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The New Business Landscape – Why Startups and Entrepreneurs from the UK are Migrating to Dubai

As the global business landscape undergoes significant transformation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is emerging as a dynamic business hub. This change is drawing increasing attention from UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs, and startups, who are now looking at the UAE as a destination for business expansion and new business opportunities. This shift signifies a growing recognition of the UAE’s potential as a catalyst for growth and innovation in the international business community.

In this blog, we will take an in-depth analysis of why the UAE is an ideal choice for UK entrepreneurs aiming to make their mark on the international business scene.

Economic Growth Sector and Sector-Specific Opportunities

A key driver for UK businesses establishing operations in the UAE is its robust economy. Known for resilience and diversification, the UAE offers a rich landscape for international ventures, evidenced by its impressive non-oil sector growth in 2023. In the first half of the year, the UAE’s economy experienced a 3.7% GDP increase, propelled by a 5.9% expansion in the non-oil sector, which now accounts for over 70% of the nation’s GDP. This environment is particularly beneficial for UK businesses in technology, tourism, and finance, as they find a huge market ready for them. The Emirates’ vibrant and diverse business hub presents lucrative opportunities for UK SMEs, startups, and established corporations.

Prime Market for Foreign Direct Investment

The UAE has long been recognized as an ideal destination for businesses, particularly attractive to UK startups and those seeking expansion. With a strong track record in attracting FDIs, Emirates achieved a notable milestone in 2022. The World Investment Report 2023 from the UN Conference on Trade and Development reveals that the UAE’s FDI for that year was $22.7 billion, showing a 10% rise or a $2 billion increase from the previous year. Dominating the FDI landscape in both West Asia and the MENA region, the UAE accounts for over 41% of West Asia’s total FDI and 32% in the MENA region, reinforcing its status as a leading investment hub in these regions.

Innovation and Support System

The nation’s commitment to innovation extends beyond a mere trend; it’s a state policy. With the creation of free zones like Dubai Internet City and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), UK entrepreneurs find themselves in a nurturing environment. This ecosystem offers benefits such as low corporate taxes, top-notch infrastructure, and connections to a global business network. The UAE’s impressive ranking of 32nd on the 2023 Global Innovation Index, leading the MENA region, underscores its rising role as a hub for technology and innovation. Additionally, programs like the Dubai Future Accelerators don’t just provide UK startups with funding, but also valuable mentorship and access to new markets.

Ease of Doing Business

The UAE is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for businesses. It has launched various measures to streamline business operations, such as the Dubai Golden Visa, permitting 100% foreign ownership, not imposing personal income tax, and maintaining a notably low corporate tax rate. As a result of these efforts, the World Citizenship Report 2023 places the UAE 20th worldwide and first in the Middle East and Arab region in its ‘Economic Opportunity Rankings’ out of 128 countries, underlining its competitive advantage. These collective actions make the UAE an appealing and accessible hub for international entrepreneurs and companies.

Lifestyle and Cultural Considerations

With a diverse expatriate community, the UAE offers a welcoming environment for UK entrepreneurs. Renowned for its high standards, the UAE is ranked by InterNations as the 11th best global destination for expats to live and work, recognized for its excellent quality of life and job opportunities. Derived from a survey covering 12,000 people across 53 countries, this ranking assesses areas like lifestyle quality, adaptability, work environment, personal finance, and key expatriate essentials, including digital life, administrative ease, housing, and language. The report underscores the high living standards and employment options in the UAE.


The growing attraction of the UAE among UK SMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups is grounded in comprehensive economic, innovative, and lifestyle factors. Beyond the obvious benefits of tax incentives and strategic positioning, key motivators include the UAE’s vibrant economic landscape, a nurturing environment for innovation, and a conducive regulatory framework. This evolving trend signifies a shift in global business patterns, with emerging markets like the UAE increasingly becoming focal points for growth and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Creative Zone as Your Trusted Business Partner for Startup Success

With over a decade of experience, Creative Zone has helped many foreign businesses set up and grow in the UAE. Our team of specialists streamlines the process, handling regulatory compliance, visa procurement, and tax compliance. With a proven history of assisting over 75,000 businesses in launching and expanding across the MENA Region, Creative Zone is your go-to partner for comprehensive support in your business journey.

Contact us to speak with one of our specialists and have the process customized to suit your business’s specific needs.

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