Sometimes, business innovation is about producing a newer, better version of an existing product or service. Other times, it’s about entirely reinventing your business model. Indeed, a Harvard Business Review article on the topic argues that “great business models can reshape industries and drive spectacular growth.” If your company spots a new market opportunity, and shifts its operations to adapt to that opportunity, the growth potential can be huge.
Generally speaking, the UAE offers a very friendly environment to entrepreneurs (it ranks 6th in the world for expat entrepreneurs, according to HSBC), yet one area that can be a challenge is when businesses see an opportunity to shift their business model. In much of the UAE, a company must carry out the activities stated on its business license. If you want to branch out into a new area, you will normally have to apply for a ‘dual license’, which can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire.
But not everywhere.
Fujairah’s Creative City free zone offers entrepreneurs the ability to combine more than one kind of business activity under the same license at no extra cost. So, what is Creative City, and how would this work?
Fujairah’s Creative City free zone offers entrepreneurs the ability to combine more than one kind of business activity under the same license at no extra cost.
Introducing Creative City
Creative City is located in Fujairah, in the east of the UAE and about 90 minutes from Dubai. The free zone was launched in 2007 and provides a business environment for a wide range of activities – anything from education to trading, event management to publishing, consultancy to broadcasting.
Creative City offers all the typical benefits of setting up in a UAE free zone, including:
- Easy sponsorship of dependants
- Fast and simple bank account setup
- Multiple shareholders allowed
- 0% tax rate
- 100% repatriation of capital and profits
- No obligatory auditing
To set up a business in Creative City, you would need to follow the standard procedure when launching a business in a UAE free zone:
- Choose your business activity
- Finalise your company name
- Finalise paperwork and submit your application
- Have license approved and open your bank account
- Proceed to visa processing
Your original UAE business license can be a barrier to change your business model
When launching a company in the UAE, you are required to choose one of the following three types of license when setting up your company:
1. Commercial: For any kind of trading activity – be that the standard trading license (where you import/export one type of product) or general trading license (where you can import/export a variety of products).
2. Professional: Any activities which involve professional services, such as consulting, legal or medical.
3. Industrial: This license is reserved for any kind of manufacturing and industrial activities.
Now, if you initially set up your business with a standard commercial license to import a product, but then decided you wanted to offer consulting services on the side, you would normally be obliged to register and pay for a dual license that would also cover the professional license required for consulting businesses. This is something of a barrier to innovation and can be off-putting, especially for smaller businesses.
And this is why Creative City’s approach to general trading company licenses is so appealing. At Creative City, businesses that have chosen a general trading license are allowed to combine general trading activities with other services, such as consultancy or training. Let’s see how a small business could take advantage of this opportunity.
Example: how you could take advantage of Creative City’s approach to the general trading license
Say your background was in the interior design sector, and you decided to launch an interior design materials company in the UAE. Some of your business would involve importing materials which would be essential for running the business, and so a general trading commercial license would almost certainly be the best option.
The business is a success and you soon get approached by a number of people who would love to learn from your expertise in the industry, and this sparks an idea – to set up a training school for interior designers.
However, in much of the UAE, your initial business license would prohibit you from launching this potentially lucrative new model as you would not be licensed to provide any kind of educational services. To launch the business, you’d need to apply and pay for a dual license – which can be expensive and inefficient.
To launch the business, you’d need to apply and pay for a dual license – which can be expensive and inefficient.
And this is why Creative City’s general trading license is so special. As long as your original business idea and the new activity are permitted to be carried out in Creative City, there really is no barrier to diversifying your business and tapping into new opportunities.
Exploit new opportunities easily with Fujairah Creative City
When your business can rapidly respond to new market opportunities by changing its model or approach, you tap into potentially endless markets. Fujairah’s Creative City free zone is rare in the UAE in that its ‘general trading license’ allows you to explore new avenues for growth which would normally require a different trading license.
It’s just one less barrier to innovation, and one more reason to choose Fujairah Creative City.