Three months after the release of that report, Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), which controls the licensing and registration of new companies in Dubai, feels business confidence is high and that reforms in the business environment have put the emirate in a competitive position against the rest of the region.
“The other issue is related to the leasing of office space before you can procure your trade licence. In some cases, this one component alone can account for more than 60 per cent of setting-up costs,” said Menon.
But Mohammed feels the region’s economic system means the need for a prior office space cannot be done away with, at least for now.
The DED is responsible for issuing trade licences. Licences span three areas – general commercial licence; professional licence for services; and industrial licence for manufacturing.
“The total fees, from initial application to final approval, can range from Dh10,000 to Dh12,000. You have to deposit a security amount of Dh300,000. Then you have the cost of office space. So, you are looking at Dh350,000 to Dh400,000 as start-up costs,” said R Menon.
LAUDES CORPORATION: Larry Underwood, Chairman of the LCI Group that set up Laudes Corporation in Dubai Media City, said: “As far as our licensing and registration is concerned, we did not have any issues as we engaged a consultant to advise us. But in the absence of a specialist firm, it can be complicated for a start-up.”
SPACE GROUP: Seoul-based Space Group specialises in architecture consultancy and urban planning. “While applying for licences, we found the guidelines were not very systematic. Also, since procedures vary from one emirate to the other, compliance can be an issue,” said Jay Cabalce, project manager. “And they can carry hidden charges.”
MCARDLE SPORT-TEC: Bob Seward, general manager for the Middle East of this UK-based civil engineering firm, said: “The registration was reasonably straightforward. Other requirements such as labour card took time. The need for a local sponsor complicates the procedure.”