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Start a foodstuff trading business in Dubai: 2022 Guide

Monday October 24, 2022

Dubai has become renowned as a hub for cuisine. With people from so many nations around the world resident in Dubai, it is no surprise that a thriving and diverse food scene has emerged in recent years, and restaurants can be found serving pretty much any food you desire from anywhere in the world.

This also means that foodstuff trading is a potentially lucrative business. In this guide, we present a step-by-step guide to how to open a foodstuff trading business in Dubai, UAE, covering these points:

    • An overview of the foodstuff industry in Dubai, UAE
    • Steps to obtain a foodstuff trading licence in Dubai, UAE
    • Cost of a foodstuff licence in Dubai, UAE
    • Documents required to open a foodstuff trading company in Dubai, UAE
    • How Creative Zone can help

An overview of the foodstuff industry in Dubai, UAE

The foodstuff industry is one of the longest established in Dubai and is a major contributor to the economy. The wider UAE, with its strategic placing in the Middle East region, is a major hub for the import and export of foodstuff of all types. This means that it is a lucrative market to get involved in, with potential to gain market share.

As mentioned, there is a thriving dining scene in Dubai, and the plethora of restaurants out there require high quality foodstuff on a regular basis from all over the world. Likewise, supermarkets like to cater for their international customers by providing foodstuff from different countries, so there is no prospect of demand not continuing to grow in the future.

Steps to obtain a foodstuff trading licence in Dubai, UAE

There are several steps required in order to obtain a foodstuff trading licence in Dubai. Here is a quick outline of what they are:

Register a trading name
One of the earliest and most important things to do when setting up a business is to choose a name for it. There are certain regulations in Dubai that need to be borne in mind when choosing a name. Firstly, it must be unique to your business – it cannot be the same as one already trading in Dubai. Secondly – and unsurprisingly – the name cannot have anything blasphemous or offensive in it. Finally, if you are planning to use your name in the business name, it has to be first name and surname – initials or abbreviations are not permitted.

Choose a location for your foodstuff business
Another important part of the setup process for a foodstuff business is to choose your premises. Whether it is a warehouse or a storage space, it must meet government requirements, otherwise your application for a business licence will be rejected.

There are various requirements needed to comply with the regulations, including ensuring that all containers used are made from high quality materials and are free from any contaminants and that there is proper partitioning of foods to avoid the risk of contamination.

Also needed is equipment in place to ensure that the temperature, humidity and other environmental factors are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure food stays fresh. There also needs to be provision for regular cleaning of the warehouse to ensure it stays free of germs.

Acquire a business licence
To run a foodstuff business in Dubai, you will need a commercial licence. To gain a licence, you must apply to the Department for Economic Development and send all relevant forms and supporting documentation to them.

In addition, a foodstuff trading licence is required – this is a licence to trade and has to be renewed on a yearly basis.

You also need to carefully consider what operations the business will undertake and which foodstuff you will be selling, as some foodstuff will come under sub-activities in the trade licence, such as juice or mineral water trading. In addition, if any activities are not covered by your foodstuff trading licence, you will need external clearance before they can be undertaken.

Here, it can be useful to engage the services of a business setup specialist such as Creative Zone, who can help entrepreneurs through the process and ensure that the forms and documents are submitted correctly first time, so that there is no delay in getting the business trading.

Complete the visa process
Another step is to ensure your visa is in place, which includes passing a medical test, submitting your Emirates ID registration and ensuring your visa is stamped by the relevant authorities. Entrepreneurs that hold a UAE business licence can also sponsor the visas of other people, such as close family. How many visas you can apply for depends on how big the business is, how it is set up and, if you want visas for any dependents, how much money you earn.

Set up a business bank account
One of the final steps in the process is to set up a business bank account. There are plenty of banks in Dubai that provide business banking services. While there are tough banking laws in the UAE regarding foreigners, which are designed to prevent money laundering, if you have the right documents and a credible business plan in place, then the bank should be willing to open an account for your business.

Cost of a foodstuff licence in Dubai, UAE

A business licence in Dubai starts at AED 13,800. But there are additional costs that must be factored into your budgeting. For instance, there is the cost of obtaining work permits and the like, whether that is for yourself, your family or for staff you may wish to employ. For more information, and for a custom quote, contact Creative Zone.

Of course, there are many other costs that need to be considered when setting up a foodstuff business, including buying or renting premises, buying equipment for those premises, hiring staff and buying stock, among others.

How Creative Zone can help

There has never been a better time to establish a business in the Dubai Mainland. The regulatory regime in Dubai has been designed to be business friendly and flexible, and the process for business setup in Dubai as been made straightforward for everyone – be they first-time entrepreneurs or established businesses.

New laws mean that foreign entrepreneurs no longer need a local sponsor to set up a company in the Dubai Mainland and they can retain the entire shareholding of their company.

Wile setting up a business has complexities, there are experts such as Creative Zone that can assist business owners to apply for the licences they need to start a foodstuff business in Mainland Dubai. Creative Zone’s business experts can assist on all aspects of the business setup process and ensure it is as stress-free as possible.

To find out more and receive a tailored quote, contact Creative Zone.


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