How easy is it really to do business in Dubai? A roadmap for quick

Getting started
Dubai, 21 may 2014
 Stuart Curtis, Managing Partner,
The Synergy Group, Dubai
Which jurisdiction?
Ease of starting and doing business
Low – or no – tax
Network of double tax treaties
Starting a business
What do I need to consider
Why should I speak to Synergy
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Flights through Emirates, Etihad, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss Airways, British Airways, Kenya Airways
and South African Airways – excluding charters
Ease of starting business
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Ease of starting business
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Registering Property
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Registering Property
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Ease of doing business
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Ease of doing business
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Ease of doing business
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Paying Taxes
…. and the rest of the world
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
Paying Taxes
Source: World Bank “Doing Business 2014” Ranking
No Tax
The following taxes either do not exist or are not enforced:
• Corporate tax
• Personal income tax
• Withholding tax
• Value-added tax
• Capital gain tax
• Inheritance tax
Tax Treaties
Network of DTT Countries with over 70 countries
Top 10 Countries with Proven
Oil Reserves
Source: The Global Financial Centres Index 14
High Standard of Living
Source: Global Lifestyle Review – Knight Frank
What do I need to consider?
Demystifying business in the UAE
Know your market
Whatever the size of your business, you first need to understand the demand for
your product or service to determine your market potential. Research, research,
research the market and find out where there is current supply and demand; then
apply your business intelligence to predict what future demand will be.
Find the gaps in the market
Only once you understand the market can you identify the gap or
niche which your product or service will address. Remember your
expertise and proofs of concept are important differentiators
Know your Competition
Research is the mantra that must always apply to start-ups or SMEs
looking to expand into a new part of the world. In addition to really
understanding the audience for your product or service, research
the competition.
To effectively differentiate your proposition, you must first
understand your competition. Even if you are a completely new-tomarket concept, less obvious competitors will already exist
Know your unique selling points
Once you know the gaps in the market and understand your
competition, decide on your unique selling points. This is
particularly important if seeking finance from external sources.
It should help to position your offering as an attractive
investment proposition.
Choose the right business format
Think very carefully about where and with whom you will be
trading. Determine what company formation structure suits
you best. It can be a very costly exercise if you don’t get this
right from the outset.
Be wary of barriers & pitfalls
Licensing is linked to the rental of commercial office space in
the UAE and this can be a drain on capital expenditure for a
start-up or SME. Labour, immigration and municipality fees can
also impact cash flow if you’re not prepared for them. Your
local partner should be able to guide you in this regard.
Be wary of challenges generating finance
At the moment, access to finance is particularly challenging for
start-ups in the UAE. Providing audited financials and a clear
corporate governance policy can help.
Personal savings or loans from friends and family can be the
most cost-efficient and hassle-free forms of financing.
Grasp the opportunity
Demonstrate a willingness to ‘fit in’ while remaining assured
and confident in order to fully grasp the opportunity. Take bold
decisions; they can reap rewards. Think on a wider scale: Could
your business work in other Middle Eastern markets? And
importantly, are you aligned with the economic vision of the
About Synergy
• Capturing and directing foreign market mindshare towards emerging markets for
over 50 years
• Integrating international networks of
Emirati business partners
Corporate service providers
Local partners
Leading multinationals
• Enabling FDI through
• International trade organisations connectivity
• Introduction and facilitation across borders
• Local market knowledge and entry routing
Our aim is simple
To be the default choice for the Synergy of
individuals, companies, organisations, trade
bodies and business leaders and their
introduction to key strategic contacts in
relevant emerging market sectors
Core Competencies
• Connectivity
• Proven track record
• Expertise
• Experience
• Fast track
How do we Connect?
Trade events and missions
Professional organisations
Firms and consultancies
Legal and government bodies
Referrals from existing clients
• Synergy is licensed as a professional consultancy , with branch offices
in London, New York and Washington, DC with affiliates in all major
cities in the world

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