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start a business while being employed

Yes, you can start a business in Dubai while being employed if you get a license from select free zones, like Meydan Free Zone. Thanks to changes in UAE law, many free zones do not require employed individuals to provide permission from a current employer.

When approaching a free zone, they will inform you of whether you require a no objection certificate from your current employer to obtain a license.

For easy and immediate business setup, contact the team at Meydan Free Zone for a personalized quote.

Apply Now

Can you start a business while still being employed in Dubai?

Yes, you can start a business while being employed in Dubai, providing you get your business license from select free zones like Meydan Free Zone that don’t require a no objection certificate. However, if you are considering setting up your business in a free zone that requires one, you will need to make sure you have your current employer’s permission.

Asking your current employer for a no objection letter in Dubai can raise certain difficulties. In some industries – and depending on the nature of the work you do – employers may refuse your request.

In some companies, for example, employers will be unhappy about providing a no objection certificate because of concerns about competition, trade secrets, or compliance and security. If your current employer fears that you may quit their business and take some of their customers with you, they may refuse to provide your no objection certificate.

If your current employer refuses to provide a no objection certificate, you may simply have to leave your job and start your business once you are no longer working for them. If so, you’ll need to check what this means for your visa status if you are a foreign national.

However, most employers are reasonable and will understand that you are following a personal dream when setting up a company – especially if it won’t be in competition with them (e.g., someone leaving a software company to start their dream coffee shop). Many employers will be supportive and happy to provide a no objection certificate.


UAE labour laws

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation overhauled existing labour laws in the UAE to align the region with international best practices. These include an extended probationary period of 14 days, a new law offering protection for employees against bullying and sexual harassment and 60 days maternity leave.

The UAE has also introduced new legislation around part-time and flexible working. Under the new rules, part-time employees are expressly recognised and entitled to vacation leave on a pro-rated basis. It also acknowledges that an employee can work remotely or start a business with the employer’s approval.

Under the new legislation, resigning employees are also entitled to a full end-of-service gratuity, providing they have completed at least one full year of service. Before this, employees were only entitled to the money after five years of service. You can read the full laws here, https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/laws-and-regulations/laws.aspx.

Why Do Entrepreneurs Choose Meydan Free Zone?

Meydan Free Zone is a business hub in central Dubai, right by the Meydan golf course and racecourse. Besides major financial incentives to launch your business at our free zone (including a 0% tax rate and 100% foreign ownership), we also provide a variety of other forms of support, including:

  • MoFA Approved:Our business licenses are approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE making your business ownership legitimate.
  • Meydan Pay: Our easy-to-use banking solution which gives you a bank account and IBAN instantly to start sending and receiving payments.
  • Easy Payment Plans: We have partnered with reputable banks to help spread the cost of starting your business. A number of banks have partnered with us, including ADCB, Commercial Bank of Dubai, FAB, and Emirates Islamic.
  • Meydan Commerce: Our unique support service helps businesses start selling products online via websites like Amazon and Noon. Powered by our tailor-made solution, you can benefit from perks such as product listing optimization, onboarding, marketing, vendor management, store setup and Amazon prime listing and delivery.

Contact our business advisors for more information about the benefits of setting up and scaling your business in Meydan Free Zone.

Apply Now

How to get a Meydan Free Zone license?

Getting a Meydan Free Zone license is very straightforward. Once you have received your no objection certificate from your current employer, you simply need to complete the following steps on our website to begin your free zone application:

  • Submit your applicationStep 1: Submit your application, along with a completed Know Your Customer (KYC) form
  • security and government approvalsStep 2: Wait for security and government approvals – which typically takes just one or two days
  • Your license is issuedStep 3: Your license is issued with your banking IBAN

Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our FAQs to learn more about starting a business while you are employed by someone else in Dubai, UAE.

Can I start a business if I am already employed?

Yes, you can start a business if you are already employed by someone else in the United Arab Emirates. If you decide to set up your business in select free zones like Meydan, you will not need to obtain an NOC.

For example, an unemployed woman on a husband’s visa can start a business without an NOC. She can remain on her husband’s visa while running her company too.

Can I do business on a work visa in Dubai?

Yes, you are allowed to do business while on a work visa in the UAE, provided you have a license from select free zones like Meydan Free Zone. If you have chosen to do business in a freezone that requires permission from your current employer, you will need to ensure you have an NOC.

Can your employer stop you from starting a business?

It depends. If you decide to start your business in select free zones such as Meydan Free Zone that do not require an NOC, you will not require permission from your current employer. They may refuse this request because of concerns about competition, trade secrets, or other security or compliance reasons.

That being said, they cannot stop you from starting a business if you decide to leave the company – although you will need to first check how this will affect your current visa situation.

Starting a business while still employed in Dubai is made easier in select free zones, like Meydan Free Zone. In other free zones, so long as you have a no objection certificate, starting a business is completely legal. If you are unsure about any of the steps involved in getting a no objection certificate for Dubai, or need support with your application, contact Meydan Free Zone today for advice on business setup in Dubai.

Our highly experienced business setup consultants have worked with many entrepreneurs like you who have started businesses while still employed by someone else. This means we can guide you through this process and help you start your business fast.

Apply for MOFA approved license now!


Like the Dubai skyline, the digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Whether you’re running a startup or a global business based in the MENA region, staying up to date with current trends in digital marketing can help define your marketing strategy.

The CMO Survey reports that marketing budgets are returning to pre-pandemic levels. As compared with last year, marketing professionals report an 11.8% increase in budgets. Since the turn of the century, annual marketing-related spending has averaged over 10% and is expected to continue growing.


So how are marketers using their budgets? What might the future hold for digital marketing in 2023? How can you leverage those trends to get the best results for your business? Let’s look at how marketing dollars will be allocated in 2023 and beyond.

This blog will share the top 5 digital marketing trends to get ahead of in 2023. Take advantage of these trends to reach new and potential customers.

1. The Metaverse Hype

Metaverse describes a combination of virtual reality and mixed reality worlds accessed through a browser or headset, allowing people to have real-time interactions and experiences across distances.

With this technology, people can participate in social activities, and entertainment like never before as Metaverse is built upon the concepts of presence, immersion, and interactivity.

People often compare the new-age virtual world to online games. However, there are significant differences:

Five Digital Marketing Trends

Key Metaverse Statistics 2022

2. An Omnichannel Approach to Marketing

Omnichannel marketing offers the most potent benefits among all the digital marketing strategies available today. Every year, marketers are better able to fulfill the original promise of marketing: having the right message at the right time to the right person. With omnichannel marketing, marketers can provide customers with a personalised experience across all channels.


Not only do these efforts make the user experience smoother, but they also increase customer loyalty, sales, and brand recognition. With time, omnichannel marketing efforts have become more prevalent to boost customer retention and revenue.

3. Implementing Artificial Intelligence

The science of artificial intelligence (AI) aims to build machines that think the same as humans, thereby revolutionizing digital marketing. The use of artificial intelligence can help make the right decisions quickly in the following areas of business:

In 2023, AI will become more critical for businesses to improve customer experiences, not just for meeting their immediate needs. With the help of artificial intelligence, machines can now perform tasks that previously required human intelligence. These activities include:

With the aid of artificial intelligence, marketers can predict trends and spot them early. They can decide how to spend their money and whom to target based on these facts. Brands can devote their time and money to more valuable activities instead of useless digital advertising. By using AI, businesses can also make smarter and more targeted ads.


4. Social Media Marketing

Modern digital marketing relies heavily on social media. To rule your target market in 2023, you should aggressively market and advertise on social media. Keep yourself up to date with social media marketing trends in 2023, so you can choose the best strategies for your business.

As of 2022, there are approximately 4.59 billion social media users worldwide. This is an increase from the 2.5 billion users in 2017. There is a growing trend toward using social media even more in the future. However, Experts predict that the most popular platforms will lose many users to new ones.

Here are the top 5 social media trends to watch in 2023.

  1. Leveraging Video Content

    Video content can significantly impact your digital marketing strategy, no matter what kind of business one runs, what products or services one sell, or whom one wants to reach. According to WYZOwl, 94% of marketers believe video content helps users understand products and services better.

    Videos are an excellent way to help potential buyers learn about products or services. The Internet is already obsessed with video content, and as this mania grows, so will video content creation.

  2. im for User-Generated Content (UGC)

    With more consumers turning to social networks and web content instead of traditional advertising methods, authentic UGC is growing in power.

    A user-generated content strategy can help businesses connect with their target audience and give them a sense of identity that is genuine and human. By building trust and credibility with potential clients, they can stand out from the crowd with their mass-marketing campaigns.


  3. Micro-Influencer Marketing

    There has been more than a double-digit increase in the size of the global influencer marketing market since 2019. In 2022, the market was valued at 16 billion dollars; by 2027, it is expected to reach 337 million.

    While this type of social media marketing is not new in 2023, companies can build stronger relationships with their target audiences by partnering with long-term “brand ambassadors.” In turn, brands can establish long-term relationships with their influencer partners from these mutually beneficial collaborations, while influencers may maintain trust with their audiences by promoting the same brand over time.


As the richest man in the world (as of January 2022) and founder of several global companies, Elon Musk can be a fantastic inspiration for any entrepreneur. Musk is the man behind companies like PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, and his vision and innovations have had an incredible global impact. Anyone looking to start a company can learn from this impressive – if sometimes controversial – entrepreneur.

Elon Musk was born in South Africa in the city of Pretoria. After a childhood he described as challenging, he went to Canada to study before eventually moving to Silicon Valley in California. After quitting his Ph.D. in physics on the second day of the course, Elon Musk began working as an entrepreneur at the beginning of the dot.com boom, with his first success being a website called Zip2 which he sold to Altavista for millions of dollars at the age of 27.

He was instrumental in launching PayPal, which has become one of the world’s leading financial technology companies, before leaving the firm in the early 2000s. He then went on to invest his money in Tesla, an electric car and renewable energy firm which has transformed the auto industry worldwide. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX, which has successfully launched private rockets beyond the atmosphere. This Multi-business entrepreneur is also behind firms like the Boring Company and https://neuralink.com/.

Musk has courted controversy throughout his career, often making outlandish statements and occasionally behaving unusually. His active Twitter account – and sometimes ironic statements and claims – have attracted lots of attention.

In January 2022, Elon Musk had a net worth of $278 billion, making him the wealthiest man in the world at the time of writing.

Elon Musk is the classic maverick entrepreneur. So, what can other would-be business owners learn from him?

Five Lessons to Learn from Elon Musk

Here are five lessons that every entrepreneur can learn from the example of Tesla and PayPal founder Elon Musk.

1. Hard work pays

Working hard will pay off if you want to create a successful company. Elon Musk has reported that he frequently works 80-to-100-hour weeks. The reason he works such long hours is simple. He argues that by working so many hours, an entrepreneur could achieve as much in four months as someone else working 40-hour weeks would in a whole year.

While there’s no doubt that Elon Musk is naturally very talented, his work ethic shows that successful entrepreneurialism is just as much about putting in hard graft as it is about being born with any particular skills.

Take away for entrepreneurs: If you want to make your business a success, there is no substitute for putting in the hard work and long hours. As Musk’s example shows, hard work does pay off.

2. Start with a vision

Many people interested in entrepreneurialism are initially driven by money or status. But, at least according to the example set by Elon Musk, this would be the wrong approach. Musk has been driven by a vision to improve the world with all his companies. Let’s see how:

PayPal Tesla SpaceX
The goal was to transform banking and make it easier for people to buy and sell goods online. The vision was to help the world tackle climate change by producing desirable and powerful electric cars that could support the transition to a green mode of transport. With SpaceX, Musk’s vision is to support humanity’s colonisation of other planets.

Elon Musk sets his sights high for his businesses. He has made it clear that he never begins by thinking about how he can make more money with one business idea. Instead, by focusing on a big vision, he and his employees are much more motivated.

Takeaway for entrepreneurs: Whether you want to fundamentally make the world a better place or run a successful company, the lesson is clear: while the money motive is useful, you will be much more inspired – if your goal is to achieve a particular vision. Decide what you want to accomplish with your business idea, which can keep you motivated through the tough times!

3. Hire Good People

Elon Musk is famous for surrounding himself with the very best staff. His employees include designers and scientists headhunted from leading businesses, scientific institutions, and academia from the best universities. But besides surrounding himself with very talented employees, Elon Musk has also emphasised hiring people with a ‘good heart.’ He chooses individuals motivated by doing the right thing – which means they will not ultimately damage the business’s reputation through greed or bad behaviour.

10 Ways The Biggest Companies Hire The Best And Brightest Talent

Take away for entrepreneurs: When you are hiring staff, it is of When hiring staff, it is vital to seek out people who are well qualified for the role and fit your company’s culture. But more than this, choosing people with the right attitude and mentality is crucial.

4. Read Extensively

Elon Musk is an avid reader – at the age of nine, he read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica! Musk says he reads widely and deeply on many topics, from physics to philosophy to science fiction. By continually learning about different topics and expanding his knowledge, this serial entrepreneur is constantly inspired to learn how to do new things.

Take away for entrepreneurs: Never stop trying to learn new things! Once you have achieved a certain level of success, it can be easy to sit on your laurels – but Elon Musk’s example shows the value of being open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

5. Rethink the Fundamentals to be Disruptive

Elon Musk is well known for disrupting several industries – from banking to the automotive trade to space travel. He has achieved this by trying to rethink the fundamentals of the different industries he has entered. Rather than trying to do the same thing as someone else simply but in a slightly different way, Elon Musk prefers to go back to the basics and re-engineer entirely how specific industries work.

For example, with Tesla, his electric car company, Elon Musk rethought how a car’s engine could work – replacing the internal combustion engine with a battery pack instead.

Take away for entrepreneurs: If you want to be successful in business, don’t simply be a copycat offering a similar service to what other companies already do. Instead, go back to the fundamentals of your industry or sector and find new ways to approach the entire industry.

Business Setup in Dubai with Meydan Free Zone

If you are inspired by Elon Musk’s example and want to set up your business in Dubai, the Meydan Free Zone is the perfect environment to launch your company. Meydan Free Zone offers a great mixture of quality office space, location, easy business setup, and an environment that encourages success – it brings together all the things you need to start your company in Dubai.


It is very straightforward to get started in the Meydan Free Zone. The location offers tailored packages and assistance on hand to ensure that all your specific business needs are met.

If you’re inspired by Elon Musk and are ready to set up your Dubai business, choose the Meydan Free Zone.

To find out more, visit our website, or get in touch with us via setup@meydanfz.ae or 800FZ1.

If you prefer, you can visit us at Meydan Free Zone Business Centre, Mezzanine Floor, Meydan Hotel, Meydan Rd, Nad Al Sheba 1, Dubai, UAE.


Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest men in world history, with a personal fortune of $205 billion. The American entrepreneur behind Amazon, AWS, Blue Origin and several other successful ventures is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of all time. Amazon, the firm he started in 1994, has an estimated value of $1.7 trillion and is the world’s biggest e-commerce website, with multiple subsidiaries worldwide. For any entrepreneur, the story of Jeff Bezos and his incredible success can serve as valuable inspiration.

Jeff Bezos was born in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1964 and graduated from Princeton University in 1986 with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Bezos began his career working on Wall Street, the US’s financial centre. However, in 1994 he founded Amazon, which began its life as an online bookstore but soon expanded to sell various e-commerce products and services. The website allowed customers to buy practically anything they could ever desire in the so-called ‘everything store’.

Bezos’s other companies are also worldwide successes, with Amazon Web Services being one of the world’s most excellent cloud computer and artificial intelligence providers. Meanwhile, his Blue Origin aerospace business has recently begun providing suborbital space flight tourism.

E-Commerce License Dubai, UAE: Everything You Need To Know

If you are thinking of starting your own business, there is a lot you can learn from this inspirational corporate leader. Here are five lessons for every entrepreneur from Jeff Bezos.

Follow The Regret Minimisation Framework

How do you decide to quit a secure job and launch a business that may or may not work out as planned? For Jeff Bezos, the answer can be found in his philosophy, which he describes as the ‘regret minimisation framework’.

Early in his career, Bezos realised that the Internet was likely to transform the world in the coming years, and he decided to quit his safe job working on Wall Street and set up Amazon, which started life as an online bookstore. This was a bold move; almost no one had done anything like this at the time. But for Bezos, taking the decision was easy.

Bezos suggests would-be entrepreneurs should think about how they would feel at the age of 80 when they look back on their life. Bezos has said: “I want to have minimised the number of regrets I have”. By launching Amazon, Bezos was convinced he would not regret the decision when he turned 80 – even if it didn’t work out.

How Can You Use This? The regret minimisation framework can help guide your decision-making if you consider setting up your own business. Will you regret starting your own business? While launching your own company can be scary, there’s an even bigger chance that you would regret staying in an unsatisfying yet safe job throughout your career.

Be Customer-Obsessed

Since its first launch, Amazon has expounded a philosophy of customer obsession. The firm is continually looking to find ways to improve the customer experience. This isn’t just about giving people good quality service, but it is instead about creating a product or service that people cannot live without.

Bezos has explained that from the beginning, Amazon was always about giving customers incredible value – whether offering free deliveries, offering next-day delivery or improving its product recommendation algorithm.

How Can You Use This? Being customer obsessed is constantly thinking about how your products or services directly benefit and deliver value to your target audience. It is about relentlessly seeking ways to improve the customer experience and never sitting on your laurels. It is also about listening to feedback and proactively doing things which make your customers’ lives easier.

Make Your Value Exceed All The Costs

To understand the scale of Amazon’s success, it is important to consider how the Internet worked in the mid-1990s. At the time, there were many barriers to buying on the Internet – dial-up connections were slow, e-commerce websites were new and untrusted, and many people couldn’t see the benefit of ordering something online rather than buying it at a brick-and-mortar store instead. For many people, going online was an honest effort, so Amazon needed to convince them that it would be worth it.

And this is what making your value exceed the costs is all about.
Amazon focuses on offering low cost, fast delivery, enormous selection, and convenience to all customers using its services. The idea was to become the most compelling option for customers. This value helped overcome many people’s reticence about shopping online – and the rest is history.

Over time, Amazon has ensured its value exceeds the costs several times. For example, the Amazon Prime streaming service initially cost $79 per year and required upfront payment. This was a big ask, but customers could see the value exceeded the cost. Prime came with perks, such as free delivery on purchases, which made it seem like a worthwhile investment. Thanks to this innovation, Amazon has retained huge numbers of loyal customers, so many instinctively turn to its website before looking for products elsewhere on the Internet.

How Can You Use This? Whatever kind of company you are setting up, you need to take the time to consider all the potential obstacles that customers will see when it comes to using your products or services. Whether location, time, price, or anything else, you need to understand the barriers they will perceive when using your products or services. You will then need to find ways to eliminate those barriers or show that the value you offer exceeds those costs.

Fear Customers, Not Competitors

Jeff Bezos once famously said businesses shouldn’t be afraid of competitors because they won’t send you money. Instead, avoid customers “because those are the folks who have the money”.

Bezos was trying to say that if businesses spend too much time worrying about what other companies are doing, they may lose sight of the people who matter.

How Can You Use This? While some competitor analysis can be useful when running your company, you ultimately want to focus most of your attention on your customers, their wants and needs. Learn what they expect from your business and ways you can delight them. By focusing on your customers – not your competitors – you’re much more likely to succeed.

Focus On The Long Term

Many businesses, especially those that go public, are continually under pressure to deliver results to their shareholders every quarter. While running Amazon, Jeff Bezos certainly experienced this pressure from investors who wanted a quick return – rather than thinking about long-term profitability. Nevertheless, Jeff Bezos always focused on the long term, which meant that he sometimes made investments that didn’t initially pay off but which, in the long run, would lead to much greater revenue.

For instance, the Amazon Prime Video streaming service initially lost Amazon money and only started to pay dividends many years after the initial launch of the service. This long-term profitability would not have been possible if Bezos only focused on short-term targets.

How Can You Use This? Be prepared to make investments or structural changes which don’t initially bear fruit. By sticking to your vision, you can expect long-term growth.

Business Setup In Dubai With Meydan Free Zone

If you are an entrepreneur in Dubai, the Meydan Free Zone offers a fantastic base for your entrepreneurial ambitions. The Meydan Free Zone is an economic district and one of the most prestigious addresses in the country. Close to the emirate’s key financial and commercial hubs, it offers the perfect location for any entrepreneur who wishes to grow their business, just like Jeff Bezos.

The free zone offers a great mixture of investment and lifestyle benefits and allows you to live and work on Meydan’s premium mixed-use developments. You will have access to high-quality office space at the same time as living within an elegant lifestyle community

Start Your Business Now With 1,042 Per Month 

It is incredibly easy to get started in the Meydan Free Zone, with a smooth registration process, tailored packages and assistance on hand to ensure all your individual business needs are met.

If you are inspired by the example of great entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, make the Meydan Free Zone the place you begin your journey to entrepreneurial success.

To find out more, visit our website, or get in touch with us via setup@meydanfz.ae or 800FZ1.

If you prefer, you can visit us at Meydan Free Zone Business Centre, Mezzanine Floor, Meydan Hotel, Meydan Rd, Nad Al Sheba 1, Dubai, UAE.

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