers, to improve their performance.
So yes, while the Metaverse is hardly out of the gates, the opportunities for entrepreneurs are clear, and once again, the Dubai government has boldly declared its intent to be a pillar of support.
Advances in technology mean that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools are propelling every industry forward – including marketing. Just like the efficiencies found in manufacturing and the error reduction found in a quality setting, marketing AI has the opportunity to improve branding, customer communication, and advertising – almost any aspect of a company’s marketing domain.
AI marketing has been used by companies with a global presence for a number of years. But as the technology becomes more accessible, smaller providers of AI technology are appearing in the market that are able to help businesses of any size.
To give some context, the number of businesses using AI services grew by 270% from 2015 to 2019 – and that acceleration of uptake is only set to increase. But how can organisations like yours get started – and automate aspects of your marketing?
What is AI in Marketing?
AI marketing is a way of using AI to take customer and company data and in some way augment the use of that data beyond what a person or group of people could achieve. AI can improve marketing campaigns and customer journeys, as well as how firms attract, nurture, and convert prospective customers.
AI is a very broad term and encompasses really any computer program that can carry out complex tasks without human intervention. While it isn’t ‘intelligent’ in the way that you and I are, its extensive processing capabilities mean it can handle more data in an hour than a person could in a lifetime. Data has become a modern-day commodity, and as methods of transmission and storage become more effective, programs that can derive insight from these growing data lakes are the key to unlocking the potential of any marketing team.
How to Use AI in Marketing
AI is certainly developing at a rapid pace, and businesses need to consider including AI in their marketing efforts to create a unique brand persona and improve efficiency overall. Here are some ways you could use AI in reaching your marketing goals.
With the use of AI, a customer-oriented brand may be able to discover which customer segments are capable of generating higher conversion rates, retention rates, and active engagement of the brand. AI-powered softwares have the ability to make sure that your current and past marketing campaigns are aligned with past and future business objectives, whilst discovering key performance indicators (KPIs). With such technology, it would be easier to come up with a refined marketing plan and to reassess your brand persona.
The Use of Chatbots
Chatbots have been proved to be extremely effective in helping customers navigate their way through a brand website. AI-powered chatbots act as human representations in handling customer interactions on a site, whilst answering questions concisely and tailoring the conversation to suit the customer’s unique persona. After a conversation with a chatbot, you can link a sales representative to further carry on persuasion and marketing tactics to increase engagement rates.
AI-infused marketing tools and software have the ability to use machine learning, predictive learning and outcome to forecast revenue. You can receive accurate results on conversion rates, customer retention, cost per acquisition and many more.
Examples of AI In Marketing
AI frutifies computer science and incorporates smart techniques into management and business information systems. Here are some examples on how AI is straying away from the futuristic ideal we view it to be, and instead becoming more realistic.
- Content recommendations and curation
- Speech and voice recognition
- Ad targeting
- Dynamic pricing
- Formation of SEO optimised headlines
Benefits of using AI in marketing
There are numerous applications for AI in marketing and each of them provides unique benefits. These benefits can be quantitative, for instance, increased purchases via mobile, or qualitative for things like improved customer satisfaction. If you’re wondering why a business would pursue qualitative instead of quantitative, consider that brands that want to break into new markets need to raise awareness of the products and services in that sector before they can enter it fully.
The specific benefits are going to be linked to each piece of AI tech and its application but there are some more general perks that can be associated with artificial intelligence in marketing. 32% of marketers use AI in communications and media so there’s clearly a hunger for what the technology offers.
In a world where engagement is key and brands are fighting over the attention of customers, personalisation offers businesses a way to attract new buyers and retain them. AI can assist you in sending customised communications to customers at the right times in their buying journey. AI may also assist marketers in identifying at-risk clients and provide them with information that will encourage them to return to the company.
Improved marketing metrics
Many businesses struggle to keep up with the volume of data generated by their digital marketing initiatives which make it difficult to review the success of specific campaigns. AI-powered dashboards provide a more comprehensive perspective of what’s working, by creating a web of the data available and gaining insight from all the connections between that information.
Quicker decision making
AI can perform tactical data analysis faster than humans and use machine learning to arrive at quick decisions based on campaign and customer context. This frees up team members to focus on strategic projects or other tasks that a robot wouldn’t be able to complete. Being tactical is extremely important, particularly in the world of social media campaigns where the landscape can shift quickly and brands must respond at the same speed if they want to be successful.
Shorten sales cycles
One of the main aspects of providing exceptional service is to have a better understanding of your clients. It’s a lot easier to determine your leads’ interests and buying behaviours using AI, and that means you can provide them with options that speed up the buying process. Whether you’re using WhatsApp, email or any platform in between to communicate with customers, having the information at the right time to help push them through the customer journey is a big bonus that AI offers.
Who’s doing it best?
As with any rapidly growing piece of tech, there are startups left, right, and centre. With AI, there are so many different applications that there is space for new businesses to thrive and usually, the technologies that are built are highly specific so niching down isn’t a problem. Let’s look at some of the interesting companies that are out there right now pushing AI marketing.
Votek – AI voice analysis
Votek is a Dubai-based AI firm that specialises in Arabic Natural Language Processing (NLP). They’ve built an Arabic Speech Recognition System which operates offline and recognises both standard and spoken Arabic accents. Governments, businesses, and educational institutions all use their technology. Their NLP system is used in Loujee, an educational smart toy which interacts with children to provide learning and skills-based activities.
Narrative – AI content generation
Narrativa is a natural language artificial intelligence and data augmentation platform for CX, advertising, e-commerce, communications & sales. Their solutions improve text variability, readability and conversion by using AI to generate custom content. The Narrativa Knowledge Graph includes contextual information so you can go beyond the next best offers and targeted marketing to create more relevant end-to-end customer experiences.
Persado – AI copywriting
Persado uses ML to create hyper-relevant content by understanding each individual user’s preference for distinct linguistic elements. It sounds complicated because it is, but Persado’s machine learning models are trained on individual-level response data from previous campaigns and use anonymised data to protect customer privacy. Persado creates content using machine learning algorithms that are tailored to each individual user to increase engagement across all platforms.
GumGum – AI ad placement
GumGum’s Verity is a platform for pre-bid contextual targeting that ensures that advertisers reach users in contextually relevant, brand-safe and brand-suitable environments at scale. Unlike post-bid measurement and verification solutions, the contextual intelligence platform classifies the page before the impression is served, allowing for more accurate and effective cookieless targeting for advertisers.
Market Muse – AI metrics
Market Muse uses AI-powered stackable filters to make content discovery simple and quick for internal marketing teams. The platform lets users delve into any aspect of their site or content topics to identify the most popular and engaging content they have to inform further marketing efforts. Metrics are intended to help content marketers in identifying, prioritising, and executing well designed content.
Where’s AI headed?
Well, that question is really very open-ended. So far the technology has been used to tackle the challenges associated with data. That’s what the current industry is built on. But, as people find new and imaginative ways to think about AI and how it can help us, we’re going to see big changes in how it is used in marketing.
Processing power and memory are not the limiting factors of this technology; instead AI is only shackled by preconceptions and existing schools of thought. Thankfully, developers everywhere love what AI and ML can do and so there is an influx of talent and investment into the industry.
FAQ 1: What is Artificial Intelligence in marketing?
AI marketing uses artificial intelligence technologies in the process of collecting data, analysing data and observing customer behaviour and other metrics. With rigorous and effective methods powered by machine learning, AI helps marketing management make decisions in a fact-based, automated manner.
FAQ 2: How is AI used in marketing?
AI is targeted towards improving customer satisfaction and experience in marketing. From targeted, predictive content, chatbots, recognition technology to curated content, AI plays a huge role in making sure customer service is optimally improved.
FAQ 3: Is AI important for marketing?
In simple terms, AI ultimately helps businesses deliver personalised and curated messages to consumers at different stages of the consumer journey, in an articulate and effective manner.
FAQ 4: How will AI affect marketing?
The impact of AI would be that it would increases customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, customer engagement, and customer retention, whilst nurturing deeper relationships and providing insight to what customer segments prefer.
It’s no secret that online education is gaining traction in Dubai. Since the Pandemic, the education sector has been one of the most affected and adapted to new trends. With the advent of video conferencing apps, traditional classroom teaching has moved online.
By 2023, the UAE’s online education sector will generate USD 7.1 billion, up from USD 4.4 billion in 2017. This clearly shows that Dubai has a bright future for online educational businesses.
The possibility of starting an online education business is appealing if you have experience with training or knowledge of an in-demand topic. With little more than an internet connection and some ready-prepared lessons, you can begin teaching valuable skills to students worldwide. Leading the MENA region in EdTech startups, the UAE held a 26% share in 2020 alongside expanding investment in online learning.
So, what opportunities does online learning present for tech-focused entrepreneurs and investors with an eye on education?
What is Online Learning?
The term ‘online learning’ or ‘e-learning’ describes learning that happens over the Internet rather than in a classroom environment. It’s a form of distance learning which has become increasingly popular in recent years. As a market within EdTech, online learning uses software, often software as a service (SaaS), to provide educational content such as live classes, recorded tutorials, classroom materials, and even assessments.
The events of recent years undoubtedly catalyzed a proliferation of online learning technologies, but many platforms were already in existence and widely used pre-pandemic. For example, the UAE’s free Arabized e-learning platform Madrasa, launched in 2018, serves children from kindergarten to grade 12. Accessible to over 50 million Arab learners around the globe, the platform is set to grow to include courses in cutting-edge fields such as space science and artificial intelligence.
Why Consider Starting an Online Learning Business?
More than just a passing trend born out of subsequent lockdowns and social restrictions, with the world open for business once more, this year, the e-learning market is forecast to exceed USD 243 billion – up almost USD 78 billion in 2016.
The rising penetration of mobile and Internet learning, alongside strong government-backed initiatives, is creating global demand for innovative online learning solutions. In the UAE, Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Project is currently equipping 400 campuses with 4G technology; while in 2020, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) launched the first digital school in the Arab region which provides flexible remote learning courses to students around the world.
What are the Opportunities for Online Learning Businesses?
Gaps are opening up for innovative online learning solutions that can cater to a growing market of traditional course providers, such as schools and universities, who are looking to deliver a mixture of offline and online learning as a part of their offerings.
Online learning is also a preferred choice for many students who need the flexibility to study around other commitments such as work or caring for dependents. Broken down into modules, each part of the course requires a certain number of hours, and credits, which the student accumulates until they reach the necessary number to complete the course.
Of course, online learning also goes beyond educational institutions. For example, studies show that 70% of US research and development (R&D) departments use a learning management system (LMS) to handle all aspects of their learning program, from planning and delivery to assessments and recording progress.
There’s an intersection between enterprises, schools, and universities, which have the exact fundamental needs to deliver educational content and assess learners’ attainment and progress. This presents a golden opportunity for SaaS solutions that can handle all aspects of educational administration and offer total scalability as student numbers rise or fall.
With many lecturers and teachers overwhelmed with planning, preparation, assessment, and delivery – alongside administrative duties, communication with home, and extracurricular events – there’s a clear need for software solutions that can reduce workloads and automate certain processes, like marking, to name just one.
How Do You Find Your Online Learning Niche?
You may have read a lot recently about ‘niching down. It’s even more crucial in the Internet age, where every interest and industry has its subgroups represented online. When a business niches down, it focuses on a very specialised segment of the market. For example, you might be an EdTech company in the education industry, but your focus might be on delivering educational content in Arabic to European undergraduate students.
As education is a broad sector, covering everything from kindergarten to postgraduate qualifications and everything in between, finding your niche can be the key to unlocking the right markets. A great example of this is UAE-based startup iKew, a video-on-demand platform providing training, motivational speeches, and ‘edutainment’ for students in the Middle East. They specialise in content delivered in Arabic by non-native English speakers.
Finding a niche is significant for the education sector, where due to the sheer range and availability of online services, there’s strong competition and a need to stand out. One way of doing this is by catering to a specific audience and getting to understand that audience well so that you offer the solutions they need for their problems. Whilst a niche might seem comparatively small, there’s no reason you can’t broaden your offering once you’ve got a handle on a particular market segment.
How Can Online Learning Startups Attract Funding?
With so much public money invested in education around the world, it makes sense to research to find a country or region that openly embraces the use of online learning in education. Different parts of the world have other priorities, and not every country sees online learning as a priority.
Niching down will certainly help you identify a specific target audience, and it’s essential that you understand their needs and how you can help solve them. As with any business, it’s also necessary to identify the types of investors you’re likely to attract, so you must present potential investors and customers with a clear picture of your business at a high level. You’ll also need to communicate the benefits of your solution in the long term. How will it adapt? What are your long-term goals?
Final Thoughts On Online Learning
The education sector is broad and varied. Interest and investment in online learning are increasing in some parts of the world more than others. Education presents a growing, if slightly unpredictable, market for tech startups and small businesses. However, if you know your niche and get to know your audience well enough, there are clear entrepreneurial opportunities.
Try putting some SaaS into education.
When it comes to business opportunities, the final frontier is fast becoming the new frontier for tech-savvy entrepreneurs and start-ups. Whilst privately-funded space stations, spacecraft, and space tourism might be the preserve of a small minority of multi-billionaires, there is a growing market for smart and useful solutions with solid applications in the space industry.
Take, for example, the UAE National Space Program, which plans to launch the first Emirati mission to the moon by 2024. On board, a Lunar Rover will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies – including an advanced motion system, sensors, a 3D camera, and solar panels. It also utilizes technologies for conducting scientific measurements and tests, such as the components of lunar soil and the thermal properties of the surface. There’s also the need for the rover to conquer potential natural barriers and to be made from materials robust enough to withstand changing temperatures.
A Galaxy of Possibilities
Clearly, there’s broad scope for technical innovations in space technology, particularly when considering the global economy for the industry as a whole was worth around $423 billion in 2019.
Even if you feel that smart solutions to space exploration might go beyond the reach of your early-stage tech start-up, take a moment to consider the number of technologies in our daily lives on Earth which were originally conceived as solutions to problems in space travel. From wireless headsets and camera phones to memory foam mattresses and ear thermometers, we have the space industry to thank for these and many other commonplace technologies.
Although in our lifetimes, most people on the planet are unlikely to see the inside of a commercial space shuttle or orbit the Earth in a space station, the future of space travel – and even space colonization – is leading many forward-thinking businesses to invest in innovative technologies with the potential to skyrocket as the industry advances.
So what viable business opportunities and potential future markets are out there in the space industry?
Different Kinds of Space
Potential markets in the space industry can be broadly divided into two: the communication sector and the research and commercial sectors. Communication, mostly consumer television, currently accounts for around a quarter of the market but looks to grow as internet infrastructure and an increasing number of satellite services come into play over the next couple of decades. Satellites also make up a distinct market in their own right, with major non-commercial players – including the military and scientific researchers.
Increasingly, there have been moves to encourage private sector involvement with space programs to boost the space economy and accelerate advancements in space exploration. In the UAE, one of the aims of the recently passed Space Law aims to stimulate investment and encourage private sector participation in space sector activities.
Solutions to Problems
The UAE’s Space Law clearly indicates the region’s ambitions for the space industry and the role that innovative commercial enterprises have to play. The space industry offers start-up founders looking for a problem to solve a galaxy of opportunities. At the upper end of technological need in the space sector are reusable rockets, which many industry experts see as the key to unlocking affordable space travel whilst reducing the cost of existing space activity.
Further down the scale, there’s an obvious need to develop sustainable farming practices and ag-tech, enabling humans to grow food in space. In the UAE, there is already a drive to develop innovative food production and management solutions, exemplified by the upcoming global competition, the Food Tech Challenge, which aims to use advanced technologies, tools, and techniques to achieve sustainable food production in the region.
No longer as out-of-reach as it used to be, satellite technology has become increasingly affordable, even for start-ups. And as the cost of launching a satellite continues to drop, it becomes a viable technology for a wide range of applications such as GPS, digital mapping, and connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT).
In the UAE, there is recognition of the need for the applications of remote sensing through satellites, such as environmental monitoring, natural resource mapping, land-use planning, and security. This highlights the scope of satellite technology here on Earth, highlighted by more advanced satellite programs such as KhalifaSat from The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC). With its technologically advanced remote sensing observation satellites, KhalifaSat provides high-quality imagery and enables the UAE to offer satellite imagery services globally.
Space Waste Disposal
With an estimated 23,000 or more space objects the size of a softball orbiting the planet, it seems that humans have much clearing up to do.
Although many of those objects, such as satellites, are currently in use, many others are defunct satellites or debris from previous space missions. If they’re not cleared up, they present a real and present danger to future space expeditions.
Recognizing this potential threat, the UAE’s Space Law regulates the disposal of a space object from orbit. Space junk removal represents a real innovative opportunity for a tech-savvy entrepreneur. And it’s not such a wild idea – after all, the handheld vacuum was originally invented to collect samples from the moon!
Medtech and Wearables
If future generations are going to be spending more time in space, there’s a very real need to develop MedTech and wearables to monitor health.
Existing smartwatches and other connected devices already provide opportunities for monitoring our health – just consider all the functionality crammed into a smartphone and smartwatch that used to require separate and expensive technology, such as heart rate, physical activity, and even sleep monitoring.
In space, that kind of technology takes on even greater significance when considering the need to maintain oxygen supplies, accurately diagnose potential illnesses, and reduce the risk of space radiation exposure.
Over time, as the financial barrier to space travel lowers and becomes more viable to the general populace, it’s conceivable that a market for travel reviews, recommendations, and ratings will open up. At the same time, in the same way, that traditional media covers global travel, space travel is likely to create a new reporting area.
To Boldly Go
With the space industry, the sky really is the limit. Across multiple sectors, there is huge entrepreneurial potential for innovative business ideas that help shape the future of space, whether in terms of commercial space travel or satellite technologies that enhance our day-to-day living on Earth.
2021 saw a decade-high number of deals for some of the world’s leading big tech companies. Purchase-power has been in full force as major players seize on opportunities to buy rather than build.
And for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE and the wider MENA region, this presents an encouraging opportunity to prime their product or service with the hopes of getting the attention of a big tech buy-up.
The question is: What exactly have the big techs been buying up, and how do you get your business off the shelf and into their shopping cart?
Let’s take a closer look at the spending habits of four tech giants.
In 2021, Microsoft made 56 publicly disclosed deals, and it has a track record of buying up cybersecurity startups, as exemplified by its acquisition of CloudKnox. Not just a response to the proliferation of cyberattacks due to the increased risk posed by remote working, enhanced security is also a profitable revenue stream.
For that reason, tech startups with a solution for specific cybersecurity problems are an attractive proposition – especially if they help to close the gaps on cloud-based security issues. Ranked fifth in the world on the Global Cybersecurity Index, the UAE is a world leader in the protection of citizens and residents, making it the ideal location for the development of marketable data security and privacy solutions.
Early in 2022, Microsoft grabbed the headlines with the high-profile acquisition of software giant Activision Blizzard for USD 69 billion. While this has all the signs of a big tech company looking to dominate the video game market, it also suggests a bid to capitalise on the rise in popularity of mobile gaming.
In the UAE, this segment is forecast to reach USD 164 million in 2022. With gaming on course to become the dominant form of entertainment this century, it seems an obvious, if highly competitive, market to get into if you’re a tech-savvy entrepreneur.
Global online retail behemoth Amazon got a lot of deals done in 2021 – 29 publicly disclosed acquisitions. With a net income of USD 33.36 billion in 2021, the e-commerce giant certainly has money to burn on the items in its diverse acquisition wish-list. But what kind of products and services have been finding their way into the Amazon basket over the last decade?
Back in 2017, Amazon made headlines with the purchase of Dubai-based online retail giant Souq.com for $580 million USD – which at the time was thought to be the biggest ever technology merger and acquisition (M&A) in the Arab world.
With Souq.com delivering to six Gulf states and Egypt, the acquisition helped Amazon gain faster inroads into those markets. At the same time, Amazon’s cutting-edge logistics and technical expertise were an ideal fit for a business targeting a young, tech-savvy generation – who at that point in time still preferred the shopping mall to online retail.
Amazon’s purchase history has also seen it take a slice of new markets, most notably with its acquisition of Whole Foods Market to expand online grocery services aimed at young, high-end shoppers. And in 2020, Amazon took the wheel of Zoox Inc – the self-driving car startup from California – hinting at a future of self-driving deliveries or a ride-hailing service.
It’s also been stocking up on entertainment products and services. You may recall its cash purchase of game-streaming platform Twitch in 2012, and more recently MGM – the historic US film studio.
For Dubai-based startups, Amazon’s strategic move into the region signals an opportunity to provide products and services that reflect and offer ways into the local market, and also space for innovative tech that fits with broader aims of e-commerce.
For a number of years now, Alphabet – the parent company of search giant Google – has been acquiring other people’s ideas and products, casting its net far and wide to haul in the best of emerging tech. Sometimes these deals appear to be off-the-wall.
Take the high-profile acquisition and resale of Motorola Mobility, for example. In reality, it was buying mobile technology patents to compete with Samsung in a bid to convince it to tone down its customizations of the Google-owned Android operating system.
Alphabet has a track record of buying up tech startups and SMEs, not necessarily because of their products, but for the brains behind these businesses. This enables the company to bring in the latest, freshest talent to work on its own products.
And like Microsoft, its recent buyouts seem to be cloud and security focused, most recently with the acquisition of Mandiant – a cloud cybersecurity specialist. This move signals increased competition with other cloud service providers, like Microsoft and Amazon, for the M&A of these types of cloud-focused technology companies.
Unsurprisingly, for the dominant force behind search, Alphabet M&A has also focused around big data, the most high profile example being its acquisition of business intelligence software Looker in 2019 to broaden its Google Cloud data analytics offering. But cast an eye over a list of its most recent publicly disclosed acquisitions, and you’ll see an A to Z of everything from tech wearables (such as FitBit and North) to learning apps (Socratic).
Meta – the parent company of the Facebook platform – has been making the headlines for a number of reasons over the past few years. Its high-profile acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp have led to an antitrust lawsuit, but it’s the company’s venture into the as-yet non-existent ‘metaverse’ which has sparked a frenzy of M&A activity, mostly around gaming and virtual reality. In fact, peruse its list of most recent acquisitions, and it’s dominated by startups and SMEs developing virtual reality games for use with its proprietary Oculus headset.
If you’re not in either of those niches, then fear not. The proposed ‘metaverse’ is a work in progress, which means there’s clear scope for innovative tech to take a lead in what is still an unknown virtual universe and untapped global market. Plus, back in the real world, there are developing use cases for VR to help solve some of the world’s problems. For example, the UAE is already deploying VR technology in a diverse range of contexts, from assisting with stroke rehabilitation to training urban planners.
Final Thoughts On Big Tech Acquisitions
Being bought by a big tech firm is an aspiration held by many startups and SMEs. But any business owner would be wise to focus on delivering their company’s core offering, rather than overly focusing on attracting the attention of the big techs to the detriment of their own product or service.
That’s not to say it might never happen – it could happen – especially if you’re developing cutting-edge tech that can easily solve a problem for a big tech company. A great example of this is Alphabet’s recent acquisition of Kustomer – a customer service startup – which will enable Facebook to offer extended services to business customers through omnichannel communications.
The bottom line is that whatever business you’re in, if you do it well, and you’re strategically based in a business-friendly environment, you’re going to get noticed one way or another – whether that’s by a big tech, or an ever-growing customer base.
The future is already here. Many of us already use robots in our home (to do the vacuuming), or work alongside ‘ro-workers’ on a packing or production line. Ongoing developments in AI, the open-source availability of algorithms, and the cloud are helping to create the ideal conditions for a robot revolution. And it’s closer than you think.
Forward-thinking organisations are already investing heavily in robotic technologies, which have the potential to revolutionise entire industries. Due to globalisation and an increasingly affordable cost of entry, robotic solutions are becoming more accessible for smaller businesses as the cost barrier slowly breaks down. So what does the robotic future hold?
Key Trends And Markets
Last year, the industrial robot market was estimated at USD 50 billion, seeing nearly 400,000 shipments across multiple markets globally. In 2020, tens of thousands of new industrial robots were installed around the world, with the electronics and automotive industries leading the way. And with 86,000 units installed in ‘unspecified industries,’ there is a clear indication that, like its AI counterpart, robotics has business potential across a broad range of markets.
Healthcare is one sector where robotics is already in real-world use. Pioneering regions such as the UAE have been integrating this life-changing technology for some time. As far back as 2014, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced the launch of the first robots to perform catheterisation and cardiac surgeries at Al Qasimi Hospital. Rather than replacing healthcare professionals, robotic instruments are being used to enable greater precision and enable the undertaking of complex surgery which is minimally invasive.
A 99.1% clinical success rate has led to further applications in gynecology and obstetrics. The applications of robotics in healthcare are as broad as the field itself. From less intrusive surgeries to robotic lifting machines for immobile patients, healthcare practices seem to benefit from advances in robotics technology.
Like healthcare, warehousing and logistics have a long-established relationship with robotics. Once the preserve of large-scale market leaders, the automated warehouse is fast becoming a tangible possibility for smaller and medium-sized enterprises, enabling them to gain a stronger foothold in a competitive market.
With technology ranging from robot pickers to self-guided carts, robotics informed by big data and AI present ongoing opportunities to disrupt ways of working in warehouses and logistics. Alongside this development comes improvement in safety on the factory floor. Unlike humans, robots are always able to perform at their best. This means there’s massive potential in using AI and machine learning to assess risk actively and then take preventative actions.
On the theme of health and logistics, in 2017, the UAE’s Ministry Of Health And Prevention launched a robotic pharmacy to dispense and deliver medicines in the clinics of the Al Fujairah Hospital. The robot can dispense up to 12 prescriptions in less than 60 seconds through barcodes. This remarkable time-saving technology also ensures the correct medicines are dispensed from a store of up to 35,000.
Robots in the form of unmanned drones have been on the radar for some time now. In the military, they can be flown over areas of conflict or deployed for surveillance. They’re also used in disaster scenarios, providing more precise and accurate data to response teams.
The British Army is currently trialing the use of autonomous robots to deliver things like food and fuel in areas of conflict. In 2017, the Dubai Police unveiled their first robot officer, which enabled people to report crimes, pay fines, and more, under an ambitious plan to create a 25% robotic police force by 2030.
Accelerated, in part, by the global pandemic, the fourth industrial revolution is very much underway. As a result, many manufacturers seek to capitalise on the benefits of big data, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial technologies.
Greater connectivity facilitates more streamlined manufacturing processes, real-time data insights, and improved safety and operational efficiency through the selective deployment of robots.
Broadly speaking, when robots automate repetitive tasks, errors are reduced, and humans can focus on work that can add greater value. Additionally, automation through robots enables high-volume manufacturing processes to be carried out accurately and at speed.
For instance, the UAE uses robots to produce car license plates in Dubai. No human action is required between the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) receiving an order and plates being created. It can handle up to 33,000 license plates per day.
You know that science fiction has become a science reality with the dawn of autonomous vehicles. Combining a multitude of smart tech, from Lidar to cameras, we’re on the precipice of evolution in transport, with every major car manufacturer in hot pursuit of viable self-driving technologies.
Whilst media attention is usually drawn to domestic vehicles and taxis; it’s anticipated that heavy-goods vehicles are a likely early-stage market, enabling long-distance drivers to flip between autopilot and manual control. And the potential for self-driving vehicles on the warehouse and factory floor is another scenario worth considering. In a smaller, more tightly structured environment, they could provide additional safety and efficiency in material handling.
The Rise Of The Robots
The disruptive potential of robots across a range of industries is undeniable. But, aside from that, advances in AI and machine learning are bringing smarter solutions to the world’s problems that are quicker and more efficient than ever.
From our homes to the factory floor, robotics informed by AI, machine learning, and IoT offers the potential for game-changing solutions which are closer than we think.
As the cost of components gets cheaper, access to open-source coding increases, and a subscription-based model of ‘robots as a service gains traction, a revolution in robotics is on the horizon.
Forward-thinking businesses would do well to seek out and invest in future partners who can enable them to leverage the true potential of robotic technology and its business-transforming capabilities.
Meydan Free Zone is a world-class hub for entrepreneurship and innovation in the UAE.
As the world opens up once more, entrepreneurs and start-ups have increasing flexibility and wider scope to find the right location and business infrastructure to nurture their entrepreneurial ventures. There’s a world of possibilities out there, from ‘digital nomad visas’ to remote free zones offering e-citizenships, and the promise of easier ways to do business.
With so many nations vying for the best global talent, it’s important for the region to stand out in a competitive market. That’s why the UAE’s Strategy for Talent Attraction and Retention sets out clear goals for attracting global talent to the region, making it a preferred destination for living and working. In addition, the UAE is ranked first in the region on the Global Innovation Index, confirming it as one of the world’s most innovative countries.
Alongside global competition for talent, businesses are also facing the challenge of bringing people back to the office, as new ways of working and technologies present more flexible opportunities for remote and hybrid working. This is creating a drive for further initiatives to attract entrepreneurs and employees alike back to the workplace.
Many cities around the globe can claim a variety of selling points to entice entrepreneurs to relocate there, but few can match Dubai in terms of innovation and wealth. Since 2020 Dubai has been ranked in the top five best cities for entrepreneurs – and with good reason. Alongside its advantageous geographic location and unparalleled access to multiple trade markets, it is of course a regional epicentre for trade, finance, and e-commerce.
Last year, the newly formed board of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy announced that the board has adopted a new roadmap which aims to accelerate the growth of Dubai’s digital economy, doubling the number of digital companies operating in the emirate in the coming years. In addition, recent changes to the rules regarding foreign ownerships of business mean there is no longer a requirement for commercial companies to have a major Emirati shareholder – foreigners can now have 100% ownership of their business.
Alongside these advantages, Dubai is also tax-friendly, with corporate tax currently at 0%. Couple that with its extensive range of corporate services, which can handle all the necessary governmental formalities and paperwork, and the city becomes an attractive proposition for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking for a simpler, cost-effective way to launch or scale their business.
Whilst working remotely from a tropical island might seem appealing in theory, when you’re starting a business or looking to grow one, whether it’s digital or non-digital, the fact of the matter is you need the surrounding business infrastructure to make it work. Being able to tap into an existing and established entrepreneurial ecosystem can make the difference between success and failure.
Located in the heart of Dubai, Meydan Free Zone aims to give entrepreneurs and business owners credibility and a competitive edge. It offers an extensive range of business support services, a vibrant and world-class community, and unrivalled networking opportunities.
Meydan Free Zone is designed to make doing business easy, efficient, and cost-effective. As the only 24/7 fully digital free zone, it’s a truly paperless environment, with all trade licences and payments made through a secure customer portal.
Based in the luxurious Meydan Hotel, with views over the famous racecourse, it offers a premium, yet affordable, business address with enviable lifestyle opportunities on the doorstep. Surrounded by the wider Meydan community – which includes schools, clinics, restaurants, parks, houses, and apartments – it’s in a prime location where people can work, play, and live.
For creative minds establishing or expanding a business, Meydan Free Zone caters to over 3,500 business activities. Should an activity require third-party approval, there’s no need for business owners to seek all the relevant permissions – Meydan will do it for them. This is just one of a range of benefits to make set-up straightforward and cost-effective, from quick and simple incorporation to hassle-free company bank accounts.
There’s no need to wait to open a manual bank account – Meydan offers Meydan Pay – an instant IBAN which enables businesses to send and receive payments in the UAE straight away.
Most free zones offer a fixed visa and licence package, but in Meydan businesses only pay for what they require. The difference? Entrepreneurs can make huge savings because additional visas and upgrades are only added when needed – not upfront in advance. And through partnerships with leading banks, Meydan offers a simple payment plan.
Everything in the ecosystem is there to support and empower entrepreneurs and start-ups to succeed in a competitive market, such as 100% exclusion on corporate and personal tax and full repatriation benefits on profits and financial assets. There’s also a complete suite of business services on offer as part of Meydan Plus, including phone answering, and medical and Emirates ID assistance.
Meydan Free Zone has a joint vision: to make entrepreneurship accessible and inspire business growth; and to foster a vibrant and connected ecosystem for entrepreneurs and innovators to create, grow, and lead. With this in mind, it’s easy to see the appeal of the Meydan Free Zone to foreign investment and talent – an enabling business environment coupled with luxurious lifestyle opportunities make it an ideal destination for the global entrepreneur.
With 100% foreign ownership and a guaranteed digital bank account, companies based in Meydan Free Zone are part of a thriving, centrally located economic community in a strategically positioned economic hub.
Meydan Free Zone is an economic-rich free zone in Dubai. Set in a strategic location near Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, with proximity to the Dubai Logistics Corridor, the free zone offers an end-to-end digital platform where its customers can benefit from incorporating licenses with 1,500 mixed-use business activities with an instant digital IBAN, visa applications, and other ancillary services, allowing companies to become a part of a thriving, strategically positioned economic hub. Meydan Free Zone is a wholesome community where customers are offered a safe place to live and call home, a world-class infrastructure from where they can work, and a community that can rejuvenate at play.
NFTs are proving to be more than just a flash in the pan. You may have heard of NFTs through blockbuster news pieces like ‘Everydays’ by Mike ‘Beeple’ Winklemann, which sold for $63 million. Or maybe you’ve seen how UAE-NFT has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the UAE with a limited series of digital artwork?
However, many people struggle to get their heads around the concept of unique ownership. In this article, we want to pull back the curtain and show you why NFTs aren’t just a fad and how you can make money in this exciting market.
What Are Non-Fungible Tokens (Nfts)?
Breaking down the acronym is the best place to start. NFT stands for non-fungible token. In short, this means that the asset is unique, and no copy of it can ever be exactly like the original. Imagine a rare painting, like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; it doesn’t matter how good a copy you make or what you print it on – it will never be the original.
Token means digital item. Most commonly, these are drawings, and this is what most people associate with NFTs. But it can be anything, such as music, code, or even a special edition digital bike render. Anything digital can be an NFT. More and more, the lines are blurring, and how NFTs can exist in the real world is hotly debated.
Digital products/assets/art/whatever you want to call them can be copied easily, instantly, and with no loss of quality. So, creating a replica of an NFT is easy, but the one thing you cannot copy is its history – i.e., who created it and who has owned it. Only with that information can any NFT be genuinely unique.
Because of the blockchain technology that NFTs are built on, checking the history of any digital asset is easy and, at the same time – impossible to fake. This solves many traditional problems people find with ‘real’ art.
Why Are Nfts Worth Your Time?
Well, with a market capitalisation of around $23 billion (at the time of writing), there is a lot of value ready to be tapped into. The great thing is that it’s not difficult to get started because many of the most popular platforms are tailored to beginners.
Also, there are many free resources at your fingertips that you can use to build your knowledge as you go. Starting a business off the back of NFTs can begin with minimal investment, and as you grow your knowledge, your investment can follow.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the current market cap is made up of many independents. However, while most NFT trades and businesses are to individuals, big companies are already well seated on the bandwagon. Names like the NBA, Coca-Cola and Emirates Post are already in the swing of making sales and pushing their brand using non-fungible tokens.
With the recent announcement of the Metaverse, crypto and NFT enthusiasts everywhere are on the edge of their seats, waiting to find out what potential there is in this new digital world to profit from the blockchain – maybe it’s your time to do the same?
Five Ways To Make Money From NFTs
Now comes the part where we give you some real insight into turning a passing interest in NFTs into a money maker – or even a fully-fledged business. Of course, these aren’t the only ways to make money, but they’re a good starting point, no matter the scale of your skill/investment pot.
Create And Sell NFTs
The most obvious on the list. Why not create a digital asset and then sell it? Perhaps you have an artistic flair, or an eye for a great photo and can transfer that to an NFT? If you can channel any sort of creativity then you can make an NFT and sell it.
There are a variety of NFT creation platforms such as Mintable and they’ll make getting started really easy. There are a few starter steps such as setting up a crypto wallet (where you store your cryptocurrency) and then just the standard verification process that you’d find on other websites where financial transactions are made.
Once you’ve made an NFT, you’re ready to put it on the market. A quick google search will throw up all the big names, but OpenSea and Rarible are some excellent examples. After a small fee to list the NFT, you’re ready to increase your income.
Not so creative? Have an eye for market trends? Then trading NFTs is going to be a great start for you. Just like any ‘real’ asset, the idea is to buy low/sell high. This can be done through tracking trends on the NFT you’re interested in, or looking at the wider scope of how popular the creator of that NFT is.
Go to any of the platforms we have already mentioned, search for the type of NFT you want – like art or a video clip – and then you can start making offers to buy.
As with any trading activity, there is an inherent risk. Because NFTs are new and rather volatile you’ll want to do a good amount of research before you pull the trigger. There is such a sea of NFTs that aren’t worth your time, so it pays to be informed.
One of the key parts of crypto is the ‘proof-of-stake’ model. In short, users on the blockchain networks validate transactions between parties using ‘staked’ cryptocurrency. This means that everything that happens on the network is confirmed, recorded, and then fully traceable. It’s the reason that NFTs can’t be faked.
The users who validate these transactions, often called miners, dedicate their crypto resources to make this validation possible. In return, they are often given passive income – in the form of the native cryptocurrency – while their assets are being used.
Take Axie Infinity: a game where $3.6 billion has been traded in just under 4 years. All those trades have been validated by users staking their own crypto on the platform. If you have a pot to invest, then consider the different staking options available with NFTs. Most of the current opportunities revolve around games which we’ll touch on next.
No need to overcomplicate this one. NFT games are any game that uses NFTs as a tradeable asset within the virtual world. These NFTs might be stakeable, shareable, or just plain sellable and in trading them you can unlock new items and abilities for your character – as in the case of Cyberclassic.
With in-game purchases and micro-transactions having become the de facto model for modern video games, especially those on mobile, NFTs and crypto are currently becoming a way to make this even more accessible.
In classic games, developers often create their own in-game currency that you can buy for FIAT. Well, we’re seeing that completely replicated by blockchain developers – think Crycash.
Maybe you aren’t interested in playing video games and earning rewards in the way of NFTs. Well, then, why not set up your game studio? The UAE is one of the world’s hotspots for tech talent – so take advantage.
Back NFTs with liquidity
If you find that your interest is purely from an investment angle then backing NFTs with your own cash is another path you can take. Much like trading, it’s going to require a good amount of research to be successful, but there certainly are opportunities available to the savvy investor.
Once again, leveraging the advantages of DeFI (decentralized finance), an investor can add their investment to a shared pool backing NFTs. In return, they receive a token. If, for example, you are using Ethereum as your platform, this would be an ERC-721 token. This token represents your investment, and whoever owns the token can claim back the investment. Again, this means having a good handle on how you look after your digital assets is important.
Whenever you want to sell your part of the NFT you can liquidate your investment and reap the rewards. Moreover, unlike other FIAT platforms, you’re never limited by trading hours, so you can make a move whenever you want.
NFTs, as part of crypto, are a rapidly evolving technology that we haven’t scratched the surface of yet. However, it is true; there is currently a big boom surrounding them, allowing you to start developing your own business and income from them.
We’ve only covered a few of the options today, and because of the rapid change in 6 months, there’s likely to be a whole host of other ways to build in the space. Whatever you do, make sure a lot of research backs it up – starting a business starts with a plan.
Meydan Free Zone is an economic-rich free zone in Dubai. Set in a strategic location near Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, with proximity to the Dubai Logistics Corridor, the free zone offers an end-to-end digital platform. The customers can benefit from incorporating licenses with 1,500 mixed-use business activities with an instant digital IBAN, visa applications, and other ancillary services, allowing companies to become a part of a thriving, strategically positioned economic hub. In addition, Meydan Free Zone is a sustainable community where customers are offered a safe place to live and call home, a world-class infrastructure from where they can work, and a community that can rejuvenate at play.
Dubai is a great place to live and work as a social media influencer. As a global hub for trade, the emirate is blessed with fantastic weather, incredible natural beauty, and world-leading architecture (great for all those photos). It is also an amazing hub of design, technology, fashion, cosmetics, and jewellery. Working as a social media influencer in Dubai requires you to have a license from the National Media Council (NMC), so it is crucial to understand how to get an influencer license in Dubai.
Getting your social media influencer license in Dubai, UAE is worth it commercially and financially. Studies reveal that 85% of millennials in the UAE follow at least one social media influencer – showing there’s a real demand for people who can inform and entertain their followers. Another study found that influencers with 10,000 followers who posted just one item per day on Instagram could earn the same salary as a mid-level marketing professional in the UAE!
If you’re interested in becoming an influencer in Dubai, UAE, you will need an influencer license, and you should learn about some rules that apply to this business. In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about getting an influencer license in Dubai, including:
Here is everything you need to know about how to get an influencer license in Dubai, UAE.
What are the Laws in the UAE for Influencers?
In 2018 the UAE’s government announced a new law that regulated the social media influencer industry. Anyone who participates in paid promotional work on social media now must apply for a license from the National Media Council.
The rules apply to social media influencers who are paid for their work in cash or gifts of an equivalent value. To get the NMC permit, you need to apply for what is known as an E-Media License. People who occasionally receive products to review on social media or produce content on their website don’t usually need to apply for a license.
As well as applying for a license, you must comply with a number of rules, including:
- Maintaining a record of all materials you’ve promoted on social media
- Complying with laws around photography, defamation and privacy
- Avoiding any blasphemous statements
- Not using language or messaging that is anti-Islamic, encourages sinful activity or that could corrupt minors
- Not sharing messages that mock the leaders of the nation or that disturb the peace
- Social media influencers must not appear to promote alcohol in any way
What is an NMC License?
The National Media Council (NMC) license for social media influencers was first introduced in 2018. The license is designed to regulate the social media influencer industry. The National Media council falls under Media Regulatory Office – Ministry of Culture and Youth. It is mandatory for anyone who receives financial compensation through their work, including advertising, reviews, or ‘product placement’ in their content.
The NMC license does not apply to the owners of personal websites, bloggers, or people who promote their brands on social media. It also doesn’t apply to people who do unpaid reviews of products (assuming they are independent of the brand they’re reviewing and receive no remuneration).
NMC licenses initially last one year and must be renewed annually. There are three licensing options for the NMC license, as follows:
Category 1 NMC License
Category 1 licenses are for influencers who want an individual license that will allow them to continue working as completely independent social media influencers.
Category 2 NMC License
This kind of social media license covers small groups of influencers who want to come together and set up a company. The company needs to be registered and will have to hold a trade license. This approach has the advantage of being less expensive than Category 1 licenses.
Category 3 NMC License
The third NMC license option is for you to sign up with one of the official Dubai social media influencer agencies already certified by the National Media Council. These agencies have a license covering all their influencers, and they will cover you. The drawback, of course, is that you may have less control over what content you promote.
If you are found to be working as a social media influencer without holding an NMC license, you may face a fine of AED 5,000 and could even have your social media accounts suspended.
Cost and Documents Required for an NMC License
The Dubai NMC license permits cost AED 15,000 and must be renewed annually. Besides the license cost, you will also need to set up your business and account for various other expenses.
The exact sum will depend on the kind of NMC license you apply for, the type of business you decide to run, and your location. At Meydan Free Zone, the complete social media influencer license setup typically costs as little as AED 12,500, plus the NMC license costs mentioned above. The rest of the costs depends on your requirements for the number of visas for your business.
The Media Regulatory Office – Ministry of Culture and Youth now oversees the National Media Council. To apply for your NMC license, you will also need to bring together several documents, including:
- Your business license
- A copy of your visa
- Copies of your passport
- Emirates ID photocopy
- You will need to choose an address such as a free zone to set up your company.
Can an Influencer Use a Free Zone License and Consult Globally?
Yes, absolutely! Suppose you work as a social media influencer company in a Dubai free zone such as Meydan Free Zone. In that case, you can consult globally with customers within the United Arab Emirates and anywhere else in the world. At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you with all aspects of setting up your influencer business in Dubai and provide help with all commercial aspects of running your business online.
The Meydan Free Zone does not offer a freelance license to influencers or a freelance visa.
Meydan Free Zone Steps
To receive your free zone license and set up as a social media influencer company in Dubai, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Gather together the necessary documentation
- Submit your application on our website
- Undergo security and government approvals
- Have your license issued and begin working as a social media influencer in Dubai!
Why Meydan Free Zone
Meydan Free Zone is a hub for digital businesses in the UAE. Located in central Dubai in a glamorous location close to the city’s golf course and horse racing track, it is ideal for social media influencers keen to generate unique content for their online activities. With high-powered internet, plenty of networking opportunities, and the essential equipment you need to run a social media-influencing business, it’s a great place to start your company.
Our friendly consultants can also support you with every stage of business setup in Dubai. In addition, we provide several additional services to make running your social media influencer business easier. For instance, Meydan Pay allows your customers from around the world to easily deposit funds into your bank account. At the same time, our Meydan Commerce service is designed to support you with all aspects of setting up an e-commerce business. And our Easy Payment Plans make applying for your trade license more manageable for a social media influencer just starting out.
If you are looking to set up a social media influencer company in Dubai, contact Meydan Free Zone today to turn your dream into reality.
The Meydan Free Zone does not offer a freelance license to influencers or a freelance visa.
A side hustle is an increasingly popular way of making money among millennials. By utilising your digital skills, running a side hustle allows you to gain additional income on the side of your primary employment or studies. And this kind of work can help make some serious income – according to one expert, side hustles in Dubai could generate a monthly income of between AED 3000 and 6000 per month. If you are interested in starting a side hustle in Dubai, this guide will provide you with plenty of inspiration.
There are so many possible sides hustles in Dubai that you could start. Here are just seven examples.
7 Ideas For Side Hustles In Dubai
If you are thinking of starting a side hustle in Dubai, the best place to start is to think about the skills you already have and try to figure out how you can monetise them. As the examples below show, with little knowledge about digital technology, reading, and research, virtually everyone has a side hustle.
1. Running Digital Ads For Small Businesses
There are thousands of small businesses in Dubai that need help with advertising. But unfortunately, many of these small companies have neither the time nor the skills to learn how to create digital ads and monitor them. And this is where you come in.
Running digital ads on search or social media sites is often relatively straightforward. As long as you know how to use keywords to target your ads to the right customers, you can provide an invaluable service to all small businesses. Running a side hustle managing digital ads for small businesses in Dubai will involve the following types of tasks:
- Market research to decide the best platform to run ads on
- Choosing appropriate keywords
- Writing ad copy
- Monitoring ads spend
- Demonstrating results
After initially setting ad campaigns up, the actual work involved in this Dubai side hustle is relatively simple – it will rarely require more than a couple of hours of work per week per customer.
2. Starting a blog
Blogs are one of the most popular ways of making money online. However, to generate cash through an online blog in Dubai, you will need a decent-sized audience. You can then use several methods to monetise them – especially display ads and affiliate links.
To set up your blog in Dubai, you must first find a subject to write about. Next, choose a topic you are passionate about and an area where you have expertise. After that, it is simply a case of regularly producing content your audience wants to read. As your audience grows, you can then contact businesses that might wish to advertise through your website.
3. Sell Printable Items On Etsy
A printable is any template people pay to download and use, and Etsy is one of the best places to sell them. You need to set up your store on the website and produce printable items for which you think there is a market. You can produce printable items for practically any purpose or occasion, but some of the more common printable ideas include things like:
- Wedding invitations
- Meal planners
- Personal budgets
- Any financial planning sheets
- Birthday party invitations
- And much more besides
Printable items are usually reasonably inexpensive to produce and sell. Still, suppose you find an idea that is popular and solves a problem for many people. In that case, the printable could be downloaded thousands of times per month – making this a potentially very profitable side hustle in Dubai.
4. Work As A Freelance Writer
Being a freelance writer in Dubai is one of the most popular side hustles. If you have a decent knowledge of writing engaging content, there is almost unlimited demand for your skills. In addition, working as a freelance writer alongside your main job provides a highly flexible way of earning extra money. The side hustle involves providing writing services to all manner of clients while also offering additional services such as editing and proofreading.
To start a freelance writing side hustle in Dubai, there are several things you can do to begin getting your first piece of paid work, including:
- Pitching feature and opinion article ideas to newspapers and magazines
- Promoting your services on social media
- Contacting various companies directly and offering them your freelance writing services
- Joining side hustle websites like Upwork where you can apply for freelance writing gigs.
*Meydan Free Zone does not offer freelance license or freelance visa options.
5. Working As A Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is a fantastic side hustle in Dubai – as long as you have good administration skills. Many entrepreneurs around the world need virtual assistants to do things like:
- Managing their diary and inbox
- Running their websites
- Preparing reports
- Doing pieces of ad hoc research
- Answering client questions
- And much more
You can provide virtual assistant services to clients anywhere in the world from Dubai.
6. Create A Small Online Course
Creating a small online course is a fantastic side hustle in Dubai. Assuming you have expert knowledge about one topic or another, you can create a complete online course which you then publish to websites like Udemy or Skillshare. Customers can then pay to view your content and learn from you.
One of the most attractive things about this Dubai side hustle is that after the initial work of creating a complete course, it will generate a truly passive income. So long as there is enough interest in your course, people may continue paying for your content for years to come!
7. Start A Youtube Channel
Starting a YouTube channel is a fantastic Dubai side hustle business idea. Like running a blog, you need to find a niche that you are passionate about and for which there is a suitably large market. You will also need to produce videos on one topic or another regularly. But once you start getting subscribers, you can get a cut of YouTube’s advertising revenue while also generating income through affiliate marketing.
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Meydan Free Zone is the ideal place to launch your side hustle in Dubai. As leading experts in business setup in Dubai, our free zone consultants can support you with every step of launching your side hustle company. Moreover, our free zone is a melting pot of digital entrepreneurs – meaning you can build relationships with peers working in similar fields.
To support you on your journey to running a successful side hustle in Dubai, Meydan Free Zone provides you with all the solutions you need. For instance, Meydan Pay provides you with essential financial tools to make and receive payments from your customers. Meydan Commerce, meanwhile, is our unique service for helping you sell products on various eCommerce platforms. And with our Easy Payment Plans, you have the flexibility you need to launch your side hustle business successfully. So, contact Meydan Free Zone today if you’re ready to begin your side hustle in Dubai.
Since the beginning of the year, the Dubai car rental business has experienced a spike. The rapid growth of this market can be attributed to a number of factors.
Dubai has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations recently. As Dubai expects to welcome around 20 million tourists this year, it will play a significant role in the growth of car rental companies.
An analyst report by MarkNtel Advisors projects that the UAE Rent a Car Market will grow 8.9% between 2022 and 2027. The UAE’s favourable policies and easy licensing are generally driving this market. In addition, the rapidly expanding tourism sector has resulted in massive footfalls of tourists, pilgrims, and migrants in the country and events such as Auto Expos, which last six months and attract approximately three million people, are also expected to increase demand for car rental services in the UAE and drive the market through 2027.
So, let’s find out how to start car rental business in Dubai.
In this blog, you will learn about:
Here is everything you need to know about how to start a car rental business in Dubai, UAE.
Benefits Of Starting A Car Rental Business In Dubai, UAE
The term “car rental company” refers to a business that rents automobile vehicles for a limited time. Typically, this period is between a few hours and a few weeks, depending on the company’s terms. The company’s primary focus is helping people with their daily commutes.
Car rental businesses in Dubai are advantageous if you understand the industry and are prepared to use new technology. Here are some of the key benefits of starting a car rental business in Dubai:
- Tourism on the rise: Millions of tourists travel to Dubai every year to visit the emirate’s incredible architecture, historical and religious sites, beaches, restaurants and nature. Dubai is also the gateway to the rest of the United Arab Emirates; therefore, many tourists arriving in the country will be looking to hire a car to explore the rest of the UAE. In the coming years, there will undoubtedly be high demand for your car rental business in Dubai.
- New preferences: Since the pandemic, many people have been less comfortable travelling on public transportation. For people who do not own their car, renting a vehicle for trips is becoming more common. Hiring a car allows them to travel around Dubai without sharing public transport or dealing with the costs of buying their own personal vehicle.
- Technology: Another benefit of starting a car rental business in Dubai is that it will allow you to make the most of emerging technology. Thanks to smartphones, apps and geolocation, it is easier than ever for people to pick up and rent cars as and when they need them. This makes finding and renting a car much smoother, making people more likely to rent vehicles.
Steps To Start A Car Rental Business In Dubai, UAE
To start a car rental business in the UAE, you must first get a trading license. The following 5 steps show how you can get this license.
- Select Your Business Activity
The first step to getting a car rental business license in Dubai is to select your business activity. There are a few potential license types you could apply for, depending on the type of vehicle rental you hope to do. The most common is ‘Passenger Transport and Car Rent’, although you may need a different license if you operate in a slightly different sector. We can advise you on the most appropriate license for your activities at Meydan Free Zone
- Choose The Location Of Your Car Rental Business In Dubai
When starting a car rental business in Dubai, choosing a business location is crucial. Since you will need physical premises for your fleet of vehicles, you will need some space. A strategic location will help you here, whether close to an airport or another transport hub.Many car rental businesses choose to launch from Meydan Free Zone because Our location in central Dubai, close to the airport and the seaport, means you are perfectly located to meet the needs of tourists, business travellers and local customers. We also offer 0% tax rates and 100% foreign ownership.We can advise you on setting up your free zone company at Meydan Free Zone and provide the support you need to ensure your car business start-up thrives.
- Choose A Trade Name For Your Dubai Car Rental Business
Your trading name needs to describe what your company does succinctly, and it must not use any language that could be considered offensive or potentially blasphemous. Further, the company name must not contain any acronyms which include your initials. For instance, Ali Khamza Car Hire would be OK, but AK Car Hire would not be permitted
- Complete Your Application And Pay Fees
To receive your Dubai UAE car rental commercial license, you will need to complete your application form and provide a range of documents and paperwork.To operate a car rental business in Dubai, you need to get a Non-objection certificate A NOC from RTA (The Roads and Transport Authority).Upon receiving the NOC, you must submit the filled-out application. Paying the associated fees as part of your business license application is also essential
- Receive Your License And Open A Business Bank Account
Getting your license to run a car rental company in Dubai takes just a few days – so long as all your paperwork is in order and your application form and fees are all correct. At Meydan Free Zone, we help you by checking that all your paperwork meets the requirements so that you avoid any unnecessary admin obstacles.
1. Select your business activity
The first step to getting a car rental business license in Dubai is to select your business activity. There are a few potential license types you could apply for, depending on the type of vehicle rental you hope to do. The most common is ‘Passenger Transport and Car Rent’, although you may need a different license if you operate in a slightly different sector. At Meydan Free Zone, we can advise you on the most appropriate license for your activities.
2. Choose a trade name for your Dubai car rental business
Your trading name needs to succinctly describe what your company does, and it must not use any language that could be considered offensive or potentially blasphemous. Further, the company name must not contain any acronyms which include your own initials. For instance, Ali Khamza Car Hire would be OK, but AK Car Hire would not be permitted.
3. Choose the location of your car rental business in Dubai
Selecting a business location is a vital step in launching your car rental business in Dubai. Many car rental businesses choose to launch from Meydan Free Zone because it offers a 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership. Our location in central Dubai, close to the airport and the sea port, means you are perfectly located to meet the needs of tourists, business travellers and local customers.
We can advise you on setting up your free zone company at Meydan Free Zone, and provide the support you need to ensure your car business start-up thrives.
4. Complete your application and pay fees
In order to receive your Dubai UAE car rental commercial license, you will need to complete your application form and provide a range of documents and paperwork. It is also essential to pay the associated fees as part of your business license application.
5. Receive your license and open a business bank account
Getting your license to run a car rental company in Dubai takes just a few days – so long as all your paperwork is in order and your application form and fees are all correct. At Meydan Free Zone, we help you by checking that all your paperwork meets the requirements so that you avoid any unnecessary admin obstacles.
Once your license has been approved, the final step is to open a business bank account so that you can make and receive payments – Meydan Pay is our simple digital banking solution for businesses working in our free zone. It gives you an IBAN and digital wallet, which comes with all the features you need to start making and receiving payments – which is ideal for car rental companies working with foreign tourists and local customers.
Cost To Start A Car Rental Company In Dubai, UAE
There are several key costs to consider when starting a car rental business in Dubai: the license price, the cost of your premises, and the RTA approvals. Then on top of that, there is the cost of the fleet of vehicles you will use – which you may purchase or lease.
Launching a car rental firm in Dubai varies in cost depending on how many visas you require. If no visas are needed, starting a car rental company can cost as little as AED 12,500.
If you need more visas, the application fee costs up to AED 23,600 (for six visa allocations). This figure includes your business license and associated fees.
For a quote tailored to your business and the number of visas you need to apply for, contact Meydan Free Zone today, and we can give you a precise figure for how much your car rental business license will come.
Besides the license cost, you will also need funds to pay for the vehicles you hope to rent, insurance, office space, car cleaning services and marketing costs.
Documents To Start A Car Rental Company In Dubai, UAE
If you want to launch a car rental business in Dubai, you will need to provide the following documents as part of the application process.
At Meydan Free Zone, we can support you with all steps in compiling these documents, and we will also check them for any errors:
- A completed application form which describes what kinds of car/vehicle rental you will offer
- Copies of your passport and passport size photos
- A copy of your residence visa (if applicable)
- Emirates ID copy (if applicable)
Why Meydan Free Zone?
Meydan Free Zone, located in central Dubai, is the perfect place to launch your car rental business. Our free zone is located close to the airport, the central business district, hotels and tourist sites, and major roads. This will make it very easy for customers to pick up your vehicles and for you to meet customers where they are. Our experienced consultants can support you with all aspects of business setup in Dubai, so you can focus on starting your car rental business – and leave the legwork to us.
We also provide many additional services to any company looking to enter the vehicle rental market in Dubai, UAE. For example, Meydan Pay provides you with a digital wallet and an IBAN, allowing you to receive payments from your customers anywhere in the world (especially helpful when dealing with international tourists and business travellers). Learn more about Meydan Pay here.
Similarly, Meydan Commerce is a unique offering that helps your car rental firm launch online – helping you run a website and ads and use listings sites to get your car rental company’s name out there and win business on the internet. And, if you are starting, our Easy Payment Plans allow you to spread the cost of launching your vehicle hire firm over several months.
With ever more demand for car and vehicle hire in Dubai, now is an excellent time to launch your rental company. Contact Meydan Free Zone today, and begin renting out cars to tourists, locals, business travellers and expats in no time.
The UAE opens its doors to thousands of expatriate residents every year. Getting a national ID card is one of the first things people ask when moving to a new country. To this end, we have compiled all the necessary information about the Emirates ID, a mandatory document issued to citizens and residents, including newborn babies in the country.
This to-do list could include all tasks, like applying for business licenses or signing apartment leases or job contracts. Nevertheless, applying for an Emirates ID will always be part of the process.
The good news is, with the help of an expert, applying for an Emirates ID is both fast and straightforward. This article covers everything you need to know to get yours, including:
What Is Emirates ID?
Emirates ID is an identity card issued by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security-ICP. UAE citizens and residents are legally required to apply for one and carry it with them at all times.
There are several types of Emirates ID, such as:
- Citizen ID card for UAE citizens, issued for a period of 10 years
- GCC ID card for citizens of GCC countries living in the UAE, valid for five years
- Expat ID card for foreigners’ validity depends on the validity of the visa
Despite being used for identification, it has much more to offer. The Emirates ID card allows citizens and residents to:
- Access government services
- Vote in the elections of Federal National Council
- Travel freely within the GCC (citizens only)
- Pass immigration through eGates and smart gates at several airports in the UAE
In an announcement earlier this year, ICP said that Emirates IDs would replace the visa sticker on residents’ passports and serve as primary proof of residency. This means that an Emirates ID is required for an individual to prove that they are a legal resident of the UAE and what the residency details are, like issue and expiry dates.
Emirates ID is used everywhere, from day-to-day affairs to government services. Here are a few examples of its use:
- Opening of a bank account in the UAE.
- Applying for a Dubai driver’s license.
- Renewing your vehicle registration in Dubai.
- Pay/connect utilities.
- Rental or purchase of the property.
- To travel within the GCC for UAE citizens.
- Usage for eServices.
- To pass immigration through eGates and smart gates in some of the airports in the UAE.
- To vote in the Federal National Council for Emirati citizens.
- For insurance applications.
- To verify negative COVID-19 results in Dubai airports.
It is important for you to understand that your Emirates ID belongs to you and you alone; seizing another person’s ID card is against the law. Moreover, Emirates IDs cannot be withheld from customers, visitors, or employees by companies or other authorities.
Steps To Apply For Your Emirates ID
As a first-time applicant for an Emirates ID, you will need to follow these steps:
1. Submit An Application For A New Emirates ID
You can apply for a new Emirates ID card in two ways:
- Online, through the ICP website
- Through an accredited typing centre or an Amer centre which has an ICP section.
You can apply for a new Emirates ID card at the website of Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security– ICP, or through an accredited typing centre. This step is completed simultaneously with applying for a residence visa. If you are at a typing centre or an Amer centre (if you are in Dubai), you will be required to provide your passport and entry permit information. Your application will ask for this information.
2. Pay The Fees
Next, you’ll need to pay the service and card fee, which varies depending on the visa you’re applying for. If you have a one-year visa, the cost for the Emirates ID is approximately Dh170. For a two-year visa, the cost is approximately Dh270. If you apply for a 10-year Golden Visa, the cost would be approximately Dh 1,070.
3. Visit An ICP Centre For Your Biometric Scan
Next, you might need to visit one of ICP’s service centres to provide your biometric details for the Emirates ID database. To know more about how you can find an ICP centre near you, read our guide here.
It is important to note that this step is only required if this is the first time you are applying for an Emirates ID.
4. Collect Your Emirates ID
Once you have completed the steps above, you can track the status of your Emirates ID application with ICP. Once the Emirates ID has been issued, you will receive an SMS from ICP informing you of the post office location that you need to visit to collect your Emirates ID.
Now that you have your Emirates ID ready, what’s next?
Cost Of Applying For Emirates ID
The cost of issuing the Emirates ID card depends on the service channel you chose to acquire the Emirates ID. The cost of applying for an Emirates ID is approximate as follows:
AED 100 – Card Issuance Fee For Five Years
AED 200 – Card Issuance Fee For Ten Years (Only Available To UAE Nationals)
AED 40 – Service Fee
AED 30 – Printing Office Fee
How To Get An E-Version Of Your Emirates ID In The UAE
To allow residents and citizens to access the Emirates ID’s many benefits before receiving the physical card, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship issues an e-version for use in the interim.
To obtain this version, download the ICA UAE Smart app. From there, you can register your details to receive a QR code, enabling you to create an e-Emirates ID card. You can browse this information in the wallet section of the app. It is possible to access services using the virtual version in the same way as the physical Emirates ID.
In addition, Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security offers a 24-hour urgent service to get Emirates ID cards. The service is known as ‘Fawri’ and carries an additional fee for urgent service.
The service is available for all age groups for UAE nationals and GCC nationals officially residing in UAE and can be obtained for:
- first-time registration
- renewal of expired cards
- lost or damaged cards.
Besides GCC nationals, expats are entitled to urgent service only if they need to replace their identity cards because the issuance or renewal of identity cards is linked to proof of residency and related procedures.
Get started on your Dubai business dream with a “Free Consultation”!
Is it no longer necessary to stamp passports?
No. This will not apply to Dubai residents. Dubai visa holders will continue to hold an in-passport visa sticker alongside their Emirates ID.
Can I get an Emirates ID without a visa?
No. Emirates IDs are not issued in Dubai until your residency visa has been stamped on your passport.
How long does the Emirates ID application take to process?
The Emirates ID is usually issued within seven to ten days of the visa stamping in your passport. You can track your application online and will also receive updates via text. In the meantime, you are free to register and access your e-version.
How many days does it take to get an Emirates ID after the medical test?
You will usually have the result of your medical check-up within a day or two. Your Emirates ID is then issued within four business days.
Know More About Life In The UAE With Meydan Free Zone
Meydan Free Zone is a thriving, centrally located economic district with one of the most prestigious business addresses in the region. We offer our businesses a host of innovative investment and lifestyle benefits in a secure, regulated environment that empowers productivity. And we can help you join them too.
Our expert team can assist the entire company formation journey, from registering your company name to managing your license and visa applications.
Whether you want to know more about running or relocating your existing business – or you’re laying the groundwork to launch a new enterprise – we can help.
And it couldn’t be easier to get started. All your individual business needs can be met with a smooth registration process, tailored packages, and assistance on-hand.
Last year, tech firm Apple reached an astounding market capitalisation of $2.25 trillion U.S. dollars – making it the wealthiest business in the world. The company, worth more than many countries’ entire GDPs, is a global icon. You might even be using one of Apple’s devices to read this article!
Apple was co-founded by Steve Jobs in California, USA, in 1976. Jobs was a true visionary and made the company one of the most successful businesses in history. So, who was the man behind the Apple Mac, the iPod and the iPhone – and what can other entrepreneurs learn from this inspirational figure?
Who Was Steve Jobs?
Born in San Francisco in 1955, Steve Jobs was put up for adoption as a baby. After being raised in the San Francisco Bay area, he went to Reed college before dropping out. In 1974 he travelled to India to study Zen Buddhism. On returning to the United States, he and his friend Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers in a garage. In the company’s early years, it built a number of highly successful personal computers, which supercharged the home computing revolution.
In the 1980s, Jobs was pushed out of the company during an internal power struggle. He went on to try and launch his own computer company and work in the cinema industry – he helped form the Pixar animation studio, which produced Toy Story – one of the first 3D computer-animated films.
Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and helped revive the company’s fortunes. The business developed a knack for spotting trends and brought out several world-changing innovations, including the launch of the iMac, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone and the App Store.
Jobs was first diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and died aged 56 in 2011. Since then, the company has been run by Tim Cook.
7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Steve Jobs
If you are running your own company, it can be beneficial to learn from the example of successful businesspeople like Steve Jobs. Here are seven facts things you can learn from Steve Jobs about entrepreneurialism.
1. Stick To Your Vision
Steve Jobs was well known for proposing controversial ideas about what technology should be and sticking to them. Jobs followed his instincts even when people said it couldn’t be done. Whether it was connecting a mouse to a computer or adding a touch screen to a phone, Jobs believed in his ideas and did not get pushed off course by naysayers.
If your company is doing something ‘different’, there’s a chance that friends, family and business acquaintances may question the wisdom of doing something unusual. But the example of Steve Jobs shows that sticking to your instincts and following your vision can lead to enormous success.
2. See Failure As An Opportunity
There were several periods during Steve Jobs’ career where his company’s products and ideas failed – whether it was the Apple Lisa in the 1980s or his time outside Apple, Jobs was not always successful. However, he realised that periods of failure are also incredible opportunities to learn from our mistakes and think again. Jobs even found failure liberating; it meant he did not have much pressure and expectations hanging over him – and he could instead start again.
It can be not very reassuring if one of your company’s innovations doesn’t work out as expected. However, after the initial disappointment, try to learn from this experience and bounce back, just like Steve Jobs.
3. Demand Excellence
Apple’s products are regarded as some of the most intuitive, easy to use and well-designed in the world. And this didn’t happen by accident. Steve Jobs’ employees knew that their boss expected excellence at all times. Sometimes this would mean products they’d spent months or even years working on would be cancelled, and they would need to start again. The job was known for giving blunt and sometimes cutting feedback. But this was all to make the company’s products the best they could be.
Demanding the most from your team can be challenging – especially if you are not confrontational by nature! Nonetheless, the whole company will benefit by refusing to accept mediocrity and always asking your teams to do their best.
4. Don’t Rely On What People Think
Steve Jobs was well known for his belief that many people don’t know exactly what they want before you show it to them. For example, before the iPod existed, people had no idea they would love to carry around a small rectangular box containing tens of thousands of songs. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t listen to your customers, but you cannot expect them to do your work for you when it comes to innovating.
This lesson is especially relevant for companies innovating with products or services. The fact is, your customers or the market may not know what they want yet. However, if you believe your product solves a common problem or answers a need, there are good reasons to think it could be very successful.
5. Take Calculated Risks
During his time running Apple, Jobs took several major risks. Some of Apple’s offerings, such as the App Store, required an enormous investment in technology that no one had seen before. But it was not just a random choice – Jobs had many good reasons to believe the App Store would work.
You know your market well as an entrepreneur and can learn from this Steve Jobs lesson about taking risks. Of course, there is always a chance that big investments won’t pay off, but by building out a business case and doing your research, you can take calculated risks that could be very rewarding.
6. Surround Yourself With Good People
Despite running a major technology company, Steve Jobs was far from the most fabulous software developer. He was aware of his shortcomings and therefore chose to hire the best people around him to do things he couldn’t do. For example, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was a brilliant technical expert who managed the complex side of building Apple’s first computers.
When you are running your company, it is useful to bear this lesson in mind. Rather than trying to do everything yourself, seek experts who can do certain jobs better than you – finance, marketing, operations, design or anything else. As an entrepreneur, your job is to lead the company and develop its vision.
7. Keep An Open Mind
The final lesson entrepreneurs can learn from Steve Jobs is to keep an open mind. The Apple founder spent months travelling through India whilst a young man, and throughout his life, he tried to keep an open mind to different influences and ideas. By being open to new opportunities, he could spot trends and develop products that tapped into these markets. For example, other MP3 players existed before the iPod, but Jobs spotted this trend and produced an easier-to-use, more attractive product, which became a must-have.
Whatever industry you are in, it is important to try and follow this example from Steve Jobs. Rather than simply sticking to a successful formula that has worked so far, try and keep an open mind. This way, you are more likely to spot trends and discover new market opportunities.
Learning From Steve Jobs
Being an entrepreneur is an exciting adventure and an opportunity to push yourself and learn about the world continually. By learning from successful entrepreneurs who’ve gone before, like Steve Jobs, you’ll develop the skills and qualities to lead your company even more successfully. Good luck!
When listing the many benefits of doing business in the UAE, it is not long before the country’s tax regime is up for discussion. Still, at 0% on corporate and personal income, it ranks among the most attractive rates in the world.
As well as a zero rate, UAE residents can benefit from double tax treaties with many major nations worldwide. This includes the likes of Canada, Germany, India and the UK.
However, taking advantage of these treaties and the UAE’s attractive tax rate requires a tax residency certificate. With the right support, obtaining one is easy, provided you are eligible and abide by the relevant conditions.
Tax Residency Certificate in Dubai – What is it?
Many countries issue tax certificates. In the UAE, the issuing body is the Ministry of Finance. Certificates can be issued both to individuals and corporate entities. Individuals must hold a valid UAE residency visa.
The UAE and USA do not have a treaty in place, meaning a US citizen would still be liable for full taxation in their home country. Meanwhile, a German citizen would pay a 0% tax in the UAE and avoid income tax in Germany.
With a 0% tax rate on offer, this can be hugely beneficial to UAE residents originating from double tax treaty countries.
The UAE and USA do not have a treaty in place, meaning a US citizen would still be liable for full taxation in their home country. Meanwhile, a German citizen would pay 0% tax in the UAE and avoid income tax in Germany.
Other countries with tax treaties with the UAE include:
Steps and documents needed for an individual to get a Tax Residency Certificate in Dubai
The first step in applying for a tax residency certificate is to seek assistance from a UAE business expert such as the Meydan Free zone. We can assist with the entire process, advising on the best approach and liaising with relevant government bodies.
Your application should be made to the UAE Ministry of Finance. To obtain a tax residency certificate, you will need to supply some or all of the following documents:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your residency visa
- A copy of your Emirates ID
- Your latest salary certificate
- Six months’ worth of bank statements (validated)
- A certified copy of your lease agreement or tenancy contract
- Documentation from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs detailing the number of days you have been resident in the UAE
- Relevant tax forms from the country in which the certificate is to be submitted
Steps and documents needed for a company to get a Tax Residency Certificate in Dubai
The process of applying for a tax residency certificate for corporates in the UAE is the same as above. However, companies must provide the following documentation:
- A copy of your trade license
- Passport copies for all managers and shareholders
- Proof of residence visa copies for all managers and shareholders
- A certified copy of your latest audited financial statement
- Six months’ worth of corporate bank statements (validated)
- A certified copy of your business lease or tenancy agreement
- Copy of Emirates ID for all shareholders and managers
- Relevant tax forms from the country in which the certificate is to be submitted
In both cases, when applying with the help of an expert, the timeframe for obtaining a tax residency certificate is usually around two weeks.
As the process involves considerable knowledge of the UAE tax system, applying for a tax certificate alone can take much longer.
Cost of Tax Residency Certificate in Dubai, UAE
The cost of obtaining a tax residency certificate in Dubai, UAE, is approximately AED 2,000. There may be other fees involved for review and submission, depending on how you make your application.
What are the benefits of obtaining a UAE Tax Residency Certificate?
UAE investors benefit from access to international markets when setting up a business in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The added benefit of being a Tax Resident in the UAE and obtaining the UAE Tax Residency Certificate is to avoid double taxation and receive tax incentives by being a resident in the UAE. Individuals and companies are permitted to obtain separate UAE Tax Residency Certificate certificates, which allow income to be covered at the individual and corporate levels.
Your business structure and individual circumstances should be taken into account when planning your taxes. It is always a good idea to seek professional tax advice and accounting and finance support to ensure that your corporate structure and individual situation align with tax rules. In this way, you can maximize the benefits of UAE tax residency.
For a full breakdown of the cost, get in touch with Meydan Free zone.
Know more about business setup in Dubai with Meydan Free Zone
Meydan Free zone is a thriving, centrally located economic district with one of the most prestigious business addresses in the region.
We offer our businesses a host of innovative investment and lifestyle benefits in a secure, regulated environment that empowers productivity. And we can help you join them too.
Our expert team can assist the entire company formation journey, from registering your company name to managing your license and visa applications.
Whether you want to know more about running or relocating your existing business – or you’re laying the groundwork to launch a new enterprise – we can help.
And it couldn’t be easier to get started. All your individual business needs can be met with a smooth registration process, tailored packages, and assistance on-hand.
The UAE is known the world over as an open and welcoming business environment. It is one of many reasons why entrepreneurs from across the globe flock to live and work out here in the Emirates.
To remain on a level field with other business powerhouses such as the EU and US, the UAE implements a range of regulations aimed at avoiding money laundering.
In this article, we will explore the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) legislation, with a focus on:
- What is anti-money laundering?
- What are the AML laws in the UAE?
- Who needs to register for AML?
- What are the AML penalties in UAE?
What is anti-money laundering?
Anti-money laundering is the simple term for a set of legislation governing the source, maintenance and transfer of funds in the UAE. The aim of the legislation is to increase transparency and keep the country in line with other international jurisdictions.
This legislation comprises two specific laws: No 2/2002 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and No.1/2004 Counterterrorist financing (CTF).
Why is anti-money laundering important?
Anti-money laundering regulation is important as it gives businesses, governments and individuals greater confidence and peace of mind to trade within the UAE.
With a clearly defined and internationally recognised standard in place, the UAE can be proactive in combatting money laundering practices, give regulators and financial institutions the tools they need to tackle such crimes, and counter other serious law breaking such as the funding of terrorist groups and other malicious organisations.
What are the AML laws in the UAE?
Under the anti-money Federal Decree No. 20 of 2018, it is an offence to:
- Transfer or transport proceeds of crime with intent to conceal or disguise its illicit origin.
- Conceal or disguise the true nature, origin, location, way of disposition, movement or rights related to any proceeds or the ownership thereof.
- Acquire, possess or use such proceeds.
- Assist the perpetrator of the predicate offence to escape punishment.
To ensure complete adherence with anti-money laundering regulations, banks and other institutions such as insurers and brokers must comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines. This means such businesses must verify all customer ID and maintain transaction records for amounts over $545 for account holders, and $10,900 for non-account holders. These records must be kept for at least five years.
Who needs to register for AML?
AML legislation does not only apply to financial business. Banks, brokers, real estate agents, gem and precious metal dealers, auditors, accountants, and corporate service providers are just some of the other businesses that must register for and adhere to AML standards.
What are the AML penalties in the UAE?
The types of offences covered by anti-money laundering regulation range in severity from failing to spot suspicious activity to knowingly assisting it. The punishments for such offences range considerably too.
Fines for the most severe offences can reach AED 1m while the maximum jail sentence is ten years. Secondary offences such as failing to deter or report money laundering activity carry fines of up to AED 100,000. There is no minimum or maximum jail sentence for this type of offence.
Other notable offences and their punishments include:
AED 1m fine:
- Dealing with fake financial institutions
- Maintaining bank accounts with fake names
AED 200,00 fine:
- Failure to carry out due diligence
- Failure to respond to requests for information from authorities
- Tipping off customers about reports or investigations into suspicious activities
- Failure to determine the risk of crime
- Failure to verify identity before entering into a business relationship
- Failure to keep accurate records
AED 50,000 fine:
- Failure to take measures to reduce known risks
- Failure to set policies aimed at reducing crime
- Failure to continuously monitor clients throughout the business relationship
- Failure to appoint a compliance officer
Know more about UAE business with Meydan Free Zone
Meydan Free Zone is a thriving, centrally located economic district with one of the most prestigious business addresses in the region.
We offer our businesses a host of innovative investment and lifestyle benefits in a secure regulated environment that empowers productivity. And we can help you join them too.
Our expert team can assist across the entire company formation journey, from registering your company name to managing your license and visa applications.
Whether you want to know more about running or relocating your existing business – or you’re laying the groundwork to launch a new enterprise – we can help.
And it couldn’t be easier to get started. With a smooth registration process, tailored packages, and assistance on-hand, all your individual business needs can be met.
Isn’t it time you started your new business journey with Meydan Free Zone?
When Richard Branson dropped out of school aged 16, the then headteacher of Stowe School, Bob Drayson, told him, “I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire.” Bob was half right, right. Richard managed both.
In 1971, after getting caught evading purchase tax on vinyl records (falsely declared as export stock), 20-year-old record store owner Richard Branson spent a life-changing night in jail. Fifty years later, the 71-year-old billionaire travelled to space in a suborbital test flight for his company Virgin Galactic.
Reaching For The Stars (And Falling Short)
It’s a story to inspire anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit who’s getting a steer on their very own business journey. But it’s not a story of rags to riches: Stowe is an English (fee-paying) public school, and Branson certainly didn’t grow up in a posh neighbourhood. No, this is the story of how you can overcome business failures through driving, daring, and empowering others, which lead to astronomical success (and wealth).
And Branson didn’t just fail once. It’s arguably the accumulation of multiple Virgin-branded business failures that made Branson the iconic and inspiring entrepreneur he is today. His track record is a testament to the adage that people fail most succeed. In his daughter Holly’s words, “The earlier we learn to embrace failure as a positive rather than a negative, the healthier and happier we’ll be.”
Trained actors learn to fall safely. Successful entrepreneurs learn to fail. It’s from taking those wrong turns and having to get back on track where the greatest lessons can be learned. In Branson’s case, he learned to pivot. Prior to setting up his ill-fated discount record business, he’d left school to start his first business: ‘Student’ magazine. While it secured high-profile interviews, it struggled with cash flow, causing Branson to pivot to selling records.
Of course, selling records was just the start. Later, in the 1970s, he pivoted to recording and releasing music through Virgin Records. Building a successful back catalogue of releases – from Mike Oldfield to the Sex Pistols – the company eventually sold for a billion dollars in 1992.
So, while Branson’s businesses have come and gone, one thing has remained the same: his drive to keep going. With the simple philosophy of starting small and thinking big, anything is possible – if you’re always thinking about what might be next, how you can expand, and how to take your idea to the world. And if it’s not working out. Pivot.
Daring To Do Things Differently
Branson has always dared to be different, from his record-breaking hot air balloon crossing of the Pacific to his fastest ever crossing from Dover to Calais in an aquatic vehicle. He’s not afraid to be different. He prides himself on it. And Branson’s notoriety as a record-breaking daredevil feed into public perceptions of the Virgin empire.
Launched in 1994, the Virgin Cola brand was initially available on Virgin planes and in Virgin cinemas but was later released to the broader world. Initially successful in Europe, when the brand took on Coke and Pepsi in their home territory in the US, the company quickly went out of business.
Announcing Virgin Cola’s arrival in the US by driving a Sherman tank through a wall of their rivals’ cans in Times Square was an audacious marketing move. And while Virgin Cola won that battle, it lost out in the retail war, with rivals undercutting its prices and squeezing it out of the market.
It was a failure with a valuable lesson about branding your business. Whatever business you’re getting into, you need to be tangibly better than your competition. Your product needs to be unique. If it’s not, there’s no reason for a client or customer to choose you over a rival.
But being different doesn’t have to involve undertaking an elaborate world-record breaking challenge, or a promotional stunt like shaving off your beard, and dressing up in a bridal gown for your latest venture into bridal wear stores.
Being different means setting your brand apart from your competitors. In the Internet age, that can be done cost-effectively through informed brand design, a professional website, and the right marketing communication via your social media channels.
Empowering Others Around You
The Virgin Group has a people-first approach to its workforce. Rather than expecting new employees to fit into a predetermined type, they look for people who will add to their culture. Promoting itself as an inclusive workplace, the Virgin Group’s philosophy is simple yet effective: if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your business.
Employee well-being sits right at the heart of the best companies and organisations. Leaders who look for the best in others create a culture of positive feedback. And by building confidence in others, they feel empowered to suggest improvements, which drives better services and employee satisfaction. Additionally, involvement in running the organisation generates a feeling of collective ownership.
Branson also gives back to the local business community with the likes of the Virgin Startup organisation, which provides British entrepreneurs with loans, mentoring programs, and support systems. This dramatically affects his reputation and the loyalty of those around him.
Whether you’re a single-person start-up or an established business looking to expand, positioning yourself as a company that cares can have significant benefits down the line. Because one day, the people you interact with could be future business partners, competitors, or customers.
No Reward Without Risk
Ultimately, as typified by Branson, commercial success is a heady mix of taking risks and knowing when to walk away, celebrating wins, and not being afraid of failure.
At the end of the day, one takeaway is clear in analysing the business greats of our time: They were all bold – and we know that fortune favours the bold. So, if you’re looking for significant results, you will have to go all in.
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With every passing year, the ecosystem for SMEs in the UAE becomes ever more favourable. The Government has gone to great lengths to help small businesses, acknowledging the key role SMEs play in the UAE’s economy.
Currently, 94% of all companies in the UAE are SMEs – around 350,000 in all. In Dubai alone, they employ 42% of the workforce and contribute 40% of GDP.
But there’s more to successful startups than just ecosystems. From getting your marketing right to creating agile enterprises, founders must focus on specific strategies to ensure growth. So what can your startup do to become part of the UAE’s SME success story?
1. Focus on your marketing plan
Your product or service could be the best thing since the wheel, but nobody will buy from you if nobody’s heard of you. So it’s essential to grow your profile, which will come down to good marketing.
How Content Marketing Can Help
Content marketing aims to talk to prospects from a position of trust. By offering something for nothing, e.g. in the form of advice or insights, you can grow your company profile without the turn-off of a hard sell or the mistrust of advertising.
Collect prospects’ e-mail addresses with a newsletter sign-up on your website, create your audience and build your profile. But make sure you use it to deliver varied, non-commercial content like articles, infographics or videos.
Prospects want to be engaged by marketing and expect to take away some value. Give them what they want, and they’re more likely to convert into customers. Write a blog that demonstrates expertise and drives visitors to your website. SMEs that blog regularly and often see a 126% higher lead generation than those that don’t.
In addition to your media (website), distribute your content through social media, in-person sponsored events and paid search advertising to maximise your reach.
2. Stay Relevant, Versatile And Open To Change
Being flexible is key to growing your startup past a certain point. Versatility means you can adapt your products and services quickly when required. If you can react to changes fast, you’ll be able to grow.
Disruptors are everywhere. Nobody can predict the future, but founders need to be able to pivot or adapt if emerging trends come out of the blue.
How To Keep Your Company Agile
While a long-term vision can be useful for some things, such as recruitment or brand identity, your business strategy should be planned half-yearly or yearly. It would be best if you were ready to pivot regularly.
Some startups execute a business plan, whereas agile, lean startups look for one. Startups looking for a business model that works for them, rather than sticking to an existing one, give themselves the breathing space and flexibility to do more than adjust their products; they can make substantive changes if something isn’t going according to plan and then pivot successfully.
Many successful startups bounce from one failure to another in their first few months, innovating and adapting as they go. Crucially, they discover that business plans don’t develop as part of any grand scheme.
3. Concentrate On What Works And Sells – Don’t Try To Fix What Doesn’t
One of the most complex challenges of growing a small business is listening to the market and accepting when to stop trying to sell products or services for which there is no demand. Every second spent trying to correct or improve a failing offer is time that should be spent maximising a successful one.
How To Maximise Your Successes
Get inside your customer’s mind. Talk to them, listen to their needs, and ask what they like and don’t like and how they would improve it. Potential customers are more likely to focus on what’s wrong with your offering and why it won’t solve their problems than they are to praise its benefits. But don’t worry; that will also give you an accurate picture of what’s working and what will sell, even if it’s by elimination.
Being agile means implementing an iterative product development process – going back to your customer for constant adjustments and improvements. From this, you’ll get your product out sooner, while the demand is still strong, and you’ll gain insights that wouldn’t be available if you adopted a more linear approach.
4. Encourage A Learning Environment
This principle is crucial for attracting the right fit employee for your startup culture and future growth. It would help if you had your staff be at the top of their game in an ever-changing environment.
Without implementing a learning environment, you are unlikely to be able to attract the best candidates. Career growth and development opportunities rank high on the priority list for millennials, with nearly 90% believing a learning environment is essential. The same is true for 70% of non-millennials. It’s also one of the biggest influences on retention.
How To Establish A Learning Environment
This may sound counterintuitive, but it helps to encourage failure. Failures provide valuable lessons for all, and encouraging failure emboldens employees to innovate and create. By framing failure as a learning opportunity, you will be helping to put in place the right people with the right attitude to drive your company forward.
Focus less on rewarding achievements and more on celebrating effort and learning. Recognising effort, improvement and growth tend to motivate employees and vastly improve their willingness to tackle complex tasks, find solutions and accept new challenges.
In part, your startup’s future growth depends on how you develop these strategies. So, get noticed quickly, understand what sells, stay agile and relevant and learn as you go.
Vital for business growth and transformation, a good COO has vision, experience, knowledge, and an uncanny understanding of how people work. They are strategic, data-driven, and adaptable.
Simply put, they would be the ideal person to advise you on how to grow your startup. With that in mind, here’s some key advice a good COO will likely give a fledging business looking to move forward.
Optimise your Workflow
No matter your business model’s strength, you won’t get very far unless you can optimise your operational workflow. Workflow is essential; it’s how you get things done – the series of processes you must complete to achieve a repeatable business goal.
What Would a COO Advise?
First off, look at your existing workflow and identify paint points that are slowing down your processes. Automating some mundane, repetitive tasks, such as invoicing, is possible. Investing in accountancy software can help to streamline the invoicing process while automatically keeping your bookkeeping up to date.
Are your employees working to their best abilities? Which parts of the processes are slowing them down? It could be a lack of the information they need or waiting for approvals that aren’t necessary. Again, automation of some tasks or cutting them out means your skilled workers have more time to focus on what they’re good at.
Lack of communication can be a significant bugbear in an operational workflow. A solid communications system is vital whether in-house collaboration between teams or keeping in contact with remote workers. There’s a massive choice of business collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom to help teams communicate more effectively.
Delegate Downwards, Support Upwards
If you want to move onwards and upwards, you’ll have to trust your workers – in other words, learn to delegate.
The ability to delegate effectively is a skill in itself. It can be hard to let go, especially in the early days of a new business when you want to do it all yourself.
Benefits of effective delegation:
- Increasing employees’ responsibilities can motivate them to do a better job rather than micro-managing their every move.
- It gives you a better understanding of your workers’ strengths and weaknesses, so you can assign tasks that are better suited to them.
- Delegating minor tasks to low-skilled team members means higher-skilled members can focus on ‘essential’ tasks more suited to their talents.
- Delegation not only helps you empower team members but will also ensure the load is shared, giving the management the time to focus on growing the company.
How to Get the Best Out of Talented Workers
A good COO knows how to get the best out of talented workers by presenting them with opportunities to demonstrate and develop their skills.
- Start by delegating small tasks, then reward a job well done with more responsibility – if you want your team to grow successfully, they need to feel they’re trusted.
- Be transparent – give them the information and details they need to carry out the task autonomously.
- Don’t micro-manage – leave them to complete a task on their terms but let them know you’re there if they need support. · Use feedback both ways – congratulate a job well done and offer constructive criticism where needed. Ask your workers for their thoughts on the tasks you’ve given them.
- Encourage them to learn new skills – delegation can be a way of teaching new skills while giving your workers hands-on experience.
Trust the Data
A good COO uses data to guide their decision-making. It’s easy to make the wrong move based on your gut instinct or poor advice from your fellow management.
Analyzing data to gain insights into your customers, competitors and industry mean you have the valuable information you need to identify new business opportunities that can give you a competitive edge. Useful data analysis can also help identify problems holding you back and improve your processes.
You can use big data to:
- Personalise your customer journey based on their browsing and buying behaviour.
- Respond to consumer likes and dislikes by analysing their requests, queries, and feedback.
- Test out your marketing campaigns with different variations of the same promotion to see which ones have more success.
- Identify and address customer pain points so you can make improvements and offer solutions.
- Predict future trends through data analytics and respond to changes in the market more quickly.
How to Achieve Growth in Business
If a business wants to grow, it needs to have a data-driven culture – from the top management down. So, what can you do to achieve that?
- Make sure everyone is onboard and comfortable with data. It’s not there to quell or dismiss originality, creativity, and ideas but to facilitate decision-making by offering solid and measurable results.
- Introduce data training so all levels can develop their skills.
- Use a centralised data referral point to ensure transparency and accuracy across the board.
- Be prepared for change – introduce new technologies to replace older systems and streamline your data processing.
- Listen to the data – you’ll need to be flexible and ready to adapt your processes and strategies based on the information the data gives you.
Know When to Grow
While it’s exciting to take your startup to the next level, the advice of a good COO would be “don’t run until you can walk.” Before you rush in by looking for a more suitable location, more staff, and more funding, ask yourself if your company is ready to expand.
Look to your customers for guidance:
- Have you built a regular client base – repeat orders and a continuing demand for your product or services?
- Are satisfied customers asking for more products and services? – look at their buying trends and patterns – if they’re asking for something you don’t yet have, it may be time to start investing.
- Are you taking on more business than you can handle? – if a growing customer base is exhausting your resources, it may be time to hire more workers and move to a larger facility.
A final word of advice…
Know the difference between a goal and a commitment. A goal has an end line you work towards in the hope of achieving it. A commitment is something you should work on constantly. Your commitment to your customers should be never-ending. Understanding them and committing 100% to their needs is one of the best ways to grow your business naturally and sustainably.
Meydan Free Zone is an economic-rich free zone in Dubai. Set in a strategic location near Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, with proximity to the Dubai Logistics Corridor, the free zone offers an end-to-end digital platform.
The customers can benefit from incorporating licenses with 3,500 mixed-use business activities with an instant digital IBAN, visa applications, and other ancillary services, allowing companies to become a part of a thriving, strategically positioned economic hub.
Meydan Free Zone is a fully integrated community where customers are offered a safe place to live and call home, a world-class infrastructure from where they can work, and a community that can rejuvenate at play.