Top 8 successful business ideas in UAE [2024]

We’ve spent over 22 hours researching to bring you the top 8 small business ideas that are perfect for today Dubai and UAE economy [Updated List].

Dont miss this list of very well researched and validated ideas.

We are adding more businesses to this list constantly, so bookmark this.

Everything is getting more expensive in 2024! Everyone looking for ways to boost their income fast or even replace your day job with a more rewarding own business that they can start small and grow profitable, why not?!

We listed only business ideas that we would think to start as a business, nothing here is unrealistic or too hard. lets dive right in.

Ecommerce Store

Ecommerce means simply to start an online store especially in a city like Dubai or Abu Dhabi where technology is everywhere and internet penetration is 99% is one of the best ideas! Create a store that caters to the needs of the local population as well as tourists. Sell anything from fashion and beauty products to electronics (can be a bit challenging) and home goods. In the UAE it is no big deal to setup a payment gateway to start collecting payments too.

Over the years we have seen that niched stores online can generate millions per month, and the retail value of e-commerce is estimated to be 22.8bn AED in the UAE in 2023 with customers spending mostly in fashion while projected to reach 34.4bn AED in 2028, so why not be part of that?! it is a good idea.

Of course you are worried about amazon.ae, just imagine their share of all the ecommerce business is just 2.2bn AED is their market share of the total in the UAE, so there is a big room for your next business idea, and for your store.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ecommerce-store-example.png
Example Ecommerce store selling coffe pods and related products

Tourism Agency

Forcasted number of tourists visiting the UAE

Dubai in particular and the whole UAE is concidered one of the most attractive destinations for tourists in the world. 24.7 million tourists visited the UAE in 2023 and Dubai and the UAE is expected to attract 3 million more tourists each year reaching 44.6m by 2029!

A tourism agency can have one of many specialties and that is what is interesting, a tourism agency can can specialize in adventures, luxury, business travels, tours, accessibility travels and much more.

It does not cost a lot to start an agency (similar to service based businesses) and can be run by relatively small number of employees especially if you have a great CRM software that helps you manage the business.

Concider this especially if you Love travelling and can communicate the enthusiasm of travel with your audience. Travel agencies can make a lot of money.

Real Estate Agency

The Real Estate market market in the United Arab Emirates has reached a staggering value of 26tn AED in 2024.

Dubai’s real estate market in particular is experiencing a major boom, this qualifies this as well as among the good business ideas, especially that prices are surging as well.

This is a service commission based business (2-5%), making it relatively lower cost to start and run, it is a highly competitive business though due to large commissions, and needs a good network of acquaintances and friends to kickstart.

Local Job Search App

Each year there are more than 400K job openings in the UAE, top cities being Dubai and Abu Dhabi as you would expect. There are few quality job listing websites currently and there is a room for another serious application.

Dont forget you will be competing with LinkedIn as well, but actually you are 2 players in different sectors of the market, you can as well launch a niched job search app (check these examples: example 1, example 2), for accountants or for sales men for example, which will make your idea unique and new to the market.

Building such an app or website can be challenging if you have no technical background and have no technical Co-Founder, that is why we provide Technical cofounder as a service at Evotik in the first place

Example of job board app (indeed)

Payment Splitting App

Dubai is one of the places where networking and gathering is very blended in its culture. How about paying the check in a café or restaurant? gets tricky sometime 😂

tabby application screenshot

An awsome solution would be building an application that makes this a piece of cake and everyone can split the check with one tap! especially at a country like UAE with high credit card penetration. This can even go further and help split bills or rent for roommates (big market in Dubai and the whole UAE and permitted by relaxed laws).

FinTech apps are booming the MENA region in General take tabby.ai as an example currently valued at $1.5 billion! nevertheless this apps business models is harder to build than other types of apps, but always remember it all starts with an idea!

Food Truck Business

UAE food truck in Dubai

The location is key, but it is a trendy relatively easy to implement business idea. First is first you need to get a business license, then the location and next you need to get a truck which can cost anywhere between 30-60K AED and you can get used one for less.

The food retail sales in the UAE forcasted to be 122bn AED in 2024 and that is expected only to rise. We estimate the total cost to start this business is around 150K AED.

This business easy to start and maintain, once you bought your kitchenware, hire your stuff and deploy a POS system, all your focus will be on marketing, and things will play out well as it is not hard to get the food menu and recipes right.

Tutor Finder App

The UAE has more than 1.54 million students and Dubai alone more than 365K! Among these students there is high demand for private tutoring even high scorers.

more than 1.5 million students in UAE

There are few apps in the market connecting students with tutors online, but there is a big room for new applications and ideas. You can actually implement any idea from the many apps in the on-demand business model and apply it in this market.

Building such a web and mobile application is not really hard and you can get an MVP runing in 4-6 weeks, the challange is in marketing, and who to on board first, students or tutors. Nevertheless once you have traction there is only growth there in this market.

Business Ideas FAQs

Q: What legal considerations should I be aware of when starting a business in the UAE?

A: You will need to obtain the appropriate licenses from the UAE government, which may vary depending on the nature of your business. It’s advisable to consult with a local business consultant or legal advisor.

Q: How can I market my small business in the UAE?

A: Utilize both online and offline marketing strategies. Digital marketing, particularly SEO and social media, are effective. Additionally, networking in business hubs like Dubai and Abu Dhabi can help establish connections.

Q: Is it necessary to have a local partner to start a business in the UAE?

A: Not anymore, foreign entrepreneurs can own 100% of their business and enjoy special tax and customs benefits.

Startups Lab Insight