Simplifying Business Setup in Dubai Mainland

Simplifying Business Setup in Dubai Mainland: A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs and Investors

blogs Jan 24, 2024

Dubai, a city synonymous with innovation, luxury, and economic prowess, continues to attract entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe. Setting up a business in Dubai Mainland, the heart of this dynamic city, offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and success. In this article, we will explore the essential guidelines for registering your company in Dubai Mainland and delve into why Dubai is a prime destination for women entrepreneurs and investors.


Understanding Dubai Mainland Business Basics

Knowing Your Business Type

It's crucial to define the nature of your planned activities. Dubai Mainland provides various license types, including professional, commercial, and industrial classifications. Your specific business activity will determine the applicable category, which, in turn, influences the associated requirements, procedural steps, timeline, and setup costs. Understanding and aligning with the appropriate category is essential for a smooth and efficient business entrepreneurship establishment process.

Here's a brief overview of the differences between professional, commercial, and industrial licenses:

Professional License:

  • Nature of Business: Issued for service-oriented businesses and activities that involve the provision of professional services.
  • Examples of Eligible Businesses: This license is suitable for professionals such as Consultancy, School, Clinic, and other service providers.
  • Ownership Structure: A professional license enables foreign investors to own 100 percent of the business, granting them the privileges of a sole proprietorship for business entrepreneurship.
  • Local Service Agent Requirement: To complete the judicial formalities, it is necessary to appoint a UAE national as a local service agent. While the local service agent does not have ownership stakes in the business, they facilitate communication with local authorities and ensure compliance with regulations. However, with recent amendments in the law, some activities may now be undertaken without the need for a local agent, expanding the flexibility for certain businesses. It's crucial to note, though, that despite these changes, there are still specific activities that necessitate the involvement of a local service agent, particularly those requiring external approval.


Commercial License:

  • Nature of Business: Designed for businesses engaged in trading activities, including buying and selling goods.
  • Examples of Eligible Businesses: Retailers, wholesalers, importers, and exporters fall under the commercial license category.
  • Limitations: Commercial licenses are often specific to the type of products a business can trade, and there may be restrictions on engaging in certain professional services.


Industrial License:

  • Nature of Business: Issued for businesses involved in industrial or manufacturing activities, including the production of goods.
  • Examples of Eligible Businesses: Factories, manufacturing plants, and industrial enterprises fall under the industrial license category.
  • Limitations: The industrial license permits businesses to carry out specific industrial activities, and there may be regulations related to the type and scale of production.


Understanding your Business Structure

In addition to outlining your business activities, it's important to carefully choose the structure for your business. This decision should align with your business plans and goals. There are different legal forms to consider, such as sole proprietorship, limited liability company, civil partnership, private shareholding company, branch of a foreign company, or a representative office or branch of a free zone company. Each option comes with its distinct ownership arrangements, and understanding these choices is crucial for establishing the most suitable setup for your business.


Steps to Set Up Your Business

Quick Start with Instant License

For certain business activities, Dubai Mainland offers an Instant License, allowing swift issuance without additional approvals or office tenancy requirements in the first year. If your activity falls under this program, and you are a sole proprietor, providing essential documents like a passport copy, visa copy, and Emirates ID suffices. However, for entities, a more extensive set of documentation is needed, including existing licenses and other official documents.

Activities Requiring External Approval

Some business activities necessitate external pre-approval from government departments before the issuance of the license. The approval process varies based on the specific activities involved. Women Entrepreneurs need to be aware of these external requirements and factor them into their business setup timelines and budgets.


About the Author

This article was created for the Homepreneurs Club by our member Maria Caguete, Co-Founder- Futurezone.AE and her team at FutureZone. With a heart full of dreams and a mind sharp with strategy, Maria's journey is a testament to the limitless power of belief and More than just a consulting firm, is a lighthouse guiding ambitious souls through the intricate nuances of business setup, UAE residency, and government compliances. Their team of dedicated Business Setup Advisors and PRO,  brings a wealth of experience and expertise, ensuring that every step of the way is not just a procedure but a tailored journey towards your business success.

Contact Maria Caguete Here to transform your vision into a reality with their unparalleled knowledge and support.



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Homepreneurs Club is for Female Entrepreneurs. As a community of women in business and women looking to set up their own businesses, we help each other and lift each other up. The club hosts networking events, webinars, and many more events in Dubai to help you grow.


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