Do you want to start a profitable business in Abu Dhabi? If YES, here are 50 best small business ideas & investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and it is said to be the largest Emirate taking up to 80% of the country’s landmass.
Abu Dhabi is a true symbol of luxury with its many skyscrapers, malls, and world-class hotels. Traditionally, this emirate is more conservative than Dubai as it has a more regimented legal system and it is deeply rooted in tradition. It’s the richest of all the Emirates and holds nearly 10% of the world’s known oil supply.
Why Start a Business in Abu Dhabi?
The annual per capita gross domestic product of the city amounted to AED 380.1 thousand in 2011. The total fixed capital development was AED 199,001 million in 2011, while compensation of employees amounted to AED 124,960 million in the same year.
In addition, Abu Dhabi is one of the safest cities in the world as the number of minor crimes and misdemeanors is very low, and felonies are few and far between.
Because Abu Dhabi is known for luxury and ease of life, quite a lot if businesses can thrive in the city to further ease the lives of citizens. If you want to start a business in this city and you are wondering which business would thrive best, we have provided you a couple of ideas that you can choose from.
Best Business ideas in Abu Dhabi
Significant disposable income and good purchasing power makes it easier for people in Abu Dhabi to eat out frequently. This just goes to show you that a restaurant or cafe shop is a good business to start in the city.
A good quality restaurant or café targeted to a specific or a combination of various cuisines can prove to be a good return on investment. Mobile food trucks are also gaining popularity in the region, and you can start your business this way. A restaurant business in Abu Dhabi is really good one especially if you can manage to put in some more capital.
Get a plot of land or a room at a location which is always busy. Spice up your interior décor and make it comfortable. Pull together a fantastic menu and your work is almost done. All you are left with is a cook. Hire a specialist or if you can cook yourself then give it a try.
What can spell more luxury than delivering home cooked food to people in their homes. A huge population of Abu Dhabi residents work from 9 to 5, and may not have the time to cook meals. Besides, eating fast food on regular basis is neither good for the stomach.
So, you can start cooking and delivering home cooked meals to residents around you. If you choose an area with extensive business activity, offer a deal for 2 to 10 persons per week or per month to the offices there, you are surely going to get some good business.
Many such businesses are operational already, but with the growing population of the city, there’s still a huge market for this type of business.
Abu Dhabi is a big tourist destination and it sees a lot of tourists on a yearly basis. The travel sector is though already developed, but coming up with some exciting offers like exotic resort deals, luxury travel on discounts, overseas tours for residents, cruise deals and similar stuff, you can create room for your business to come and grab the market.
Since the number of cars in the city are so high, the requirement for roadside assistance is also high, but the number of service providers is less as of now. So, if you want to invest in the automobile servicing sector, this is a good opportunity for you with low investment and good returns.
You can tie the roadside assistance service with the internet so that people who are in trouble can contact you from anywhere and they can reach or you can reach them in the time of need.
5. Telecom Solution Business
If you are proficient with handling telecoms and IT problems, then this is a business you should think of going into. If you choose a target market that offers none of the services you intend to offer, you would become an expert in no time as more and more people will come to rely on your business.
This is a business for someone who has not only a creative mindset, but is organized and has great business acumen. You would be required to help clients redesign their spaces into what they want; this means you would also need a great deal of intuition so as to meet with client’s requirements. If you are good with colours and placement, you will not find it hard to break into the industry in the city.
Abu Dhabi is a very posh city where every home you will see is shining bright and everything is so well maintained. For retaining the cleanliness and the high standards, there is a continuous requirement for house cleaning services in the homes as well as in the corporate and commercial sector.
You can invest and start a house cleaning company with a little bit of investment in the beginning, as there is need for human capital and certain machinery. There are already few startups which are doing well in this business, so there is a good scope in this business.
Just like the maid services, homes in Abu Dhabi need handyman services to take care of things around the house. The huge population accommodated in apartments make the city a big market for handyman services. If you have a couple of skilled labour with you, this can be the best business to do in this city.
The bakery is a very good idea if you know how to bake and you don’t want to invest capital in setting up a restaurant. One good thing about the population of Abu Dhabi is that they celebrate a lot, let it be a religious event, an achievement or a special day for someone.
Cakes and snack are the most important items in any party, so if you love baking, why not to turn this into a regular business. Besides serious business people, this is an ideal option for housewives who want to stay fully engaged with their family while running a successful business.
With online facilities and social media platforms, you can take orders virtually and deliver them to the customer’s home. This way you will save up a lot of capital investment. Once you have worked out the space everything else becomes easier.
The flower business can bring in huge profits on regularly if the business is set up and run the right way. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and various other celebrations happen in Abu Dhabi on a daily basis and people do need flowers.
Taking the business into delivery services and online ordering system doesn’t just expand a market for you, but also provides a solid reason for people to use your service. And yes, do not limit yourself to the flowers only; add chocolates and other dainties to make it a more valuable service.
11. Gift Shop
It is probably one of the best options to start immediately, as you don’t need any of your own products. All you need is to buy existing brands and give them your own packaging. The high disposable income in Abu Dhabi, and the celebration trends do require gifts for all occasions. Remember, it’s the packaging that sells.
12. Documents/Attestation Service
More and more people are coming to Abu Dhabi either for job or to do business. When it comes to documentation, they need a lot of stuff; it can be sponsoring a spouse, submitting educational certificates, etc. documents need a series of attestations from your home country as well as from various offices in Abu Dhabi, and of course 90% of people do not have time to go all the way to do things at their own. That’s how a documentation service makes its entry to the market.
The city of Abu Dhabi is noted for its luxury life, they also have a robust nightlife. This is why starting up a night club in the city may be a very profitable business for you. Owning a nightclub might mean you staying up for long hours in order to monitor every detail but if your nightclub is conducive for people to unwind and relax, then the money might act as a compensation for the long hours.
There are many businesses in Abu Dhabi and many goods and products are needed to be stored in a safe place like in a warehouse. You can build a warehouse or take rent of one to provide the storage facilities to the major trading concerns and the SMEs as well. The business is profitable because the demand for the warehouse requirement is there in all season.
15. Business Broker
B2B market in Abu Dhabi is much developed and so the brokerage business can be a success too. Many new businesses open on daily businesses and they need a variety of services, existing businesses need clients, some may want to sell their business and others may be looking to buy an established business.
Business brokerage itself is a complex niche, however, it is very successful in United Arab Emirates. If you have previous experience in the B2B industry, you can start and run this business to profitability.
Children always outgrow their wears fast and no matter how tight the economy is, parents are always willing to spend on their children. Opening a children boutique will be quite lucrative especially if you open in Abu Dhabi, which is an upscale part of town where parents are willing to pay for more for their children.
Just like cleaning and cooking, laundry is a tough task for the working population, and they are always looking for someone to do it for them. Mobile laundry and pick and deliver dry cleaning services are most sought after services in Abu Dhabi , so you can plan to start a laundry business in the city.
18. Hair Salon
Unlike a beauty parlour or spa, hair salon needs much less investment to set up and run. Again, this kind of business is very much needed in every city. One may not choose to go to a spa if he’s on tight budget, but he cannot avoid going for a haircut. Gent’s hair salons are much in demand, and opening one in a strategic commercial location can be highly profitable.
Where there are cars, a repair workshop is needed. Although there are many workshops already, but that does not mean that your own would not fly in the city.
Think of the situation when a vehicle got a problem on the midway; and hundreds of such cases happen on daily basis, many times on highways and other times right in the parking. A mobile workshop that reaches there on a single call doesn’t just help, but actually works great.
A new gadget or a mobile phone replaces the older model very quickly, but the majority of the people may prefer to repair their gadgets if they get spoilt, especially if it is a relatively new and much loved one. If you are a mobile phone technician, this can prove to be a very profitable business for you.
The young population of Abu Dhabi is very outgoing and they love to spend their evenings in gaming parlors playing games or in hookah parlors. So, you can build any of these two or both in the same place.
The return on investment is huge in the hookah business as the initial investment is comparatively very low to the return of the business. It is same as the gaming parlor as well but you have to be very much legally correct with all the documents and procedures to start this business.
Abu Dhabi has quite an organized and advanced financial system in place to support the large-scale businesses there. As such, the Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) sector in the region is well developed. What’s more, there is a perpetual demand for accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, and other financial services in the city. If you are well studied in any of these areas, you can start providing these services.
Abu Dhabi is known for its ‘souks’, or bazaars, especially those of jewelry. With more than 70 shopping malls, the emirate is referred to as the shopping capital of the Middle East. There is an evergreen prospect for marketplace establishments and merchants in the city. And the online retail territory isn’t far behind either.
Abu Dhabi attracts thousands of tourists each year. It is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world. Consequently, there are myriad sterling hotels and resorts here. Entrepreneurs operating in the hospitality and tourism sector directly or indirectly can look forward to starting a lucrative business in the city.
Online trading is not really different from the general trading but it saves some major costs, i.e. you don’t need a physical showroom. All you need to have is inventory and delivery service.
You may start selling on third party websites like Souq.com and Groupon.ae to grab a bigger market in less time. In the meantime, you can build up your own website and promote it to get direct customers. You may consider dropshipping as it can save you major costs.
Open a Departmental store
If you are looking to invest in the retail market, one of the best options for you would be to invest in a departmental store. Departmental stores are very popular in the city and there is huge turnover from them. The initial capital requirement is huge though but the turnover once gets hiked, the returns on your investment can be really profitable.
You can take a land on lease or a floor of a commercial building on lease for a long number of years and you can also take in on rent as well and start the store with the basic products in the beginning and when the sales increases, you can increase the number of products.
Dubai is a world gold destination and so is Abu Dhabi. For the up market options there is Dubai Gold and Diamonds Park and then there is the prestigious Gold Souk. You can even start your own line of jewelry brand in the city and make a name and profit from it.
At any given point in time, the inflow of foreign workers in Abu Dhabi is huge. People want to move in here and start working in a number of industries like trading, medicine, tourism, oil, real estate, etc. It would be a good idea to start a recruitment agency and handle manpower recruitment for businesses based in Abu Dhabi.
You must stick to only one industry if you are planning to open a recruitment firm. In this way you will be able to concentrate more on a particular sector.
You must be aware of all the laws that are applied to a recruitment agency and then you must put up your office in a location which can be professionally highlighted. If you are unsure about the entire process then it is better that you work in another recruitment firm first to gain knowledge.
Did you know Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world in terms of the people living there? People mainly invest in real estate and need the help of property management firms to take care of their properties and maintain them long term.
Well, the crux is that people with so much money have bought so many properties that they cannot manage them on their own. So, here’s the chance for you to help such people to manage their properties and make a lot of money while you are at it.
Marketing and advertising
A lot of newly established business firms look for marketing and advertising options both online and offline. Opening up a marketing agency is a viable option for creative minds. Digital marketing, website development, and campaign management are a few types of marketing activities that you can look into as a marketing agency.
Another good and profitable business you can start in Abu Dhabi is a laundry service. The main reason is that it does not require much capital investment as it can be done from your home itself. You must also take care about proper marketing of your services. For this you can also start your own website so that more and more people can know about your business.
This is a viable option for a strong economic hub like Abu Dhabi. There are a lot of business exhibitions, workshops and conferences happening in the city all the time. Many private events like weddings, baby showers etc can also come under the scope of an events management company. You can seek out the people holding these events and offer to put together an amazing event for them.
Health and fitness
If you are into fitness and have the necessary qualifications to run your own fitness center, then this is a good option for you in Abu Dhabi. But be ready to work really hard as you will build your clientele, slowly over time. But once it’s done, get ready to mint a lot of money.
Opening a cake shop requires less capital and more baking expertise. If your heart is into baking and you have necessary academic qualifications, the opening a shop that sells cakes is a great idea. You may even take up the franchise. You can cater to a lot of celebrations including New Year’s parties, birthday parties or anniversaries, you name it.
Did you know that health and car insurance is mandatory in Abu Dhabi? This has opened up the space for insurance widely. A number of insurance companies have their branches here. You can register yourself as a broker and/or start your own booking agency and insure people and their expensive cars.
The need of a security guard has increased by many folds in shopping malls, offices, etc and so has the need for security guard agencies. Opening an agency in Dubai is certainly profitable but you must take a license from the state for the same.
The professionals that you will recruit must have received proper security training. You must also perform your own background research on the person you are recruiting so that you are sure that he does not have any criminal records.
The wave of e-commerce has spread around the world and has not spared the UAE as well. With a number of online businesses growing and big e-commerce giants operating offshore accounts in Dubai, it would be advised to think about starting an e-commerce business in Abu Dhabi.
Are you a fashionista with a keen sense of the fashion scene in the Middle East and do you have an entrepreneurial mindset? If yes, then starting your own boutique can transform into a profitable venture. The famous and popular of Abu Dhabi love to shop for the latest fashion trends and you boutique can be their one stop shop if you play your cards well.
New buildings and structures are being erected in Abu Dhabi with each passing day. This opens a huge door of opportunities for engineers and other professionals in the building and construction sector. Similarly, investors can set up businesses that manufacture or sell raw materials used in building and construction.
This has been the mainstay of the country’s economy for several years. And much of the riches presently enjoyed by the UAE can be attributed to the country’s oil sector. Despite being exploited for years, the oil sector still has enough room to accommodate new investors. Interested entrepreneurs can start their own businesses from scratch or partner with existing businesses.
Do you want to spread your wings in the international arena? Import export business is just the perfect way to do so. Every country including Dubai has some things which are not manufactured or produced there and are thus required to be imported.
There are also some other things that are produced in abundance in the country, so they can be exported to other countries. You just need to know which items have to be exported and which are to be imported and with some investment you can have your own business.
Energy facility maintenance business
While there are enough players in UAE’s energy sector, there are opportunities for businesses that help to maintain the various energy generation facilities available in the country. So, if you are looking to invest in Abu Dhabi, energy facility maintenance is one option you should consider if you have the required expertise and capital.
Electronics Store Business
Not everyone wants to go to a branded electronic store where only one brand of electronics is being sold. They want to go into a store that will offer them a variety of choices as regards the electronics they want to pick. However, if you intend to run an electronic store, ensure that you stock only good electronics, so you don’t have customers coming to return electronics and ruining your business in the long run.
Asset Evaluation Company
An asset evaluation is a type of business that focuses on determining the worth of a company’s asset or that of an individual so that an intending investor can make a decision on whether to go on with his or her investment or call it off.
This makes you a middle man between the company to be valued and the investor. This is a high profile business that can get you money in no time in Abu Dhabi.
Freight Forwarding Business
A freight forwarding business helps other companies or individuals organize shipments so as to help them get their goods to either the manufacturer for further production or to the consumer for final distribution or consumption. A freight forwarding business is unlike that of a broker, as your business will likely handle customer shipments directly.
Ladies Beauty Salon
A ladies’ beauty salon is an establishment that solely caters to women so as to improve their beauty which might include hair, nails, feet, and face.
Before starting this business in Abu Dhabi, check what the requirements are. You would also need to have a vast knowledge of products both organic and otherwise as you would need to pass along tips to women customers that patronize you.
The car rental business does require a lot of investment because you have to keep your car ready for renting. You must also keep your cars well maintained and hire special professionals who can do the repairing work deftly. You must make sure that all your cars are insured and all the legal procedures are done in a proper manner.
The web development business is actually a lucrative one especially if you are a freelancer. This is a business that is booming due to the fact that many companies now wish to have a web presence and might not have the required talents in-house to do this for them.
Apart from web development, you might also include web designing and other related services so as to give you an edge over others.
If you have got a good car and phone, then you can start this kind of business. You need to help deliver packages to those who would them. You can get as many clients as possible and be known for timely delivery to be successful in this kind of business.
Working couples are in majority in Abu Dhabi, and with both parents working, they need someone to take good care of their kids.
Day care centers can be the best option for such families. If you are adept at babysitting, you can start a daycare or a child care business in the city to help parents out. Please know that there are a lot of rules you have to follow for you to be allowed to set up such a sensitive business.