business to start in dubai

What is the best business to start in UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become an appealing destination for entrepreneurs worldwide, thanks to its robust economy, strategic location, and business-friendly environment. If you are wondering which business is good in Dubai or any other Emirate, the best business to start in the UAE would depend on the entrepreneur’s expertise, market trend, and capital availability. However, industries that are currently thriving include real estate, tourism, information technology, and retail. This article will delve into the details of these sectors, providing insights on establishing and running a successful business in the UAE.

The Prospects of Business in the UAE

Economic Stability in UAE

For beginners looking to navigate the corporate scene, the UAE is an excellent place to start as its business environment is defined by its economic stability, reinforced by its robust governance, diversified economy, and substantial reserves. This stability makes it the location offering the best business in Dubai for beginners. Here are key indicators of the UAE’s economic strength:

  1. UAE Gross Domestic Product (GDP): The GDP of the UAE is estimated to be about $421.142 billion, indicating a robust economy.
  2. Diversified Economy: Unlike many Middle Eastern countries that rely heavily on oil exports, the UAE has a well-diversified economy. Non-oil sectors such as tourism, retail, and real estate contribute significantly towards the GDP.

Steady Business Climate in UAE

The UAE is known for its business-friendly climate, encompassing a simple tax system, ease of doing business, and sound legislative framework. As we explore new business ideas in Dubai and the other Emirates, you will discover that the government has taken active steps to encourage foreign investment and ease business operations. The World Bank ranked UAE 16th on its ease of doing business index in 2020, which speaks volumes about the conducive business environment in the country.

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Top Sectors to Consider for Business in UAE

As an entrepreneur seeking to set up a venture here, one must pay heed to effective business plans in Dubai or the broader UAE. This ensures a comprehensive approach to your chosen sector. Here’s an overview of the top sectors for starting a business in UAE.

Real Estate

Importance of Real Estate in UAE

Real estate in the UAE has been a cornerstone of the country’s non-oil economy. It has been a preferred choice for investment due to its consistent returns and growth potential. The UAE, particularly Dubai, has a reputation for its luxurious constructions and state-of-the-art infrastructure, drawing considerable interest from local and foreign investors.

Opportunities in the Real Estate Market

Real estate offers a wealth of opportunities in several industries. From construction and property management to real estate brokerage and interior design, the choices are vast. According to the UAE government’s official portal, the real estate sector contributed 13.6% to Dubai’s GDP in 2018. Hence, substantially planned business in this sector could be highly profitable.


Popularity of UAE as a Tourist Destination

The UAE, especially Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is a global tourist hotspot. According to data from the World Bank, the UAE attracted over 21 million travelers in 2019, making it one of the world’s most visited countries.

Business Opportunities in the Tourism Sector

The tourism sector is continually expanding, presenting numerous business possibilities. Given below is a snapshot of potential areas for investment:

Potential AreasDescription
Travel and Tour ServicesProviding curated experiences and travel packages.
HospitalityEstablishing hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals.
Food and BeverageOpening exclusive restaurants, cafes, or catering services with international cuisines.
Leisure and RecreationCreating unique attractions or leisure activities.

Information Technology

The Role of IT in UAE’s Growth

The field of information technology has gained significant traction in the UAE, with the government initiating several programs under its Vision 2021 to transform into a knowledge-based economy. In recent years, new business ideas in Dubai and UAE as a whole have been geared towards technology, with tech start-ups burgeoning in the ecosystem. State-led digital transformation initiatives, increasing cyber-security needs and the prevalence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) ideate a promising IT sector.

Business Prospects in the IT Sector

The rapid digitization trend opens a floodgate of opportunities in the IT sector. Here are few suggestions for business prospects within this sector:

  1. App development and web designing: With more businesses embracing digital platforms, there is a high demand for web designers and app developers.
  2. Cybersecurity solutions: The need to safeguard data integrity has led to an increased demand for robust cybersecurity solutions.
  3. IT Consulting: Helping organizations to develop their IT systems could prove to be a rewarding business given the tech-driven landscape.
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The Flourishing Retail Market in UAE

In the UAE, the retail sector is a significant contributor to the economy and remains a compelling business opportunity. The rising population, increasing tourism coupled with high disposable income, make it an excellent market for retail business ventures.

Business Scope in the Retail Sector

The retail industry in the UAE is diverse, spanning across fields like fashion, electronics, food and beverage, and more. Aspiring entrepreneurs can consider:

  1. E-commerce: The e-commerce industry is booming in the UAE, propelled by the pandemic led digitization.
  2. Specialty stores: Tailored stores catering to specific products like organic foods, artisanal goods are garnering attention.
  3. Franchise model: Getting a franchise of an already popular brand might reduce the risk factor and assure a certain level of market acceptance.

Establishing a Business in UAE

Legal Factors and Regulations

Laying the foundation for a business in the UAE involves understanding and complying with specific regulatory and legal factors. From acquiring appropriate licenses, adhering to corporate structure guidelines to understanding immigration laws and labour regulations, one needs thorough research and planning.

Essential Considerations for a Successful Business Setup

While setting up a business in the UAE, factors such as understanding the local market, identifying competition, developing a comprehensive business plan, securing adequate finance, and eventually assembling a capable team are paramount for the business’s success.

Helpful Resources for Entrepreneurs in UAE

Support from the Government

The UAE government provides ample support to bolster entrepreneurship. Initiatives such as Khalifa Fund for enterprise development, Mohammed Bin Rashid establishment for small and medium enterprises, government-backed accelerators and incubators are fostering a viable entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Private Sector Initiatives

In addition to government support, several private sector initiatives fuel entrepreneurship in the UAE. These include networking events, entrepreneurial forums, private venture capitalists and investments firms.

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Risks and Challenges

Cultural Differences

While the UAE presents excellent business opportunities, entrepreneurs must be mindful that it is a society rooted in conservative traditions, and thus, understanding cultural nuances is vital.

Bureaucratic Processes

The UAE might, at times, present complex bureaucratic procedures. However, the government’s noteworthy efforts at streaming the processes have made it simpler.


The UAE, with its diverse vibrant sectors and supportive business environment, poses as a land of opportunity for entrepreneurs. However, success ultimately boils down to how well you can adapt to the business practices, local norms, and legal requirements of the UAE.


Q1: Which is the best business to start in UAE?
A: The best business to start in the UAE depends on multiple factors including your expertise, market demand, and capital. However, thriving sectors include real estate, tourism, information technology, and retail.

Q2: What support does the UAE government provide for entrepreneurs?
A: The UAE government offers extensive support to entrepreneurs. This ranges from providing financial support through the Khalifa Fund, easing business setup processes and offering initiatives to boost Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Q3: Is it difficult to set up a business in UAE due to cultural differences?
A: As in any foreign country, understanding cultural norms is essential. The UAE does have distinct traditions and customs, but with respect and understanding, these cultural differences can be navigated successfully.

Q4: How is the retail sector in the UAE for business?
A: The retail sector in the UAE is flourishing, thanks to its rising population, strong tourist influx, and high disposable income levels. It presents a myriad of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Q5: Is the IT sector in the UAE promising for business start-ups?
A: Yes, the IT sector in UAE is on a growth trajectory. The widespread digital transformation initiatives by the UAE government and the rising need for cybersecurity solutions make the IT sector a promising field for businesses.

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