It has never been easier to start and grow a business in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East’s fastest growing business hub. More government initiatives are available than ever before to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. The number of industry-focused and specialized sectors in the emirate has increased dramatically, thanks to the support of appropriate jurisdictions and licensing authorities.
Let’s take a look at what’s available, who it’s for, and how a new initiative aims to make it even easier for you to grow your business in Abu Dhabi.
Diversifying its Economy
It is no secret that the UAE’s economy has historically been dominated by oil. However, Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, has made significant progress in diversifying its economy away from hydrocarbons. Between 2014 and 2018, the contribution of petroleum and natural gas to Abu Dhabi’s GDP fell from 52 percent to 44 percent. Manufacturing increased from 19 percent to 24 percent during the same time period. Much of this is due to the government’s efforts to make it easier for other industries to locate in the area.
Increased Government Initiatives
By 2030, Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 has set a goal of creating a sustainable, diversified, high-value-added economy. This entails encouraging non-oil growth in industries such as aerospace and defense, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, tourism, transportation, education, media, and financial services, among others. It’s a goal that’s resulted in more opportunities for people all over the region.
Ghadan 21, the government’s accelerator program, is the largest. This AED 50 billion package began in 2019 and invests in businesses, innovation, and people, indicating that Abu Dhabi is becoming a desirable place to work and live.
Various Licensing Authorities and Jurisdictions
Choosing the right location and the right license for your business is critical, but the complexity of what is available can make it difficult. One of the things that sets Abu Dhabi apart is that much of what is available is industry-specific, making it easier to find what you need.
In terms of jurisdictions, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (AD DED) is an excellent choice for anyone looking to establish a business on the mainland while maintaining the ability to conduct business in any part of the UAE.
A large number of free zones are also available. If your business is in the industrial or manufacturing sector, look into Abu Dhabi Industrial City (ADIC) or Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), the latter of which offers a variety of packages for new businesses as well as pre-built warehouses that are ready to use right away. The Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) may be the best option if you plan to do a lot of international trading.
However, not all businesses are focused on selling physical goods. If you’re in the financial services or wealth management industry, the Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone (ADGM), an award-winning international financial center, might be worth considering. With its high-rise buildings and modernized amenities, companies in ADGM offer serviced offices, or co-working spaces so you and your company can start as early as possible.
Check out Two Four 54 if your company has a media or creative bent. This free zone has recently relocated to the Yas Creative Hub, an Abu Dhabi development dedicated to media, entertainment, and gaming.
From its increasingly diversified economy, major government initiatives, and a wealth of talent, to its strong focus on innovation and multiple options for company formation, Abu Dhabi is right at the top of the list when it comes to deciding where to start your business.