Some of the benefits of operating a small business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) include, lower tax rates, free trade agreements, the lowest import duty, a competitive economy, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a strategic location. The United Arab Emirates is one of the best regions in which to do business in the world today.
If your inner entrepreneur is calling out to you to start a business in the UAE, now is a great time to do just that. The business soil here is rich and ready to help you not only survive but thrive in a small business. Nationals may have some grant eligibility, but the main point of this article is that if you have a solid business idea, the UAE is a great market.
Some areas in the UAE to focus on include Dubai (a long-standing business hub), Sharjah (directly connected to Dubai with numerous opportunities), Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah (both rich soil for businesses and expansion).
Overall, the business environment and the laws of the land encourage small business startups. However, be aware of licensing requirements and fees may apply to some small business ideas you have.
The following will cover some profitable business ideas for the UAE market.
- 1 Small Business Ideas for UAE
- 1.1 1) Property Management
- 1.2 2) Cafe, Restaurant, or Other Eatery
- 1.3 3) Daycare or Childcare Business
- 1.4 4) Food Delivery & Home Cooked Meals
- 1.5 5) Cleaning or Maid Services
- 1.6 6) Luxury Travel Discounts & Deals
- 1.7 7) Recruitment Agency
- 1.8 8) Gadget Repair
- 1.9 9) Handyman Services
- 1.10 10) Gift Shops
- 1.11 11) Bakery, Cakes, & Snacks
- 1.12 12) Dry Cleaning Services
- 1.13 13) Florist & Flower Delivery
- 1.14 14) Webpreneur
- 1.15 15) Document or Attestation Service
- 1.16 16) Business Brokering
- 1.17 17) Online Trading
- 1.18 18) Insurance Brokering
- 1.19 19) Mobile Automobile Repair
- 1.20 20) Hair Salon
- 1.21 Summary
Small Business Ideas for UAE
1) Property Management
There are a lot of wealthy people in the UAE who own many properties that need management because they cannot keep up with that themselves. Did you know that Abu Dhabi is the known world’s richest city? The chances of a property management firm in these regions is a grand opportunity to make a great living.
2) Cafe, Restaurant, or Other Eatery
The general purchasing power in the UAE makes it convenient and more appealing to its people to dine out often. You could start a small cafe, restaurant, or other eatery with an efficient return on your investment. If you want to expand this business idea, add a mobile food truck to reach other areas like Dubai.
3) Daycare or Childcare Business
A vast majority of couples in Dubai are working couples. This same idea spills over into other areas of the UAE as well. With both parents working, their children require care. A daycare centre or childcare in your home could be just what you’re looking for in a business, especially if you are good with children.
4) Food Delivery & Home Cooked Meals
The United Arab Emirates is highly populated with people working 9 to 5 jobs, making it difficult for them to make their own home cooked meals. Some of these people would probably like to give their families good home cooked meals at home instead of eating out all the time. Opening a business that offers home cooked meals and delivery would meet that desire. While there are already some of these services in place, there is probably room for more with the ever-expanding population.
5) Cleaning or Maid Services
As mentioned in previous paragraphs, the working population in this region makes it challenging for them to find time to clean and maintain their households. You can help them by starting a maid or cleaning service. This is an affordable startup with a large rate of return on investment for you. You will be helping them and making a good living for yourself.
6) Luxury Travel Discounts & Deals
Did you know that Dubai is the biggest tourist destination in the world? That combined with the rest of the emirates, leaves plenty of room for a travel business. While the travel industry itself is already well developed, the best way to go into this business is to offer interesting, unique, and discounted deals for things like cruises, exotic resorts, and luxury overseas travel and tours.
7) Recruitment Agency
With thousands of businesses in Abu Dhabi, Ras-al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Dubai, skilled workers are needed. The hectic life of industry does not leave much time for business to put into their own recruitment, which makes this an ideal business opportunity for you. Get your name out there and applicants will touch base with you since they are urgently looking for work. Most job seekers reach out to hiring firms on their own.
8) Gadget Repair
People all over the UAE (as well as the world) almost always have some form of technology near them or in their hand. Those devices were not designed to work forever, so they have issues and they tend to break down sometimes. Or they get broken and need to be repaired. Either way, this is a great business to start in the UAE.
9) Handyman Services
Almost everyone could use a handyman now and then. The UAE is not an exception to this rule. Whether it is because they do not have the knowledge or skills for working and fixing things around the house or they just do not have the time to do it themselves, there is a good demand for handyman services here. You can work this in the residential or commercial areas as long as you have some experience and a knack for fixing things.
10) Gift Shops
One of the best small businesses to start here is a gift shop. Tourists want souvenirs and locals always need unique and special gifts for their loved ones. You can buy wholesale, put them in your own branded packaging, and have your own small business. Keep in mind, it is often the packaging that sells the product.
11) Bakery, Cakes, & Snacks
Baked goods like cakes, cookies, and other snacks are popular with people all over the world. Because of the high population of the UAE cities, there can never be enough bakeries or snack shops to satisfy everyone. Come up with your own unique brand, niche baked goods ideas, and do some marketing and you will have a great return on your investment.
12) Dry Cleaning Services
Much the same as maid services and housekeeping, dry cleaning is a specialty service focused on clothing that cannot be cleaned with conventional methods. That knowledge and skill will go a long way for starting your new UAE business with a good return.
13) Florist & Flower Delivery
Whether you want to run this kind of business online or in your own store, florists and flower delivery services are in high demand. Think about all the celebrations like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and such that you can market to. You do not have to limit yourself to just flowers, you can also add candies and small gifts as part of a package.
Online ventures like mobile app development, online public relations agencies, online marketing agencies, and other web-related businesses are ideal at the global level. However, if you narrow your niche, you can do something local or national that will make you some good money. This option requires you to have technology skills and expertise.
15) Document or Attestation Service
People are coming to the UAE for a job or for business purposes. Proper documentation plays a major role in these processes. People may require sponsoring like a spouse, parent, or child. Education certificates, attestations from your home country, and other documents from other offices across the UAE are crucial for things to run smoothly. As an attestation service, you help the 90 percent of people who do now know how to perform the whole process with the proper documentation.
16) Business Brokering
The B2B (business to business) market in the UAE is already well developed, so opening a business brokerage firm would certainly make the cut for a lucrative small business here. There are new businesses being started every day here and many are seeking help with finding an already established business within a certain niche. That is where a business broker matches them up with a good business.
17) Online Trading
You do not need a physical showroom to be an online trader, but you do need inventory and delivery services. Third-party websites like Group.ae and Soug.com will help you pick up a bigger market faster. While you are waiting, you can consider drop shipping to save on costs.
18) Insurance Brokering
Dubai, Abu Dhabi as well as other areas of the UAE require health and car insurance cover. Therefore, everyone here needs a car and health insurance. As an insurance broker, you act as a representative for big insurance companies and sell insurance to people for a profit. Being a necessary part of life in the UAE, this should be quite profitable for you.
19) Mobile Automobile Repair
If you are knowledgeable and skilled in auto repair, starting up a mobile automobile repair service will be a profitable idea for you. Imagine the people who get stuck somewhere because their vehicle broke down. You help them with repairs on the road, get paid, and everyone wins.
20) Hair Salon
A hair salon takes less investment than a full beauty parlour or health spa, and yet it gives back a great return on your investment. Haircare services are necessary, but few people want to spend the money to go to a spa for a haircut when your hair salon charges less and is efficient. Gentlemen’s hair salons are in higher demand, so that is an idea for a profitable business in the UAE.
These ideas should spark some others for you. You can use the ones mentioned here or come up with some niche or offshoot of one of these and make it a profitable business in the UAE. Remember to find out about licensing and fees when you are starting up any new business.