The UAE is an attractive region for growing business ideas, considering it secured the top spot for venture capital investments for startups in the region in 2021. The country registered a 93% growth compared to others in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan. It’s clear that despite the pandemic, the UAE remains a key business hub. In this article we will look at the top 8 business ideas in Abu Dhabi.
Entrepreneurs looking to capitalise on this need to decide where in the UAE to start their business. While all emirates can be considered lands of opportunity, Abu Dhabi is an ideal choice for business growth. Not only is it the capital of the UAE but also the wealthiest among the seven emirates.
In theory, any business has the potential to thrive in Abu Dhabi as long as it is backed by a unique concept and a strong business plan. However, specific industries stand out and have a higher chance of success. Let’s take a closer look at these top business ideas.
Entrepreneurs favour Abu Dhabi for their new business ventures for several reasons. First, the city is home to many of the world’s wealthiest residents with high disposable income. This means there are more opportunities to secure investors and higher possibilities to make a profit.
Abu Dhabi also has a relatively business-friendly environment since it is easy to set up and manage businesses in the emirate than in other locations. The government has taken steps to ensure its policies favor foreign investors, allowing them 100% ownership over their companies and tax exemptions for specific industries.
Plus, Abu Dhabi is home to many multinational corporations that have established offices in the city or nearby areas. Companies within the vicinity allow business people plenty of opportunities to collaborate and gain access to potential customers who may be interested in your products/services.
Lastly, you can easily tap into a diverse pool of professionals with vast expertise and experience. This is because Abu Dhabi also houses a plethora of expats from all over the world.
Whether you’re aiming to secure investments from venture capitalists or are planning to spend your own savings, these top 8 business ideas can help you get started in Abu Dhabi.
The emirates are well-known for their affinity for luxury items. One of the most popular luxury assets is jewellery. It is even forecasted that the gems and jewellery market in the UAE will grow by 6.53% from 2023 to 2027.
Abu Dhabi, being the wealthiest city, is the ideal place to sell these luxurious accessories. It is common knowledge that diamonds, gold, and gemstones are popular picks, but many tourists and locals also look for handmade or custom-made pieces. For jewellers new to the scene, the challenge is to create something that stands out from what’s already available on the market.
The opportunities in this industry are endless. Designers can focus on selling fine jewellery that can be customised according to buyers’ preferences. Or, they can offer repair services and teach jewellery-making classes. You can also delve into hand-crafted jewellery where you offer a unique combination of materials or market a new technique of jewellery-making.
Your business idea can even extend beyond precious metals or gemstones. There is a growing market for sustainable jewellery made from recycled materials. With the right marketing strategy, this could also be a lucrative business opportunity in Abu Dhabi.
The food industry in Abu Dhabi continues to grow, thanks to its residents’ strong purchasing power. From 2018 to 2022, the Abu Dhabi Chamber witnessed a record-breaking 1,339 new registrations in the food & beverage sector.
The city has a diverse population, so there’s plenty of room for creativity regarding food. Local restaurants continuously look for ways to reinvent their dishes and satisfy customers. Whether you decide to open up an eatery or a catering service, success depends on the quality of your dishes and the variety you offer.
If you choose to open a restaurant, consider how you can distinguish it from other establishments in the area. Explore the possibilities of serving traditional Emirati cuisine with modern twists or focusing on international cuisine like Mexican, Italian, Indian, and more. You could also tap into veganism, which is gaining popularity in the UAE, or specialised cuisines like gluten-free and keto.
As for catering services, you can provide event catering for weddings or corporate events. Keeping in mind the large number of businesses and wealthy customers in the city, you would have little problem finding clients. But as with any startup, building a reputation will be one of your main challenges.
On a smaller scale, you could also offer food delivery services to customers who don’t have time to cook meals themselves.
While real estate sectors worldwide suffered losses in the pandemic, Abu Dhabi’s real estate market has remained robust. This can be attributed to the increasing number of foreign investors looking for property investments in the UAE. Several real estate agencies have reported a 50% increase in demand in the first months of 2022 compared to the previous year’s period.
Real estate businesses have a wide range of opportunities in Abu Dhabi. There are traditional avenues, such as buying and selling properties or providing brokerage services. But due to changes in consumer behaviour and preferences, there is also an opportunity to move into more specialised services like interior design, home staging, property management, and holiday rentals, among others.
Researching the market and determining what services are currently in demand is essential. For instance, long-term rentals have become more attractive due to the pandemic as more people opt for a home away from home while they work remotely. This means there is an opportunity to offer furnished apartments or villas with flexible lease terms and all necessary amenities.
Residential properties are not the only viable investment. Commercial properties are also in demand considering international companies are drawn to the city’s free zones. These are special areas within the state that have their own rules and regulations to attract foreign businesses. As more businesses aim to relocate here, real estate entrepreneurs can invest in office spaces, retail outlets, and warehouses.
Cleaning services in Abu Dhabi will always be in demand, as the city is filled with numerous luxurious buildings and villas that must maintain their high standards. It’s one of the more affordable business ideas in the UAE, as entrepreneurs can start a business without investing too much in infrastructure or personnel. You only need essential tools and equipment in the beginning.
You could start by offering regular residential cleaning services to individual homes and apartments and eventually branch out into commercial building cleaning services. Make sure to use eco-friendly products that are safe for the environment and complete your portfolio with special services like carpet shampooing, window cleaning, deep kitchen disinfection, and the like.
Founders can also look into more specialised cleaning services for cars, boats, and air conditioners. Establishing an agency of maids and housekeepers is another option. This could enable you to grow your business and provide employment opportunities for job seekers in the city.
Abu Dhabi is poised to become a full-fledged smart city in the succeeding years, as the emirate is introducing robotic technologies and AI-powered systems to its government entities, healthcare industry, and smart transportation sector.
The city is also home to one of the world’s biggest AI hubs, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which helps startups in the region raise funds and grow their business. Given this trend, technology-related services will surely be in high demand.
There’s a broad spectrum of tech services to consider, from cloud computing to cybersecurity. This industry also includes IT consulting services for businesses needing an expert opinion on maximising their digital assets.
Tech entrepreneurs can also design customised websites or software applications for companies looking to increase efficiency and productivity. It’s also possible to start a digital marketing agency—a service in which more businesses invest as they strive to gain a competitive edge and reach a wider audience.
E-commerce is another viable way to start a small business in Abu Dhabi. This sector has seen tremendous growth globally when the pandemic hit, and the same is true for the UAE. The country’s e-commerce market is projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2026 as online sales steadily increase.
Abu Dhabi, in particular, has a population of over 1.5 million people — most of whom are tech-savvy — so they’re more likely to turn to online shopping channels. Since residents here have higher disposable incomes, the opportunities for e-commerce businesses are massive.
Your business can range from selling clothes, toys, and appliances to offering digital services. Many e-commerce entrepreneurs opt for dropshipping as a low-cost business model that doesn’t require significant capital investments or physical stores.
If you decide to create an e-commerce business in Abu Dhabi, ensure your store is easy to use, secure, and offers various payment options. You could also sign up on e-commerce marketplaces like Souq.com or Noon.com and list your products on their platform.
Posh malls and flashy car showrooms are the norm in Abu Dhabi, where people take their fashion seriously. The emirate is home to some of the most luxurious brands in the world, and there’s a massive potential for both local and foreign entrepreneurs to start a fashion business.
The first step would be to develop an original concept that stands out from existing brands. This could involve sourcing fabrics or materials locally, creating custom designs, or offering unique services like alterations or hand-made bespoke pieces. More customers are becoming interested in sustainable fashion, so entrepreneurs could also focus on creating eco-friendly apparel.
A key component to success in this sector is excellent quality control, which will help build customer loyalty over time. Remember that majority of the customers in this region have sky-high standards when it comes to fashion.
To increase visibility, entrepreneurs can market their businesses online and through social media. They can also consider participating in trade shows or fashion events to showcase their collections.
Waste has always been a global problem, and Abu Dhabi is no exception. Fortunately, the emirate is already taking steps to reduce the amount of waste it produces through recycling and other sustainable initiatives. This has simultaneously led to people becoming more eco-conscious about their purchases.
This presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs seeking to start a business in this sector, such as providing waste collection services or setting up a recycling plant. There’s also the potential to offer composting services or create products from recycled materials like furniture or clothing.
Aside from those, you can offer consulting services on how companies can better manage their waste and become more environmentally friendly. This approach could be especially attractive for corporate organisations that want to improve their sustainability credentials and boost their reputation.
Many multinational companies have gotten a bad rap for their lack of environmental responsibility, so this is a great opportunity to help them course-correct.
Abu Dhabi is the perfect land of opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to profit in the Middle East. Its affluent residents, thriving economy, and government support make it one of the best places to start a business.
Although any business idea has the opportunity to grow, industries like tech, food and beverage, e-commerce, and real estate offer more potential for success. But as a best practice, make sure to conduct research into your prospect industry before committing.
Whether you’re looking for low-capital investments or large projects in Abu Dhabi, Virtuzone can help you set up your business. Our dedicated team of expert consultants will guide you through the entire process, from company formation to post-incorporation services. Contact us today to get started.