How to get your business up and running

Danish-Moroccan entrepreneur Said El Mekki has always wanted to set up shop in Dubai. “It’s like Wall Street,” he says. “This is where you need to be if you want to be a part of the future.”

However, he didn’t think opening up a crypto-trading consultancy in the emirate would be easy. Prejudiced by the complicated process of setting up a business in Barcelona in the early noughties, he was expecting a time-consuming procedure in Dubai too. It didn’t help that he received conflicting and confusing advice from various quarters.

Fortunately for him, he came across Shuraa Business Setup that offers end-to-end company formation services. From helping entrepreneurs figure out the most suitable jurisdiction, trade licence, and corporate structure based on the nature of their business, to obtaining all required documents and approvals from various government agencies for the issuance of visa and licence, Shuraa takes care of all the steps and formalities so that businesses wouldn’t have to worry about the legal procedures.

Founded by Emirati entrepreneur Saeed Khalifa Mohammed Al Fuqaei in 2001 with the aim of simplifying the company formation process for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established businesses looking to expanding into Dubai, Shuraa is backed by a highly experienced and competent team. Lawyers, certified accountants, tax consultants, translators, well-connected public relation officers and legal corporate advisors with extensive knowledge of the UAE’s operational framework come together to make it a one-stop solution provider.

Keeping pace with change

Although hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the business setup sector was able to weather the storm by transitioning quickly to online channels. Last year Dubai Economy issued around 43,000 new business licences.

“We are lucky that the Dubai rulers were quick in implementing technological reforms to build a smart city,” says Al Fuqaei. “They have been working towards building an e-government with the application of the latest technological tools such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. Thanks to that, many of our operations took place seamlessly during the lockdown as governmental transactions could now be done via e-channels.”

And it’s not just in terms of digitisation that Shuraa is evolving, says Shahid Shakeel, Managing Partner of Shuraa Business Setup. It’s been adapting well to the new reality and responding appropriately to the market changes. “We understand that several SMEs and young entrepreneurs have been hit hard by the pandemic. Keeping this in mind, we have introduced an affordable all-inclusive package with slashed rates across our services as well as the flexi workspaces.”

The comprehensive Dh18,500-package for setting up business in Dubai mainland covers trade licence fees; name and initial approval; Tasheel fees; LSA notary fees; stamp of the company; sponsorship fees; immigration card; investor visa; Emirates ID, medical test, change of status, and visa stamping; office contract; flexi office/conference room usage; employment visa for two; bank account assistance; complimentary tax consultation; and free VAT registration.

Impeccable service

Islam Madroni was impressed with Shuraa’s assistance in setting up his company, NFC Technologies, which makes smart visiting cards. “Shuraa handled the formalities and documentation required for my company formation in Dubai seamlessly,” says the 29-year-old from the Netherlands. “I was amazed that my professional licence was processed within a day and my company was operational in less than a week.”

Famous video blogger and founder of Nas Daily, Nuseir Yassin was also relieved that he entrusted Shuraa with the legwork of setting up his media and production company, Nas Studios, in Dubai. “Their licensing team was swift with the preparation of our business and immigration documents,” he adds.

Having in-house Department of Economic Development and Tasheel counters that facilitate quick processing has worked to Shuraa’s advantage.

Legal corporate advisor Saima Khan with NAS Daily founder Nuseir Yassin
Image Credit: Supplied

In order to make it easier for entrepreneurs and companies in other parts of the world to start a business in Dubai, Shuraa has established global branches in India, the UK and Bangladesh and is set to open offices in several other countries.

“This helps entrepreneurs begin their process in their home countries itself,” explains Shakeel.

With strategic partners and supporting verticals such as Shura Advertising, Shuraa Tax, Shuraa Legal Consultancy, and Shuraa Business Centres, the company has strengthened its position over the years. Through collaborations with travel, branding and marketing, telecommunications and banks and funding agencies, it’s further expanding its portfolio of services, becoming an indispensable partner to clients, fulfilling their business requirements in the initial as well as later stages.

Corporate advisor Lola Damini hands out business licences to Shuraa’s new clients Islam Madroni (right), owner of NFC Technologies, and Said El Mekki (left), owner of SE Project Management
Image Credit: Supplied

El Mekki is glad that he started his entrepreneurial journey in Dubai with Shuraa. “Shuraa’s pricing, speed and the quality of service took me by surprise,” he says. “They were transparent from the start and their consultant’s dedication and communication felt personalised. What more does one need when trying to start a new venture in a foreign land?”

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