As one of the most developed and fastest-growing economies in MENA, it’s no surprise that many entrepreneurs are choosing to set up their businesses in Sharjah. This rich and diverse business ecosystem is a hotbed of talent, investment and entrepreneurship. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes Sharjah such an appealing destination for business owners, looking at the benefits, costs and step-by-step process for setting up. We’ll explore the following topics:
- Advantages of registering a company in Sharjah
- Types of licenses available in Sharjah
- Register a company in Sharjah – step by step
- Cost of registering a company in Sharjah
- Why work with SPC Free Zone?
Advantages of registering a company in Sharjah
Sharjah is the third-most populated city in the UAE, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Its rich culture of entrepreneurship and innovation has come into the global spotlight in recent years, and today thousands of entrepreneurs are choosing to set up their businesses due to a wide range of benefits. These include:
- Attractive investment climate
Stronger economies make it easier for entrepreneurs to grow faster and attract the best talent. Global investors and entrepreneurs are drawn to the UAE’s thriving economy. In fact, in mid-2020, startups and SMEs accounted for 94% of all operating companies and contributed over 60% of the GDP.
- Strategic location
Located in the heart of the Middle East, budding business owners can benefit from proximity to emerging markets, with easy access to Asia, Africa and Europe. Sharjah is also the only emirate with access to ports in the Arabian Gulf’s eastern and western coasts and the Indian Ocean, as well as direct connections to North Africa.
- Favourable business environment
Sharjah is committed to supporting startups. The National Agenda for Entrepreneurship offers a wide range of initiatives and incentive packages to startups and locally incubated unicorns established in the region.
- Diverse eco-system
Sharjah boasts one of the most inclusive, diverse eco-systems in the UAE with nearly 50% of startups registered as female-led.
- A large pool of talent
Sharjah is a hub for talent, which makes it easier to attract the best. It’s home to top-ranking higher education institutions and over 30,000 students. Entrepreneurial skills are incorporated into their curriculum, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to contribute to the startup scene.
- Tax incentives
Entrepreneurs can maximise their earnings from the get-go in Sharjah, with 0% corporate and personal income taxes and low upfront capital investments.
Types of licences available in Sharjah
There are four types of licences available in Sharjah:
- E-commerce Licence
E-commerce licences enable entrepreneurs to set up online businesses. It means they can buy and sell goods through their own websites or through online portals, such as Amazon. This is a popular option for those looking to leverage a booming e-commerce market in the UAE.
- Service Licence
Service licences allow entrepreneurs to set up businesses without tangible assets, such as consulting, project management and legal services. There is a wide range of business activities to choose from, including accounting, business setup, education, HR, immigration, marketing, and more. To apply for a service licence, you will need to have experience and knowledge of the relevant industry.
- Commercial Licence
Commercial licences enable entrepreneurs to trade and sell specific goods and services in the UAE, export and sell outside the UAE or trade solely within the UAE.
- General Trading Licence
General trading licences allow entrepreneurs to export, re-export, import and trade any number of unrelated goods under one licence. So, this means that you could choose to trade in everything from food to furniture. Some specific commodities are not permitted, including tobacco, oil and goods that do not meet health and safety requirements.
As with all the UAE’s free zones, it’s important to make sure you acquire the correct licence before launching your business. Failure to do so could result in heavy penalties and loss of credibility in the market.
Register a company in Sharjah – step by step
Setting up a company in Sharjah is a relatively straightforward process that can be broken down into three simple steps:
Step 1: Submit your application
First, you’ll need to select your business activity and choose your company name. The UAE has strict naming conventions, so make sure it isn’t already registered and avoid using blasphemous or obscene language. If your initial application is approved, the Sharjah authorities will issue your licence in less than two hours.
Step 2: E-channel services and entry permit
To help speed up business setup in Sharjah, the local authorities have introduced e-channel services. This online portal removes unnecessary paperwork and makes it easier for you to obtain your entry permit. Once your entry permit has been issued, you can stay in the region for up to 60 days.
Step 3: Status change
The final stage involves activating your status change. You can do this in-country or by exiting and re-entering Sharjah, depending on your country of origin. Then, you’ll need to undergo medical tests to apply for your Emirates ID card. This ID card will allow you to open a bank account, take out contracts and rent a property.
Cost of registering a company in Sharjah
The cost to register a company in Sharjah starts at AED 5,750. However, you’ll need to factor in additional costs too, such as multi-year licences, types of business activities and visa quotas. If you require offices, warehouse premises or storage spaces, you will need to pay for these too.
Interested in finding out exactly how much it costs to register a company in Sharjah?
Reach out to our business advisors at SPC Free Zone for an accurate quote tailored to your specific situation and requirements.
Why work with SPC Free Zone?
Our team are experts in company formation in Sharjah. SPC Free Zone offers
fast and flexible business setup in the UAE, conveniently located in the heart of the emirate. Entrepreneurs can benefit from unrivalled connectivity, just 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport and seven minutes from Sharjah International Airport.
Our offices also offer immigration services on-site, which means you can get company documents issued within a day and a licence issued in under two hours. What’s more, you can choose from more than 1,500 business activities and maximise your profits with 0% corporate and personal income tax, zero paid-up share capital and a whole host of more affordable setup packages. SPC Free Zone also offers up to 20 visas under one licence and a dual-licence option that offers both mainland and free zone on the same licence.
Ready to get started with company formation in Sharjah? SPC Free Zone is ready to help you make it happen.
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