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Starting a business while being employed in Dubai – your way forward

The United Arab Emirates guarantees that its workforce is well-compensated and has a decent work-life balance. However, according to one study, around 50% of UAE residents dream of starting their own business even with these benefits. And adding fuel to that spark is the fact that the UAE, and Dubai in particular, is one of the best locations to start a company.

One reason so many employees want to start their business while working full-time is the security of having a steady revenue stream as backup, given that most new companies fail in their first year.

If you want to establish your own business and keep your day job, you must comply with several rules and permissions. Let’s look at what you need to know before starting your own business while employed. In this post, we will cover the following:


    • • Can you start a business while still being employed in Dubai?


    • • Changes to UAE labour law


    • • Steps to starting your business in Dubai


    • • Low-cost business ideas


    • Working with Creative Zone


Can you start a business while still being employed in Dubai?

Yes, you can start a business while being employed in Dubai if you get a licence from free zones that don’t require an NOC (no objection certificate). Due to changes in UAE legislation, many free zones no longer need employed people to get authorisation from their present employer to start their own company.

Requesting an NOC from your present employer might be tricky. Employers may decline your request in specific sectors due to the nature of your job. In some companies, employers might not want to give a no-objection certificate because they worry about competition, proprietary information, or security and compliance. Another reason for refusing to issue an NOC is that your present employer believes you will leave and take some of their clients with you.

Most employers are reasonable, though, and will understand if you start a business to follow a personal dream, especially if your business does not compete with theirs. Your company will probably be supportive and willing to provide a no objection certificate.

However, if your existing employer refuses to provide a no objection certificate, you may have to quit your job and start your own company once you are no longer employed.

Changes to UAE labour law
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation changed the UAE’s labour laws to align with worldwide best practices. These include 60 days of maternity leave, protection for workers from bullying and sexual harassment and a 14-day trial period.

The UAE has also enacted new rules governing part-time and flexible employment. The new regulations recognise part-time workers and allow for proportionate vacation time. It also says that an employee can start a business or work from home if their current employer permits them.

Under the new law, resigning employees are eligible for a full end-of-service gratuity after one year of service. Before this, employees could only get their amount after they had worked for the company for five years.

Steps to start your business in Dubai

There are four major steps to launching a business in Dubai:

1. Selecting a name for your business: You must pick the name of the firm and the types of operations that your company will engage in.
2. Getting a business licence: After picking a name and business activity, you need to apply to the Department of Economic Development (DED) for approval. After approval, you will receive your business licence and the Memorandum of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, and other legal papers.
3. Applying for and getting your work visa: It is time to start your business in Dubai. Along with your visa application, you may also apply for visas for your family and staff.
4. Setting up a UAE bank account: You should open a bank account as soon as you get your licence. You cannot start operations in the UAE without a business bank account.

You might also want to know about the different types of company ownership and jurisdictions you can choose from in the UAE. There are many options for a business licence depending on the kind of company you want and the amount of money you are willing to invest. Our advisers can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option with you.

Low-cost business ideas
If you want to start your own business in Dubai, here are some low-cost business ideas to consider.

Trading: Dubai is a recognised commercial hub, so it is not surprising that the e-commerce market in the emirate is booming. Dubai’s e-commerce licence lets you manage your company from anywhere. You may trade everything from handmade crafts to drop-shipped commodities.

Food delivery marketplace: Dubai is seeing a growth in the market for meal delivery services. The best part is that you don’t even have to own a restaurant to compete. You can collect and deliver food from nearby restaurants to people’s homes through a delivery business you manage. Alternatively, you can create an online affiliate network of nearby eateries and cafes and earn a modest commission on each click-through.

Social media marketing: There are tonnes of businesses in Dubai that want to build their online presence. One way is through social media marketing. Since social media marketing is notoriously time-consuming and, at times, complicated, many companies prefer to hire a professional who can devote their full attention to it and successfully build their brand.

Consultancy: In Dubai, working in the consulting industry has traditionally been a profitable career move. And in today’s corporate environment, it is easier than ever to dip your hands in. You can provide advice about anything, from accounting to human resources to marketing. You only need a compelling website and a track record of success in your chosen sector to get started.

Virtual assistant: Virtual assistants have become more common recently as many businesses outsource their work remotely. Almost every expertise, from admin support to meeting settings to marketing, is in high demand.

Working with Creative Zone

So those were the key points of starting a business while being employed in Dubai. While forming a company in Dubai appears simple enough, it requires qualified and expert professionals to handle all government-related work.

When it comes to setting up businesses, Creative Zone is the UAE’s most well-known expert. More than 44,000 enterprises have benefited from our assistance since 2010.

We are:

• a specialist in the industry
• experienced
• quick
• dependable
• hassle-free

Getting your business setup in Dubai is only the beginning. We can also provide you with additional services such as:

• a dedicated business setup manager
• help with tax preparation
• legal advice
• HR management
• networking opportunities

Every client of Creative Zone gets access to our networking tool: CZ Connect. Through it, you can network, interact and develop relationships with our community of fellow entrepreneurs and the region’s business community.

Get started with your free zone or mainland company formation in Dubai by taking advantage of our complimentary consultations.

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