The legal minimum age to start a business in the UAE has been lowered from 21 years to 18.
This is according to the revised Commercial Transactions Law, which was discussed last week during a media briefing organised by the Ministry of Economy at its headquarters in Dubai. The initial guidelines for this and the other changes to the law were published last October and have now gone into full effect.
H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, led the briefing.
Among the most prominent features of the new Commercial Transactions Law are:
- It reduces the age of legal capacity to practice business to 18 years.
- The law establishes a legal reference for commercial transactions for banking institutions to stimulate investment and give businesses wider scope for growth and competition.
- It offers support to Islamic banking in the country and establishes it as one of the main drivers of growth.
- The law amends the provisions related to the regulation and establishment of financial markets and makes it mandatory to obtain the necessary licenses in accordance with the legislation regulating securities in the country.
- It offers support to businesses related to the technology sector and commercial activities related to the digital fields.
The new Commercial Transactions Law marks an important milestone in the development of the business environment in the country, enabling aspiring entrepreneurs earlier opportunities to launch projects they are passionate about and to take charge of their own careers. This is perfectly aligned with the UAE's vision for the SME sector. SMEs make up nearly 95 per cent of all companies in the country, and are a major avenue for innovation and economic diversification, two top items on the UAE's agenda for coming decades.
By lowering the legal age to start a business to 18, the UAE also becomes on par with international peers like the UK and the US, where this has been the case for many years. Regionally, many Arab countries still abide by the 21 years of age threshold when permitting citizens to start a business.