How to set up a band in the UAE

Find out how The Boxtones band secured their Fujairah Creative City Free Zone license through BIZ

While most entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the more popular mainstream business activities available in the UAE, there are many ‘niche’ activities that can be both commercially viable and completely legal. With the right amount of planning, research, and a feasible business model, your passion can become a smashing source of profit.

When the five-piece Scottish-Canadian rock band, The Boxtones, was formed in 2013, the band became one of the first music consultancies launched in the UAE. Business Incorporation Zone (BIZ)—the official Dubai representative office of Fujairah Creativity City Free Zone—initially helped the band secure a suitable trade license in the Free Zone. BIZ continues to provide the ongoing document management and support businesses like The Boxtones require, while also providing a range of value-added business support services such as Tax & Accounting, VAT registration and bookkeeping.

Immediately upon their incorporation, the band worked tirelessly to carve their name in the local entertainment scene. After five years of being associated with BIZ, The Boxtones continues to gain popularity as a mainstay of the UAE music industry the greater MENA region. They have performed in major concerts alongside music icons Sir Elton John, Pharrell Williams, Jason Derulo, Stereophonics, The Ting Tings, and many more.

In 2015, the band was signed to Universal Music Group MENA and in 2016, released their first album ‘Home’ under the record label. Since then, The Boxtones has received numerous accolades including Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards ‘Best Dubai Act’, Dubai Hype Music & Nightlife Awards ‘Best Local Band,’ and winners of the Rolling Stone Magazine’s Street to Stage competition to name a few.

BIZ with the Boxtones UAE

According to Gill Tierney, Managing Partner and drummer of The Boxtones, the achievements of the band—both personal and professional—were only possible when they set up the band as a company under the guidance of BIZ. “Starting our own freelance company through the BIZ has allowed us to achieve over the past five years a kind of benchmark. We wouldn’t be able to have the opportunities we’ve had unless we signed up with the BIZ,” shared Gill.

While doing what they love the band has also gained a great deal of business knowledge. “As a band, I think we’ve learned a lot about business just by working through BIZ and how to actually do it here in the Middle East,” shared Gary Tierney, Managing Director, guitar and lead vocals of The Boxtones.

Turning the band’s shared passion into a business vision has been a great achievement. Have a clear idea of what your goals are or what you’re actually trying to achieve. I think a lot of people were surprised when we first started the company. Like we said, we’re musicians, we’re a band. How can we last five years? Five years later, we’re still here and we’ve achieved so much and we’re still going. We still have so many plans locally and internationally. So I think you really need that clear vision,” advised Gill to budding entrepreneurs. The Boxtones has successfully validated the notion of making a living out of extraordinary talent and passion.

So how can a rock band evolve into a business? To give you an idea, here’s the straightforward process that The Boxtones went through with BIZ:

  1. Define your business. If you have a business idea and you think that this is commercially viable to profit, create a plan and a business model. Before investing all your money and effort, it is advisable to do your research and learn from the successful entrepreneurs who have gone through the nitty-gritty of business. When you have enough resources of knowledge and assistance, you can now choose the type of business activity applicable to your business plan.
  2. Choose which business activity best suits your business plan. Fujairah Creative City Free Zone is one of the most popular UAE Free Zones because of the numerous business activities that can be incorporated under the jurisdiction. These business activities are, but not limited to, Advertising, Music and Entertainment, General Trading, Travel and Hospitality Management, Human Resources, Engineering, Event Management, Accounting and Legal, E-Commerce, Education and Training, New Media, Media and Marketing, Publishing, Sports, Information Technology and Web Services, and Design. There are many more to choose from.
  3. Determine the number of visas you will require. BIZ provides licensing options that suit your specific requirements. Including employees and family members, the Free Zone licensing options provide you with an allocation of multiple visas. In fact, with a Baby Business package, you can now access an allocation of up to fifteen visas.
  4. Visit BIZ for consultation. Now that you have your basic requirements to launch your company, proper assistance from an expert business setup advisor at BIZ will guide you through the step-by-step process, present the timelines, and give regular updates.
  5. Complete the paperwork. Don’t worry about the paperwork. BIZ has a competent team dedicated to oversee the process and verify the requirements of the business setup. All you need to do is submit all the required documents, and you can divert back to running your business peacefully.
  6. Choose how to pay. BIZ offers the most affordable way to launch your business. You can choose by paying an upfront from AED 13,500 or a down-payment of AED 1 with installments. Depending on your company’s visa requirements, upfront fees may vary.
  7. Make your initial payment. At BIZ, you have the option to pay using BIZ’ 0% Easy Payment Plan (EPP) to control your cash flow. After receiving your initial payment, BIZ promptly initiates the process of business setup.
  8. Get started. Upon the issuance of your trade license, you can commence your business. With a dedicated Customer Support Manager at BIZ, you are always assured of personalised service and a reliable source of relevant updates from the government.

“It was exceptionally simple and really easy. We actually had no problem whatsoever. Location was great and the office is clean and well-executed.  The PRO guy was brilliant. We didn’t make one visit to Fujairah, and it was all handled for us, which is really great.”

Gary Tierney
Managing Director, guitar and lead vocals of The Boxtones

Business Incorporation Zone

BIZ has incorporated thousands of businesses in Fujairah Creative City Free Zone since 2011. Just like The Boxtones’ formation in the Free Zone, the business setup process with BIZ is simple, efficient, and fast. They provide assistance and expert advice to SMEs on how to turn business models into profitable entities. From the legal work to business support services, BIZ has an extensive end-to-end service.