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What are the Small Business Benefits of Dubai Mainland Companies?

Jan 2, 2024 | Dubai Tax Free

Curious about the benefits of establishing your small business on Dubai’s mainland? Discover why entrepreneurs worldwide are drawn to this city and learn how to leverage these advantages for your own success. Continue reading the blog for more info!

Dubai Mainland Companies: Small Business Benefits for Entrepreneurs

Dubai, a city synonymous with innovation and growth, has become a prime destination for small businesses seeking to thrive.

Offering a perfect blend of strategic location, hospitable people, entrepreneur-friendly policies, and other benefits, Dubai presents a unique opportunity for businesses to flourish.

Interested in starting your small business? Let’s help you out with our Company Formation Services!

In this blog, we’ll explore the small business benefits of Dubai mainland companies and discuss the various advantages that make it an attractive choice for entrepreneurs looking to expand their horizons. Let’s get started!

Small Business Benefits: What are Dubai Mainland Companies?

Before discussing the small business benefits, let us first find out what Dubai’s mainland companies are. Mainland companies are businesses that are registered with the Department of Economic Development (DED) and can operate within the local market or outside the UAE.

Historically, these businesses are subject to the Commercial Companies Law, which requires a local Emirati sponsor to hold a minimum of 51% of the company’s shares. This stipulation often presented a hurdle for foreign investors who wished to maintain control over their businesses.

However, this rule has been revised in a significant policy shift aimed at attracting more foreign investment. The UAE government, in its commitment to fostering a more welcoming business environment, has now lifted this requirement in many sectors, allowing 100% foreign ownership.

Small Business Benefits: Seamless Transportation

Dubai mainland companies benefit from a world-class transportation infrastructure, which provides them with efficient and reliable logistics for moving goods and people.

The city’s transportation system includes an international airport, a seaport, and a well-connected road network. This allows mainland companies to reach customers and suppliers quickly and easily, saving time and reducing transportation costs.

By leveraging these transportation resources, small businesses in Dubai mainland can enjoy a competitive edge and reach new markets.

Small Business Benefits: Hospitable People

Dubai’s hospitable and diverse community is another advantage for mainland companies. The city’s population is composed of people from various parts of the world, creating a multicultural and inclusive environment that welcomes entrepreneurs from different backgrounds.

This friendly and welcoming nature can help businesses establish connections, partnerships, and networks, which can be vital to their success.

By connecting with the diverse community, small business owners can adjust their products or services to meet the demands of the local market.

This helps them better understand their target audience’s needs and preferences and create more relevant and appealing offerings.

Small Business Benefits: Business-Friendly Regulations

Dubai’s government has implemented business-friendly regulations to support and encourage the growth of small businesses. These regulations ensure entrepreneurs can establish their businesses with minimal bureaucracy and red tape.

Additionally, the DED has a transparent and straightforward business setup process, which makes it easier for small businesses to navigate the system.

Small Business Benefits: A Strategic Location

Dubai’s strategic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa offers small businesses unparalleled access to international markets.

The city serves as a global gateway, with its airports and seaports providing efficient logistics and transportation options for businesses to reach customers worldwide. This strategic location helps small businesses expand their operations and customer base.

Small Business Benefits: Talent Pool and Workforce Diversity

Dubai is home to a diverse workforce, with professionals from various countries and backgrounds. This diversity offers small businesses the advantage of having access to a rich talent pool with a wide range of skills and expertise.

Additionally, the UAE government has policies in place to attract and retain skilled individuals, providing a resourceful environment for small businesses to thrive.

Small Business Benefits: Free Trade Agreements

Dubai mainland companies can leverage the UAE’s numerous free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, which have been established to facilitate trade and reduce barriers. These FTAs offer several small business benefits, including:

Small Business Benefits: Market Access

FTAs open new markets for Dubai mainland companies, allowing them to expand their operations beyond the UAE.

This access to international markets enables businesses to diversify their revenue streams and mitigate risks associated with dependence on a single market.

Small Business Benefits: Lower Trade Barriers

FTAs help reduce tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers, making it easier and more cost-effective for small businesses to import and export goods and services. This increased ease of trade can lead to improved competitiveness and better opportunities for growth.

Small Business Benefits: Streamlined Processes

FTAs often include provisions that simplify customs procedures and improve trade facilitation, making cross-border trade more efficient for small businesses.

Small Business Benefits: Support from Government Initiatives

The Dubai government actively supports small businesses through various initiatives, fostering a conducive environment for their growth and development. Key initiatives include:

Small Business Benefits: Incubator and Accelerator Programs

These programs provide mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities, helping small businesses navigate challenges, scale operations, and achieve growth objectives.

Innovation Hubs

Dubai’s innovation hubs offer affordable office spaces, state-of-the-art facilities, and a collaborative community of professionals. These hubs foster a culture of innovation and collaboration among small businesses.

Financial Support

The government provides financial assistance through grants, loans, and subsidies to help entrepreneurs access the capital needed to start or expand their businesses.

Simplified Licensing and Registration

Dubai has made it easier for small businesses to set up and register by simplifying the licensing processes. This convenient setup saves time and effort for entrepreneurs, enabling them to concentrate on growing their businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Dubai’s free zone company and the mainland?

Dubai free zone companies have limited trading within the UAE and operate within designated areas, while mainland companies allow domestic and international trade. From 2023, mainland companies pay a 9% corporate tax on profits over AED 375,000, while free zone companies will enjoy a 50-year exemption from corporate tax.

Are there any limits on what business activities a mainland company can engage in? 

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) regulates the type of business activities that mainland companies can engage in. Businesses must obtain the appropriate license for their activities, and specific activities, such as banking and insurance, require special permits and additional regulatory approvals. Consulting with a legal or business advisor is recommended for compliance with all regulations.

What are the tax benefits for small businesses operating in Dubai mainland?

Small businesses operating in Dubai mainland enjoy considerable tax benefits. These include zero corporate tax for most businesses, no personal income tax, and no withholding tax on dividends and interests. Furthermore, certain goods and services are exempt from value-added tax (VAT), reducing operating costs and maximising profitability for small businesses in Dubai.


Small businesses can thrive on Dubai’s mainland with its supportive environment. Entrepreneurs can capitalise on the benefits of establishing a company in Dubai and achieve success with the right guidance and support.

Check out Sterlinx Global for further business advice.

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