What are the best small business opportunities in Dubai? Are you interested in starting a business in Dubai but you don’t know the best business to start? Do you want to know what it takes to do business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Then read on.

Well, running a business is definitely not for everyone; whether you are setting up in Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc. if you lack the guts, initiative and passion to run a business, you will never succeed regardless of where you find yourself.

Why You Should Start a Business in Dubai
  • Dubai is one of the topmost destinations for business people and investors in the whole of the Middle East. The government policy and the state of the art infrastructures support the growth of small businesses, as well as large corporations. Business opportunities in Dubai are not just open to the citizens of United Arab Emirates, but also to foreign investors as well. As a matter of fact, the foreign investors are wooed into Dubai because the presence of foreign business is a major boost to the economy of Dubai.
  • There are many free trade zones in Dubai and that is why commerce and trade is at its peak in Dubai. People come from far and wide to shop in Dubai simply because they tend to get cheaper goods there.
  • Setting up a business in the UAE is very easy and straightforward. With progressive, forward-thinking policies by the government, the UAE encourages foreign investors to invest in the oil-rich country. In the UAE, investors are granted incentives and the procedures for setting up new businesses have been simplified by the government.
  • Another reason why UAE – Dubai, in particular is a fertile ground for businesses is that taxation is minimal and mostly non-existent. Only three sectors are significantly assessed in taxation – oil, banking, and tobacco processing.
  • The government of Dubai has a long-term plan that focus heavily on growing new businesses. In this way, their economy will be supported for years. They have business laws that are really favorable. The tax-free environment is ideal for new and emerging businesses.

So if you are looking to invest in the UAE, then you will have no problems in terms of setting up your business. But there’s a need to know the best markets to invest in. without wasting time, below are the top 20 business opportunities in the UAE that will guarantee investors quick returns and long-term profit:

20 Best Small Business ideas & Opportunities in Dubai for 2021

1. Construction

New buildings and structures are being erected in the UAE with each passing day. This opens a huge door of opportunities for engineers and other professionals in the building and construction sector. Similarly, investors can set up businesses that manufacture or sell raw materials used in building and construction.

2. Oil and gas

This has been the mainstay of the country’s economy for several years. And much of the riches presently enjoyed by the UAE can be attributed to the country’s oil sector. Despite being exploited for years, the oil sector still has enough room to accommodate new investors. Interested entrepreneurs can start their own businesses from scratch or partner with existing businesses.

3. Financial services

Because there are many large-scale businesses in the UAE, there is a proportionately huge demand for professionals that offer financial services – such as accountants, bookkeepers, and auditors. If you have a solid background in any of these financial specialties, you will make lots of profit by starting a business that offers financial services to businesses in the UAE.

4. Foods and snacks

Food businesses thrive everywhere and at all times. And the UAE isn’t an exception to this fact. There’s always a high demand for foods and snacks. So, you can make lots of cash in the UAE by starting a business that sells fast foods and snacks.

5. Healthcare

Like in other developed countries, the people of UAE are health conscious, and they show great concern for their health. This trend has led to an increase in the demand for professional healthcare service providers and facilities. If you are a healthcare professional looking to start a private business, the UAE is a very good place to establish it in.

6. Security

Even though there are less security concerns in the UAE than we have in most other developed countries, individuals and businesses aren’t taking chances with their assets. This has led to a rise in demand for security guards as well as security devices.

If you don’t have what it takes to set up a business that renders private security services, you can still make money in the security sector by selling security devices such as alarm systems and surveillance cameras.

7. Transport

There are huge opportunities in the transport sector because of the ever-high demand for transport services. Investors have the option to start a local taxi service or a trans-city transport services company.

8. Environment

Due to the rapid growth palpable in the UAE, various activities such as construction and industrialization are causing huge damage to the environment. And the people are becoming more aware of the benefits of protecting their environment. So, there are huge opportunities in the UAE for green living advocates as well as businesses that offer various environmental protection services such as waste recycling.

9. Tourism

Dubai is one of the world’s most preferred vacation destinations. And this explains why there are many five-star hotels in the city. UAE hosts several thousands of visitors every year, and this opens huge opportunities for businesses that cater to tourists in one way or another.

10. Energy

While there are enough players in the UAE’s energy sector, there are opportunities for businesses that help to maintain the various energy generation facilities available in the country. So, if you are looking to invest in the UAE, energy facility maintenance is one option you should consider if you have the required expertise and capital

Best Small Business Opportunities in Dubai

11.  Trading

Traders from around the globe usually meet in Dubai to exchange goods and services. The phrase “exports and imports” is very common since the people’s major source of income is from trading. You can actually export or import any marketable products such as dried fruits, textiles, fashion materials and accessories, plastic goods, and vehicles.

12.  Business Franchises

Business franchising is a new concept in Dubai. Due to a huge expat population as well as mixed preferences of the people living here, this concept is working really well for some years now. You can get a business franchise in the fast food industry as this is one of the fastest growing industries in Dubai.

13.  Travel Agency

Since Dubai is one of the major tourist destinations in the world, a travel agency is a good business to start. Millions of tourists will be going to and from Dubai annually. The total population of the place is also heavily packed with expats from various countries.

14.  Jewelry Making and Retailing

Dubai is known throughout the world as the “Mecca of Gold” and the so-called “Dubai Diamonds” are always sought for. You can setup shop as either as a jewelry maker, bead maker or jewelry merchant.

15.  Specialty Schools – Since Dubai is full of expats of various nationalities, specialty schools are needed. You can think of any kind of granular specialty school and make some money out of it. This is a business opportunity that you can consider now.

16.  Childcare Facilities

Majority of the population in Dubai are working class professionals. Now when both husband and wife are working professionals, they usually turn to a childcare facility to care for their youngsters. You may contemplate on this one, too.

17.  Real Estate

Dubai was once a desert but not anymore. Believe it or not, real estate is one of the biggest industries in the country. Construction firms often race for projects in various segments including housing, industrial, and logistics among other construction project categories.

18.  Bars, Entertainment houses and Night Clubs

Dubai is a country is full of busy people and what do they do when the afternoon bell rings to signal the end of the working day? They spend some time together to have a drink or two to get rid of the stress from the daily grind. You can setup a night life entertainment scene especially for expatriates.

19.  Job Agencies

Another hot business opportunity in Dubai are job agencies specifically for skilled laborers. With a fast growing economy, a lot of skilled employees are needed to keep industries in various sectors going. The country is in terrible need of accountants, IT experts, nurses, engineers, and construction personnel among many others.

20.  Multi-Level Marketing – There are tough laws against pyramid schemes in Dubai. But once you acquire the government approval on your business, the opportunity is unlimited.

Starting a Business in Dubai UAE – Important Facts You Must Know

In as much as starting a business in Dubai is considered to be very lucrative and rewarding, it is also a risky venture especially if you are a foreign investor. Being a foreign investor means that you would need a citizen to partner with in Dubai before you can be allowed to float a company and the citizen (partner) will own the lion share of the business.

If you intend starting your business in Dubai, then you must ensure that you play by the books or else you will lose your investment. There is little or no room for shady business to survive in Dubai. Over and above, you stand the chance of making huge returns on your investment in Dubai if you follow the right channel before establishing your business. Here are some steps you need to follow if you want to start your business in Dubai;

a. Conduct Your Feasibility Studies

No doubt Dubai business environment is open to people of all races and culture, but nevertheless, it is important to follow due process before setting up any business. One of the most important steps that you need take is to conduct your own feasibility studies; you must have a good knowledge of Dubai if you intend maximizing profits. Just ensure that you conduct your market survey, study your competitors and design strategies that will help you survive as an investor in Dubai.

b. Write Your Business Plan

Investing in a foreign country is serious business; hence you would need a viable business plan. As a matter of fact, your business plan will not just survive the purpose of providing guide for you, but also it will help you attract foreign partners. You would also be required to submit your business intention to the regional governing body in Dubai for approval before you can be granted business license to operate.

c. Seek for Local Business Partners (Citizen of UAE)

Before establishing in a business in Dubai as a foreign investor, you are required by the law to have a local business partner; a citizen of UAE or a local company in Dubai. Besides having a local partner, the law also ensures that the local business partner owns majority of the share.

So, ensure that you scrutinize various local partners before making your choice. Local partners can end your business anytime they so desire especially if they are greedy and selfish. The rule of thumb when sourcing for local business partner is to go through the local chambers of commerce (Dubai Chambers of Commerce and Industry). This is one of the laws that are under serious review because it is not encouraging to foreign investors.

d. Raise the Required Startup Capital (Financial Commitment)

Before you can be allowed to invest in Dubai, you will be required to show the government of the region that you have the minimum amount required in your account. The required amount ranges between $10,000 and $50,000 and this is subject the review by the different fee zones in Dubai.

e. Leverage Free Zones

There are various free trade zones in Dubai and these areas are favorable to foreign investors. If you setup your business in a fee trade zone in Dubai, you will be granted exemptions from import and export duties, commercial taxes, land tax, building and property license fee and restrictions on the transfer of capital invested in the free trade zone.

f. Register Your Business

You are expected to have fulfilled certain requirements before approaching the ministry of commerce in Dubai to register your business. If you are not clear about what to do, you can consult an attorney who is specialized in helping foreign investors register businesses in Dubai. There are loads of them there and their fee is moderate compare to what is obtainable in New York, Milan, Tokyo and London, et al.

g. Promote Your Business

If you are able to successfully start a business in Dubai, then you would have to promote your business via all the available platforms. For example if you own a hotel in Dubai, then you should take advantage of tourist magazines and relevant online medium to advertise your hotel.

Doing business in Dubai would be one of the greatest achievements you may have attained when you follow through on these tips. Be sure to stay current by always researching ways to horn your business skills for the better.

Ajaero Tony Martins