These are some of the questions all entrepreneurs ask themselves before starting a new business. If you are not sure about any of these questions - don’t worry, DBA Business Advisors are at hand to offer free and confidential initial business start up advice.
What is DBA Business Advisors?
DBA Business Advisors is a specialist integrated SME start-up solution provider. DBA assists you, the entrepreneur, in developing new business ideas and transforming these into viable concepts. DBA advisors can test your business concept by conducting thorough market research and confirming your projects feasibility. DBA consultants develop a comprehensive financial model of your business to confirm profitability. This forms the basis of a detailed business plan that gives an in-depth picture of your business to all stake holders, including the investors to confidently invest in your business.
Each international jurisdiction presents unique challenges to start-ups. The Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman) have been actively encouraging expatriate entrepreneurs to invest in these countries. Various incentives including zero corporate tax, zero personal income tax, full repatriation of capital and profits and 100% ownership have been on offer through some free business zones.
Basic start-up issues in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates remains the most entrepreneur friendly country in the Middle East, however expatriates should particularly be aware of some basic start-up issues.
Shareholding of non-GCC nationals in the legal structure of a Limited Liability Company is restricted to 49%. Majority shareholding remains vested in a GCC national. However this legal structure is challenged by every day practice. A UAE national can, for a fixed annual fee, agree to become a silent partner holding majority shares. A minority shareholder can be given powers as an attorney of the majority shareholder to manage the company without any interference. The rights of the expatriate investor can be further strengthened by trust and side agreements between parties.
DBA Business Advisors have built strong relationships with UAE nationals who have proven their commitment to investors. We will be happy to make an introduction.
What can DBA Business Advisors assist you with?
DBA strategic partners can assist you in sourcing customers, staff and supplies for your business at deeply discounted prices.
Finding the right location for your business is a major task and through our real estate partners, we can find the best location with which to enhance revenue.
DBA business advisors have a dedicated team to seamlessly process your trade license application. The process of incorporating your business in UAE starts with reserving a trade name and obtaining an initial approval from the Department of Economic Development. The application for trade name can be completed online. Regulations pertaining to the applications are available at the site. Costs for obtaining a trade name vary depending on the type and language of the name. On submitting an online application or submitting it in person at the Economic Department, you will be issued a date when approval will be granted. All fees must be paid before the trade name approval certificate can be released.
DBA will usually submit your initial approval applications at the same time as submitting their trade name approval application. The documents needed for this step vary depending on the business structure of the company. For certain businesses, special permissions are required from various ministries. At this point, special required approvals from ministries will be submitted. DBA advisors have thorough knowledge of these requirements and will assist you with the right documentation.
Opening your new business in a free zone
If you are planning to open your new business within a free zone, keep in mind that the process for registering a trade name is usually taken care of by the free zone authority and each authority has different application processes. However DBA consultants specialise in free zones and will guide you through the process.
Opening a branch of an existing company
Opening a branch of an existing company requires an additional set of documents, that verify the legitimacy of the branch and its future managers. A list of necessary documents for licensing a branch or any form of business can be found on the DED website.
The procedures following the DED’s initial approval vary depending on the business structure. DBA will submit all of the documents you need for the initial approval, as well as a few others (including the initial approval, the trade name approval and the final tenancy contract for the office or warehouse).
Applying for a Limited Liability License
If you are applying for a limited liability license, you will need to prove your capital requirements by depositing the required amount in a commercial bank and obtaining an undertaking from that bank that the deposited amount will only be released to the managers upon proof of company registration.
If one of the partners of the LLC is an existing company, a copy of that company’s memorandum must be translated, notarized at Dubai Courts and submitted along with the rest of the required documents outlined on the DED website. The clerk at the DED will assign a time to pick up the approved application. Return at the declared time, pay the final fees and submit an application to be inscribed in the ministry’s commercial register. Once the formal license is awarded, the company must apply to become a member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
What do the Mergers and Acquisition team in DBA Advisors do?
The Mergers and Acquisition team with in DBA Business Advisors will assist you in identifying and acquiring the appropriate business for you. We carry out commercial and financial due diligence on businesses and prepare legally binding purchase and sale agreements. Once the final contract has been agreed upon and a payment plan set into motion, the act of transferring ownership must be performed through an amendment in the trade licence at the Department of Economic Development. If the business was foreign-owned, a new Appointment of Local Services Agent contract must be signed with the local sponsor and notarised at the Dubai Courts. The fee for amending a trade licence for new ownership is Dhs.500, but other fees may be applicable depending on the circumstances.
Acquiring and opening a local or international franchise has become quite popular in the region, but the process can be extremely complex depending on where the franchise is from. The best place to start the process of opening an international or local franchise, is the Franchising Middle East Exhibition held each year at the convention centre.
Dubai’s ever-expanding market and its reputation as a financial hub for the region, makes it a prime location for private equity. There are several opportunities to invest in successful businesses in the region. Most companies looking for investors start their search at the Dubai International Financial Centre.
DBA business advisors are with you through the full life cycle of your business: from your business idea to incorporation, from market feasibility to growth strategy, from financial advice to operational improvements and from innovation to exit planning.
Written by Regina Lamour MA, MBA - Management Consultant
DBA Business Advisors - A Division of Paralegal Services International
Suite No. 12, The Iridium, Al Barsha, Near Mall of Emirates, Dubai, U.A.E.
Phone: +971 4 341 9701
Fax: +971 4 341 9702
Mobile: +971 508580306