Low Cost Business Setup in Dubai, UAE

Low Cost Business Setup in Dubai – Everything You Need to Know

Looking to setup a business in Dubai, but lack capital? Think again.

Starting your own small business doesn’t have to drain your bank account. In fact, with the right approach and a bit of creativity, launching a low cost business can be incredibly rewarding. You don’t need a hefty savings account to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey. Many successful businesses have begun with nothing more than a great idea, unwavering determination, and a clear vision for success.

Iconic companies like Amazon, also began with a great idea. Founder Jeff Bezos famously started by selling books from his garage. Disney began with Walt Disney creating animations in his uncle’s garage.

Starting a business requires hard work, but armed with a brilliant idea, innovative thinking, and perseverance, anyone can succeed, regardless of their initial budget.

To help aspiring entrepreneurs like you, we’ve curated a list of the best low-cost small business ideas and essential tips for making the most of your venture in Dubai without breaking the bank.


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1. Why Start a Low Cost Business in Dubai?

Starting a low cost business in Dubai can be a great idea if you’re looking to boost your income or are between different jobs. It allows you to start generating revenue even if you have little to invest in the business upfront.

Starting your own business can also give you an opportunity to do work that you’re passionate about. As your business expands, you can also consider making this your main source of income. Setting up a low cost business in Dubai also facilitates self-employment and remote working, providing freedom and flexibility like no other.

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2. Why Choose Dubai for Low Cost Business Setup?

Did you know that setting up a business in Dubai can be cost-effective? With streamlined processes and favourable regulations, Dubai offers entrepreneurs an attractive destination to launch their ventures without breaking the bank. From low cost business setup options to a vibrant ecosystem of support services, Dubai provides the perfect launching pad for aspiring business owners. Here’s why entrepreneurs consider Dubai as their business destination:

  1. Global Financial Hub

Dubai’s strategic geographical location positions it as a pivotal global financial hub. You can manage markets from the far reaches of the East to the Americas, all within the same business day due to Dubai’s unique ‘power 8 till 8’ time zone. This means you can expect seamless coordination across continents, facilitating quick decision-making and enhanced productivity. For example, financial institutions in Dubai facilitate real-time transactions and investments that span multiple time zones, offering unparalleled convenience to global investors.

Dubai’s proximity to major manufacturing hubs allows you to establish efficient supply chains. For example, goods from China can be transported to Dubai’s ports quickly, with established shipping routes and streamlined customs procedures. Similarly, products that are sourced from India or Europe can also be imported with relative ease, minimizing transit times and logistical costs.

  1. Magnet for Businesses and Investors

Dubai’s attracts a diverse array of businesses, investment funds, family offices, and visionary entrepreneurs. The city boasts an impressive line of the world’s leading companies, drawn to its conducive business environment, robust regulatory framework, and unparalleled growth opportunities.

Whether it’s setting up a regional headquarters or tapping into sectors like fintech and e-commerce, Dubai provides a fertile ground for ambitious ventures to thrive and expand. For example, multinational corporations such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have established significant operations in Dubai, leveraging its strategic advantages to penetrate regional markets.

  1. Connecting the World

Did you know that Dubai International Airport has been named the world’s busiest for the 10th consecutive year, with around 87 million passengers passing through its gates last year?

With the world’s busiest international airport, a flourishing seaport, and cutting-edge digital infrastructure, Dubai serves as a hub for global connectivity. Its strategic location enables seamless access to major economies and emerging markets, facilitating smooth trade flows and logistical operations. Dubai’s advanced digital networks ensure high-speed communication and data exchange, essential for businesses operating in today’s interconnected world.

  1. Global Hub for Talent

Dubai’s vibrant business ecosystem, along with its open visa policies and world-class lifestyle offerings, attracts top-tier talent from around the globe. Whether it’s seasoned professionals, visionary entrepreneurs, or tech-savvy innovators, Dubai boasts a diverse pool of skilled individuals ready to drive businesses towards success.

So, if you’re looking to expand your team, you can expect the best talent from across the world, experts in every field such as finance, marketing and more. All eager to contribute their expertise and creativity to propel your business forward.

  1. Future Forward

Dubai is not just a city of the present; it’s a future-forward innovation. With a strong focus on designing solutions for tomorrow, Dubai embraces new-age sectors and industries. Whether it’s initiatives in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, or smart city development, Dubai’s innovative ecosystem is equipped for fast-paced growth and groundbreaking innovation.

The city’s emphasis on innovation means entrepreneurs like you have full access to state-of-the-art technologies and research facilities. Whether it’s leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence to streamline business operations or harnessing renewable energy solutions to drive sustainability initiatives, you can stay at the forefront of technological innovation.

3. What Are Some Low Cost Business Setup Ideas in Dubai?

Did you know that you can start a business in Dubai with minimal investment, tapping into the city’s high-growth sectors? These ventures prioritize sharp business acumen over heavy financial investments, making them accessible to aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are some low cost business ideas in UAE:

Dropshipping and Ecommerce Stores

Dropshipping and eCommerce stand out as promising ventures in Dubai’s business landscape, due to their increasing potential for growth and profitability with minimal upfront investment requirements.

Unlike traditional retail models, ecommerce business in Dubai eliminates the need for maintaining a physical inventory or a warehouse space, which significantly reduces the overhead costs. This aspect is advantageous for entrepreneurs who are looking for low cost opportunities in Dubai. By operating without the burden of warehouse liabilities, you can focus on allocating your resources towards essential aspects like marketing, customer acquisition, and business expansion.

Moreover, tapping into the benefits offered by Dubai’s free zones further enhances the feasibility of these ventures. Free zones provide entrepreneurs with a conducive environment for business setup, offering streamlined procedures, cost-effective licensing options, and access to essential resources. Top of Form

Read more about how to start a successful dropshipping company in the UAE here.


The UAE stands out among GCC countries as the prime location to start a consulting business. With a wide range of businesses and a strong demand for consultancy services, along with enticing advantages like a 0% tax rate, economic stability, and minimal entry barriers, entrepreneurs find the UAE an optimal choice for venturing into consultancy.

Here are some popular types of consultancies:

  • Legal Consultancy

Providing legal advice and assistance to businesses and individuals on matters such as corporate law, contract negotiations, intellectual property rights, and regulatory compliance.

  • Management Consultancy

Offering strategic guidance to businesses on areas like market analysis, business development, operational efficiency, and organizational restructuring to enhance competitiveness and drive growth.

Learn more about getting a Management Consulting License in Dubai

  • IT Consultancy

Assisting businesses with technology-related challenges, including IT infrastructure setup, software development, cybersecurity, digital transformation, and IT project management.

Learn more about getting an IT Consulting License in Dubai

  • Financial Consultancy

Advising clients on financial management, investment strategies, risk assessment, budgeting, taxation, and financial planning to optimize financial performance and achieve long-term objectives.


Digital Marketing Services

Digital marketing services offer a versatile and potentially lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs in Dubai. With the rapid growth of online platforms and the increasing importance of digital presence for businesses, the demand for skilled marketers is higher than ever. If you have experience in marketing, starting your own solo marketing agency is a low cost business idea that you can swiftly launch in Dubai.

One major advantages of digital marketing is its accessibility. Aspiring marketers can enhance their skills through affordable online courses, gaining expertise in areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and content creation. These skills are highly valuable in today’s digital landscape and can be acquired without the need for extensive formal education or expensive training programs.

The field of marketing is constantly evolving. Trends, algorithms, and consumer behaviours are continuously changing, presenting both opportunities and challenges for marketers. This dynamic nature of marketing requires a mindset of continuous learning and adaptation. If you have a natural aptitude for storytelling, creativity, and a willingness to stay updated with industry trends, you can thrive in the digital marketing arena.

Launching a digital marketing firm in Dubai offers several advantages. The city’s vibrant business ecosystem, coupled with its strategic location and pro-business policies, provides a conducive environment for entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, the relatively low barriers to entry in the digital marketing industry make it accessible to individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets.

By leveraging your expertise and staying abreast of industry developments, you can establish a successful digital marketing firm that caters to the needs of businesses in Dubai and beyond. Whether it’s helping startups build their online presence or assisting established companies with their marketing strategies, the opportunities for growth and impact in the digital marketing sector are abundant.

Human Resource Outsourcing

Starting an HR outsourcing company in Dubai presents a compelling low cost business setup idea with significant potential for success. In today’s competitive market, businesses recognize the importance of effective human resource management in driving organizational growth and success. However, managing HR functions in-house can be resource-intensive and time-consuming, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups.

By offering HR and recruiting services, you can provide valuable support to businesses seeking assistance with talent acquisition, employee management, and HR compliance. Outsourcing HR functions allows companies to access specialized expertise and resources without the need for internal hiring or investment in HR infrastructure.

Starting an HR outsourcing company requires minimal upfront investment compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. With digital tools and platforms, you can establish a virtual HR consultancy with low overhead costs, allowing you to offer competitive pricing to clients while maintaining healthy profit margins.

Another advantage of starting an HR outsourcing company in Dubai is the scalability of the business model. As businesses grow and evolve, their HR needs become more complex and specialized. By offering a range of HR services, including recruitment, payroll management, employee benefits administration, and HR compliance, you can cater to the diverse needs of clients across industries and sectors.

Trading/General Trading

Another low cost business setup idea in Dubai is General Trading.
Did you know that the UAE ranks among the world’s top trading nations, with non-oil trade reaching over $354.4 billion, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy?

A Dubai General Trading license offers a wide range of opportunities for individuals and businesses looking to enter the global market scene. With a General Trading license, companies gain the authorization to engage in diverse activities such as import, export, distribution, and storage across various product categories.

General Trading licenses not only comply with regulatory requirements but also serve as strategic investments for long-term success. It enables companies to establish a robust presence in the UAE and beyond, tapping into global trade opportunities. Additionally, with the UAE’s favourable tax environment, businesses gain a competitive edge in international trade.

Under this license, you can import and export a vast array of goods, from electronic and electrical equipment to construction materials, textiles, medical products, and food and beverages. Moreover, General Trading licenses allow businesses to engage in wholesale and retail trading activities, further expanding their market reach and potential for growth.

Learn more about general trading here.

Tourism Company

Lastly, tourism is also a great low cost business setup idea in Dubai due to the city’s status as one of the world’s top travel destinations. With over 14 million tourists visiting Dubai in 2023 and a projected increase in tourism in the coming years, the demand for tourism-related services is on the rise. This presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter the tourism industry and capitalize on the growing influx of visitors.

With a tourism business, you can explore different avenues such as selling tourism packages, offering travel insurance services, providing visa support services, and more. The low initial investment required to start a tourism business combined with the high profit potential makes it an attractive option for aspiring entrepreneurs in Dubai.

To legally operate a tourism business in Dubai, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses from the relevant authorities. Depending on the nature of the services offered, this may include a tourism license, travel agency license, or tour operator license. These licenses not only ensure compliance with regulations but also provide credibility and trustworthiness to the business, enhancing its reputation among customers and partners.

Read more to learn how to get a Tourism License in Dubai

Business in UAE

4. Strategies for Achieving a Low Cost Business Setup in Dubai

Maximizing your savings on business setup in Dubai involves strategic decisions and careful planning. Here are some additional tips to further reduce costs:

  1. Flexibility:

If your business operations don’t require a physical office, consider flexible desk options instead. This choice can significantly reduce rental expenses while still providing the necessary workspace when needed. By embracing flexibility, you can keep your overheads low and allocate resources more efficiently for your low cost business setup in Dubai.

  1. Virtual Office Address:

Instead of investing in a traditional physical address, explore virtual office solutions. Virtual office addresses offer a professional presence without high costs. This option allows you to establish credibility and accessibility while minimizing overhead expenses, aligning perfectly with your goal of achieving a low cost business setup in Dubai.

  1. Business License Packages:

Streamline your business setup process by opting for comprehensive professional packages that cover all essential aspects, including visas and permits. Choosing a holistic approach over a fragmented one not only saves time but also reduces costs by eliminating the need for multiple individual services. By selecting a bundled package, you can achieve significant cost savings and ensure a smoother setup process for your low cost business setup in Dubai.

  1. Ensure Legal Compliance:

Make sure all your business documents, contracts, and permits adhere to the legal requirements in Dubai. Non-compliance can lead to costly penalties and setbacks, undermining your efforts to maintain a low cost business setup in Dubai. By prioritizing legal compliance can help you mitigate risks and safeguard your business against potential financial liabilities, contributing to a sustainable operation in Dubai.

These strategies can help in enhancing your efforts towards achieving a low cost business setup in Dubai while maximizing efficiency and sustainability.

5. Low Cost Business Setup in Dubai Free Zone Vs Mainland

When considering low cost business setup in Dubai, entrepreneurs have the choice between two main jurisdictions: Free Zones and Mainland. Each option offers different advantages and considerations. Understanding the distinctions between these two can help entrepreneurs make informed decisions that align with their business goals and budget constraints. Here’s how both jurisdictions differ:

  1. Ownership: 

While most Mainland companies may only have a maximum foreign ownership of 49%, Dubai Free Zones offers complete foreign ownership from the start.

  1. Business Scope: 

Dubai Free Zone Companies are restricted to conducting business only within the Free Zone, while Mainland companies can operate throughout the UAE.

  1. Workspace:

Most Mainland companies are required to have a physical office of at least 200 square feet, while virtual workplaces are allowed for some Dubai Free Zone companies.

  1. Visas:

The number of visas a Mainland company can obtain typically depends on the size of its workspace. In the case of Dubai Free Zone companies, the number of visas available are determined by specific regulations of the relevant authority.

  1. Business Setup Approvals:

When establishing a company in the Mainland, you will require clearance from various government agencies, while each Dubai Free Zone has its own laws and regulations for its registered businesses.

Both Dubai Free Zones and the Mainland offer distinct advantages for entrepreneurs seeking a low cost business setup in Dubai. However, if you want to prioritize full foreign ownership, flexible workspace options, and streamlined setup processes, Free Zones will be a better choice. With Free Zones, you can enjoy complete foreign ownership from the beginning, operate within a supportive ecosystem, and benefit from simplified visa processes.

6. Low Cost Business Setup: Legal Entity Options in Dubai Free Zones

Now that you’ve seen why Free Zones can be more beneficial for low cost business setup in Dubai, it’s time to dive deeper. Free Zones offer various legal entities tailored to different business needs and ownership structures. Let’s explore two key entities: the Free Zone Company (FZCO) and the Free Zone Establishment (FZE).

Free Zone Company (FZCO)

A Dubai Free Zone Company (FZCO) is similar to a Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC), with one main difference– it can accommodate more than 50 shareholders. This makes it a more appealing choice for businesses with broader ownership participation. A Free Zone Company (FZCO) operates within the framework of Free Zone regulations, offering a level of autonomy while enjoying the benefits of operating within the Free Zone environment.

An essential requirement for establishing a Free Zone Company (FZCO) is the appointment of a minimum of one director and a secretary. This structure fosters a degree of corporate governance and administrative oversight, aligning with international business practices. By allowing for increased shareholder participation, a Free Zone Company (FZCO) can facilitate diverse investment scenarios, collaborations, and expansion strategies.

Free Zone Establishment (FZE)

A Free Zone Establishment (FZE) is designed for those seeking a simplified ownership structure, where the company is owned by a single shareholder. This shareholder can be an individual or a corporate entity. The Free Zone Establishment (FZE) structure provides a direct and straightforward ownership model, ensuring that the shareholder has full responsibility for the company’s operations and liabilities.

This one-shareholder approach streamlines decision-making processes, as there’s a clear and singular ownership perspective. It is often chosen by sole proprietors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses seeking a simplified setup that enables them to maintain direct control over their operations while benefitting from the Free Zone’s supportive infrastructure.

The type of legal entity that is right for you will depend on the size and structure of your business, as well as your personal preferences.

7. Low Cost Business Setup in Dubai Free Zones: Registration Process

Incorporation of a Free Zone business at IFZA is a straightforward process for business setup consultants. This business registration process is identical for both individual and corporate shareholders, however, the supporting documents vary.

Step 1: Consultation & Proposal

Our process begins with a consultation to establish your Licensee’s requirements, followed by a tailored proposal that outlines the best type of license, business activities, visa package, and office solutions.

Step 2: Documentation

Next we will require a set of documents including the license application form (including UBO), passport copy, digital passport photo, Emirates ID and visa copy for UAE residents.

Step 3: Processing

Once the documents are received, our support team will register your shareholders’ documents on the registration portal. Once approved, the Authority will issue 2 E-legal forms, to be signed prior to issuance of incorporation documents.

Step 4: License Approval

The Authority approves the application.

Step 5: MOA/AOA Process

A digital Memorandum of Agreement/Articles of Association will be sent to all Shareholders for esignatures.

 Step 6: License Issuance

Soft copy is sent via email with the original license available for collection from our office upon request.

8. Choose IFZA For a Smooth Low Cost Business Setup Experience in Dubai

IFZA is a well-known name in the region for its expertise in business setup in Dubai. Our international network of Professional Partners can guide you through every step of the IFZA license application, ensuring easy navigation and saving you valuable time. And the best part? You don’t even have to be physically present in the UAE.

Choose from thousands of business activities and combine commercial and professional activities under a single license. With IFZA, you have the freedom to build your business exactly the way you envision it.

Our services don’t end with company formation. The IFZA Free Zone ecosystem provides ongoing support to your business with corporate bank account opening assistance, medical insurance coverage, and more. Our Professional Partners receive comprehensive training and access to the IFZA academy’s micro-learning opportunities that focus on critical business skills such as customer service, sales, communication, and government regulations.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity for success. Contact an IFZA Professional Partner today for expert guidance on your business setup in Dubai.

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