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Masdar Free Zone Business Setup

The compelling reasons to start a business in the UAE are numerous and widely recognised. From an attractive tax regime and thriving economy to a welcoming expatriate community and strategic trading location, there are numerous advantages to working in this part of the world.

Start your business in a free zone, and the list of benefits continues. Businesses in Masdar City Free Zone can expect 100% foreign ownership as standard, tax exemptions and a supportive ecosystem of over 1,000 local and international companies.

If this sounds like the ideal home for your business, here’s an overview of the key points to consider before setting up in Masdar City Free Zone.

Overview of Masdar City

Located in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is a pioneering sustainable urban community and world-class business and technology hub. The development exists to change the way people live, work and learn in the UAE.

The free zone is home to numerous leading global businesses, including Siemens Energy, the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, and the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Masdar City is also a prestigious base for ambitious technology startups, offering direct access to the region’s only venture investor focused on clean tech, The Catalyst.

The free zone is a key contributor to the UAE’s race to net-zero, creating spaces and business facilities that are technologically advanced and environmentally responsible.

Masdar City is home to a wide variety of business, residential, recreational, educational and retail spaces. Along with numerous offices, it also features restaurants, cafes, shopping outlets, and much more.

Masdar Free Zone business setup: step-by-step

The exact process for starting a business in Masdar City will depend on the nature of your business activities. In most cases, however, establishing a new company here involves five key steps.

As with any business procedure, it’s vital that you understand each stage of the process. That’s why it pays to work with a local expert like Creative Zone. Our dedicated team can guide and support you at every step.

Step 1: Decide on your business activity

The first vital step when starting a business in the UAE is to choose your business activity. Masdar City welcomes a broad range of technology and sustainability-related businesses. Your Creative Zone contact will help you select the activity most suited to your company to ensure you are correctly licensed.

Step 2: Prepare a company name

There’s much to consider when naming your business in the UAE. As well as choosing a name that describes your activities and helps you stand out, you’ll also need to adhere to the country’s company naming conventions. Fortunately, these are very easy to follow. Essentially, you must avoid any potentially offensive or blasphemous words and ensure your moniker is unique to your business.

Step 3: Initial application

With your activities and company name chosen, it’s time to make your initial application. At this stage, you will only be required to submit a few details and pay your registration fee. Once your name and application are approved by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, you can move on to the next stage of the application.

Step 4: Prepare the required documents 

At this stage, our professionals at Creative Zone will guide you in compiling and acquiring all the required documents. This may include your visa, business plan and passport copies, among others. 

Step 5: Obtain your Masdar City free zone license

Once again, the Creative Zone team will handle the submission of your application, liaising with all relevant authorities and government bodies as required. You will need to sign the legal documentation and finalize the lease process and payments before you can receive your license. This process usually only takes a few business days.

Benefits of setting up a business in Masdar Free Zone

There are numerous benefits on offer to businesses in Masdar Free Zone, including:

  • 100% foreign ownership
    Masdar Free Zone companies are 100% foreign-owned, removing the need for a local agent or sponsor.
  • 100% tax exemption
    Masdar City businesses benefit from 100% exemption for personal taxes, while corporate tax exemption is available for qualifying activities.
  • 0% import tariffs
    There is no customs or import duty charged on goods within Masdar City.
  • Financial repatriation

As the owner of a Masdar City business, you are free to repatriate all capital and profits.

  • Supportive ecosystem
    As well as a home among likeminded businesses, a base in Masdar City gives you professional access to R&D partnerships and potential investors.

Types of licenses available in Masdar Free Zone

When setting up in Masdar City, you are free to establish your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a branch of a UAE-based company or a branch of a foreign-based or offshore company.

You also have a choice of activities and licenses, these include:

  • Renewable energy
  • Clean technology
  • Marketing and events
  • Human resources
  • Energy
  • Healthcare services
  • Service providers
  • Property development services
  • Regional HQ, trading and holding companies
  • Business or data centre
  • Oil and gas services
  • Retail, food and beverage

Masdar Free Zone also offers several license packages:

  • Business Package: Maximizes flexibility for companies with specific requirements. It is available to both new and existing businesses.
  • Startup Package: Designed to support startup ventures and foster innovation.
  • Women Entrepreneurship Package: Exclusively for women entrepreneurs, designed to drive growth of women-led companies in the UAE.
  • Space Zone Package: Helps space industry startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs scale and realize their full potential.

Partnering with Creative Zone for your business success

As one of the UAE’s largest and most trusted business setup advisory firms, Creative Zone is your go-to partner for navigating the intricacies of establishing a business in Masdar City Free Zone.

With our expertise in company formation services, we have a proven track record of assisting entrepreneurs and businesses in overcoming the complexities of setting up a company in the UAE.

Our team of company formation experts can streamline the process of starting your business. Whatever your chosen activity, we’re here to help with every step of the process, from trade name registration and license applications to visa and compliance support.

We understand the challenges you may face when setting up in this part of the world. That’s why our solutions are designed to simplify the entire setup process, ensuring you can start your business operations confidently and efficiently.

Get in touch with our advisors today to start your new business venture in Masdar City Free Zone.

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