Dubai for Startups: Visas and Registration, Accelerators, Conferences

The United Arab Emirates has long established itself as a prime location for startups. Factors such as innovative infrastructure, simplified taxation, a market that connects the West and the East attract a large number of young professionals to open their business in this country.

In 2018, several reforms were carried out that facilitate the process of registering startups. Today, many start-up companies can obtain visas, quickly open bank accounts, and obtain a license in a matter of months. Thanks to these reforms, within a year, companies invested more than $ 500 million in various transactions.

In this article, we will talk about how early-stage startups can get visas and registration, what accelerators exist, and at which conferences young companies can declare themselves.

To quickly arrange all the papers and visit a great number of exhibitions and conferences, you need to move around the city a lot. In this case, the best solution would be to rent a car on the website https://evolve.ae/type/sport.

Visa and registration

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The government of the country, in pursuit of the goal of attracting as many innovators and young professionals as possible, provides an opportunity for directors and start-up owners to obtain a long-term visa for up to 10 years. Moreover, the founders and partners, as well as their families, can obtain visas.

Not everyone can get a visa. Special departments are engaged in the selection of talented specialists who will receive such an opportunity. Area 2071 deals with this issue in Dubai, and HUB71 in Abu Dhabi. To take part in the selection, you can leave an application on the website, or fly to the city and come to the office.

The UAE government is now simplifying this rule and allowing full foreign ownership of companies for such business areas as:

– Renewable energy sources,
– Space,
– E-commerce,
– Agriculture,
– Logistics,
– Manufacturing industry and others.

Each candidate is considered in a separate order, and if the activities of your business correspond to the above areas, this does not mean that you will unconditionally receive a visa.

Accelerators and incubators

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At the moment, many companies are operating in the country that in every possible way help the founders of startups to expand their activities here, as well as obtain long-term visas and registration.

Accelerators such as:

– FinTech Hive from Dubai International Financial Center;
– Dubai Design District;
– Focused on technology, design, and media accelerator in5;
– Sports incubator NOOK;
– Dubai Smart City Accelerator from Startupbootcamp;
– DTEC and others.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates has a separate program, Dubai Future Accelerators, which is looking for innovations and start-ups whose activities are aimed at solving critical problems in the world. The program helps companies to expand their activities in Dubai.

Conferences and networking

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Each year, Dubai becomes a huge platform for the business world to meet new innovators and talented people who want to talk about their inventions.
It hosts a huge number of exhibitions dedicated to various fields of activity. The largest ones are STEP Conference and GITEX Technology Week. These platforms are a place where talented entrepreneurs showcase their developments and can meet with major investors.

According to many established businessmen and young entrepreneurs, these events are worth visiting even if you have to fly from distant lands.

GITEX Technology Week is the largest business innovation event. Every year hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to the event. The number of speakers can amaze: more than 4 thousand startups are taking part in this event. This platform provides a huge number of new opportunities to showcase your talents, find clients and investors.

STEP Conference is not such a massive event, but it is very effective for start-up businesses. In a few days, professionals can attend many events and reap a lot of benefits for themselves. You can visit the following areas:

– Mentor area. Here, aspiring professionals can get advice from successful business owners and company executives. The owners of organizations will share their experiences of doing business, as well as help budding startups register their activities.
– Area for meeting with investors.
– Demonstration area. Startup executives get the opportunity to show their Elevator Pitch and announce their company.
– Lecture areas. There are three lecture areas at the event, which are dedicated to different topics and areas of activity.

The two dynamically developing centers of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, serve as a place where startups have every chance to expand their activities and attract the most brilliant talent to the country.

Wrapping up

As we can see, for a tech company looking to find a business hub in the Middle East, Dubai is almost the ideal location. It has everything to become the preferred start-up sphere for small and medium-sized businesses. Many accelerators and incubators, coworking spaces and hubs, as well as large festivals, exhibitions, and conferences allow startups to find clients, partners, investors, gain new practical experience, and participate in obtaining government funding.

Among all the countries of the Middle East, it is the UAE that is more interesting to investors than others – in 2020, Dubai startups raised $577 million. Moreover, the UAE authorities often revise the laws, according to which it is very profitable to conduct business in this country even for foreigners.

But be prepared for high competition: it requires entering the market with a ready-made product that can solve the pains of the target audience. It is difficult here with prototypes and unfinished solutions. Moreover, you should be ready for high prices. For example, to open an LLC, it will take about $6,200, plus about $82,000 for the minimum start-up capital. Although in some free zones there are no conditions for the authorized capital. At the same time, registration prices depend on the field of activity – in trade, a license alone costs 2.5-3 times more. Also, it will cost $1,500 annually to run a business, not counting the cost of renting an office.

But don’t stop at difficulties: in Dubai, the game is definitely worth the candle.