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Abu Dhabi company setup: A foundation for business success

Wednesday January 25, 2023

If you’re planning to start a business in 2023, there are many great reasons to check out Abu Dhabi.

As the capital of the UAE, Aby Dhabi is one of the most innovative cities on the planet. Its thriving business community is supported by ultra-modern infrastructure, tailor-made government initiatives and one of the most desirable tax environments in the world.

And when you start your business with Creative Zone via the ‘ Setup in Abu Dhabi’ platform, we’ll manage the entire process for you and give you access to extensive business support services.

Want to know more? In this article, we’ll cover the following key considerations.

  • Why now is the best time to set up in Abu Dhabi
  • The benefits of doing business in Abu Dhabi
  • How to start your Abu Dhabi business with Creative Zone

Why now is the best time to set up in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has laid its foundations as a premier business destination over many years. However, more recently, the country’s businesses, institutions and rulers have built upon this groundwork with a host of initiatives to help entrepreneurs flourish here in the Middle East.

As part of its drive to attract more businesses to the region, the Abu Dhabi government slashed business set-up fees by over 70% in recent years. On top of this, the emirate is now home to five free zones offering 100% foreign ownership, zero currency restrictions, repatriation of profits and capital, and 100% customs tax exemption, among other benefits.

But the most compelling reason to start your business in Abu Dhabi right now is the Setup in Abu Dhabi platform. Introduced to support startups and SMEs, it is backed by 25 government and private entities, including the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Creative Zone.

Essentially, the platform is an easily accessible marketplace containing essential information and a range of services designed to support ambitious businesses. This includes company formation assistance, banking, legal and accounting services, and much more.

The benefits of doing business in Abu Dhabi

When you start your business via the Setup in Abu Dhabi platform with Creative Zone, you gain access to a wide selection of indispensable corporate services and other great benefits. Let’s look at some of them in more detail.

An environment that’s built for business

One of Abu Dhabi’s largest accelerator programmes to date concluded in 2021. The three-year initiative saw the introduction of the instant business license, easier access to funding for SMEs, and the SME loan credit guarantee scheme, which offers banks greater assurances to lend to smaller businesses.

This adds to an already highly attractive business environment that includes 0% tax on personal and corporate income and a strategic location with direct trade links to Africa, Asia and Europe.

A diverse and growing economy

Abu Dhabi’s rulers are committed to growing and diversifying the emirate’s economy and have successfully invested in non-oil industries to achieve that aim. In the first half of 2022, the local economy expanded by over 11%, with non-oil GDP increasing from AED 28.4bn to AED 273bn.

To ensure this trend continues, the government is set to announce further initiatives and funding as part of its Annual Investment Meeting 2023. The new measures will be geared toward helping Abu Dhabi enhance its status as a global trade and investment hub.

World-leading infrastructure

Thanks to world-leading technology rollouts, Abu Dhabi regularly ranks among the world’s smartest cities. The emirate’s vast technological infrastructure includes extensive government e-services, virtual licensing options, near-universal high-speed broadband and one of the fastest 5G implementations in the world.

The city’s business support network extends far beyond the digital space. Abu Dhabi International Airport flies direct to over 100 destinations across 50 countries, while Khalifa Port is the first to be automated in the Gulf region and among the most advanced in the world.

Security, safety, quality of life

The UAE was recently rated as the second safest country in the world across three key factors – war, personal security and natural disasters. It also regularly features among the best places to live for expatriates.

Abu Dhabi, specifically, performs well against these measures, too. The emirate was voted the safest city in the world for six consecutive years and came first in the 2021 Global Liveability Index.

Expatriates from around the world call Abu Dhabi home, with residents originating from over 200 countries. Each is afforded a warm welcome by the Abu Dhabi Residents Office, which is on hand to help new arrivals integrate into local culture and communities.

Start your Abu Dhabi business with Creative Zone

As a vital partner of the Setup in Abu Dhabi platform, Creative Zone can help you start your business and open the door to a range of incredible business support partners.

Our shared initiative gives you everything you need to launch, grow and thrive out here, including assistance choosing the correct jurisdictions and legal structures, easy banking solutions, plus tax, accounting, HR and legal support. We can also assist with trade license applications, including:

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Office space
  • HR
  • Funding
  • Networking and opportunities
  • Commercialisation

Getting started is simple. After a short consultation to better understand your business, we’ll guide you through the following four-step process.

Step 1: Registering Your Company Name
When starting a business in Abu Dhabi, you must adhere to the UAE’s strict naming conventions. This means avoiding words that could be considered offensive or blasphemous. You should also ensure that your chosen name is not similar to existing businesses or institutions.

Step 2: Acquiring a Business License

We can manage this entire process for you, liaising will all government and industry bodies on your behalf. If you are setting up on the mainland, your application is made directly to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. If you are setting up in a free zone, the relevant managing authority will handle your application.

Step 3: Completing the Visa Processes

As part of the visa application process, you will need to undergo a medical and fitness test, including a blood test and chest x-ray. As the holder of a UAE visa, you can also sponsor dependants for their applications. Dependants may include your spouse, parents or children, as well as domestic staff such as maids or drivers.

Step 4: Opening a Bank Account

You’ll need a corporate bank account to make and receive payments in the UAE. This can be a complex process for entrepreneurs from outside the GCC. However, the team at Creative Zone will take the time to get to know your requirements before advising on the bank best suited to your needs.

Ready to get started?

The incredible benefits of the Setup in Abu Dhabi platform are only a phone call away. Get in touch on 800 LICENCE (5423673) to speak with one of our company formation experts today.


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