SME Toolkit UAE
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Open for Business in the UAE

Provided By Lesley Yap for Khalifa Fund for Enterprise DevelopmentSME Toolkit UAE

Since its establishment in 1971, The United Arab Emirates has evolved into one of the most attractive places to do business in both the region and the world. The stability of the country and proximity to major growth regions has undoubtedly created an ideal environment for local and foreign investments.

The UAE’s continuous efforts to position itself as a key international trade hub have proven especially successful over the past decade. Its’ rapidly developing infrastructure and progressive shift from dependency on oil and gas have created ample opportunities for SME growth across the emirates. While the UAE’s natural resources continue to generate significant income, the government maintains its vision for a well-rounded and sustainable economy by using these profits to develop the service industry sectors such as finance, tourism, technology and others.

Industrial cities, special economic zones and free zones have been setup to facilitate business activities and attract foreign investors looking to start up business with ease. Significant incentives such as, 100 percent ownership, repatriation of profit and capital as well as exemptions from taxes are commonplace in most instances. The UAE’s tax-free status, low tariffs, competitive labor costs and intellectual property protection laws are also clear advantages of bringing business to the region.

Today, the UAE is ranked among the top 25 in the world for ease of starting a business and 5th for trading across boarders according to The World Bank Group. The UAE follows global best practices and is being recognized for its business friendly environment. Various initiatives have also been set in place to improve education, healthcare and the general welfare of the people for both local and expatriate living in the UAE.

To date, the Government of UAE has invested heavily to enhance the nation’s status as a regional and global destination for investments. With the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 plan and other strategic initiatives in place from local governments, the UAE is definitely a place not to be overlooked.




The World Bank. (2013). Economy Rankings.

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy. (2013). Investor’s Guide to the UAE 2010 – 2011.

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2013). Doing Business in UAE.

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