20 Best Small Business Ideas for UAE

As discussed earlier, low tax rates, lowest import duty, free trade agreements, competitive economy, strategic location, state of the art infrastructure, and lot of other benefits make United Arab Emirates one of the best places in the world to do business.

If you are really not sure, do check my 15 reasons to do business in the UAE.

Well, doing business in the UAE is no doubt the best decision if you want to reward the entrepreneur inside you with the best of the best. So, stop wondering and take a step now!

Dubai has been the business hub for longer, and Sharjah connected directly to it has also lot of opportunities. With constant efforts from the government, the rich business grounds are now expanding faster in Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaima as well.

Regardless of the fact that you are a UAE national or an expat here, business ground is equally rich.  Yes, there are some grants offered specifically to the nationals, however this really doesn’t matter if your business idea is something that has a good market here in the UAE.

small business ideas for uae

The laws and the business environment as a whole encourage startups, however, some fields may find the set up and licensing fees comparatively higher. So, the wise idea is to look for business ideas that are in high demand and do not involve any heavy setup and licencing fees.

Here I am going to list some of the highly profitable business ideas for UAE market.

1- Restaurant/Cafe:

Significant disposable income and good purchasing power makes it easier for people in the UAE to dine out frequently. A small scale restaurant or a café targeted to a specific or a combination of various cuisines can prove to be a good return on investment. Mobile food trucks are also gaining popularity in the UAE, especially in the Dubai region.

2- Home Cooked Food Delivery:

A huge population working 9 to 5 looks for fresh home cooked food daily for lunch, but they cannot prepare for them on daily basis. Besides that the fast food on regular basis is neither good for stomach, nor it is affordable. So what if you chose an area with extensive business activity, offer a deal for 2 to 10 persons per week or per month to the offices there, you are surely going to get some good business. Many such businesses are operational already, but with the growing population and business activities in the country, there’s still a huge market for this type of business.

3- Luxury Travel Deals & Discounts:

It’s not just Dubai being the world’s biggest tourist destinations, but the other emirates also have a lot of tourists as well as residents. The travel sector is though already developed, coming up with some exciting offers, like exotic resort deals, luxury travel on discounts, overseas tours for residents, cruise deals and similar stuff has a lot of room for more businesses to come and grab the market.

4- Property Management:

The people in the United Arab Emirates are richer beyond your imaginations; you might not have known the fact that Abu Dhabi is the world’s richest city. Well, the crux is that people with so much money have bought so many properties that they cannot manage them at their own. So, here’s the chance for smart people to manage their properties and make hay while the sun shines.

5- Recruitment Agency:

Thousands of business in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras-al-Khaima and other emirates need skilled workers, however the sped up business scenario doesn’t allow them to do the extensive recruitment process on their own. This is where they need the help of recruitment agencies. And yes, don’t worry about the applicants; there are millions of people from India, Pakistan and Europe who want to get a job in the UAE and so they approach the hiring firms at their own.

6- Day care/Childcare Business:

The working couples are in majority in Dubai specifically and of course a considerable number is there in other emirates too. So, both of them are working and they need someone to take care of the kids. Day care centre can be the best option for such families as it’s not just the baby sitting, but the kids are learnings good things too!

Related Readings: 

7- Maids & Cleaning Services:

As discussed above the working population is so busy in their professional duties that they really find it hard to do the household stuff at their own. Housemaids in the UAE are an easy and affordable luxury, however, people prefer hiring them via professional service/business. Setting up a maid service or cleaning company is easy and can prove to be a success in short time.

Related Reading: How to Start Cleaning Business from Scratch

8- Handyman Services:

Almost every one of us needs handyman services for one reason or other. With a huge population accommodated in apartments, especially in Dubai and Sharjah make it a big market for handyman services. If you have a couple of skilled labour with you, this can be the best business to do in the densely populated areas of Dubai and Sharjah, let it be the residential or commercial area.

9- Bakery/Custom Cakes/Snacks Shop:

One good thing about the population of UAE is that they celebrate a lot, let it be a religious event, an achievement or a special day for someone. Cakes and snack are the most important items in any party, so if you love baking, why not to turn this into a regular business. Besides serious businessmen, this is an ideal option for desperate housewives who want to stay fully engaged with their family while running a successful business.

Related ReadingHow to Start a Home Based Bakery Business

10- Online Florist/Flowers Delivery Service:

It’s not just Valentine ’s Day when the flowers business is at its peak in the UAE, but it can bring good profits on daily basis. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and various other celebrations happen in the UAE on daily basis and people do need flowers. Taking the business into delivery services and online ordering system doesn’t just expand a market for you, but also provides a solid reason for people to use your service. And yes, do not limit yourself to the flowers only; add chocolates and other dainties to make it a more valuable service.

11- Gift Shop:

It is probably one of the best options to start immediately, as you don’t need any of your own products. All you need is to buy existing brands and give them your own packaging. The high disposable income and the celebration trends do require gifts for all occasions. Remember, it’s the packaging that sells!

12- Documents/Attestation Service:

More and more people are coming to UAE either for job or else to do business. When it comes to documentation, they need a lot of stuff; let it be sponsoring your spouse, child or parent or submitting your educational certificates, documents need a series of attestations from your home country as well as from various offices in the UAE, and of course 90% of people do not have time to go all the way to do things at their own. That’s how a documentation service makes its entry to the market.

13- Online Trading:

It’s none different to the general trading but saves some major costs, i.e. you don’t need a physical showroom. All you need to have is inventory and delivery service. You may start selling on third party websites like Souq.com and Groupon.ae to grab a bigger market in less time. In the meantime, you can build up your own website and promote it to get direct customers. You may consider dropshipping as it can save you major costs.

14- Webpreneur:

It’s a big industry and can include any online venture, i.e. mobile apps development, online marketing company, content agency, online PR firm and so on. However, one must look for this option only and only if he’s an expert in his field.

Related Reading: How to Start SEO, Social Media or an Online Marketing Company

15- Business Broker:

B2B market in the UAE is much developed and so the brokerage business can be a success too. Many new businesses open on daily businesses and they need a variety of services, existing businesses need clients, some may want to sell their business and others may be looking to buy an established business. Business brokerage itself is a complex niche, however, it is very successful in United Arab Emirates. If you have previous experience in the B2B industry, you can identify the hotspot well!

16- Insurance Broker:

Health and car insurance are compulsory in Dubai, Abu Dhabi as well as in other emirates and so everyone needs health insurance plus car insurance. Being an insurance broker, you act as an agent of big insurance companies only; you sell insurance and get your share of profit. You can imagine how successful it can be when everyone in the UAE needs insurance as they need food and clothes.

17- Dry Cleaning Service:

Just like cleaning and cooking, laundry is a tough task for working population, and they are always looking for someone to do it for them. Mobile laundry and pick and deliver dry cleaning services are most sought after services in the UAE, so if you are planning for some laundry business here, do consider these factors.

Related Readings: 

Pick & Delivery Dry Cleaning Services Business

Dry Cleaning Business Plan

18- Hair Salon:

Unlike a beauty parlour or spa, hair salon needs much less investment. On the other hand it’s a need. One may not chose to go to a spa if he’s on tight budget, but he cannot avoid going for a haircut. Gent’s hair salons are much in demand, and opening one in a strategic commercial location can be highly profitable.

Related Reading: Hair Salon Business Plan

19- Mobile Auto Workshop:

Where there are cars’ a workshop is needed. Although there’re many workshops already, but one needs to go there. Think of the situation when a vehicle got a problem on the midway! And hundreds of such cases happen on daily basis, many times on highways and other times right in the parking. A mobile workshop that reaches there on a single call doesn’t just help, but actually works great.

20- Mobile Phones/Gadgets Repair

A new gadget or a mobile phone replaces the older model very quickly, but a majority of the people do not buy a new phone or gadget until they have a working model in hand. And in most case, if there’s a problem, first thing they think of is repair, not to buy a new one. If you are a mobile phone technician this can prove to be a very profitable business.

So you have multiple low cost business ideas that can work great in the United Arab Emirates, but bear in mind that the success and the profitability depends on how well you do it. If you do not input enough time or effort, you may end up losing it!

Hard work with smart choices is the recipe for success not just in the UAE, but anywhere in the world!