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ADGM's Tech Startup License enables entrepreneurs to set up in the UAE quickly and easily. The licence is categorized in two stages; seed and emergent.
The ADGM Tech Startup Licence is not available for technology service providers.
Startups can also apply to the Hub71 Incentive Program which provides up to 100% subsidies on housing, office space and health insurance for up to 25 employees, for up to three years.
Startup stages, criteria and incentive benefits
|Stage of maturity||Number of FTEs*||1 - 10||11 - 50|
|Year since first registration in UAE||Does not exceed three (3) years||Does not exceed five (5) years|
|Incentive packages||Incentivised licence fee||USD 1,000 P.A.||USD 4,300 P.A.|
|Duration of incentive||2 Years||3 Years|
|Office space requirements||1 Desk space+ in an incubator / co-working space domiciled in ADGM||1 Desk space+ in an incubator / co-working space domiciled in ADGM|
|Visa eligibility||3 Visas for every desk space||3 Visas for every desk space|
* FTEs: Full time employees + Dedicated office or desk is required.
Eligibility for the incentivised licence is determined at the time of application and the duration is fixed. eg if a startup is approved for the seed stage incentivised licence, it will have two years in seed stage and will automatically move into the emergent stage in its third year of operations in ADGM regardless of the number of full time employees.
Who should apply?
- Local, regional and international startups.
- Startups with an innovative tech business model that leverages technology as the main platform to solve customer challenges and provides products and services that meet specific market needs.
- Tech startups that have the potential to scale regionally (or globally).
- Tech startups with product/market fit that support sustainable economic development.
- A business model must fall within the ADGM regulation remit and business structures – see FAQs
Tech Startup Licence benefits
The range of benefits of the Tech Startup Commercial Licence include:
- An operational commercial licence which is Sector agnostic
- Competitive annual licence fees within the first 5 years of operation in ADGM:
- Seed stage annual fee USD 1,000 (max: two years)
- Emergent stage annual fee USD 4,300 (max: three years)
- 3 visas for every desk space
- Eligible* to apply to Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development for dual licence recognition (needs to meet criteria, see FAQs)
- Potential access to funding and equity-free subsidies through Hub71
- Potential access to Hub71 community including accelerator programmes such as Plug & Play
- Access to local and international entrepreneurial mentors and experts
- An independent jurisdiction with an internationally recognised English common law framework.
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