#Dubai tops the Middle East & ranks 5th globally ahead of Madrid, Amsterdam, Sydney & Tokyo in CEOWORLD magazine’s survey of the Best Cities to Live in the World for Expats 2020.
DIFC launches Dh5,500 new licence for startups, entrepreneurs
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has launched a new licence for startups, entrepreneurs and technology firms from different sectors priced at $1,500 per annum (Dh5,500).
The DIFC Innovation License allows access to co-working space at free zone with a flexible desk space at $500 per month. It also offers up to four visas on the first desk and subsidised visas of up to 50 per cent for innovation firms.
“DIFC Innovation License is sector agnostic, available to all start-ups, entrepreneurs and technology firms, offering a vast opportunity to establish, grow and upscale your innovative business to access the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) markets, through Dubai,” reads a statement posted on its website.
The region’s largest financial free zone is home to more than 100 technology and start-up firms. In order to give boost to local startups and fintech industry, DIFC has accelerator programme FinTech Hive and FinTech Fund to bring young entrepreneurs closer to established players keen to cash in on young talent and ideas.
DIFC saw sustained growth in the first half of 2019, adding more than 250 new companies, and bringing the total number of active registered firms to 2,289, demonstrating a 14 per cent increase year-on-year. This has fuelled the creation of over 660 jobs, boosting the Centre’s combined workforce to more than 24,000 individuals, and has resulted in the occupancy of 99 per cent of DIFC-owned buildings.
Thanks to Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai rose up the ranks of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) to number eight position, representing its highest ever ranking.
Dubai ranked as best city for expats in Middle East
Dubai has also ranked fifth globally higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
Dubai has been ranked first in the Middle East and fifth globally among the best cities for expats to live and work in 2020.
According to a CEOWORLD Magazine, Dubai has ranked higher on the list than cities such as Sydney, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
The cities were ranked based on local friendliness, cost of living, quality of healthcare, safety, ability to raise a family, and career opportunities.
The magazine asked 127,000 expats from 186 cities to rank the best cities in the world to live and work in 2020.
The survey, conducted by CEOWORLD magazine on Oct 10, 2019, to Jan 2, 2020, was open to all expats over 18 who are currently living away from their home countries.
Dubai Economy issues 4,692 Instant Licences since 2017
Facility provides convenient model for businessmen who can now obtain a commercial licence within 5 minutes
The Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector at Dubai Economy reported that 4,692 Instant Licences were issued since the launch of the service in July 2017 to date.
Among the Instant Licences issued, 3,448 were in the commercial (73.5 per cent) and 1,244 were professional (26.5 per cent) categories.
The Instant Licence service provides a convenient model for businessmen who can now obtain a commercial licence within five minutes, enabling them to establish and conduct business in Dubai easily. The initiative is a path-breaking service whereby businesses can secure their commercial license in one-step for the first year without having a company’s lease or location.
Through the Instant Licence, Dubai Economy seeks to highlight the sustainable economic development and competitiveness of the emirate.
All business activities can benefit from the service, except public and private shareholding companies, through eServices (ded.ae/instant), the various outsourced service centres in Dubai, or the Happiness and Smart Lounges.
Holders of general trade licences can only use electronic services. All business partners or one of them must be present while applying through the outsourced service centres or the Happiness Lounge and must provide a valid passport copy of all parties (partner and manager), residence visa copy and no-objection letter from the sponsor to the foreign parties.
The Instant Licence offers the option of an electronic memorandum of Association (eMOA), in addition to obtaining the license and entry in the Dubai Economy commercial registry.
Furthermore, the licencee is given membership in the Dubai Chamber instantly, an establishment card of the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs as well as three work permits for employees from the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation once the trade license is issued.
‘Native’ workers registration
The registration of ‘Native’ workers in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is done while issuing the Instant Licence. If the partners wish to appoint the employees before the issuance of the Instant Licence, they need to follow a few simple steps or else skip the screen and complete the procedures.
The number of Instant Licence owners reached 16,935 and 87.6 per cent (14,842) of them are men while women account for 12.4 per cent (2,093). The businessmen who secured Instant Licences so far include those from Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Sudan.
An Instant Licence can be obtained for four legal forms of businesses – limited liability company (LLC), single member LLC, sole proprietorship and civil company.
The Instant Licence initiative has also contributed to the sub-indicator ‘Starting a business’ in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 issued by the World Bank, which ranked the UAE 17th globally.
Dubai introduces instant bank account for new entrepreneurs
Dubai Economy has established a blockchain consortium in partnership with six UAE banks, whereby freelancers and entrepreneurs in Dubai will soon be able open bank account instantly.
“KYC (Know Your Customer) Blockchain Consortium” consists of Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, Rakbank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Commercial Bank of Dubai.
Through the first KYC blockchain platform to be introduced in the UAE, authenticated and validated KYC data of companies will simultaneously be shared with financial institutions of their preference. This will expedite the opening of a bank account for newly registered companies and reduce the burdensome and costly requirements of managing KYC data for already registered companies. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, whereby multiple paper-based KYC files are redundantly originated and managed in silos.
Opening a bank account has been a major hassle for new entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses due to tough requirements from the banks and this platform will make life much more easier for them.
“The platform will offer a digital ‘Instant Bank Account’ functionality, allowing for faster and less cumbersome onboarding journey with banks and significantly improving the experience of new investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE. This in turn will boost customer satisfaction as well as ease of doing business in the UAE as a whole,” said Ali Ibrahim, deputy director-general of Dubai Economy.
He said this initiative will eventually become a nationwide ecosystem and invited other financial institutions and licensing authorities to join this initiative. The KYC platform will be launched in the first quarter of 2020 at which point it will open for additional qualified financial institutions and licensing authorities to join. Smart Dubai in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank will play a pivotal role in overseeing and regulating the Consortium operations.
Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said blockchain has tremendous potential to streamline services and operations, saving time, money, and resources for everyone involved – individuals, companies, or governments.
The consortium has partnered with global blockchain KYC firm norbloc as the technology provider to enable the ecosystem through its Fides KYC Platform while Dubai Pulse is the government-certified blockchain platform enabler.
Saoud Al Jassem, head of government banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said, the Blockchain KYC Production Platform will allow corporate clients to experience seamless registration and account opening and enhanced KYC capabilities. “Additionally, it will ensure the UAE, in line with the Vision 2021, is a world leader in terms of the ease of doing business in the country. ADCB looks forward to working with the DED, norbloc and the consortium members to expand the Blockchain KYC Production Platform across the UAE.”
Geoff Stecyk, COO of RakBank, said they are thrilled to be a part of the nationwide initiative created by Dubai Economy called ‘Instant Bank Account’ that aims to digitize the onboarding process, making it more seamless, secure and frictionless.
“The concept of a Blockchain-based KYC platform will optimize costs by enabling financial and banking institutions to deviate from the outdated process of identification verification and take full advantage of today’s blockchain technology that has the potential to be faster, easier, safer and more efficient than the traditional verification processes,” he said.