March 15, 2023

Abu Dhabi is ideal for entrepreneurs and businesses seeking expansion opportunities in the Middle East. It is fast becoming the destination of choice for entrepreneurs and the best location for small and large businesses in any industry. The emirate offers a diverse economy, world-class infrastructure, and a favourable business environment. One of the key areas for investment in Abu Dhabi is the Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – KEZAD, which provides various benefits for businesses.

Here are some essential factors to consider when setting up a business in Abu Dhabi, specifically in KEZAD.

Understanding the Legal Framework for Setting Up a Business in KEZAD

Before setting up a business in Abu Dhabi, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the legal framework. Business owners must choose between a Mainland Company or a Free Zone Company. Each type has its advantages and requirements. For instance, businesses established in the KEZAD Free Zone can benefit from 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and other incentives exclusive to free zones.

Choosing the Right Business Activity and Legal Structure

The right business activity and legal structure are essential for a successful business setup in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) provides an extensive list of business activities, and you must choose one that aligns with your business idea. Consider the legal structure that best suits your needs, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a Sole Proprietorship, or a Branch Office. KEZAD’s commercial team can guide you on the best options for your specific business and the requirements for setting it up.

Securing the Necessary Licences and Permits for Your Business

You must obtain the necessary licences and permits when setting up a business anywhere in Abu Dhabi or KEZAD. These include a trade licence, mandatory for all businesses, and other industry-specific licences, such as a professional or commercial licence. Ensure you meet all regulatory requirements and submit the required documents to avoid delays in your business setup process.

Finding the Ideal Location for Setting Up a Business

The location of your business can significantly affect its success. When choosing a location in Abu Dhabi, consider proximity to your target market, accessibility, and infrastructure. KEZAD is a popular business choice due to its strategic location next to Khalifa Port, fast access to the region by road and upcoming rail links, proximity to 5 major airports within 90 minutes, and focus on industrial and logistics activities.

Hiring and Staffing for Your Business in KEZAD

When setting up a business in Abu Dhabi, you need to plan for staffing and recruitment. The city offers a diverse talent pool, but it is essential to familiarise yourself with the UAE’s labour laws and regulations. This includes understanding the visa requirements, employment contracts, and the Emiratisation programme, which encourages the hiring of UAE nationals. However, setting up a business in the KEZAD Free Zone does not carry specific requirements. There are no restrictions on the nationality of staff you can hire.

Registering with the Authorities

Registration with the relevant authorities is a crucial step in the business setup process. For businesses in KEZAD, you must be registered with KEZAD and obtain the necessary approvals. Additionally, you may need to register with other entities, such as the Abu Dhabi Chamber, to ensure compliance with local regulations.

Get in touch with us to start your business setup process. Our experts can guide you every step of the way.