Welcome to the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and the exciting opportunity to start an AI company in Dubai! The name of the game is AI, AI, AI. I can’t help it. That’s the name of the game! Artificial intelligence is the most transformational technology of all time and is clearly the primary culprit for triggering layoffs all across the globe. One solid way to cop it sweet is looking for alternatives such as setting up an AI business in Dubai, one of the world’s most AI-driven places.
Why AI Business Setup?
With driverless trains, self-service kiosks, customer service chatbots, and myriad other machines around us, the replacement of humans with bots and machines is not a piece of new news. Not to mention ChatGPT, the new kid on the block, that has taken the world by storm within just a few days of launch. Automation has been replacing jobs across industries, including manufacturing, shipping, healthcare, education, automobile, and customer service for quite a time. And it’s not going to cease. Rather in the coming years, it will only snowball at the speed of light, given that robots have advanced to a higher level of sophistication and are now capable of carrying out a larger variety of jobs within a fraction of the time than humans take. What’s more, do we need to mention why this is the time to think of taking a leap into the world of business? Speaking of which, the next question that might spring to your mind definitely is – Where should I set up an AI company? Where else! Museum of The Future, the recent ground-breaking creation of the City of Skyscrapers, says it all, what can be the ideal place to set up an AI or IT company?
Why Dubai for AI Business Setup?
Maybe to invest in OpenAI or maybe to develop an AI-powered answer to the viral App or maybe to be just to brave the potential wave of recession, tech giants worldwide are on fire to fire their tech moguls with a cost-cutting motive. For whatsoever reason, the massive layoffs happening today give a glimpse of the nightmarish vision of the future for old-fashioned businesses and job-oriented individuals who are not from STEM or AI backgrounds. However, the blessing in disguise is now you can think of starting your own company somewhere where the economy is thriving and advancement is the priority. And what better place to start an IT or AI business than Dubai, the UAE’s economic capital that boasts high-tech infrastructure, world-class amenities and an astounding business ecosystem laden with liberal taxation policies, to say nothing of the Dubai Internet City (DIC), the leading tech hub in the region. What’s more, the Middle East’s economy is expected to benefit from AI to the tune of USD 230 billion by the year 2030. Coming back to the UAE, following a number of policy initiatives, there has already been a noticeable uptick in the flow of tech talent from India to the country in recent months. This trend is anticipated to intensify in the coming weeks and months as a result of the recent large-scale layoffs of employees by startups and top companies in India and western nations.
The smart city has long been at the forefront of “futuristic projects,” including tests for flying taxis and even flying jetpacks, a real-world hyperloop, renewable energy initiatives, and electric vehicles. Even Dubai has an accelerator program designed to hasten the development of this numerous cutting-edge technologies. Let’s cut to the chase! Dubai offers a supportive and streamlined business setup process with various initiatives aimed at encouraging AI startups and setting up an AI company in Dubai can be rewarding in myriad ways. Here are some of the key benefits that an AI business setup in Dubai will bring to you:
- Dubai sets a highly competitive tech ecosystem for foreign investors to start and grow a business of their choice
- A multitude of business activities to choose from
- Availability of a wide range of licenses including freelance permits and e-Commerce license
- You can enjoy innovative yet affordable offices for your AI business
- Possibility of 100% ownership of your AI business in Dubai, whether in the mainland or free zone
- You will be able to fully repatriate your income and profits
- You have no currency exchange restrictions in Dubai
- You can set up your AI company easily and swiftly
- You can easily reach the global market, thanks to the strategic position of the Emirate
- You have access to global talents to hire
- You have no limitations on visa issuance, on meeting specific criteria
- You don’t have to involve any Emirati national for sponsorship in the UAE
- You have 50+ free trade zones to register your AI company in Dubai
- You can migrate to the beautiful city of Dubai with your loved ones and relish the high-quality life
- The diversity of the city is sure to benefit your business
- You can take advantage of Dubai’s growing market for AI solutions
- You get full support from the government of Dubai which is actively supporting the development of AI in the region by providing funding and resources for AI startups and established businesses
In addition, as one of the most prominent technology centres in the world, this area offers a variety of incubators, acceleration programs, and free zones specially designed for companies like yours. For instance, Dubai Internet City is a fully integrated tech community that is home to thousands of the top startups, SMEs, and IT entrepreneurs in the area. You will get access to cutting-edge coworking space, mentors, accelerators, courses, and networking events when you establish yourself here. A variety of business services are also available to you, including printing, faxing, shredding, reception cover, and post office boxes, to name some.
Key AI-Business-Friendly Initiatives Taken by Dubai Free Zones
Dubai Free Zones have recently implemented several initiatives to make the city more AI-business-friendly:
- AI Strategy – Dubai Free Zones launched a comprehensive AI strategy aimed at attracting AI-based businesses and providing a supportive ecosystem for their growth.
- Dubai Future Accelerators – The program provides startups and businesses with access to mentorship, funding, and resources to develop and implement AI solutions.
- AI Regulation – Dubai Free Zones have created a regulatory framework to govern the development and deployment of AI technologies, ensuring ethical and responsible use.
- AI Hubs – The establishment of AI hubs within the free zones provides a collaborative and innovative environment for AI businesses to develop and grow.
- AI Talent Development – Dubai Free Zones are investing in programs and initiatives to develop local AI talent, including education and training programs, internships, and mentorship opportunities.
Some other ground-breaking moves of the Emirate to lure AI-oriented foreign business investors include
- Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC), a program launched by Dubai Silicon Oasis
- In5, an idea of TECOM free zone
- A joint entrepreneurship program proposed by Astrolabs and DMCC
- DIFC’s launch of AI and Coding License
These initiatives demonstrate Dubai’s commitment to becoming a leader in AI technology and to providing a supportive ecosystem for AI businesses.
What are my options for setting up an IT company in Dubai?
The world is your oyster when it comes to entering Dubai’s tech industry. Some of the AI-related business activities in Dubai for your IT company setup in Dubai include:
- AI software development: Companies can develop AI-powered software solutions for various industries such as finance, healthcare, transportation, and more.
- AI consulting and advisory services: Companies can offer expert advice and support to businesses looking to adopt AI technology.
- AI data analysis and management: Companies can provide AI-powered data analysis and management services to help organizations make informed decisions.
- AI-powered product development: Companies can develop AI-powered products in areas such as speech recognition, image recognition, and natural language processing.
- AI research and development: Companies can conduct cutting-edge research in AI and develop new AI technologies.
Dubai is actively promoting AI and has established initiatives such as the Dubai AI Roadmap and the Dubai Future Foundation to support AI development in the region.
Some of the best free zones to start an IT company in Dubai
- Dubai Internet City (DIC)
- Dubai Science Park
- Dubai Silicon Oasis
- Dubai CommerCity (DCC) free zone
- Dubai Media City
- Dubai Production City
- Dubai Studio City
- Dubai Outsource City
- Dubai Knowledge Park
- Dubai International Academic City
- Dubai Design District
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
- TECOM free zone
- Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers (a part of DMCC)
- Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA)
- Dubai Silicon Oasis
- Dubai HealthCare City
How to start an AI company in Dubai?
It’s not a secret anymore that artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. And with seemingly endless use cases, from business and banking to healthcare, hospitality, and, of course, technology, it’s unlikely to slow down any time soon. But here in the Middle East, AI is expected to have an even greater impact. In fact, it’s expected to impact the economy to the tune of USD 230bn by 2030. The UAE is expected to see the greatest benefit, accounting for almost 14% of the total figure. Naturally, this makes now the perfect time to start an artificial intelligence business in Dubai. And, if you do, you’ll find a fast, easy, and affordable company formation process when you arrive. Providing you set up with the help of a local expert, of course. In this guide, we’ll talk cover the key points of AI company formation in the UAE, from licensing to costs.
Step 1: Name your AI company right and have it reserved for initial approval
Propose and submit at least three trade names in line with the UAE standards for your upcoming AI company in Dubai to the authority in charge of the chosen jurisdiction. For instance, if you are starting a mainland IT company in Dubai, then the local DED is the competent authority to look after trade license matters.
Step 2: Find the right jurisdiction and rent an office for your AI company formation in Dubai
When setting up an AI business in Dubai, it’s important to find the right location for your business. You have two main options: free zones or mainland. And it might get tricky to choose between the two, given the mainland territories of Dubai also, just like freezones, permit now 100% ownership to expat business persons for more than 1,000 industrial and commercial activities. However, the location decision becomes easy if you are working with one of the top business setup consultants in Dubai like Adam Global. You may share your requirements, business setup budget, business goals and other choices with our business advisors in Dubai to know which jurisdiction will check all the boxes for your AI business setup in Dubai. For instance, if you want flexibility and access to the local market over the cost of taxes, you may opt for the mainland for your AI company formation in Dubai. On the other hand, if you don’t have budget constraints at the moment but want to save on taxes later then the free zone company setup in Dubai can suit you more. Dubai Internet City (DIC) is one of the most popular free zones in Dubai if your heart is set on a free zone AI company incorporation in the UAE.
Step 3: Finalise your AI company structure
The first step in setting up an AI business in the UAE is to choose a business structure. This is the legal entity through which you will conduct your business activities. The most common form of business entity is a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is a legal entity with a separate legal personality and limited liability for its members. This means that if the company fails, the members are not personally liable for its debts. Another option is to establish a branch of an existing foreign company. This is a good option for businesses that already have an established presence in the UAE, or want to use existing infrastructure to enter the market.
Furthermore, if you are looking to set up an AI company in Dubai free zone then you two choices – Free Zone Company (FZ Co.) or Free Zone Limited Liability Company (FZ LLC) Free Zone Establishment (FZE). There are changes depending on how many shareholders there are and whether they are natural or legal persons. It’s possible that not all free zones register both sorts of businesses. The type of company that can be registered must be confirmed with the specific free zone authorities.
Step 4: Attain initial approval from the relevant authority to proceed with the AI business licence application process
Obtaining initial approval or an NOC on your intention of incorporating an AI company in Dubai is a must. Submit the completed application form to the applicable authority along with the below-mentioned documents (the list differs from case to case):
- Business plan
- Copy of existing trade licence/registration certificate (if you are an existing company, applicable for a local company only)
- Coloured passport copies of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
- Specimen signature of the company’s shareholder/s and the appointed Manager/Director for the new company
- 2 years’ audited financial reports for a corporate entity or certificate of reference from a personal bank of the individual shareholder
- NOC from current sponsor (for individuals)
- Unit title deed
- Letter of Intent
- Registry Identification Code Form (RIC) for Manager/Director (Original and notarised)
Step 5: Prepare the documents required for AI company setup in Dubai and get your AI business license issued
Once you’ve chosen your business structure, the next step is to get your AI business license. A business license is a legal document issued by the government that allows you to conduct business activities in the UAE. The type of license you will need will depend on the nature of your business. For example, if you are setting up a software development company, you will need an ICT license. If you are setting up a consultancy business, you will need a professional services license.
To obtain a business license, you will need to submit certain documents to the Department of Economic Development (DED). These documents include a business plan, an application form, and a memorandum and articles of association (MOA). Once you have submitted these documents, the DED will perform a detailed review and, if approved, will issue you a business license.
Key documents required for AI company setup in Dubai
- Name reservation Certificate
- Copy of Memorandum of Association
- Certificate of initial approval
- Commercial lease documents (RERA attested)
- Passport copies of all the partners (not for a sole proprietorship)
- Approval from external departments (if applicable)
Step 6: Open a corporate bank account in a UAE bank
Once you’ve chosen your location, the next step is to open a corporate bank account. This is an important step in setting up an AI business in Dubai, as it will enable you to receive payments, make payments, and access financing. To open a corporate bank account, you will need to submit certain documents to the bank, including a business plan, a memorandum and articles of association, and a board resolution. The process of opening a corporate bank account can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s a good idea to seek the help of a local expert. They will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that everything is done correctly and in a timely manner.
Step 7: Set up your AI office… to the T
Once you’ve opened your corporate bank account, the next step is to fit out your office to reflect the personality of you and your brand. This is an important step for any business, as it will be the physical base of your operations. To set up your office, you will need to find the right space, furnish it, and set up the necessary infrastructure. This may include setting up an IT system, as well as furniture and equipment. Again, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a local expert who will be able to help you find the right space, negotiate a good rate, and set up the necessary infrastructure. We have got you for the office fit-out services in Dubai as well. Another perk of working with Adam Global!
Step 8: Hire quality employees
Once you’ve set up your office, the next step is to hire employees. This is an important step, as employees are the lifeblood of any business. To hire employees, you will need to create job postings, interview potential candidates, and then onboard them. This can be a time-consuming process, so it’s important to plan ahead and ensure that you have the resources to hire the right people. Just so you know, we can assist you in dealing with the payroll management of your workforce.
Step 9: Get the necessary permits and visas
The last step in setting up an AI business in Dubai is to get the necessary permits and visas. This is an important step, as it will enable you to legally employ people and conduct business activities. To get the necessary permits and visas, you will need to submit certain documents to the relevant authorities. This process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s a good idea to seek the help of a local expert. And another perk of working one-stop shop of corporate services like Adam Global is that you’re covered for any sort of visa assistance as well. Not to mention the UAE Golden visa.
How Adam Global can help?
With Adam Global Dubai business setup consultants by your side, your artificial intelligence license in Dubai is just a couple of steps away.
Step1: Get in touch with us to share your requirements
Step2: Provide the documents as per our business setup documentation checklist. Some of the basic documents are:
- Copy of your Passport, Visa Page and Emirates ID (if you are already a UAE resident)
- Copy of Trade License (for the applicant and all Shareholders)
- Business Plan
- Attested copy of your Birth Certificate
Step3: Pay the applicable fee and collect your AI business license after approval
What does it cost in Dubai to obtain an AI license?
The cost to obtain an AI license in Dubai will vary depending on a number of variables. Your setup location, business size, share capital requirement, and desired activities will all have an effect on the overall cost of AI business setup in Dubai. The least expensive option for launching a business of any kind is frequently free zones. However, there are differences between each free zone, and costs can differ greatly. We offer a number of packages that include visa services. For more information, you may book a free consultation with one of our best AI business formation specialists in Dubai, UAE.
Starting an AI business in Dubai is an exciting prospect. As one of the most vibrant and business-friendly cities in the world, Dubai is the perfect place to launch your business. However, you should be aware that setting up an AI business in Dubai can be a complex and time-consuming process. To ensure that everything is done correctly and in a timely manner, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a local business setup expert.
At Adam Global Advisors, we specialize in setting up businesses in the UAE. Our team of expert advisors has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the company formation process. We can help you choose the right business structure, obtain the necessary licenses, open a corporate bank account, set up your office, hire employees, and get the necessary permits and visas. So, if you’re looking to start an AI business in Dubai, get in touch with Adam Global Advisors today. Our team is here to help you get your business up and running in no time, whether it’s a tech company, a medical setup or simply a small cafeteria in Dubai.