Masdar to offer individual trade licences for sustainable start-ups

Masdar City is offering trade lic­ences geared toward individuals to attract more green start-ups to the free zone to help it achieve its target to quadruple occupancy at the sustainable urban development by 2020.

Commercial space has been leased to more than 400 companies in Masdar City, including the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and the multinationals Siemens and GE. The free zone offers perks such as exemption from import and export duties, 100 per cent foreign ownership and the issuance of visas for employees. But now single-entry applicants, particularly those in the clean tech industry, can apply to set up shop.

Masdar City said yesterday in a statement that a lower registration fee would be granted to individuals, although the organisation did not provide further details.

Annual licensing fees range from Dh10,000 to Dh30,000, with a desk costing Dh13,500 and a workstation for up to three people Dh20,000, according to the organisation’s website. In addition, the Dh50,000 minimum capital requirement to set up an LLC will be waived.

“These additional business benefits will further incentivise local start-ups and encourage more UAE national entrepreneurs to enter the private sector, while at the same time supporting the City’s overall mandate to connect education with research and development and business with investment,” said Mohammed Al Fardan, the director of the Masdar City Free Zone.

About 5,000 people work at Masdar City. That is likely to rise to 15,000 within the next three years, the free zone said.

“Our latest initiative further strengthens Masdar City’s appeal to future clean energy entrepreneurs and to the growing cadre of business-minded UAE nationals graduating from the Masdar Institute,” said Mr Al Fardan.

Environmentally focused free zones are expanding in the UAE, which include, besides Masdar, Dubai Science Park. The rise of interested companies is driving the need for these kinds of economic zones. DSP revealed last year that it had expected to double the number of companies operating there from the 2012 level of 32.

Last year, the Dubai Government announced a new clean energy strategy laying out targets up to 2050. One of these included the Green Free Zone, which the emirate says will be a global hub for start-ups and to establish clean energy companies.

The emirate’s utility, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), earlier this year issued a request for proposals for consultants to develop the strategy and deployment plan for the zone. “The Dubai Green Zone will encourage green technology companies and have sustainable buildings with unique and best-in-class concepts of space and mobility planning,” said Saeed Al Tayer, Dewa’s managing director and chief executive.

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LeAnne Graves

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