Which of the UAE’s free zones are best for consultancy companies?
When setting up a consultancy business in the UAE, location is a key consideration.
The 49 free zones (which operate as offshore business zones with all the benefits of 0% tax and 100% ownership) have been set up to cluster similar industries together. The trick is to locate your consultancy in close proximity to the industries you intend to serve.
There is good business to be done for consultancies in a wide range of fields such as IT, HR, business management, project management and health and fitness.
To this end, I’ve picked out the four UAE free zones that I think offer the most attractive prospects for consultants.
Fujairah Creative City
Launched in 2007, this free zone in the eastern emirate of Fujairah is a hotbed of media, marketing, events and all the satellite services that come with those sectors. Publishing, advertising, film, broadcast and communications are all well represented.
Any consultancy with a media focus would find Fujairah Creative City fertile ground for networking and finding new business. There is also high demand for IT services, HR and events services, as well as services related to personal image, such as health, fitness and fashion.
Why Fujairah Creative City could be ideal for you
The variety of business types within the creative industries will throw up plenty of opportunities for you to share knowledge and transfer skills between sub-sectors.
On an administrative level, incorporating a new business at Fujairah is simple. What’s more, you don’t need a No Objection Certificate (NOC), which means you can set up your business without giving up full-time employment until you’re ready.
You can also apply for several visas without having to lease office space. This could give you valuable flexibility when you come to taking on more consultants.
RAKEZ stands for Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, located in the eponymous emirate up in the rugged north-east corner of the UAE. It is home to 14,500 free zone and non-free zone businesses – no doubt attracted by the fact that it has one of the lowest costs of all the free zones.
Within RAKEZ are six specific zones, comprising three industrial zones, an academic zone, a media zone and a business zone. Trading and business services are thriving here, with hundreds of freelancers in operation.
Why RAKEZ could be ideal for you
The state-of-the-art infrastructure of RAKEZ includes a variety of real estate facilities, ranging from warehouses to serviced offices. So you should be able to find the accommodation to suit your consultancy.
The low cost and easy set-up for new businesses are among the biggest appeals of RAKEZ, while the sheer variety of business services means plenty of opportunities for consultancies of all kinds.
Branded ‘The City of You’, Dubai South is a project that sets out to build a thriving living environment, centred around the world’s biggest airport, Al Maktoum International. The target is to become home to one million people and sustain 500,000 jobs.
Not surprisingly, given the airport and direct link to Jebel Ali seaport, the logistics and aviation industries are particularly prominent. But it is also home to the humanitarian sector and Dubai’s Exhibition District, which will host Expo2020 next year.
Why Dubai South could be ideal for you
Expo2020 will bring a frenzy of work for the events industry, as well as logistics, hospitality and countless other services that spin off from these. If you specialise in any of these sectors, now would be a good time to set up shop in Dubai South.
With no proof of share capital required, setting up your consultancy business in Dubai South is easy with the help of a business set-up consultancy.
DMCC Authority Free Zone
Situated at the centre of the Jumeirah Lakes Towers district, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre has been crowned ‘Global Free Zone of the Year’ four times by the Financial Times fDi magazine. It is the region’s largest Free Zone, set up as a dedicated global trading centre for commodities and financial services.
DMCC has since expanded to accommodate a wide range of specialist industries, including AstroLabs Dubai, the Middle East's first Google for Entrepreneurs Global Tech Hub.
The 200 hectare site is a great commercial and residential hub, the only free zone in the region to offer freehold options. It is already home to over 15,000 companies, and around 170 new businesses open here every month.
Why DMCC could be ideal for you
DMCC has all the infrastructure in place to make it a thriving centre for global commodities and financial services. But that’s only part of its success story – its central location and freehold options have made it highly attractive to multinationals and startups from across the business world. Members of the DMCC community take advantage of unparalleled trade connections with key markets in Dubai, the UAE and far beyond.
The Free Zone is within easy reach of both Dubai’s airports, Jebel Ali Port harbour and the Expo2020 site. It is a great place to live and visit, with diverse retail outlets, an entertainment plaza, great places to eat and luxury hotels.
Negotiating the UAE’s free zone landscape
The UAE’s free zones offer a number of attractive incentives for new businesses looking to start trading in the region.
Full exemption on personal and corporation tax; 100% ownership regardless of your nationality and domicile; 100% repatriation of capital and profits; exclusion from all import and export duties; no capital deposit required.
Other conditions, however, vary from one free zone to another, such as the prerequisite of leasing office premises.
In this article I’ve aimed to give a quick impression of the different ways in which certain free zones could be best suited to your business. There is plenty to explore and part of the service we offer at Virtuzone is to provide in-depth advice on the different free zones for new businesses looking to set up in the UAE. Choosing your ideal location is a decision that should not be taken lightly, but with plenty of professional advice on hand, there is every reason to be excited about doing business here.
Setting up your own business has never been easier. Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.