The flexibility to do business throughout the UAE under a DED License

September 24, 2018

The flexibility to do business throughout the UAE under a DED License

One of the most important things that an entrepreneur must ensure when setting up a business is that they will be able to grow without restrictions.   The flexibility to do business - in terms of targeting the right consumers and untapped markets means higher profitability and increased company value.  In a broader context, flexibility is adaptability to inward and outward changes that occur throughout the existence of business; whether these are regulatory changes of the government laws or internal transitions.

When companies are flexible and more resilient to the changing business ecosystem in which they belong, they are therefore more competitive and have a higher likelihood of achieving long-term success. With a license that permits this type of growth, mainland company setup becomes a logical option. This is evident with startups, which have initiated their venture under a license with some restrictions around trading.   They have to look for alternatives to then trade legally as they expand.  This can be complicated, time consuming and expensive without the right advisors to guide you.

Regardless of where you elect to establish your trade license in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you must transact and conduct your business within the legal terms of that jurisdiction. This may of course affect the possibility of conducting business where you choose – and will consequently require you to look for alternative options when and if lucrative trading opportunities are presented. If your business model has the potential to grow rapidly a few years after its formation, or even service Government agencies, then a Mainland Company or a trade license from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) is the best option from the start. 

In July 2018, the DED authority published statistics, which included a total of 24,489 transactions related to licensing and registration, of which 1,651 licenses were issued. The most popular categories included Commercial (60.5%), Professional (36.8%), Tourism (1.4%), and Industrial (1.3%). These impressive numbers demonstrate that a Mainland Dubai license represents a viable option for many startups and SMEs. Moreover, the competitiveness of Dubai as a hub for business in the UAE has ranked higher, with more foreign investment expected in the remaining months of 2018.

To give you a better view of what a DED License offers as a way of scaling up your company, here are the top five advantages:

  1. Flexibility to trade either within the UAE (with private, local and government authorities) or overseas. Having a DED License leverages your business to spread your services throughout the entirety of mainland Dubai. This ensures your business can cater to a diverse market without being bound by certain rules.
  2. No limit on the number of visas (depending on the size of the office space). With a DED License, your company’s ability to hire additional workforce when and if required, is not a hindrance, but a chance to amplify your operations to a larger scale. As a business owner, this advantage gives you the full control of your manpower. However, you must bear in mind that employing more people is interdependent to the size of your office.
  3. Office premises anywhere in mainland Dubai. One of the significant differences of a Free Zone license and a DED license is the flexibility to choose the location of your business. Free Zone companies are not permitted to set up a permanent office outside the premises of the Free Zone, while a DED License authorizes you to establish your business anywhere in the Dubai mainland.
  4. More options for business activities. Setting up a company in mainland Dubai gives you access to more business activity options. Examples of these activities are (but not limited to) Accounting and Bookkeeping, General Trading, Technical and Occupational Skills Training, Sports and Services, Investment in Commercial Enterprises, Interior Decoration, Cosmetic Trading, Restaurants, Events, Management, and many more.
  5. Fewer nationality restrictions in ownership and visas compared to other jurisdictions. A DED license permits the most nationalities who can set up their businesses in mainland Dubai, which makes Dubai a hub of diverse entrepreneurs from across the world. According to DED, Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Chinese, British, Saudis, Jordanians, Syrians, and Kuwaitis are the top nationalities who have registered their companies in July 2018.

When setting up a DED Licensed company, equipping yourself with the necessary information via professional business setup advisors alleviates the potential stress and worry associated with the process. CREATIVE ZONE has been helping entrepreneurs establish their companies in mainland Dubai for nearly a decade.  That represents thousands of business people, who trust CREATIVE ZONE to secure their trade license and manage all the formalities on their behalf. In fact, CREATIVE ZONE has the highest customer retention and customer satisfaction rate in the UAE – with many clients choosing to continue their partnership from startup and as their trade license needs have changed. 

Ekar business setup

Here are the three main types of DED licenses that CREATIVE ZONE has made accessible to help clients get started with their incorporation:


(Provision of non-physical services e.g. Consultancy)


(Provision of physical services or trading activities)


DED promo creative zone