An online UAE Free Zone Navigator has been launched to help entrepreneurs, investors, and companies determine the most appropriate free-trade zone when looking to establish their presence in the country.
The platform, which was launched by US legal firm Latham & Watkins and VentureSouq, compares 11 popular free zones across 19 industries including e-commerce, fintech, gaming and augmented reality.
It offers two online comparative tools including the Industry Matrix, which identifies which free zones permit businesses operating in specific sectors, and the Free Zone Comparator, which offers side-by-side comparison of various legal, regulatory and economic considerations to establish a business in different free zones.
“The UAE’s free zones have played a significant role in establishing the Middle East as an attractive destination for entrepreneurs, investors and start-ups. Having spent many years helping clients navigate the myriad of issues facing fast growth companies in the region, we believe these comparative tools will be an invaluable resource for those looking to identify the most appropriate environment to conduct their business,” said Brian Meenagh, corporate partner in Latham & Watkins Dubai office.
Tammer Qaddumi, a partner at VentureSouq, added, “The Free Zone Navigator is intended to help early-stage companies, both regionally and internationally, move into new markets quickly and efficiently in order to help them grow. We view market access as the principal obstacle for companies looking to scale regionally. The Free Zone Navigator will be one of many tools that we roll-out to help provide transparency in doing business across the entire region.”
The UAE’s 45 free-trade Zones are designed to attract start-ups and investors by offering simpler set up processes, labor and immigration procedures and 100% foreign ownership. Each free zone is governed by its own authority and has distinct rules and regulations.