Why now is the time for British entrepreneurs to open a UAE company

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As the UK hesitantly heads towards Brexit, the UAE continues to push on with its plans to become one of the most advanced business locations in the world. These developments make the next 18 months a unique time to open a British company in the UAE.

So here are just some of the reasons why now is the time to open a company in the UAE if you’re looking to avoid, or mitigate, the instability in the UK.

  • Brexit uncertainty
  • British expat culture
  • Free zone options
  • Fast setup & visas
  • Recruit top talent
  • Advanced technology

1. Brexit uncertainty: A golden opportunity for British startups

If you’re wanting to start a business or grow an SME in the UK but are fearful of the current economic climate – you are not alone.

Thousands of entrepreneurs are worried about launching or sustaining a business in Britain due to Brexit.

This is highlighted by the Allied Irish Bank’s latest Brexit Sentiment Index regarding the Republic of Ireland:

  • 32% of firms in Ireland report a negative pre-Brexit effect
  • 68% of firms in Ireland predict a negative post-Brexit impact
  • 35% of SMEs in Ireland have cancelled or postponed investment plans

The figures are similar, or in some cases worse, for companies in Northern Ireland. This data is backed up across the UK, with 75% of tech startups predicting that Brexit will negatively affect innovation prospects.

While you can wait and hope that the UK economy becomes favourable for your startup, this strategy could realistically leave you in limbo for 18 months or more.

This is a key reason why startup locations such as the UAE are so attractive. You can set up in a free zone such as Fujairah Creative City Free Zone very quickly. The benefits include a dynamic entrepreneurial economy and zero percent corporate and income tax.

2. British expat culture: UAE is a home for British entrepreneurs

Making the decision to head to the UAE to create a startup may feel like a brave one, but you certainly won’t feel alone once you’re here.

Over 240,000 British expats now happily call the UAE their home, with an additional one million visiting each year.

The UAE offers a quality of life that many entrepreneurs and workers feel is incomparable with the UK – including the climate, education, smart technology and reduced stress.

The UAE is building the cities of the future, with a mix of cultures that supports the development of a modern global business hub.

Starting up in the UAE also means that you will be surrounded by businesses, colleagues, friends and fellow entrepreneurs who speak your language and are on the same journey.

3. Free zone options: Affordable startup infrastructure

It’s advisable to discuss your startup plan with a business adviser based in the UAE. However, opting for a base in one of the UAE’s many free zones such as Fujairah Creative City Free Zone is invariably the best fit for UK entrepreneurs.

The cost-effective benefits of basing your startup in a free zone include:

  • Complete foreign ownership
  • No import and export taxes
  • World-class office space and warehousing
  • Recruitment support
  • Smart technology
  • Excellent transport links

The ongoing improvement and smart technology being implemented in the free zone developments is exciting. Creating a startup in the UAE offers you an opportunity to gain leverage on your business growth.

4. Fast setup and visas: Build your UAE team

Launching your startup in a free zone is fast and very flexible, meaning you can create a package that suits your specific budget and logistics.

Using a business advisor based in the UAE will enable you to fast-track this approach.

This includes processing visa applications for yourself, your family, your startup team, and new recruits. The UAE’s legal system is favourable to UK citizens looking to gain visas, but the paperwork and legal processes can be complex without expert help and automation.

5. Recruit top talent: Benefit from the UAE’s global pull

The current social and political climate makes this a potentially very interesting time to create your startup in the UAE.

The combination of Brexit, technological innovation and globalisation means that prospective workers are very interested in working for startups based in progressive locations.

Factors attracting top talent to the UAE

  • Fear of Brexit job cuts
  • Globalisation
  • New technology
  • Better lifestyle

You may find it easier to recruit the best talent when based in the UAE.

6. Advanced technology: The UAE is aiming to boost startup success

London remains the leading tech hub in Europe, but Brexit has created a pessimism that may be well-founded in post-Brexit Britain:

  • 87% of London tech workers are against Brexit
  • 75% of tech startups predict a negative post-Brexit economy
  • 28% will remain in the UK but open a European outpost; while 17% are considering moving their HQ to Europe or elsewhere

Regardless of whether your startup is specifically tech-based, there’s no doubt that the UAE will connect you with technology and innovations that benefit your business.

The level of investment across the UAE’s leading emirates is staggering. For instance, the government has announced a USD 272m infrastructure injection for Fujairah between 2017 and 2021.

There are already some other incredible projects underway, such as the Fujairah-Mumbai Subsea Tunnel Project. The concept will connect the emirate to both Indian and Gulf trading markets via a high-speed train.



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