Business Setup in Sharjah Mainland and Free Zone
Sharjah is a prosperous economy that attracts an abundance of foreign companies. The Government of Sharjah recognizes the importance of the commercial, service, and manufacturing sectors to sustain the economy of the nation. They have therefore developed policies that encourage foreign investment.
Sharjah’s government policies are beneficial to emerging companies and, as a result, have earned the confidence of global investors. This has led to the rapid growth of the Sharjah business climate.
Sharjah is home to a variety of companies with regional, national, and global activities. The local government provides numerous opportunities for start-ups and existing companies to develop and grow.
Company registration in Sharjah offers a versatile system for businesses and organizations. Therefore, the establishment of a business in Sharjah is appealing. International investors can explore and participate in several commercial sectors.
Table of Contents
Why Start a Business in Sharjah, UAE?
Sharjah is the third-largest state of the UAE. It is also the 3rd most populated city in the UAE. Sharjah is one of the major urban states of the UAE and is known as the cultural city of the UAE.
Thus, entrepreneurs are highly looking for a business setup in Sharjah. Sharjah connects its business to African and Asia markets. Thus, Sharjah forms a perfect place where one can set up a trading business.
Sharjah business setup is widely used for electronic and spare part trading business. Government authorities are encouraging and promoting the entrepreneurial climate in the region. This encourages businesses in Sharjah to find opportunities and potential for development.
Sharjah is valued for its strategic location as it connects some of the important trading zones. Traders prefer to set up a business in Sharjah because of its excellent logistics operations management. Sharjah connects the coast of the Arabian Gulf, the coast of the East, and the Indian Ocean.
In order to setting up a company in Sharjah, both locally as well as internationally; there are 2 main options. One is a business setup in Sharjah free zone and the other is a business setup in Sharjah in the local market. The beauty of Sharjah’s business setup is; that it is a cost-effective option as compared to other areas of the UAE.
Benefits of Business Setup in Sharjah Mainland
Sharjah mainland offers a number of advantages for businesses looking to establish a presence in the UAE.
- Strategic Location: Sharjah is strategically located between Dubai and other Northern Emirates, making it an ideal location for businesses targeting both local and international markets. The emirate also has an efficient transportation network, with ports, airports, and highways connecting it to the rest of the country and the world.
- Easy Business Setup: The business incorporation process for Sharjah mainland company is straightforward and hassle-free. The government has streamlined the procedures and reduced the paperwork required, making it easier for entrepreneurs to start their businesses quickly.
- Diverse Economy: Sharjah has a diverse economy, with a wide range of industries and sectors. The emirate has a strong presence in industries such as manufacturing, tourism, logistics, and healthcare, among others. This diversity creates a wealth of opportunities for businesses to tap into different markets and customers.
- Competitive Costs: Sharjah offers competitive costs of doing business, with low startup and operational costs, and a favorable tax regime. The emirate also has affordable office and warehouse space, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and SMEs.
- Pro-Business Environment: Sharjah has a pro-business environment, with a supportive government and regulatory framework. The emirate has implemented a number of initiatives to attract and retain businesses, including incentives for investors, business-friendly policies, and an efficient dispute resolution system.
- Access to Skilled Labor: Sharjah has a large pool of skilled and educated workers, thanks to its world-class education system and training programs. The emirate also has a multicultural workforce, with people from different nationalities and backgrounds, providing businesses with a diverse talent pool to choose from.
Benefits of Company Setup in Sharjah Free Zones
Here are some benefits of forming a free zone company in Sharjah.
- 100% Foreign Ownership: One of the biggest advantages of a free zone company in Sharjah is that foreign investors can own 100% of the company. This means that investors have complete control over their business, without the need for a local sponsor or partner.
- Tax Incentives: Free zones in Sharjah offer attractive tax incentives, including zero corporate tax, zero personal income tax, and zero import and export duties. This can lead to significant cost savings for businesses, making it a highly attractive option for entrepreneurs and investors.
- Easy Business Setup: The company registration process is quick and easy, with minimal paperwork and a streamlined registration process. The free zones offer a range of business support services, including company formation, licensing, and registration, making it easy for businesses to get started.
- State-of-the-Art Infrastructure: Free trade zones in Sharjah offer state-of-the-art infrastructure, including modern office spaces, warehouses, and logistics facilities. The free zones are equipped with the latest technology and advanced communication systems, providing businesses with a highly efficient and effective work environment.
- Access to International Markets: Special economic zones in Sharjah provide businesses with easy access to international markets, thanks to their proximity to major airports and seaports. This makes it easy for businesses to import and export goods, and tap into new markets and customers around the world.
- Business-friendly Environment: All the tax-free zones in Sharjah are designed to be highly business-friendly, with a supportive government and regulatory framework. The free zones offer a range of incentives and benefits for investors, including streamlined procedures, reduced bureaucracy, and a flexible regulatory environment.
Free Trade Zones in Sharjah
Sharjah Airport International Free Zone
It is popularly known as the SAIF zone and was set up in 1995. This zone is large and is home to about 6000 companies hailing from over 90 countries. It also has a very strategic location and happens to be placed at crossroads between major trade routes that link the East to the West. Besides this, it is located close to the Sharjah International Airport and forms a major hub for cargo.
Hamriyah Free Zone
This free zone was also established in the year 1995 and is often defined as one of the cornerstones of industrial development in Sharjah. This free trade zone offers a geographic advantage unmatched by no other in the UAE and offers easy access to major international markets, be it by air, land, or sea. It is an investor-oriented free zone and offers dynamism and flexibility. The Hamriyah Free Zone is perfect for businesses that fall in the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Sharjah Media City (SHAMS)
This free zone allows you to open a company in Sharjah while enjoying all the benefits of UAE free zones at the cheapest business setup prices. SHAMS is the ideal solution for creative and media companies, as well as for other kinds of businesses as this free zone covers a wide range of activities that can meet the needs and requirements of many entrepreneurs.
Types of Business Entities in Sharjah
The Sharjah Economic Development Department is the leading government authority that sets guidelines on company formation in Sharjah. Companies are classified as:
- Limited liabilities company
- Partnership Company
- Local services agent or business partnership
- Foreign company branch registration
- Local company branch registration
- GCC company branch registration
- Public-private shareholding company registration
Each type of company differs from the others in terms of ownership patterns, registration, and licensing procedures, and required documentation.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company is one with limited liability, where the number of partners may not exceed fifty (50) and should not be less than two (2). Each of the partners is only liable to the extent of his share in the capital. In all cases, a U.A.E. national partner is required, with a shareholding of not less than 51% of the paid-up capital.
A partnership company is a company formed by Two (2) or more partners who are jointly liable to the extent of all their shares for the company’s liabilities. All partners must be U.A.E. Nationals.
Local Services Agent License or Business Partnership License
Individual establishments are owned by only One (1) person with the purpose of practicing any economic activity (business or professional). The establishment’s financial liability extends to the establishment owner, as he bears all financial obligations of the establishment.
If the owner of the establishment is not a U.A.E. or GCC national, the license must be regulated through a local Service Agent who shall be a U.A.E. national and must be a natural person and not a legal entity.
Foreign Company Branch
The branch of a company is based in a different country. An application must be submitted by the concerned parties for preliminary license approval for a branch of a foreign company abroad.
Local Company Branch
The branch of a company based in a different emirate. An application must be submitted by the concerned parties for a license to establish a branch of a company from another emirate.
GCC Company Branch
The branch of a company based in a GCC country other than the U.A.E. An application must be submitted by the concerned parties for a license to establish a branch of a company from another GCC country.
Public and Private Shareholding Companies
A Public Shareholding Company is a company with a share capital divided into equally valued tradeable shares; where the liability of each partner is limited to their share in the capital. All members who sign the company’s initial Memorandum and Articles of Association of such companies with the intention of becoming duly liable thereupon are considered a founder. Public shareholding companies are not licensed unless there are at least Ten (10) founders and the company’s share capital is not less than 10 million Dirhams.
A Private Shareholding Company is subject to all the rules and regulations pertaining to Public Joint Stock Companies, except for the following:
- The number of founders must not be less than Three (3)
- Share capital must not be less than 2 million Dirhams
- The shares of a private joint stock company cannot be offered for public subscription
Types of Business Licenses in Sharjah
One of the focuses of business setup is to determine the right kind of license you need to start your business operations. Whether it’s professional, commercial, or industrial, our consultants will help in the best way possible.
- Professional Licenses: Professional licenses are given to professionals, service providers, skilled laborers, and management consultants amongst others. To obtain a professional license in Sharjah and manage an organization, you must have all the required qualifications and requirements.
- Commercial Licenses: Commercial licenses that are issued by the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) are necessary for executing all kinds of buying and/or selling activities, including contracting and general trading, in Sharjah and the rest of the UAE. Certain businesses including pharmacies, restaurants, and jewelry stores require additional licenses, permits, and approvals from related authorities.
- Industrial Licenses: An industrial license is compulsory in setting up any type of industrial or manufacturing business in Sharjah. The Emirate has stringent laws that ensure the community’s safety. That being said, business setup in Sharjah involves the securing of approvals from regulatory bodies, including the Sharjah Civil Defense Authority, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, and the Ministry of Economy amongst others.
Company Formation in Sharjah
The establishment of a company in Sharjah boosted the shipping sector of the country and created an industrial base for the United Arab Emirates. For many years, Sharjah’s business development has been supported by the shipping, trade, and FMCG sectors, along with the import and export industries.
In recent times, Sharjah’s businesses are not limited to these boundaries but have a vast outlook. With a view to creating enormous opportunities for the establishment of a business in Sharjah, the Sharjah government has taken every measure to give the region a big boost to foreign investment.
The city has enormous potential for trade, services, industrial projects, etc. There is also a significant scope in Sharjah for the manufacturing, metal scrap, paper, retail, and apparel industries. Sharjah has given a pathway to economic and financial sectors, training institutes, educational sectors, and cultural-oriented businesses as well.
Steps for Company Formation in Sharjah
Setting up a business in Sharjah requires the following procedures to be undertaken:
- Sign a lease agreement and MoA (Memorandum of Association)
- Process all required documents to get a payment voucher issued
- Complete the licensing requirements to get a trade license issued
- Get approval from the Name Board
- Apply for an establishment card
- Obtain approval for employees from the Ministry of Labor
- Get a stamp on your visa from the Immigration Department
- Decide the type of economic activity your business would be involved in
- Determine the legal incorporation type of the business
- Find a local sponsor (UAE national)
- Submit the company registration application with a proposed company name to the Department of Economic Development (DED), and notarize the MoA (Memorandum of Association)
- File the company documents with DED to get a trade license from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Register the trade name of the company
- Procure initial approval
- Obtain approval for location and inspection from the Municipality
Document Required for Company Formation in Sharjah
The following documents are required for registering a company in Sharjah:
- License form
- Approval from the Ministry of Economy
- Approvals from other government entities, if called for
- Certified copy of the tenancy contract
- Certified No Objection letter, passport, visa, and residency of the shareholders
- Land map or ownership certificate
- Lease agreement [Having a physical address for one’s business/office is mandatory in the UAE]
- Legal Affairs approval
- Partnership contract certified by the Public Notary
- National ID
- Technical evaluation report
- Trade name certificate, as proof of trade name reservation
Guidelines for Company Registration in Sharjah
If you are wondering how to set up an LLC company in Sharjah or any other form of business in the UAE, then consider these guidelines. These guidelines not only help you through the registration process of setting up a business or forming a company in Sharjah but also help you to understand the steps involved in setting up a business. They are mentioned below:
Research and plan your business setup in Sharjah
Researching Sharjah company formation is a perfect start towards setting up your business in Sharjah. Registration of the company is a legal procedure involving the governmental authorities and licensing bodies. Depending on the business activities the procedures of company setup in Sharjah will be put into action.
Understanding the process of company incorporation in Sharjah
The process of Company setup is fulfilled by the Department of Economic Development in the Emirates. Once the business activity and jurisdiction are finalized the process is followed by getting the business license under the given jurisdiction.
Renting office space for registering a company in Sharjah
You will need an office space to set up a business in Sharjah. If you are considering setting up a business under a free zone in Sharjah, ensure that the rental office must be within the free zone. Once the business is registered in the given jurisdiction, it becomes mandatory for the organization to engage in any business activity only within the given jurisdiction. However, this is not applied to Sharjah mainland business setups.
Considering business expansion & future growth
Sharjah business registration is a great option for people considering business expansion and growth in the UAE market. But it is important to ascertain that the given registration will allow you to assimilate adjacent business activities in the future as well. Secondly, under the proceeding, the company is registered there needs to be growth and development possibilities. Speak to an expert before!
Business Setup Services in Sharjah
RIZ & MONA CONSULTANCY is one of the leading business setup consultants in the UAE. Our business consultants in Sharjah have years of experience in these matters with local expertise.
They will make the operation quick and hassle-free. Wide domain experience and familiarity with the laws of the Emirate allow us to take care of the passport, visa, and licensing requirements of our clients and ensure that their tasks are done smoothly and without excessive unnecessary bureaucracy.
To know more, feel free to contact us and book a free consultation.