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What comes first, company setup or winning a contract?

15th September 2014

It is illegal to trade or operate in Abu Dhabi without a Commercial License.  However, one of the most common things I hear from people keen to expand into the UAE, is that they want to win a contract first and do the business set up afterwards.

This is a typical chicken and egg situation.  Setting up a company in the UAE involves initial investment and ongoing financial commitment, which can be expensive.  Building connections and winning business can be slow and take time.  Its very easy to understand why foreign companies aren’t keen to commit to investing until they have a contract signed.

However, from experience of working in the UAE, to be successful and really hit the ground running, you really need to have a presence here and be continually seen here.  Local companies want to do business with other companies that are set up here, rather than with executives flying in and out.  Also, this is where understand the local culture plays a significant role – meetings will generally be held over a period of time to build the relationship and generate trust before contracts are awarded.  Also, local companies, and particularly government entities, like to see that foreign parties have committed to setting up here.

Its common to see companies visit Abu Dhabi, participating with exhibitions and trade delegations and subsequently returning for a number of visits, scouting for business and following up on leads; but its generally the companies that make the initial investment in setting up in the Abu Dhabi that thrive a lot more quickly here.

It isn’t to say that you won’t win work whilst you don’t have a trade license and you don’t have a commercial presence here, this does of course, happen; but nothing beats being here and having your finger on the pulse!


Related Blogs that you may be interested in:

How to start a business in Abu Dhabi     CLICK HERE

3 Tips before starting a business in Abu Dhabi      CLICK HERE


Be prepared and  Let Gateway Group of Companies help you.  Email us at: info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com

Jenny Hunt Business setup specialist Abu Dhabi

Jenny Hunt, CEO Gateway Group of Companies

email Jenny@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com

Twitter @JennyatGateway

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