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  7. Servcorp News 2013| The basics of setting up a business in Abu Dhabi :: Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


October 2013 | Servcorp

Abu Dhabi is considered one of the safest and fastest growing markets in the world. Prospects for striving smaller companies with limited resources are promising in this emirate, which recently ranked as the world's 2nd best city for business according to a 2013 Ipsos Mori survey (Emirates Identity Authority, obtained October 2013). The Department of Economic Development has set a transparent and flexible procedure for business registration in Abu Dhabi and have recently further upped the ante with plans to set up a database of private sector companies to institute a federal credit rating agency for developing businesses.

Business Plan

To start your business in Abu Dhabi, outline a business plan. Conduct market research to assess any existing potential opportunities, or alternately how to create demand for a product or service. Determine the type of business along with the particular industry sector because regulations such as the number of (local) partners and fees will correspond accordingly.


To complete your business setup you need to plan ahead and research the legal and practical requirements to reduce risks and prepare for an efficient settlement process. Determining the economic activity type and legal form of your business will indicate the capital and registration fees.

For locals, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has the Khutwa Programme for Financial Support, where small enterprise business owners can request loans up to the required amount of AED 250,000 that is needed to establish a company, with a 5 year repayment timescale and down payment of 10% of the total amount requested (Abu Dhabi Government).

For foreigners seeking capital solutions, one potential option is the World Bank's International Finance Centre, which recently pledged a $20 million investment towards an Abu Dhabi-based fund for small and medium-sized businesses (April, Arabian Business).

Registration & Choosing Office Space

Upon initial approval of the company trade name from the municipality and Ministry of Economy, the search for the office space in Abu Dhabi can begin. The office lease will be the first step in issuing your commercial license. A Servcorp serviced office offers you a premium address in Al Mamoura complex, a professional support team, access to five star boardrooms as well as benchmark IT systems. The offices are compliant with the Economic Department's regulations governing business centers allowing a hassle free licensing process.

Selecting staff
First impressions are lasting and having the right team could be the reason behind a growing client base and successful reputation. However, the associated payroll costs of hiring such employees in Abu Dhabi can be significant— the average monthly salary of a professional secretary alone is no less than AED 10,000 and the additional costs for recruitment, visa sponsorship and medical insurance can add to over AED 25,000. Opting for a serviced office means you have the assurance of fully-trained administrative assistance for a fraction of that cost.  

A Servcorp serviced office in Abu Dhabi can make a distinctive difference for your business.