ADGM TECH START-UP LICENCE

As part of its commitment to enable entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi, ADGM introduced the Tech Start-up Licence and the Entrepreneurship Support Programme in an effort to provide start-ups with the tools and knowledge needed to expedite their growth.

The licence allows entrepreneurs to set up in the UAE with a highly cost-effective licence and without the need for a physical office. Start-ups can hit the ground running while connecting with ADGM’s business community and partners. As an independent jurisdiction with its own civil and commercial laws, ADGM applies the internationally recognised English common law, providing entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders with the right business structures that will meet international standards.

LICENCE BENEFITS

The licence offers a host of benefits including:

  • An independent jurisdiction with an internationally recognised English common law framework
  • Full operational commercial licence
  • Highly cost effective annual licence fee of $700
  • An option to obtain up to 4 employee visas
  • No physical office space requirement
  • Access to the Entrepreneurship Support Programme
  • Access to local and international experts

In addition to the above benefits, the licence provides access to our Entrepreneurship Support Programme, developed in partnership with our key local and international partners and aimed at equipping entrepreneurs with the skills and resources needed to succeed and scale their start-ups.

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

  • Technology-focused start-ups with the potential to scale regionally
  • Product/market fit that supports sustainable economic development
  • Tech start-ups aligned with the UAE National Innovation Priority Sectors, click here to learn more about these sectors
  • Local, regional and international start-ups

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Tech Start Up 2

HOW TO APPLY

Download and review our TOOLKIT and FAQS for full details on how to apply. If your application is successful, you will receive an email with the next steps for completing your application.

CONTACT US

For enquiries on setting up your Tech Start-Up email us at techstartup@adgm.com

TEMPLATES

FAQs

To download FAQs document, click here.

The ADGM Tech Start-Up Licence is open for entrepreneurs from all nationalities. The Licence must appoint a signatory who resides in the UAE or has a UAE entry stamp on their passport.

Technology-driven startups with an innovative business concept that:
• has the potential to scale;
• promotes innovation, in terms of the business application and deployment;
• has current traction or is at least at the prototype stage;
• can be deployed in the UAE and contribute to the development of the local economy; and
• has a business plan with clearly defined milestones, against which progress can be monitored, are eligible to apply for the Licence

An initial term of 12 months which can be renewed for another 12 months.
At the end of the second year, it is envisaged that the company’s success will warrant the transition into an operating company. Alternatively, it can convert into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).

No physical office space is required. A virtual office space provided by an ADGM registered service provider can be used. Office addresses can also be obtained through the following options:


Option 1: Regus Business Centre: Abudhabi Almaqam Abudhabi.Almaqam@regus.com or Abudhabi alsila Abudhabi.alsila@regus.com

ADGM registered entities are eligible for a 25% discount with Regus Business Centre.

Option 2: Corporate Service Providers – Consent letter. The list is available on our website

https://www.adgm.com/doing-business/registration-authority/business-directory/company-search/


As a regulator, whilst we can provide contact information we do not manage the real estate on the Island and do not give out quotes or recommendations.

The following options are currently available to meet the office address requirements. Subject to the applicant’s decision to one of the above options, the applicant needs to provide either a lease agreement for the virtual address with the business centre or office address consent letter with Corporate Service Provider.

 

 

The Licence allows you to apply for up to 4 employee visas.

For full visa fee schedule, please click here

It is not required for shareholders to be physically present, all documents can be submitted as scanned copies online.

Please note that the following applies if shareholders are also appointed as authorised signatories:

Although shareholders don’t have to be UAE residents, it is mandatory that they should have entered the UAE at least once as ADGM requires the UAE entry stamp to obtain the security clearance from the immigration authorities.

Tech Start-Ups are required to register as Private Companies Limited by Shares. As per the ADGM Companies Regulations the names of limited companies must end with “limited”, “LIMITED”, “ltd” ,“LTD”, “l.t.d” or “L.T.D”.

The start-up license incorporate as private company limited by shares with a fully separate corporate legal identity. There are no provisions in the ADGM Companies Regulations and subordinate legislation, which prevent the Company incorporated pursuant to these regulations from holding shares in entities registered in jurisdictions outside of ADGM.

Yes, in addition to renewing the company's commercial License, the company must file certain documents with ADGM annually:

  • Data Protection Renewal: ADGM Data Protection is required to be renewed annually before expiry. The cost of Data Protection renewal is $100 USD.
  • Annual Return Filing: Confirming director and shareholder details, this is not to be confused with the entity's annual account filing.
  • Annual Accounts Filing: Includes financial statements disclosure, the level of disclosure and requirements for audit depends on the company's revenue


Please note that that the company has an obligation to notify the Registration Authority within the specified timeframe (as stated in ADGM Companies Regulations) of any changes to the company’s information, including but not limited to, change of name, amendment of articles, change of address, appointment/cessation/change in details of directors and officers and changes to company’s share capital, shareholders and beneficial owners.

For more information, please refer to Guidance on Event Driven Filings.

The licence fee of USD 700$ is non-refundable.

However, our tech-startup team will guide you by pre-qualifying your application and reviewing your business plan prior to your online application process to minimize any chances of application rejection. 

Provided all incorporation requirements have been met, the application will be approved and the company can commence business. ADGM can provide a list of bank contact details with whom the ADGM RA has established contact and are familiarized with ADGM processes.

However, the opening of the bank account remains subject to the bank’s policies and requirements.

Once you obtain your ADGM Tech Start-up Commercial Licence, you can open a bank account and commence invoicing activities.

ADGM can provide you with a list of banks that are familiar with ADGM registration processes, the bank account opening remains subject to the bank’s policies and requirements.

In order to provide more information, we need to review your business plan, the type of activities and whether they fit within the tech start-up licence criteria.  The Tech licence does not cover retail and manufacturing activities, which require different approvals and licences.  ADGM does not have any restrictions on where you carry out your business, but you should seek legal advise if your activities require other mainland approvals or regulatory approvals.

This depends on a number of factors including the quality of the application and the initial approvals from the immigration authorities as well as the applicant’s responsiveness to additional queries if any. We will do our best to process your application as quickly as possible.  However, we cannot commit to a timeframe for incorporation.

Approval will be granted if and when all requirements pertaining to incorporation under the ADGM Companies Regulations and subordinate legislation have been met.

Tax exemption are granted by provisions of Federal Law No. 4 of 2013, the VAT regulations apply in ADGM as these are fiscal regulations and not commercial or civil.