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RFP is just the beginning. Know your business requirements in the GCC. October 12, 2018

The Gulf Cooperation Countries - Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - are making progress concerning their policies. They have realised the importance of open-door trade and investment policy. Welcoming foreign companies to invest in the GCC has become vital to their economy. 

Through the process of an RFP (Request for Proposal), the GCC is looking for and inviting companies to invest in them. Simultaneously they issue an RFI (Request For Information) to find a pool of companies that might have the required potential. This is followed by an RFQ (Request for Quotation) to invite bids.

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The process of the RFP is long and tedious. There are numerous steps involved, and each stage has its own set of requirements. Understanding the customer requirement, drawing up a solution, putting together a project plan and pricing are as important as executing the project. You have to know that an RFP alone is not enough to lead your business in the GCC.

Countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia have been systematically planning to reduce their overall dependence on oil economy by making new policies to spur and promote other industries. This not only inspires the local to enter the entrepreneurial zone but also invites investment from outside of the GCC. The point to be noted very carefully is that the foreign entrepreneurs are not welcomed unquestioningly. As a foreign legal entity choosing to invest in the GCC, you have to jump through a few hoops first.

Considering the fact that they are an excellent place to invest in, these hoops are worth jumping through. The question is, are you prepared to face the journey. When you know that the destination is worth every effort, how far are you willing to go?

Let’s take a look at the Business Requirements in GCC. They are based on the kind of business activity you wish to invest it. It can be classified as commercial, industrial, tourism and professional activities.

Select a Business Activity

Determine the type of activity. This makes clear the legal forms to be signed. If the business activity cannot be classified as per the above, do get it clarified before proceeding to the next step. The type of license is associated with the kind of business activity. Hence it is vital you get the analysis done pronto.

Submit legal forms

This is essentially a description of the kind of business you are investing in. This includes details regarding the type of business and the activities involved. Aspects of ownership will also be declared here. 

Select a trade name for the business

The guidelines have to be followed while naming the company. To avoid confusion with the clients, the license type must be related to the name of the trade. The application process should be followed to the T. Check the payment channels and ensure that the payment is processed within the given time after the payment voucher has been received. 

Application of initial approval

This approval states that there are no objections from the local body concerning the establishment of the business and obtaining the business license. Pay attention to the deadline at all costs. 

Preparation of MOA and the LSA Agreement

Local Service Agent or a corporate agent, as the case may be, need to be signed up for licensing and compliance along with the MOA. Use a law firm. 

Establishment of the location of the business

A physical address is key to business in the GCC. Refer requirements as per the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Subject to conditions, you can also add a new trade license to the same location. 

Obtain necessary approvals

This gets tricky. Select business activities require some special approvals from various government departments. It could be Federal or Local. Be vigilant and get the required approvals. 

Get the Business License

Finally, all the documents end with this paper. You are now good to go.

Another crucial requirement is the non-legal aspect. There is more to establishing a business abroad. This can come at a high price because all interactions take place at a human level. Knowing how to strike a deal is important. Being aware of the cultural and traditional intricacies of the country can take your project an extra mile.

Establishing a successful relationship with the GCC includes putting in efforts towards a personal relationship. For example, the Omanis emphasise on getting to know their partners well before building a business. In all fairness, this is a reasonable ask. The bond created in the process can bring about a good level of trust and understanding between the parties concerned. Make time to have a non-business interaction as well. Why GOHLS

The legal and social requirements of conducting business in GCC can be a breeze if you have with you a reliable and trustworthy expert to partner with you throughout the journey. GOHLS commits to be such a companion which can help you establish firm and sound roots without having to face the brunt of the red tape and bureaucracy that when processed incorrectly could bring your business crashing down.

Your staffing partner would also enlighten you on the culture and traditions followed by the GCC. For instance, initiating a handshake with a woman would seem inappropriate in the GCC. Rest of the world, it is almost irrelevant. In this part of the world, it is not only frowned upon but might be taken negatively and could have disastrous consequences.

The best advice one can give you is to consult with a staffing partner who has the right connections in the location you wish to establish your business in. The rest will follow.

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