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23 Best Small Business Ideas for the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Low tax rates, low import duties, free trade agreements, a competitive economy, strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a lot of other benefits make the United Arab Emirates (UAE) one of the best places in the world to do business. Thus, there are tons of business ideas for the UAE.

If you are really not sure, check out the top 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 a 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 business or industry, or even if you’re not seeking funding or investment, a startup pitch deck can help you present your business idea in a clear and concise way. It can help you to communicate your vision and value proposition and to generate interest and excitement among potential customers or partners.

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

Before we proceed, I think it’s best to warn you of the danger of not using a VPN in managing your business. Leaking important information online does not only risk your strategy but can hurt your finances as well. Make sure you browse in privacy and encrypt your subscription using VPN. Sign up here


22 Best Small Business Ideas for the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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

1- Restaurant/Cafe:

Significant disposable income and good purchasing power make 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. Cafes and restaurants like Coffee Club, Jolibee, and Al Qubtan Restaurant are good examples of this.

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 the 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.

Before we proceed to discuss the next ideas, you might as well want to earn passively through survey apps like PrizeRebel, SurveyJunkie, and the like. Inviting your friends to join you in doing this fun will also give you some bucks for your business.

3- Luxury Travel Deals & Discounts:

It’s not just Dubai being the world’s biggest tourist destination, 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 imagination; 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 on 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 businesses 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. Daycare center can be the best option for such families as it’s not just the babysitting, but the kids are learnings good things too!

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7- Maids & Cleaning Services:

As discussed above the working population is so busy in the professional duties that they really find it hard to do the household stuff on 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 a 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 of 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 snacks 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 a 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 systems 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 a 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 from general trading but saves some major costs, i.e. you don’t need a physical showroom. All you need to have is an inventory and delivery service. You may start selling on third-party websites like and 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. 

While surfing the net doing trading, you can also earn passive income by doing surveys like those in PrizeRebel and sharing the opportunity with your friends and family. You may sign up here.

Online activities can also pose security and privacy risks. That’s why you should be aware of the danger of not using a VPN in managing your business. Leaking important information online does not only risk your strategy but can hurt your finances as well. Make sure you browse in privacy and encrypt your subscription using VPN. Sign up here


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:

The B2B market in the UAE is very developed 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 the United Arab Emirates. If you have previous experience in the B2B industry, you can identify the hotspot well! You may also consider collaborating with trusted money lender in Singapore.

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, a 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, 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 people do not buy a new phone or gadget until they have a working model in hand. And in most cases, if there’s a problem, the 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.

Earlier, if you were asking yourself, “What kind of business can I do in Dubai?” So you now 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 depend on how well you do it. If you do not input enough time or effort, you may end up losing it!

21- Freelance Web Design

If you are web-inclined, you might have some amazing opportunities in front of you. Do you like to design webpages and help companies expand their reach? If so, you should seriously consider freelance web design. Currently, this is one of the best business ideas for the UAE. The best part about freelancing is that you can make your own hours, work safely from home, and perhaps turn it into your own agency later on.

It may be difficult to get the first job depending on your experience level, but we suggest that you should propose lower rates to start. Once you complete your first job and get a good review, you can start charging more! Another nice thing is that if you do freelance web design, you can offer other technological services to your clients as you expand your own knowledge. 

22- Freelance Writer

Becoming a freelance writer is another one of the best business ideas for the UAE. Post-2020, working from home is becoming more and more popular. If you have some writing skills and a good imagination, you could be a great fit for freelance writing! This is a great route to go down as it is so diverse and can fit any writing needs you may have. Another option within the realm of writing is providing writing services like AssignmentBro. With a growing demand for academic assistance, students often seek professional help for their assignments.

If you’re more of a write-from-scratch kind of person, you could start writing blogs for other people! They will give you a brief on what you need to write along with the required keywords, and then you’ll have free rein.

If you’d rather get into the editing side of things, you could find a job editing for said blog or website. There is no shortage of employers in this space. So, if you can write and want to make some money on the side, go for it!

The Bottom Line:

We hope that these small business ideas for the UAE helped you get inspired! So, what are you waiting for? Go out and start your own business! Check out some of our other articles for some guidance once you choose a niche. 

Overall, hard work + smart choices are the recipe components for success. Not just in business ideas for the UAE, but for anywhere in the world!

Join Our Small Business Community

Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.