The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has introduced a new ‘Tech Start-up Licence’, a commercial licence that is not sector specific and which enables entrepreneurs to operate with the same advantages as other ADGM companies, including the benefits of an English common law framework.

The ADGM is a financial free zone located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. It occupies the whole of Al Maryah Island and has been designated the financial centre of Abu Dhabi, with its own civil and commercial laws. Established by Federal Decree in 2013, the ADGM is designed to act as a catalyst for the growth of a dynamic financial services sector in the UAE.

The ADGM is offering qualifying start-up enterprises in any sector a full operational licence, together with the potential to apply for four residential visas and meet the requirement for a registered address through a range of options, at a nominal cost of US$700.

ADGM is further addressing the growing demand for business-building skills by introducing a Professional Services Support Programme, which complements and adds to the support available from the many sector-specific incubators and accelerators in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

The programme is a partnership with leading local and international advisers, aiming to help entrepreneurs from all sectors build up business skills and enhance the investability and scalablility of their ventures, covering areas such as legal, compliance, finance, accounting and VAT.

The first step for entrepreneurs is to submit an application to the ADGM Start-up Team, which must include a business plan and other key details. The application will be assessed against factors such as clarity of concept, the team’s experience, relevance for the target market and readiness to execute.

Physical office space is not required, but applicants will need to engage a service provider and obtain a registered office address. Sovereign Corporate Services has an office in the ADGM and was recognised as the first licensed ‘Corporate Services Provider’ within its regulatory framework. We can assist with the registration process and provide a registered address for the company registration.

Holders of a Tech Start-up Licence are also eligible to qualify for the Dual Licensing Regime operated between the ADGM Registration Authority and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED). ADGM Tech Start-up entities can apply for a licence issued by DED that authorises them to conduct business activities outside the borders of ADGM without the need to maintain additional office space in mainland Abu Dhabi.


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