Top 6 SME ideas in Dubai for 2020

Small and medium businesses in Dubai contribute majorly towards the economic growth in the region.

Reportedly, 95 percent of commercial establishments in Dubai are listed as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Reports also suggest that 42 percent of the workforce and 40 percent of city’s GDP is generated by SMEs in Dubai. The segregation among SMEs also denotes that there are around 72 percent of micro companies, 18 percent small companies and five percent medium firms. This means that most of the commercial activities in the region are performed by small business entities.

Why is Dubai a centre for SMEs?

The UAE Government appreciates the essential role played by SMEs in uplifting Dubai’s economy. Hence, the governmental bodies have always highly invested in the development of the SME sector. Dubai SME – an initiative launched by the government – has offered a series of welfares since 2002. The aim was to help and encourage SMEs. Additionally, the government wanted Dubai to be recognised as a hub that fosters entrepreneurship.

Is it ideal to start an SME in Dubai in 2020?

Yes, starting an SME in 2020 could be extremely beneficial for commercial entities. SMEs can take advantage of several programmes such as The Innovative Impact Grant Program as well as SME World Summit and other such important events in 2020.

Moreover, SMEs in Dubai are given a preferential status by the government during these major events. For example, a media report said that most of the contracting works for events in 2020 were awarded to SMEs alone.

Establishing an SME in Dubai could be a great start-up plan, but what type of SME business should you do? Here are the top 6 SMEs or small business ideas in Dubai for 2020…

1. Trading Business

Dubai is a global hub for the trading sector, however, that does not mean only big players can enter the UAE market. There are several business opportunities in Dubai for SMEs and small-scale investors. Dubai has a variety of trading sectors ranging from food products, clothes and textiles to accessories, plastic goods, household commodities and so on. Trading is among one of the major sources of economy in this market.

2. Online Business

When you decide to start an online business in Dubai, there are countless options to choose from. The process of setting up a company is similar for an online business as well as offline business. Nevertheless, an online business or an ecommerce business offers a lot of exposure and business prospects in comparison to a traditional company setup. Dubai licenses online businesses under a specialised license called the portal licence.

3. Hospitality Sector

Hospitality is a thriving start-up idea in Dubai. Being an international market, Dubai caters to a huge multicultural population apt for the hospitality industry. Hotels and restaurants can be an extremely productive business in the region, not least because of the expatriate population. A major benefit of the hospitality industry is that it does not demand high initial investments and you could start up with a small eatery and later expand your horizons.

4. Small Scale Industries

Starting a small-scale industry with an industrial licence in Dubai can be another option to venture the Dubai Market. Small manufacturing businesses can be started at a small rental premise that also works out to be cost-effective. Dubai hosts a diverse range of small-scale industrial sectors. The city has areas solely segregated for industrialization.

5. Branch of Foreign Company

Starting a branch of a foreign company on an SME level also could be a benefiting business idea. With a branch of foreign company in Dubai, the business can enter the international market at a lower start-up cost and benefit on various commercial levels. Moreover, with immense integration of the worldwide market, a branch of an international brand can be vastly opportune.

6. Tourism Company

Dubai is at the crossroads of global trade. A hub for business, innovation and leisure, there is huge scope for tourism companies in the region. Company incorporation procedures for a Dubai travel agency or tourism company requires a tourism licence and specialised documents. However, a small setup is perfect to get started!


SME company formation in Dubai and the procedures related to licencing and registration could be a complex process. At times, SMEs will require a substantial amount of start-up capital. Nevertheless, company registration in Dubai offers an encouraging and operating environment for small businesses.

Whether you decide to establish an LLC company in Dubai or start an online business, Shuraa Business Setup can guide you.

Let us know what your business idea is and what type of business you would like to start in Dubai, and we will help you with all the governmental procedures, documentation and paperwork required to get you started.

Book your free consultation today. Follow the link

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