The UAE's Role In Supporting Entrepreneurship The UAE has successfully created a legal framework that is constantly adapting, matching or exceeding the highest international standards, to meet the needs of the entrepreneurship community.

By Isa Bin Haider

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The United Arab Emirates is renowned for being one of the most attractive locations for investment in the world. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia and, as a result, has attracted high numbers of investments, startups and entrepreneurs.This impressive feat has been achieved through an integrated system of laws and commercial principles, enacted by the government, to encourage investment, fostering an inviting environment for investors and entrepreneurs alike. These developments have, naturally, been implemented in conjunction with the UAE hosting Expo 2020, which will no doubt have a major impact on the UAE economy, stimulating economic growth and job creation, for years to come.

The UAE has successfully created a legal framework that is constantly adapting, matching or exceeding the highest international standards, to meet the needs of the entrepreneurship community. This has created a rich and appealing economic environment that is ripe for investment, leading to some of the biggest regional institutions establishing their headquarters here in the UAE. This has contributed to the UAE emerging as a leading economic hub in the Middle East. This has been complemented by an important series of guiding principles. Perhaps most significantly, the principle of partnership between the public and private sectors. This has paved the way for local and international organisations to create a foundation of trust and mutual respect with the international business community, creating a commercial environment that is beneficial to all.

The UAE has also developed a number of strategies and initiatives, which aims to connect both the public and private sectors with entrepreneurs, facilitating access to potential customers. Additionally, these initiatives foster a direct form of communication between these important sectors providing the opportunity to share proposals, information and services in the most efficient manner. The business world is now much more open, due, in part, to constant innovation and has created many opportunities that did not previously exist. However, this has proven to be a double-edged sword, as these same innovations have contributed to an increased risk of fraud, cybercrime and the theft of intellectual property, which can be detrimental to entrepreneurs. The UAE has responded to this by enacting a series of laws, which are constantly adapting to counter new threats, to protect businesses from these potential hazards.

The UAE has become an international leader in regards to the development of commercial law. There are many important laws and decrees that have been enacted to protect the interests of businesses, the most important of which are: Law No. 19, 2016, which legislates against commercial fraud. Federal Decree No. 20, of 2018, which prohibits money laundering and combats the financing of terrorism. Law No. 7, 2002, which enshrines the protection of copyright and IP. In addition, the list includes Law No. 37, of 1992 on the Preservation of Trademarks, Federal Decree No. 19 of 2018 on Foreign Direct Investment, and Federal Decree No. 9, 2016 on Bankruptcy. Additionally, Article 40/92 stipulates that the use of intellectual property rights without the verbal or written authorization of the right's holder or their representative shall be considered a violation of their rights and gives legal protection to their work or intellectual property.

There are clear shared principles that we find in these laws which include a commitment to transparency and the full and honest disclosure of each commercial entity's financial position. As well as providing companies and the investment community in the UAE with the safest and most up to date financial systems which encourage investment and protect investors. It is also clear that there are specific penalties for violating commercial law which are codified in Articles 339 to 373, the punishments for which include fines and imprisonment. Laws which cover money laundering have also established a number of penalties set forth in Articles 1, 2, 3, 5/1, 13 and 14 of the Federal Law No. 4 of 2002, concerning the criminalization of money laundering.

There are many steps that entrepreneurs must take before launching any project or initiative, such as that they must do their full due diligence on their market or service, they must be able to convince a bank of the feasibility of their project, and they must hire a legal specialist to ensure they use well-drafted contracts that protect themselves and their stakeholders by obeying the commercial laws of the UAE.

The UAE has worked tirelessly to create the ideal conditions for entrepreneurs, from a dynamic and extensive legal framework that protects both the entrepreneur and investor, to the creation of platforms that connect startups to other organizations in the public and private sectors. These initiatives, combined with the rapid development of the local economy, has led to the establishment of the UAE as the destination of choice for entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

Related: Owning A UAE Company From Abroad: Three Questions You Need To Answer

Isa Bin Haider

Founder and CEO, Bin Haider Advocates & Legal Consultants

The CEO and founder of Bin Haider Advocates & Legal Consultants, an internationally renowned legal firm based in Dubai. Isa bin Haider is a legal advocate and consultant with over twenty years of experience in policing and public prosecution in Dubai. Bin Haider’s career has seen him emerge as a trusted and veteran advisor to both governmental institutions and the private sector.

Having established Bin Haider Advocates and Legal Consultants in 2002, Isa has also become an established radio personality, hosting Spirit of the Law program on Noor Dubai Radio. Isa has also authored and edited a host of legal books and articles, bilingually, in the UAE.

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