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27 July, 2020

14 Steps to a Successful Business Setup

Once a business owner successfully completes a business setup in Dubai, the business operations can commence in full flow. Along with the formal company registration, the business may continue to engage with business advisory services in Dubai for smoother service delivery in an optimized fashion. To know more about the business advisory services in Dubai that a new company must look for, do read our earlier column here.

However, prior to engaging with business advisory services in Dubai, it is important to know the steps involved in a company registration process and to get a refresher on the business setup policies.

1. Engage the Right Business Advisory Services in Dubai

The business consultancy or a business advisory services provider in Dubai is your valuable asset, for the right market entry. In order to obtain much more advantage in the entire company registration process, it would be prudent to identify a business consultancy company correctly.

2. Identify the Jurisdiction for Company Registration

In UAE, the business setup policies allow a new company registration to be successfully completed in either mainland or a free zone jurisdiction.

The first step for a business setup in Dubai is therefore to identify what jurisdiction would work best for your business. We had covered the differences between the two jurisdictions in a detailed column earlier this month. You can access the blog article here

There are advantages with a free zone setup in terms of initial setup cost and recurring renewal expenses, while for a mainland business setup in Dubai there are advantages in terms of ability to expand your business and also to leverage on your local business partner.

3. Identify the Business Activity for Company Registration

Depending on the business activity for which you complete your business setup in Dubai, there is a significant difference in the requirement of a local business partner. For instance, if you are to operate in real estate, you must necessarily complete your company registration in mainland Dubai.

The smart approach in this stage would be to utilize business advisory services in Dubai. Companies in this line of service like CBS provide value addition in terms of reduced time and effort for critical document processing work with the Government. They are also well-versed in the business setup policies as per the regulatory requirement. It is advised to commence the company registration with as many business activities as you need. Adding activities at a later stage would require an amendment, which leads to some added paperwork and costs.

Usually, the business activity classifies license into 3 types:-

  • Professional license, usually for consultancy and service delivery activities;
  • Commercial license, typically for activities involving commercial trade; and
  • Industrial license, mostly for heavy industries, factories and production

4. Determine the Right Legal Structure for Business Setup in Dubai

The available legal structures for company registration have been highlighted in detail in one of our earlier blog columns this month. You may read it in detail here

The most common legal structures are

  • Limited Liability Company or LLC;
  • Sole proprietorship;
  • Civil Company;
  • Single Ownership Company (for UAE nationals);

There are other structures available such as a Branch of UAE company, branch of a foreign company and branch of a free zone company, but most of them require the appointment of a local service agent.

5. Identify the Right Local Business Partner for Company Registration

There can be strong leverage and a strategic advantage for businesses if the local business partner is properly utilized. In short, the local business partner or local service agent is your gateway to wider expansion within the UAE market and it is smart business sense to use the advantage that you have just a phone call away.

6. Determine the Trade Name for Your Business Setup In Dubai

The positive perception and openness that you radiate among the business community and public would not only arise from your business vision and values but well before that is established, it is your company trade name. A good and positive trade name can take a business far ahead into growth.

In this stage, your business consultancy or business advisory in Dubai would advise you to take at least 4 – 5 options in English name (with matching translated Arabic phrases) for ease of reserving the trade name in the jurisdiction of the license issuing authority.

7. Get all required Documents for Your Company Registration

One of the advantages of utilizing the business consultancy or business advisory services in Dubai, is that all the necessary documents for your business setup in Dubai would be handled by the experts. Whether it be the personal documents such as passport/visa, or company documents such as memorandum and articles of association, the business consultancy company would manage all the requirements as per business setup policies.

8. Initial Approval as per Business Setup Policies

Submitting all necessary documents and making the initial payment, would mean that in principle, the license-issuing authority has agreed for the trade license based on documents shown, with support of a business consultancy or business advisory in Dubai. From here onwards, the actual trade license issue requires a few additional documents to be produced as is the standard practice based on the business setup policies.

In this stage, please do ensure that all details of company owners, business activities and local service agents are all properly printed, as this would be the same details that would appear on your final trade license upon the issue.

9. Office Leasing and Tenancy Agreement for Company Registration

In order to successfully complete the business setup in Dubai, it is mandatory to demonstrate that the business has taken up an office space, usually within the jurisdiction of the license issuing authority. The office space may vary from a simple workstation up to a large private office space – and this has been covered in one of our earlier columns here

10. External Government approvals for Business Setup in Dubai

Some business activities and license types require the approval from other Government bodies, such as the Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Municipality, Security Regulatory Agency, Ministry of Climate and Change, or any other Government body. This is not mandated for all business activities during company registration, however, it is mandatory for some such activities. Your business advisory in Dubai should be able to guide you on the requirement.

11. Notary process for Company Registration

In order to ensure that all the required parties have completely and legally been involved in the business setup in Dubai, a notary process is required. This will legalize the memorandum of association and formally consider the business as having been legally formed. Typically the license issuing authority would allow the notary process to happen privately within their premises or systems. The memorandum of association also follows a standard template in most cases. The process is mainly required for the business owners and the local service agent / local business partner.

12. Final document Submission for Business Setup in Dubai

Now, the last step involves the resubmission of all documents (company, individual, initial approval, tenancy agreement, notarized memorandum of association and external approvals if applicable). In this stage, the business owner is taking the initial approval, provided in principle, and confirming that the approval stands valid. This is done by a comprehensive submission of documents and payment of final license fees. Your business advisory in Dubai should be able to help you with the due process.

13. Trade License Issue as per Business Setup Policies

After all the processes are completed, it is required to finally collect the printed copy of your trade license.

14. Start focus on post-license Services through your Business Advisory in Dubai

Once your trade license is issued and your business operations can start, it is also critical that you take the help of your business advisory in Dubai for PRO services. To know more about this, do read the earlier column here


  • What are the Legal Structures available for Company Registration in Dubai?

Usually, a limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, single-owner company or a civil company structure covers most of the typical company formations. However, other legal structures also exist, such as branches of foreign companies, or UAE companies, or a free zone company.

  • Who is a Local Business Partner for Company Registration?

A local business partner or local service agent is an Emirati entity or individual required as per business setup policies to be associated with your trade license.

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