How To Set Up An Event Management Business In The UAE

May 31, 2024

A coveted event hub, the UAE is at the top of the list of desirable locations for international events, from conventions and shows to festivals and concerts. The cosmopolitan city of Dubai alone seeks to host an impressive 400 global economic events annually by 2025. 

For entrepreneurs, this creates a vast potential to launch successful event management enterprises in the UAE. Event management covers a broad range of tasks that are required to produce a successful event. These tasks can be categorized under the umbrellas of planning, logistics, and execution. Tasks can include selection of ideal dates and locations, booking vendors, securing permits, creating an effective budget, and handling payments, along with securing the finer details such as decorations and furniture. 

Here are five distinct business activities you can choose to kickstart your event management services in the UAE.

9000.11 – Event organizing

Event organization in the UAE involves both the facilities and the services used to successfully produce cultural or entertainment events that tend to bring in varied audiences—from private invitees to the general public. These audiences are what we call the organizer’s customers.

This activity includes the production of live performances, events, and exhibits, along with procuring the artistic, creative, or technical skills that come into play for these events. As is popular practice, promotional activities and materials developed to create awareness on all such events fall under this as well. 

For companies looking to produce live theatrical presentations, concerts, opera, dance, or other stage productions, this activity is essential—further including circuses, orchestras, and bands. Restoration of works of art falls under this too, which is further useful in securing event locations—concert and theater halls, and other art facilities. 

The heart of these events, the creative professionals, such as producers, actors, directors, musicians, speakers, and set designers, fall under this category. To specify, this includes the work of individual writers, from authors to journalists, and a wide array of artists, such as sculptors, painters, cartoonists, engravers, etchers, and more.  

Connecting with SPC Free Zone enables aspiring event planning professionals to get instant licensing with access to a corporate banking account within 3 working days and unlimited investor, partner, or employee visas. For both ambitious entrepreneurs and time-sensitive events, this can unlock limitless potential in the UAE. 

It’s important to note that there are several event-related activities that are not accommodated under this license, and do require other specific licensing. Under restoration, stained glass windows, historical music instruments, furniture, and historical sites do not fall under this license. For event organizers collaborating with cinemas, museums, ticket agencies, artistic agents, and sporting activities, further licensing is required. Other event-related activities that require further licensing are video productions, casting activities, and the manufacturing of unoriginal statues.
  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 9000.11 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 9000.11 is exempt from this requirement

8230.01 – Organization, promotion and/or management of events, such as business and trade shows, conventions, conferences and meetings, whether or not including the management and provision of the staff to operate the facilities in which these events take place

Across the UAE, organization and management of events such as business and trade shows, conventions, conferences, and meetings falls under this activity. Going beyond the planning details, event promotion is absolutely vital in reaching widespread audiences—and this business activity gives you the license to get your promotional campaign off the ground. Occasionally, event organizers may require the support of staff and management at the venues or facilities who are familiar with the premises at hand.

  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8230.01 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8230.01 is exempt from this requirement

8230.06 – Events Organizing & Managing

From business and trade shows to conventions, meetings, and conferences, this activity is your ticket to event management and organization in the UAE. Beyond mere logistics, effective event promotion is how organizers can reach a broad audience—and this licensing opportunity empowers entrepreneurs to kickstart promotional campaigns. This activity further helps organizers who intend to enlist the support of staff and management that run the operations at event sites or premises. However, even if an organizer plans to host an event without this support staff, this is a must-have.  

  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 8230.06 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 8230.06 is exempt from this requirement

9329.09 – Activities of producers or entrepreneurs of live events other than arts or sports events, with or without facilities

For a myriad of live events, this lucrative activity comes in handy for entrepreneurs, producers, and event managers. A large number of these events or activities involve specific facilities, so here are some places at which organizers can plan their events: recreation parks, beaches (including renting of bathhouses, lockers, chairs, and more), ski hills, recreational transport facilities (such as marinas), discotheques, and dance floors. 

Apart from arts and sports-related events, this license covers a wide range of recreational activities as well, including fairs, shows, the use of coin-operated games, and equipment that is commonly rented as part of common recreational facilities. Although it’s easy to assume that amusement parks and theme parks may fall under this category as well, it’s important to note that these cannot be operated under this specific business activity.

Note that organizers with this license do not have the permits for the following: fishing cruises, serving of beverages at discotheques, operation of coin-operated gambling machines, and separate renting of leisure and pleasure equipment for activities. When it comes to nature-based outdoor activities, events at trailer parks, campgrounds, recreational camps, hunting and fishing camps, and campsites are not permitted either, including providing the space and facilities for short stays in recreational parks and forests. 
  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 9329.09 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 9329.09 is exempt from this requirement

9319.14 E-sports event management

The very first Gulf state to establish an e-sports federation—Emirates Esports Association in 2013—the UAE has a rapidly growing esports market. With state-of-the-art gaming facilities and arenas, the potential for e-sports events in the UAE is high. With this business activity in tow, event organizers can act as producers and promoters of sports events, including e-sports, with or without facilities. Working with individual sportsmen, athletes, referees, judges, and timekeepers all falls under this business activity.

The rise of e-sports has led the way for sports leagues and dedicated regulatory bodies in the industry, both of which can operate freely under this license. Collaborating with SPC Free Zone streamlines the licensing process for aspiring event planners, offering swift access to a corporate banking account within three working days and an unlimited number of investor, partner, or employee visas. This partnership not only benefits ambitious entrepreneurs but also proves invaluable for time-sensitive events, unlocking boundless potential within the UAE.

Note that organizers who obtain this license must refrain from the following: breeding race horses, renting sports equipment, park and beach activities, organizing both indoor and outdoor sports events with sports clubs, organizing other sporting /game school activities, and acting as/working with sports instructors, teachers and coaches. 
  • Third-party Approval: No third-party approvals are required for this business activity
  • Filing of Economic Substance Return: Business activity 9319.14 is exempt from this requirement
  • Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 9319.14 is exempt from this requirement

Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

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Get your business license in the UAE today and explore a world of opportunities waiting for you.

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