30 September, 2021

How to Start IT and Software Company in Dubai, UAE

it and software business in uae

In 2023, the IT industry boomed globally, making a big impact. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, IT stayed strong, adapting quickly to the “new normal.” So, if you’re thinking of starting your IT company in Dubai, now’s the time!

Dubai has special free zones with top-notch infrastructure and a modern working environment, perfect for setting up an IT company. You can do a lot with your IT business here. Whether it’s app development, providing SaaS (software as a service), or delving into biotechnology or fintech, the possibilities are endless.

Where Can One Start an IT Business in Dubai?

Dubai is a great place to start an IT business, thanks to the support from the government. They’ve set up special areas called free zones just for this purpose.

Some of these free zones include Dubai Media City, Dubai Silicon Oasis, and Dubai Internet City. But before you decide where to set up, you need to figure out what type of company you want to start. If it’s an onshore company, you’ll need a local service agent (LSA). Don’t worry, though – the LSA won’t interfere with your business decisions. They’ll just help you get licenses and approvals.

If you choose a free zone, you still have full ownership rights, but you’ll be limited to doing business within the UAE. So, think about your options carefully before you decide where to start your IT business in Dubai.

IT Market Growth in the UAE

According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry Report, the UAE is driven by technology and innovation, with IT expenditure anticipated to rise at an annual rate of 8% to reach AED 23.1 billion by the end of 2019.

Over the next five years, IT spending is anticipated to rise at a rate of about 7.2 percent each year.

For Software Development firms in the UAE, the rising number of Free Trade Zones offers a choice of cost-effective company formation options.

Additionally, particular Free Zones cater to the needs of entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the following sectors: information technology, software development, artificial intelligence, computer programming, research and development, and so on.

How to Start an IT Company in Dubai?

Looking to start an IT company in Dubai? You’re in luck! It’s a straightforward process if you follow the rules and have the right paperwork ready. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pick a Legal Trade Name: Make sure it follows government rules and isn’t offensive. If you use a person’s name, use the full name, not nicknames.
  • Choose Your Location: Decide if you want to set up in the mainland or a free zone. Pick a spot that suits your business needs.
  • Get Your Paperwork Sorted: There’s a bit of paperwork involved, like getting your trade name approved and getting your trading license. A business advisor can help make this smoother.
  • Apply for Visas: If needed, apply for visas for you, your partners, and your staff. Once everything’s approved, you’re all set to run your IT company in Dubai! Oh, and don’t forget to open a corporate bank account to keep your finances in order.

With these steps done, you’ll be ready to kick off your IT business journey in Dubai. If you need any help along the way, we’re here for you.


How to Start a Software Company in Dubai?

Thinking about starting a software company in Dubai? Great choice! Dubai is known for its business-friendly environment, making the process relatively simple. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pick a Unique Name: First things first, choose a name for your company that’s not already taken. Make sure it meets the rules set by the authorities.
  2. Decide on Location: You have two main options: setting up in a Dubai free zone or on the mainland. Free zones offer tax benefits and more control, while the mainland lets you operate anywhere in the UAE and bid for government projects.
  3. Choose Your Structure: Next, decide on the legal structure of your company. Options include sole proprietorship, LLC, and others. Pick the one that suits your needs best.
  4. Get Licensed: Apply for a trading license from the right authorities, like the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Department of Economic Development in Dubai. Pay the fees and make sure all the paperwork is in order. Working with a local partner can make this process smoother.
  5. Draft Your Articles of Association: This document outlines what your company does and how it operates. It’s an important piece of paperwork.
  6. Register for VAT: As per the rules, software companies in Dubai need to register for Value Added Tax (VAT). Don’t forget this step!
  7. Open a Business Bank Account: Set up a corporate bank account to handle payments, manage finances, and pay your employees.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to opening your software company in Dubai. If you need extra help or guidance, consider consulting with experts or business setup consultants. They can provide personalized advice throughout the process. 


Where to Setup an IT and Software business in Dubai, UAE

Both the government and international investors play important roles in the development of the IT industry. Before moving on to the incorporation process, one must first choose a site. Dubai offers several free zones dedicated to each industry, which draws a large number of international investors. In Dubai Internet City, Dubai Techno Park, Dubai Media City, or Dubai Silicon Oasis, one may now start or develop an IT firm. Let’s take a look at each of them individually.

1. Dubai Internet City

Dubai Internet City is a 1.5 million square foot cluster with over 1600 company partners in areas such as the Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, and others.

2. Dubai Techno Park

Dubai Techno Park was founded in 2003 to maximize the growth of the IT sector. It spans a total area of 21 million square feet. Life sciences, industrial development, information and communication technologies, and the socio-economic sector are among the emphasized sectors to integrate them with technology.

3. Dubai Media City

Dubai Media City, a massive media park with a broad range of IT firms, first opened its doors in 2001. The center’s mission is to help the media community push the boundaries of creativity. This facility serves as a hub for graphic design and web development firms that offer IT services.

4. Dubai Silicon Oasis

The Dubai Silicon Oasis is a technology park and a free zone dedicated to information technology. This hi-tech environment, which covers 7.2 million square feet, is the world’s biggest sophisticated electronic invention. The center offers and supports technological investment for current businesses and startups, as well as an incubation center, in-house business services, capital venture funding, and other services that help freelancers expand their opportunities.

5. IFZA Dubai

The Dubai International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) has teamed up with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority to provide low-cost business establishment packages to entrepreneurs wanting to establish a base in Dubai.

IFZA Dubai offers specific business activities for software development companies such as:

  • Software Program Development
  • IT Consulting
  • Software Programming
  • Technology Equipment Sales
  • IT Trade
  • Network & Server Programming
  • Web Programming & ECommerce and more.

IFZA Dubai is one of the region’s most vibrant and rapidly expanding Free Zones. It provides budding entrepreneurs with all the infrastructure and company setup assistance they need to achieve their goal of starting a business in Dubai.

6. SHAMS Freezone

Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) is a vibrant Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates that offers a variety of attractive company formation packages as well as a variety of commercial incentives to investors. It offers entrepreneurs a variety of office options, including shared desks (Flexi-desks), shared offices, and dedicated offices (9-50sqm fully furnished office).

The Free Zone’s rich ecology of media, IT, trading, consulting, and business network makes it an IT and media powerhouse for the area.

SHAMS is a great place for young entrepreneurs and start-ups to get started.

7. Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DETC)

The Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC) is the best location for software and IT firms.DTEC offers a variety of company setup solutions to meet the needs of each entrepreneur.

DTEC offers a variety of office options, ranging from Flexi desks to completely equipped offices (12-50sqm). DTEC is an ideal co-working environment for IT startups and software development companies to cooperate and work together.

Documents required to Start IT/ Software Company in Dubai

Starting a software company in Dubai? Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Completed Application Form: Fill out the application form with all the necessary details.
  2. No Objection Certificate (NOC): If you or your partners are expatriates, you might need an NOC.
  3. Partnership Agreement: This is crucial for mainland setups where you outline the terms of partnership.
  4. Passport Copies: Provide photocopies of your passport if you’re a foreign national.
  5. Visa Copies: If your staff are foreign nationals, include copies of their visas too.
  6. Articles of Association: Detail your company’s purpose and how it operates in this document.
  7. Partnership Agreements: If your company has multiple partners, make sure to include partnership agreements.

Having these documents ready will streamline the process of starting your software company in Dubai. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us.

Major IT Companies to Open in UAE

Interested in opening a software company in Dubai? Here are some types you might consider:

  1. Software Development: These companies create custom software for different industries.
  2. Cloud Computing: They offer cloud solutions like PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS.
  3. Mobile App Development: Specializing in creating apps for iOS and Android.
  4. Web Development: Design and develop websites and e-commerce platforms.
  5. Cybersecurity: Providing solutions for network security and data protection.
  6. Inventory Management: These systems help businesses keep track of their products efficiently.

Each type serves a specific need, so choose the one that aligns with your interests and expertise. If you need guidance on which type suits you best, we’re here to help.

How Radiant Biz helps you

In matters like business setup in Dubai , people tend to get confused and get in chaos due to several rules and requirements. This is the time when people tend to look for an expert. A lot of chaos can be avoided if guidance is taken from the very beginning. Every venture may have unique requirements like location, customer convenience, logistical feasibility, and banking services.

We at Radiant Biz – Business Setup Consultants strive to understand these unique precepts and provide expert and reliable consultation to our clients with updated laws and governing regulations, awareness of their rights, and cost-effective business solutions tailor-made to their business needs and budget.


FAQ – Setup IT/ Software Development Company in Dubai


  • How to register an IT consulting company in Dubai?
  • To get your commercial license, you’ll need to submit some paperwork to the Department of Economic Development in Dubai and the UAE Federal Ministry of Economy. This includes filling out an application form where you mention your company name in both English and Arabic.


  • How much does it cost to start a software company in Dubai?
  • If you’re starting as a sole proprietorship in a Dubai free zone, the initial setup cost is usually around 15,000 to 20,000 AED, along with an annual renewal fee.


  • Is Dubai a good place for a tech startup?
  • Absolutely! Dubai has a prime location, excellent infrastructure, and supportive government policies, making it a great destination for startups of all types and sizes.


  • Does Dubai have an IT industry?
  • Yes, indeed! With the rise of global digital transformation, there’s a high demand for tech workers. Dubai is ranked as the 14th best city for a tech career and is home to the 12th-highest number of tech companies. Among the many tech roles, cloud computing is particularly popular, with 9.1 million people working in the tech industry.