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Start your software company in Dubai: Step by Step

Over the last few years, we have seen a massive increase in the number of software companies launching in Dubai. From global names like Noon, through to hundreds of smaller firms offering bespoke software development services, Dubai has gained a reputation as the ‘Silicon Valley of the Middle East’.

Whether you are a software developer who wants to design apps for your customers or have an idea for a new technology company, Dubai is a great place to start your business. In this blog, you will learn about:

    • The benefits of starting a software company in Dubai
    • Costs associated with starting a software company in Dubai
    • Steps to open a software company in Dubai
    • The documents you need to start a software company in Dubai

Here’s everything you need to know about starting a software company in Dubai.

Benefits of starting a software company in Dubai

Dubai is an incredibly popular location to launch a technology start-up. If you choose to set up your software company in the emirate, you can expect to benefit from:

Very low tax rate
The UAE boasts an extremely low tax rate on the mainland – and if you choose to set up your software company in a Dubai free zone, you’ll benefit from a 0% income tax rate. That means you can reinvest more of your profits in growing your Dubai software company.

Huge market for software companies
The United Arab Emirates has one of the most diversified economies in the Middle East. That means that right on your doorstep there will be countless companies who could potentially be open to purchasing your products or services. Thanks to the UAE’s time zone, you’re also ideally located to serve customers all across Asia, Europe and Africa!

Ease of doing business
Dubai is an incredibly easy place to set up and run a company. Approvals for software companies in Dubai are often given in a matter of days and there are relatively few restrictions on what you can do, how you manage your money and who you employ.

Many skilled workers
Dubai is home to a large population of skilled workers with expertise in all kinds of programming languages, user interface design, and UX research. There are also many employees with other skills necessary for growing a software company – including sales, marketing, branding, and much more!

Infrastructure and support
Dubai has all the infrastructure that software companies need, including high speed Internet connection, local cloud server centres, and well-equipped office space. You will also have access to many support industries and partners that can help you with everything from hardware through to legal, compliance and public relations.

Networks of investors

Dubai is home to many angel investors and venture capital firms. If your software has the potential, you might find many investors who are open to funding your business idea.

Cost of starting a software company in Dubai

It is not possible to provide a single figure for starting a software company in Dubai because of the variety of factors involved.

That being said, it is possible to estimate some rough minimum costs. If you are simply starting the business as a sole proprietorship and launching in a free zone, the initial setup cost is likely to be around 15 to 20,000 AED, with an annual renewal fee.

If there is more than one proprietor and you will have several staff and a larger office space, expect to pay 50,000 AED as an absolute minimum to get your company started up.

Bear in mind however, that there will be many more costs besides simply doing company registration and essential application fees. These include things like:

    • Fees to any local partners you work with to set up your business
    • Initial marketing costs
    • Security deposits on office space
    • Hardware costs for yourself and your employees
    • Utility costs such as internet, energy, lighting etc.
    • Costs for various types of software you need to run a technology business
    • Savings to pay yourself and your employees until you begin making a profit

Depending on your own personal financial situation and the expected time to market for your software, it would be sensible to have at least 100,000 AED saved up to survive for the first few months in business. If you don’t have access to this amount of savings, it might be worth seeking out funding for software companies in Dubai.

Steps to open a software company in Dubai

Thanks to the ease of doing business in Dubai, opening a software company in the emirate is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, it is important to complete the following steps correctly. Failing to supply all the correct information could slow down your application process.

1. Reserve a trading name
You must reserve a trading name for your business that does not contain abbreviations or use any language that could be blasphemous or offensive

2. Choose your location
Most software businesses in Dubai choose to base themselves either in a free zone (which offers 0% tax and complete control over the business) or on the mainland (which allows you to sell software right across the United Arab Emirates and access government contracts).

3. Decide on your business structure
You must choose a corporate entity such as a sole proprietorship, an LLC or something else.

4. Complete the application process
You will need to apply for a trading licence from the authorities (you will be working with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, and Dubai’s Department of Economic Development) and pay any relevant fees. A local partner can help you with the complete application process and ensure you provide all the correct details.

5. Articles of Association
You will need to complete Articles of Association, which describe your company’s purpose and operating model.

6. Register for VAT
Software companies launching in Dubai need to register for VAT.

7. Open a corporate bank account
Another important step when starting a software company in Dubai is to open a corporate bank account so you can receive payments, and also pay your staff and yourself.

Documents needed to start a software company in Dubai

If you are planning to start a software company in Dubai, you will need to provide the following documentation:

    • Application form
    • NOC (no objection certificate) for any expatriate partners
    • Partnership agreement setting up on the mainland
    • Photocopies of your passport if you are a foreign national
    • Photocopies of visas for yourself and all your staff (if they are foreign nationals)
    • Articles of association
    • Partnership agreements for companies with more than one partner

Working with Creative Zone

If you’re looking to set up a software company in Dubai, Creative Zone brings you the latest, most up-to-date info from people who deal with launching companies in the emirate every single day.

While the setup process can be somewhat confusing, you can speed it up by working with a company formation specialist. This is the quickest way to set up a software company in Dubai. By letting us take care of all the details, we guarantee your application will be free from errors and gets approved fast.

At Creative Zone, we offer you the best solutions to start your software company in Dubai, UAE. You get fast, reliable and unbiased advice on your unique business setup requirements. We can help you choose the right kind of license setting up a software business and walk you through all the steps required.

Over the past decade, Creative Zone has helped over 36,000 entrepreneurs set up their businesses in Dubai, UAE, including many software companies. Whether it be a mainland business setup, offshore company setup, free zone company setup, or issuing of trade licenses and any related activity for registering a company, Creative Zone is your one-stop-shop.


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