Business Setup in Dubai

Set Up Your Company in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

The Firmz Innovation Hub provides a holistic business environment designed for Tech Start-ups within the prestigious DIFC jurisdiction. Introducing the most subsidized Business License for Emerging Tech Companies! Benefit from a 90% reduction in the DIFC License Fee. Kickstart your tech company’s establishment in Dubai with minimal DIFC license costs.

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About DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. With almost two decades of experience, DIFC has played a key role in facilitating trade and investment across 72 countries and a population of around three billion people.

Located between Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers, the DIFC Innovation Hub offers a prestigious ecosystem for Tech Startups, providing innovation licenses and DIFC fintech licenses within the renowned DIFC jurisdiction. This prime location is perfect for your tech startup, featuring an affordable DIFC trade license cost.

DIFC’s strategic location acts as a vital link connecting the markets of the MEASA region with the economies of Asia, Europe, and the Americas, all through the vibrant city of Dubai.

Apply for an innovation license at DIFC and join the thriving tech community in this premier location within the DIFC innovation hub with Firmz!

Explore Firmz’s All-Inclusive Tech Start-up Package in DIFC

AED 7,850 only

DIFC Innovation License Requirements:

  • The entity should be non-regulated and cannot conduct any financial services including financial advisory, arranging money services etc.
  • The entity must provide a type of technology like a Software Solution, AI, Web3, Technology R&D, or Blockchain.
  • The entity or business activities must be tech-related or innovation-related as this license is sector agnostic.
  • The entity must have a physical presence within DIFC with a minimum requirement of
    obtaining a flexible desk at the co-working spaces.
  • The entity cannot generate any trading/selling of physical products
    (e.g., import/export of physical products) through direct or e-commerce channels.
  • Source of income should be produced for compliance purposes.

Benefits of the DIFC Tech Start-up Package

  • Subsidised License by 90%
  • 4 Visa Allocation
  • 100% Foreign Ownership
  • Governed by the UK Common Law and not the UAE Sharia Civil Law
  • Access to a Thriving Start-up Ecosystem
  • ZERO Currency Restrictions
  • No Restriction on Capital Repatriation
  • Access to DIFC Co-working Facilities and Modern Amenities
  • Access to a Global Fintech Hub

Applicable Business Activities

This category encompasses consultancy firms aiding enterprises, conducting user needs analysis, and utilizing computer hardware and software for optimal solutions. It involves selecting software suitable for company activities, operational specifications, equipment, setting up computer rooms, preparing procurement documents, and offering related services and consultations.

This category comprises firms specializing in assessing and analyzing data from public and private entities, consolidating them into a unified repository for structured reviews and diverse analyses. They classify data based on common characteristics to uncover valuable insights, inform conclusions, and aid decision-making, aiming to enhance investment returns and optimize resource utilization.

This category encompasses firms specializing in providing thorough professional cybersecurity consulting services to organizations. They advise on preparing for, preventing, and safeguarding against cyber-attacks and threats, which may target networks, computers, programs, and data. Their services include assessing cybersecurity measures to ensure compliance with regulations, as well as reactive support such as responding to cyber breaches and conducting recovery activities post-incident.

This category encompasses firms specializing in conducting research and experimental development studies related to technology businesses. Their focus is on innovating, introducing, and improving products and processes. They establish guidelines to enhance design, evaluation, and implementation techniques, conducting a range of investigative activities aimed at developing new products and enhancing existing ones.

This category comprises firms specializing in establishing the technical infrastructure of information technology, including networks, systems, and databases. They also engage in preparing consultative studies and installing networks and systems, which may include manpower training.

Online services furnished with databases and programs provided as a service with fundamental features of the technology platform. It may also serve as an intermediary between a content provider and a user for various resources and services.

These firms specialize in designing, implementing, operating, and maintaining computer systems software. They analyze user problems to develop cost-effective solutions, including applications for smartphones and mobile devices.

These firms specialize in subscribing to and connecting with international information networks, managing specialized information banks, and facilitating electronic mail exchange. They operate systems and applications for electronic mail and data exchange via communication networks and international lines.

These centers or institutes specialize in conducting studies, experiments, and developmental research on learning technologies to improve the design, evaluation, and implementation of learning techniques for optimal efficiency.

This involves offering computer systems analysis and software design services to educational and training facilities. It includes analyzing user needs and problems, providing consultancy on the most cost-effective solution, and implementing necessary programs. Additionally, it covers software installation, testing, and operation.

This involves offering technical services and consultations related to information technology and applications such as internet and data warehousing. The aim is to improve administrative and technical performance in various corporations. These firms are not authorized to market or produce any software or products related to this technology.

This entails offering thorough professional consultations to IT organizations, aiding them in aligning their requirements with networking solutions. It encompasses securing, analyzing, and designing network solutions to uphold the security and integrity of their IT assets.

These are firms specialized in creating and hosting internet sites with content accessible to users.

This involves programming electronic chips utilized in computers or other automated electronic devices, including those in various industries and consumer electronics.

These firms specialize in designing web pages for electronic service sites, utilizing the internet as their infrastructure.

These firms specialize in formulating strategies for implementing internet technology in commercial entities and defining practical application techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DIFC Innovation License?
The DIFC Innovation License is a Commercial License with a subsidised fee structure open to all technology and innovation start-ups.
Who can apply for the DIFC Tech Start-up License?
The DIFC Tech Start-up License or DIFC Innovation License is offered to a wider ecosystem of technology enablers, catering to Technology/Innovation firms interested in developing or testing new, novel, or innovative products.
How long is the subsidised Start-up License valid for?
The License is subsidised for a period of 5 years, at a rate of USD 1,500 per annum.
Does a start-up need physical space to avail the DIFC Tech Start-up License?
Yes, physical presence is mandatory in the DIFC. The minimum requirement for the DIFC Tech Start-up License is 1 flexi-desk (USD500+vat).
Do I need to be physically present to apply for the License?
No, the DIFC client on-boarding system is fully digital, and the process is done online.
What activities are applicable under the DIFC Tech Start-up License?
Refer to the above section that details out all the included business activities.
What is the timeline of setting up in the DIFC?

The process comes in two stages. The first stage is to obtain the ‘In-principle Approval’ from the Registration Review Committee, which can take around 5-7 working days. Once you have been granted the ‘In-principle Approval’ you will be given access to second stage which is the setup of the legal entity in the DIFC. This process can take up to a day to a few days to complete as it requires you to complete the steps needed (Articles of Association, obtaining a lease, paying the fees etc.). Once completed, you will be able to submit for the Commercial License to be issued. Please note that the second stage is dependent on how fast you can finish the process.

Are there any minimum capital requirements?
No, there are no capital requirements for entities under the DIFC Tech Start-up License.
What is a Confirmation Statement?
All DIFC companies are now required to file a confirmation statement with the DIFC Registrar of Companies at the time of license renewal. The confirmation statement will include a confirmation that all information (and any changes to such information) required to be notified to the DIFC Registrar of Companies has been so notified.
What if I would like to conduct financial services (regulated activities)?
The DIFC Tech Start-up License is only applicable to those conducting un-regulated activities.
How many visas can I apply for?
On the first flexi-desk, you would have the eligibility to apply for up to 4 visas.
Can I open a bank account with a DIFC Tech Start-up License?
Once the entity is registered and the Commercial License is issued, you may begin the process of opening a bank account. Firmz team will assist you at this stage.
Can I add new shareholders?
Yes, you can once the entity is incorporated. The process can be done via the client portal. There is no fee associated with this service.
What does unregulated activity refer to?
The DIFC Innovation License only applies to non-regulated entities which means that you cannot trade or sell your own products and conduct any financial activity. You can provide a software development, a portal, an R&D platform, etc.