What is DIFC?
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the leading sector-specific commercial business hub and special economic zone in the MEASA region and presently offers services to entrepreneurs and start-ups including technology companies.
The DIFC is the most important international financial centre in the UAE for business, financial technology and lifestyle. The centre was founded in 2004 and over the years has become one of the top 10 financial centres in the world.
Entrepreneurs looking for a technology business setup in Dubai free zone can now explore DIFC financial free zone as it enables tech companies to source better talents and access premium service providers within the centre. DIFC is globally recognized and regarded ranking among the top 8 onshore financial centres across the world. The centre has a diverse ecosystem with a high population of multinational firms, banks, investment funds, wealth management firms and NBFCs.
A Venture Capital Fund Manager regime has been launched by the centre focusing on the co-existence of VC funds and technology companies so that it becomes easier for tech startups in the DIFC to access funding.
What is DIFC Innovation License?
The DIFC innovation license is a tech startup license with several incentives and acts as a launching pad for the innovative and cutting-edges technology startups and entrepreneurs encompassing fintech, edutech, regtech, and all other technology-based companies willing to do business in the MEASA region.
The DIFC Innovation license offers highly subsidized commercial licensing fees and high-quality co-working spaces at attractive rates. The license provides an opportunity to explore the technological innovations across the MEASA region and become a part of this innovation ecosystem and diversified communities of service providers, banks, financial institutions, angel investors and venture capitalists in the region. The license helps innovative technology companies willing for a DIFC company formation to establish, grow and expand their businesses and access the lucrative Middle Eastern, African and South Asian markets.
All businesses that are technology driven and have the potential to grow and contribute to the economic development of Dubai and the UAE, can apply for this license.
How to Obtain a DIFC Innovation License?
Obtaining a DIFC innovation license is pretty straightforward and involves the below-mentioned process steps.
- Submission of request with DIFC authority for accessing DIFC portal
- Tendering application along with a detailed business plan
- Submission of KYC
- Issuance of in-principle approval after pre-screening
- Registration of the business structure with the Registrar of Companies
- Issuance of innovation license
- Issuance of establishment card for processing visa
The entire process is done electronically and takes around 10 working days.
What are the Benefits Offered Under DIFC Innovation License?
The key benefits that are offered under this license are
- One-time registration fee of USD 100 only
- Subsidized licence fee of USD 1,500 per year only
- Data protection fee of only USD 250
- Access to co-working space (flexible desk) spaces for only USD 500 per month per flex desk plus VAT
- Waiver of minimum share capital requirement of USD 50,000
- Permit to obtain up to 4 visas on the co-working desk space and 50% subsidy on additional visas
DIFC innovation license shows the commitment and dedication of the Dubai government to innovation and creativity as it plans to attract small and medium-sized technology startups and support them with networking and business growth opportunities.
The business setup process, however, can be complicated at times without the expertise of Company formation specialists in Dubai who can help the entrepreneurs in deciding whether the DIFC innovation licence is appropriate for their tech startups and even guide them through the application process.