Located 17 KM from Abu Dhabi resides the futuristic $22 billion city of Masdar. Powered entirely by solar and renewable energy sources, the city is designed as a regional hub for clean tech businesses.
The real appeal of Masdar city’s free zone however is its highly specialized business infrastructure. This free zone is perfect in every way to host technology companies and general businesses.
The free zone is built to host close to 1500 businesses and is equipped to house almost 50,000 residents. Due to its excellent proximity to ports, airports, and commercial centers the City is a regional gateway to Africa, Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East.
The strategic location, favorable regulations, cost-effective license packages, and unique sustainable living makes Masdar a highly lucrative opportunity for tech businesses and startup projects. Siemens, British Petroleum, IRENA, and several other prominent tech corporations have regional HQs in Masdar.
If you are planning to set up a new tech business in a UAE economic zone, Masdar offers the ideal location to base your operations to reach a massive geographical reach.
So if you’re looking to set up a shop in the UAE, read on to find out everything you need to know about Masdar City Free Zone.
How to Setup Business in Masdar City Free Zone?
Setting up a business in UAE is fairly easy and convenient for potential investors. The free zone business setup is broken into three stages:
Step 01 – Register Your Business Name
The name registration form must be submitted, along with the AED 2,000 name reservation fee, to the Free Zone Authority. The Department of Economic Development (DED) of Abu Dhabi must then receive the paperwork.
Step 02 – Submit the License Form
Once your name has been registered, you will be handed a licensing form along with your trade name certificate, which you must complete and submit to the appropriate authorities. Your business plan and other essential documents must be submitted along with the licensing application.
The Free Zone Authority will issue you an Acceptance Letter after reviewing all of your supplied documentation. After the submission of the documents, the full process could take up to 3 days.
Step 03 – Open a Corporate Bank Account
You would need to open a bank account once you had received the acceptance letter. The process for opening a bank account in the UAE is specific. To open a corporate bank account, you must get in touch with the specific free zone authority. In this case, the Masdar City free zone authority would issue a bank introduction letter.
Get a Capital Confirmation Letter, also known as a Proof of Capital Letter, from the bank after opening
Step 04 – Acquire Your License and Sign the Lease
You must give the Free Zone Authority the letter of Capital Confirmation. The Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA) can then be signed. The free zone will hand over the license agreement once it has received the Proof of Capital Letter. The lease agreement must be signed before receiving the trade license.
Documents Required for Business Setup in Masdar City Free Zone
The Masdar Free Zone requires detailed documentation for company formation. We have compiled a list of all necessary documents for application below:
Original Certificate of Registration of the Corporate Person (a copy will be accepted if notarized).
Original Certificate of Good Standing (issued by the Registrar of Companies in which jurisdiction the Corporate Person is incorporated to ensure existence and continuity of the Corporate Person) if the Corporate Person is more than two years old [copy will be accepted if notarized].
Copy of a valid Trade License issued by the Department of Economy & Development for the Corporate Person.
Copy of the Commercial Registration issued by the Department of Planning & Economy for the Corporate Person.
A document setting out the personal details (CV) of the individual shareholder(s).
Valid passport copy of the individual shareholder(s).
Original Reference letter provided by the Bank for individual shareholder(s).
Specimen signature of the individual shareholder(s) [Template provided].
Passport-size photograph (with white background) of the individual shareholder(s).
Original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company along with a list of the current Directors.
Shareholder (s) / Board Resolution of the parent company / Corporate Shareholder (s) (Notarized and Legalized) calling for the establishment of a Branch / LLC in Masdar City and guaranteeing full financial commitment
Appointment of the Negotiator / Legal Representative (optional).
Power of Attorney for the Manager (if not part of the Resolution) – Notarized and Legalized.
Details of Directors
Valid Passport copy of the Director (s)
Specimen signature of the Director (s)
Passport-size photograph (with white background) of the Director (s).
Details of Managers
Valid Passport copy of the Manager
NOC from the current Residency visa Sponsor of the Manager in the U.A.E. (if applicable).
Specimen signature of the Manager
Passport-size photograph (with white background) of the Manager.
Best Businesses to Start in Masdar City Free Zone?
Businesses in Masdar City Free Zone can range from small-scale start-ups to large-scale operations, and from light manufacturing and assembly operations to technology, logistics, finance, and other services.
Here’s a list of the best businesses to start in the Masdar City Free Zone (Masdar City Free Zone):
Business and Data Centres
Oil & Gas Services
Clean Tech and Information & Communications Technology
Marketing & Events
Human Resource Development
Property Development Services
Regional Headquarters, Holding and Trading Companies
Business Activities Allowed in Masdar City Free Zone
Masdar City offers organizations, SMBs, entrepreneurs, and startups a massive opportunity to invest in technology, sustainable solutions, and educational institutions in a progressive community committed to green living.
MCFZ offers 19 broad categories that accommodate thousands of business activities permitted within the region. Here is a list of all allowed activities in Masdar’s free zone:
Cleantech and Information & Communications Technologies
Marketing & Events
Human Resource Development
General Service Providers
Energy Industry Goods & Services
Industry Goods & Services
Property Management Services
Community Services Development
Onshore and Offshore Oil and Gas Field and Facilities Services
You can view all respective sub-categories of allowed businesses in the detailed Masdar City list here.
FAQs about Business Setup in Masdar City Free Zone
What is Masdar City Free Zone?
The progressive Masdar free zone is a marvel of ‘sustainable urban development’ located strategically between the Abu Dhabi Airport and the Al Raha marina. The 6 KM2 economic zones were purposefully built to host innovative businesses including renewable energy providers, sustainability technologies, and human resource development companies.
Residents and partners are facilitated with excellent benefits including 100% ownership, tax exemptions, low-cost leasing, and fast-tracked visa applications. In addition, Masdar City is perfectly located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi offering an excellent selection of amenities and proximity to important business centers.
One of their most popular tenants is the International Renewable Energy Agency, headquartered in the Masdar Free Zone.
The beautiful futuristic architecture and the leading-edge sustainable foundations of the city make it an amazing opportunity for technology companies, educational institutions, and lifestyle tech businesses to establish themselves in the UAE.
Do I Need to Have a Local Sponsor to Start My Business in Masdar City Free Zone?
No, Masdar City FZ offers 100% foreign ownership for investors and hence does not need a local sponsor to start a business.
How Many Days Would It Take To Get My License for My Business in Masdar City Free Zone?
Licenses are issued within 5 days of application in the Masdar City free zone.
Can I Transfer My Company From Masdar City to Another Free Zone in the UAE?
No, transferring your company from one free zone to another in the UAE is not currently possible. The existing license must be canceled to move to a new free zone, and a new one must be acquired from the other economic zone. Another way to locate within another emirate’s free zone is by establishing a branch of your existing business.
How Airzone Can Help You in Masdar City Free Zone?
Airzone assists businesses and entrepreneurs find the ideal business setup service providers that facilitate business registration, licensing, corporate banking services, and visa processes.
We also offer critical knowledge and guides to help you understand how to set up a sustainable business in Dubai.
Our affluent network of partners can simplify residence visa applications, accounting & banking, customs registration processes, and taxation, in addition to offering many other business support services to ensure a convenient business setup operation.
So what are you waiting for, get started today!
If you wish to set up a company in a different free zone, we suggest checking out the other business formation guides we’ve covered regarding UAE free zones.
Masdar City Business Setup Costs
Calculate Company Formation Costs for Masdar City Free Zone