In less than 20 years, Dubai government has succeeded in transforming Dubai into a modern and business friendly city. The government has put in place the legal frame that supports and strengthens entrepreneurship and simplifies the procedure of starting a business. The widespread use of the internet by all governmental agencies and departments makes the process even easier. The general idea is that the time for bureaucratic procedures must be kept to a minimum and businessmen be left to do what they know best, that is to create business and bring in money.
Generally speaking, there are two ways of conducting business in Dubai, on-shore and off-shore. Both categories have their pros and cons, depending on the type of business and its activities. Therefore before you start the process of establishing a business you must be sure of what exactly the nature of your business would be.
Nowadays, the best thing to do is to establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and register it with the Department of Economic Development (DED). The law requires that you find a UAE national who will be your 51% partner in the company or your “sponsor”. You and your sponsor are to sign a Memorandum of Association (MoA), find suitable premises for your business and register your company with DED.
If the idea of having a partner is not appealing to you, then going off-shore is the best way to establish your business. There are more than 30 free zones, some of them specializing in certain types of corporate activities, you can register your company with. You can own 100% of your off-shore company.
Before you do anything though, you are strongly advised to get legal help. Hiring a reputable legal firm will save you a lot of money and trouble in the long run. Expert lawyers can walk you through the legal procedures and make things smooth and easy for you.