Made in Kizad_new
Kizad is home to some of the largest food products manufacturers in the region Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A firm that helps new companies set up in the UAE has said that enquiries by entrepreneurs looking to open businesses in the country have shot up by 20 per cent in the first half of 2019, crediting government-led initiatives among the key factors behind the increase.

“The introduction of new licensing and visa regulations have really eased the process of starting a new business,"  Meet Joshi, chief executive officer for the UAE-based Flying Colours, which has been operating for more than 15 years helping companies getting started in the UAE.

"The UAE is vibrant, but it is also solid and has a proven track record, which is why so many people are attracted to open a business in the country,” Joshi added.

“Currently we are receiving monthly 800 to 1,000 enquiries [on starting a new business], which is 20 per cent higher than last year,” he added, highlighting how the numbers have shot up.

Joshi credited the surge in interest to the easing of government regulations as well as long term visas for investors, saying the measures were sending positive messages for entrepreneurs.

“The new rules by Department of Economic Development for instant licence and allowing licences on desk spaces have been really helpful in cutting down costs for many businesses. Also, the relaxation of employment visa fees by the Ministry of Labour and the total removal of the labour deposit have also helped companies cut down their hiring costs.

190901 Meet Joshi
Meet Joshi Image Credit: Supplied

“The new 5-year and 10-year residence visas announcement and the announcement of certain sectors allowing 100 per cent ownership have also ignited interests for people to open new businesses,” he added.

Many of the enquiries have also come from abroad according to Joshi, with the range of businesses covering several different sectors.

“The total inquiries are a mix of local and international. At least 30 per cent of the inquiries are international, mainly from countries like India, UK, Pakistan, China and Africa.

“The hot favourites have always been tourism, trading and software/information technology. Apart from those, we have also seen a rise in consultancy services [human resources/management/information technology/tax], Food sector [catering, restaurants] and E-Commerce,” he added.

Commenting on the overall market for new businesses, Joshi said the market was looking positive due to a number of factors such as the upcoming Expo 2020 and the UAE’s attractiveness for doing business.

“We are hoping that the new governmental rules stimulate the economy which will naturally bring a positive boost for all business. Also UAE being a country founded on strong business principals, the country should remain attractive to new investors.

“The other [positive] market factors have always been the zero income or corporate taxes, world class business infrastructure and the reputation of the country with respect to ease of doing business. Moreover the upcoming Expo 2020 has definitely led to the increase in new business formations as investors will try to take advantages of this big platform,” he added.