An Investing Expatriates 2020 survey showed that an estimated 55,000 British nationals already reside in the UAE, and the team at Shuraa Business Setup, a UAE-based provider of company formation services, is expecting this figure to increase soon.
Since its inception in 2001, Shuraa Business Setup has helped in setting up 35,000 businesses in the country from its Dubai office. With such a wealth of expertise at their disposal, the team has now decided to create a UK branch –Shuraa London– with the goal of attracting more British entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the UAE.
At the helm of the firm’s new initiative is Waseem Rather, Director of Shuraa’s UK operations. “For a while now, Shuraa has received strong interest from UK-based entrepreneurs seeking company formation in the UAE, and this has further heightened during the pandemic,” Rather says. “It therefore encouraged the need for us to have a base in the UK and provide support locally. The branch further enables us to offer continued service and greater support to existing Shuraa clients in the UK.”
As Rather explains, with Shuraa London, not only do new clients (either based in the UAE or the UK) get to avail of the firm’s business setup services in the UAE, it also enables existing British clients of the firm to gain easier access to scale and grow their businesses within the country.
The many services that Shuraa has provided to its clients over the years include company formation and licensing, legal representative services, business owners’ visa application services, banking assistance, as well as investor rights and protection services. Shuraa London’s clients should expect nothing less, Rather says. “We are here to help any client who is looking to start a business in the UAE,” he notes. “We provide a free initial consultation to any business or individual interested in setting up a company in the UAE. This is to give them an idea of timelines, procedure, and costs of setting up a new company and how to overcome the challenges they may face.”
Perhaps the most glaring of challenges to a British expat looking to set up business in another country is the issue of legal matters. “Understanding the UAE’s local jurisdiction and regulations is important to successfully open a business in the Emirates,” Rather elaborates. ”Every new business set up in the UAE needs to ensure the completion of all legal requirements in terms of applying for the relevant licenses and permits and obtaining the right approvals. Shuraa ensures that all the documentation and processes are completed efficiently and are fully compliant. Plus, with a physical office in London and a team of experts ready to serve, clients feel reassured, and more confident to take their first step towards their company formation journey.”
While the technicalities of the entire process seem to be well in place to assist new entrepreneurs, there is also the looming question of why British entrepreneurs should look to the UAE as a business haven in the first place. Factors like strategic geographical location, long-term visas for business owners, and no corporate taxes have always been enticing incentives. But Rather believes that now, more than ever, is the right time to become a part of the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“As nations are slowly emerging out of the pandemic, Dubai has been leading the way in terms of vaccinating the population and getting ready for life beyond the pandemic,” he says. “Also, with fears of a double dip recession and talks of a third wave in the Western countries, it has become more relevant than ever for UK businesses to look for avenues in markets such as Dubai to diversify and de-risk. Dubai now also allows 100% expat ownership for the majority of businesses, which again makes it an ideal place for European clients.”
But Rather also advises interested folk to do some personal research on the market as well. “I would advise British entrepreneurs to understand the various stages of company formation early on and choose the right license for their chosen business activity,” he explains. “Look into the market you are seeking to trade in. There might be additional approvals required for the type of business you wish to do. What I would like to say to potential clients is to take the first step of getting in touch with the Shuraa team. We will then take care of all the processes to make your experience seamless.”
With such opportunities at one’s disposal, Rather believes the future of entrepreneurship will no longer be restricted by geographical boundaries. “In today’s world, it’s the client service and customer support that makes you stand out from the crowd,” he adds. “The pioneering step that Shuraa has taken will lead the way in client services, where others will follow. These are exciting times for entrepreneurs in the UK as Shuraa has come closer to them to provide guidance and support throughout their journey. This will further enhance Dubai’s brand and image as a dynamic business hub.”