The United Arab Emirates, a small country situated between Oman and Saudi Arabia, boasts of rich history and culture that dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age. The nation has stood the test of time, witnessing the rise and fall of empires, bloody conflicts between Europe and the Middle East, and the expansion of colonialist powers. It has risen above issues that plague other countries in the region, managing to transform itself from a soporific Gulf port to a world-famous business hub in a single generation.
Today, this West Asian nation has over 500,000 registered businesses with over 200 nationalities living and working within its borders.
To facilitate its reputation as a crossroads for economic prosperity and development, the United Arab Emirates established free zones to attract foreign investment and business. In 1985, the Jebel Ali Free Zone – commonly referred to as JAFZA – was opened, eventually growing to host an estimated 7,000 global companies and accounting for almost 32% of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Its success was used as a blueprint to form other free zones. By the early 2000s, every emirate in the country had at least one, motivating entrepreneurs to kick-start their businesses and attracting some of the world’s biggest companies.
Free zones in the United Arab Emirates have proven to play a crucial role in their wealth and resources, diversifying its economy and turning it into a global superpower. The introduction of yet another one, the Sharjah Media City Free Zone or SHAMS, will only bring more prosperity, innovative and creative projects, and the dawn of a new era.
The SHAMS Free Zone was inaugurated in January 2017 to stimulate the further growth of creative and media businesses, both local and international. It aims to become a world-class hub for the media and creative sectors in the region to inspire creative entrepreneurship and development.
By reducing and outright eradicating the usual barriers to business, the SHAMS Free Zone is one of the most attractive hubs for companies looking to set-up or expand their operations.
But why exactly should entrepreneurs and executives flock to this newly-established zone?
Here are five reasons why.
Since SHAMS targets talented entrepreneurs from the media and creative fields, it offers only the most affordable and inexpensive packages to help them get going. Their cost-effective options for those aspiring to form or start their business in the area start at the extremely low price of AED 11,500. Plus, they refuse to levy corporate, import, and export taxes on the organizations registered within it, which would undoubtedly do wonders to one’s profit margins and ensure that the business is getting to keep what it earns.
For individuals whose start-ups are still in its early stages, SHAMS offers many co-working spaces where they can expand their professional network and bounce ideas off others to fine-tune their business plans. Additionally, registered companies can access the office facilities, studios, and community areas found within the free zone, all of which help them keep employee satisfaction levels up.
These affordable packages and world-class amenities will allow entrepreneurs to focus on building their organizations from the ground up without stressing about their finances and cash flow.
Many are enticed by the cost-effective prices of the set-up packages offered by SHAMS, but these options come with a whole host of other incentives too! For instance, entrepreneurs who wish to register within the free zone aren’t required to be present in the city; merely sending all their documents and paperwork online does the trick. By allowing executives and business leaders to register their companies from the comfort of their homes, SHAMS makes this entire process more straightforward and hassle-free.
Moreover, the different licenses offered by SHAMS are appealing to many entrepreneurs. The free zone provides four different kinds, namely: service license, industrial license, trading license, and the holding license. These are all broad enough so companies can develop and expand their activities with ease.
Additionally, SHAMS provides round-the-clock customer support through their website and social media pages, allowing business owners and entrepreneurs to immediately receive answers to any of their inquiries. Furthermore, by regularly featuring registered companies on their online platforms, the free zone helps raise awareness for their brand and boosts their marketing efforts.
Surprisingly enough, the long, arduous, and challenging business registration process – a feature of nearly any other economic hub – has been eradicated in SHAMS. Entrepreneurs can get their licenses within three days, and the digitization of the free zone’s system means that they no longer have to deal with the monotonous pile of paperwork. Moreover, registered companies are allowed to have 100% foreign ownership and can appoint their Corporate Directors and Corporate Managers, giving them total control over their operations and activities.
For those who wish to do away with the bureaucracy of business and prefer to hit the ground running, registering within SHAMS is your best bet.
The visa advantages offered by SHAMS are unmatched; the free zone doesn’t require any payment deposits, and it doesn’t enforce an age limit. With this, visa eligibility requirements aren’t too strict, and anyone is free to apply.
The flexible packages also allow entrepreneurs to apply for up to six visas for their employees. This means that businesses can start their operations at once and won’t waste valuable time waiting around for permits.
SHAMS also allows visa holders to sponsor family members and dependents, which many expatriates and executives find enticing.
Located a mere 15 minutes away from Dubai Airport and five minutes away from Sharjah Airport, SHAMS is situated in a bustling commercial and economic zone that features only the most modern of facilities. From residential boulevards to towering hotels, and from sprawling plazas to sleek office spaces, this free zone is undoubtedly in a class.
Our world today is witnessing technology advancing more rapidly than ever before. The Digital Age is developing by leaps and bounds, and in this sort of environment, the media and creative sectors will indisputably reach heights beyond our imaginations. The Sharjah Media City Free Zone recognizes this future, so it aims to do all that it can to be at the forefront.