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11 Business Ideas & Opportunities in Dubai and The UAE

business opportunities in the uae

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With a favorable tax environment, educated workforce, access to financial and natural resources, and trading opportunities, Dubai is an ideal place to expand your business. Due to its central location and its geographic proximity to countries in the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, you may be able to reach more than 1 billion potential customers. With zero corporate tax and a lower cost of living, you can also enjoy a greater degree of profitability.

Here are some of the latest opportunities that have emerged and how you can take advantage of them.

11 Business Opportunities in the UAE

1. Advertising

The UAE has received a significant market share in advertising dollars over the last few years. In 2019, Euronews reported that global advertising in the MENA region reached USD $579 billion in the last year, with a significant portion of this directed in Dubai. One area that saw a large investment was digital advertising, which accounted for over $50 billion of advertising in the region.

If you are considering establishing an advertising companies in the UAE, brand development is important, as is a strong social media presence. Setting up in the area can also help you network better with area businesses.

2. Information Technology and Web Development

As part of the Smart Dubai 2021 campaign, Dubai has formalized its goal to be a smart city that embraces technology and the future. It is listed as the top smart city in the MENA region in the Smart Cities Index. As such, it has served as a mecca to many tech-based businesses and is home to more than 1,200 tech startups.

Opportunities exist for a variety of IT and web development innovations, including app development online PR firms, online marketing and online security. Nearly every sector offers business opportunities based on the creation of new technologies, so getting your idea in front of stakeholders can help you penetrate this market.

3. Business Consultancy Service

One of the most promising business opportunities in the UAE is business consultancy services. If you are an expert at global expansion, you may be able to help other businesses in the area since there are so many entrepreneurs and new startups flooding the area. Be sure that you obtain all of the necessary licenses before beginning operations.

4. Financial Services

With so many business opportunities in the UAE, there is a high demand for financial services, including bookkeeping, accounting and auditing. If you are knowledgeable in this area, you may be able to gain part of the market share, especially if you are targeting small businesses and startups so that you are not competing with the large international accounting firms in the region. These services are coveted even more now since the VAT was introduced in 2018 and businesses need help making the necessary calculations and accounting reports related to it.

It does not require much capital for you to start a bookkeeping firm in the UAE. However, you will need to obtain a business license and have the necessary credentials to get started.

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5. Transportation/Logistics

With its world-class infrastructure and strategic location, Dubai is a prime location for logistics operations. Dubai serves as an important point in the supply chain, and companies that can meet this need are in high demand. Additionally, transportation services including trans-city transport services and local taxi services are necessary to help citizens and tourists alike to travel the city.  Experts can help you obtain the necessary licenses and approval to start this type of business.

6. Travel Agency

Dubai is a much coveted tourist destination. 15.8 million people visited Dubai in 2017. With disruption to the travel industry in the early part of 2020, there is expected to be a surge in the tourism industry after lockdowns are lifted. With the city’s beautiful hotels, beaches and shopping malls, many people will continue to travel to the historic location, so opening a travel agency in the near future may wind up being a profitable opportunity.

A reputable company can assist you with the process of getting your agency’s trade name improved and locating an appropriate location where you can lease space for your agency.

7. Education

With approximately 85% of the population in Dubai being expats, there is an immense need for educational services in the area, especially ones that can offer services in multiple languages. To establish a school, college, or education service, you will need to obtain the necessary certifications and licenses. You will also need to develop the necessary infrastructure unless you are purchasing a franchise.

Digital learning in the UAE is also on the rise and can allow you to take advantage of this business opportunity in the UAE without as large of a capital overlay.

8. Healthcare

The healthcare industry serves as a beacon to individuals from nearby countries due to more affordable healthcare options in the UAE. Additionally, the Dubai Healthcare City free zone is specifically directed toward the healthcare industry.

If you want to start a healthcare clinic in Dubai, you will need expert assistance to help you procure the necessary licenses and visas for your providers.

9. Retail Businesses

Unlike many other areas around the globe, Dubai has observed a rise in retail business due to a number of factors, including a solid economy, an increased standard of living, a larger number of foreign tourists and a rise in its population.

When considering this business opportunity in the UAE, you will need to think about what type of retail establishment you want, such as a storefront, warehouse, or sales office.

10. E-Commerce

Because the e-commerce sector in the MENA region is not as developed as in other industrialized countries, there is a lot of room for growth in this sector. With more sales online than in stores in the early part of 2020, companies wanting to sell their products online can take advantage of this sudden surge.

This type of business is particularly appealing to entrepreneurs who want to start their business with a laptop and an idea. Due to technological innovations, sellers can set up this type of business in Dubai and then run it from wherever they are physically located while benefitting from Dubai’s favorable tax environment.

11. Apparel and Jewelry

Dubai is a fashion destination for tourists, and apparel companies are taking notice. They often use textiles that derive from this area to appeal to the global marketplace. Apparel and footwear is the area’s largest retail sector.

Additionally, Dubai has a great resource of precious stones and is one of the most sought-after markets for jewelry.

To establish this type of business, you will need to carefully consider your business activity when forming your business. Options include import/expert, design, tailoring, costume rental, and many others. Next, you will want to consider which area is most suited for your business, such as the Dubai Design District, which  is well known for its high population of designers and artists.


If you are interested in pursuing one of the business opportunities in the UAE discussed above, Horizons is here to help. We assist foreign companies with their expansions into the UAE and other regions by providing a one-stop solution, including assistance with visas, PEO services and global recruitment.

Because we tend to the administrative side of things, you can focus on building and expanding your business. To learn more about Horizons can help, contact us today.

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