When it comes to startups, speed matters. As a growing hub for global entrepreneurs, Abu Dhabi is streamlining business setup procedures and centralising access to the important information you’ll need to hit the ground running.
Starting a business in Abu Dhabi
With a stable and fast-growing economy, Abu Dhabi is the perfect launch pad for your business.
There are five business free zones in Abu Dhabi, which allow 100 per cent foreign ownership, including Abu Dhabi Global Market, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, Masdar City Free Zone, Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone and twofour54.
Applying for a trade licence
Businesses setting up in one of Abu Dhabi’s five free zones can take advantage of their hassle-free setup process. Businesses outside of these can apply online for an Instant Licence, which will have your business ready to launch in just a few clicks.
Paying tax or VAT on your business
Abu Dhabi-based companies pay 0% corporation tax, making it an incredibly business-friendly environment.
A five per cent VAT levy is payable on almost all consumer goods and services. However, this is significantly lower than in many other countries.
Registration for VAT is required for businesses with supplies or services valued at more than AED 375,000 over a period of 12 months, or who expect to produce taxable products exceeding that amount in the next 30 days.
Setting up a tech business
Abu Dhabi Global Market is Abu Dhabi's award-winning financial centre, which offers a Tech Licence via its digital application process to tech entrepreneurs working in any field.
Working at the forefront of innovation, AGDM recently unveiled its Digital Sandbox, a platform that enables financial institutions and startups to connect and share data and ideas. It is also the first IFC in the region to apply Common Law, which is practised through ADGM’s unique, fully digital courts.
Hub71 is a tech ecosystem that brings together VC providers, business enablers and strategic partners to help tech startups succeed. It has already welcomed 51 companies to its Incentive Programme, which offers free and subsidised housing, office space and healthcare to seed-stage and emergent startups.
Incentives for R&D
Abu Dhabi is focused on creating a world-class R&D ecosystem — which is why, over the next five years, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) will allocate up to AED 4 billion in rebates through its Corporate R&D fund to distinguished firms that wish to expand their R&D operations or commit to new projects in Abu Dhabi.