Five Reasons Why Dubai Is A Hub For Entrepreneurs Looking For Business Growth Post The COVID-19 Crisis

The UAE government's swift actions –rolling out multiple generous stimulus packages to help the business community, national disinfection programs, nation-wide COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs– have helped the country overcome challenges and open for business.

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We are almost two years into the pandemic, with global health experts continuing to seek solutions for combating the emerging variants. While several economies are striving to stay afloat or are regaining stability, albeit slowly, the UAE’s economy is well on its way to normalcy, even recording its strongest growth in the last two years.

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The UAE government’s swift actions –rolling out multiple generous stimulus packages to help the business community, national disinfection programs, nation-wide COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs– have helped the country overcome challenges and open for business. In fact, UAE was one of the first countries to open its borders to the world. According to the Our World in Data report, the government has, to date, efficiently vaccinated more than 73% of its residents, administering 17.1 million doses, to become the world’s most vaccinated nation.

These facts and figures are a breath of fresh air, not only for the local business community, but also international entrepreneurs and pandemic-fatigued travellers. In today’s uncertain times, if there is somewhere to grow and prosper, the UAE is, without a doubt, the place to be.

While the reasons for this are many, here are the top five driving global entrepreneurs to the Middle East’s economic hub:

1. Expo 2020 A first in the region, Dubai is all set to inaugurate the "world’s greatest show", featuring 191 pavilions. In less than two months, the Emirate is expecting to host about 25 million global community members showcasing and introducing ‘life-changing’ innovations for a better future. With the primary themes of opportunity, mobility, and sustainability, the Dubai government hopes to pave the roadmap for key economical, developmental, and cultural trends of the post-COVID-19 era through this event. The international expo will provide a lucrative platform for global entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities, connect, and collaborate.

Related: Shuraa Business Setup's UK Branch Encourages British Entrepreneurs To Set Up Shop In The UAE

2. City of the future Earlier this year, the UAE was ranked the world’s second safest country by the Global Finance report. Dubai also began implementing technological reforms a decade before the pandemic struck, in a bid to align itself with the vision of becoming a smart city. Its futuristic leadership is not only facilitating the country’s digital transformation with the application of the latest technological tools, such as blockchain, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, but also investing in making it sustainable for its residents, their families, and visitors alike. Furthermore, the Dubai 2040 (Urban Master Plan) is also underway. With all these events underway, any visionary entrepreneur would want to be a part of this dynamic ecosystem.

3. 100% expat ownership The recent amendments made to the UAE Commercial Companies Law eliminates the need for a foreign business owner to mandatorily partner with an Emirati sponsor who would own 51% company shares. This move has been hailed not only by the local business community but also international investors as they can now enjoy absolute legal control over their UAE company’s finances and operations. Moreover, starting a business in the UAE allows investors to become residents of the country and sponsor their family and employees.

4. Tax-friendly What makes entrepreneurs look towards tax-friendly countries for business? Take the European Union (EU) for instance. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, their financial systems have visibly shrunk due to continued or renewed restrictions caused by the surge in cases. Although the levels of their economic recovery vary based on severity of impact, the extent of rebound is slow. However, the major drawback they face is corporate tax. According to the Tax Foundation, the average corporate tax levied in the Eurozone, comprising 19 member states, is 21.7%, with a low of 12.5% in Ireland and high of 31.5% in Portugal. In the UAE, however, corporate tax is not levied. Is it any surprise then that investors from all over the world are looking for avenues in the UAE?

5. Ease of doing business Dubai is home to professional incubators which not only aid in company formation, but also provide diversified services that businesses require after their enterprise is up and running. These corporate services are integral to the formation and functioning of all businesses in the UAE. They handle crucial governmental formalities and procedures such as documentation, paperwork, and approvals, thus simplifying the entire process.

Related: Ready For 2022: Reimagining Business After The Repercussions Of The COVID-19 Crisis

Shahid Shakeel

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Shahid Shakeel is the Managing Partner of Shuraa Group.