Abu Dhabi offers a range of high-potential career opportunities in growing industries. Its business environment is well regulated and flexible, with a range of incentive packages to encourage investment, and to support promising startups.
ADIO's Innovation Programme provides globally competitive financial and non-financial incentives to expand and deliver innovative ideas from Abu Dhabi.
The programme focuses on innovation-led and early-stage companies in high-growth areas including financial services, ICT, health services and biopharma, agricultural technology (agritech), and ecotourism.
As part of its Innovation Programme, ADIO has partnered with agtech pioneers AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RDI, RNZ, FreshToHome, Pure Harvest and Nanoracks.
It has also partnered with tech companies including music streaming platform Anghami, video streaming service Starzplay, and cloud computing company Bespin Global, as well as Callsign, Lyve and RIZEK.
Hub71 is a global tech ecosystem that brings together key elements for startup success: access to capital, access to market opportunities, and a favourable business environment.
Backed by Mubadala Investment Company, its growing international community of tech giants, venture capitalists, tech ecosystem players, and global startups can benefit from an interconnected global network.
Alongside strategic partners Microsoft, SoftBank Vision Fund and Abu Dhabi Global Market, Hub71 is creating an optimal environment for transformative tech companies looking to maximise success, produce outstanding tech innovations, and scale globally.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an award-winning international financial centre in the heart of Abu Dhabi. ADGM is the first MENA jurisdiction to apply English common law in its entirety and hosts the world’s first fully digital courtroom.
It is home to the Middle East’s first digital banking licensing regime, the region’s first comprehensive virtual asset regulatory framework, and the first calibrated Venture Capital Manager framework.
ADGM established the ADGM Academy in 2018 to become a leading provider of financial research, training, education and literacy for Abu Dhabi and the MENA region.
ADGM is also home to the ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (IFAD) exchange, which trades the world's first Murban Abu Dhabi crude oil future contracts. ADGM hosts the annual Fintech Abu Dhabi festival, the largest event dedicated to fintech in the MENA region.
Residents and non-residents, as well as UAE nationals, can work flexibly and practise a range of freelance activities through the Freelance Professional Licence, which is issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED).
Business activities covered by the licence include accountancy and auditing, tax, real estate, and legal consultancy, public relations, project development, procurement, innovation and artificial intelligence, information technology network services, as well as the design of database systems and electronic risk management services.
To get a Freelance Professional Licence, the applicant must have a minimum of three years of experience in the same field or industry or have earned an academic or professional achievement in that field. The licence holder can also obtain a residence visa for themselves and their family.
As part of efforts to promote further foreign direct investment into Abu Dhabi and enhance competitiveness, 100 per cent foreign ownership is now permitted across more than 1,000 registered commercial and industrial activities.
These include manufacturing, production, printing, construction, repair and maintenance, and wholesale trade. For a full list of activities, click here
twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub on Yas Island is a purpose-built new campus that is home to Abu Dhabi’s growing media, gaming and entertainment sector.
The 270,000 sqm sustainable development has been built to house more than 600 media partners, including Ubisoft, Vice, Ericsson, Unity Technologies and CNN. It also offers flexible working spaces for more than 900 freelancers and more than 130 entrepreneurs.
Yas Creative Hub has been developed as part of Abu Dhabi’s AED30 billion investment strategy for the Culture and Creative Industries (CCI), and is expected to house around 16,000 professionals by 2030.
The venue will also house the Gaming Hub, which, as part of the Abu Dhabi Gaming initiative, is aggregating the emirate’s gaming partners to build a thriving gaming and esports ecosystem.
The Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) is the overarching advanced technology research body in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, which shapes research and development for transformative technology outcomes.
The council is also responsible for consolidating funds for efficient investment, driving policy and regulation for agile decision-making, and helping to position Abu Dhabi as a global R&D hub.
Under the ATRC, Abu Dhabi’s priority areas for applied research start with seven fields of advanced technology: quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy, and secure systems.
The council is responsible for defining the advanced technology R&D strategy across Abu Dhabi emirate and for channelling funds to where it matters the most, giving the green light for investment to flow and for transformational research to begin.
It has a dedicated project management pillar, Aspire, which liaises with stakeholders to frame research statements and grand challenges, ensuring that R&D investments have the best potential to reach commercial application and fulfil forward-looking future technology capabilities.
The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is Abu Dhabi’s integrated trade, logistics, industrial and free zone, which provides businesses of all sizes - from start-ups to established companies - with access to more than 4.5 billion consumers through world-class transport infrastructure and multimodal connectivity by sea, road, air and future rail networks.
KIZAD is intrinsically linked to Khalifa Port, one of the world’s most advanced deep-sea ports and the region’s first semi-automated port. The strategic joint port and industrial zone value proposition assumes a major role in the region’s manufacturing and transportation sectors
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) is the Arab region’s second largest market. It trades securities, including shares issued by public joint stock companies, bonds issued by governments or corporations, exchange traded funds, and any other financial instruments approved by the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).
In 2021, the ‘ADX One’ strategy was launched to bring a broader offering of products and services to market, along with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
In the same year, ADX introduced a derivatives market to help develop Abu Dhabi’s capital markets. With the launch of single equity futures, the new market gives investors and traders the opportunity to benefit from increased leverage, two-way market exposure, and hedging capabilities.
In October, His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed launched the AED5 billion Abu Dhabi IPO Fund, which is further strengthening ADX's position as a leading stock market by providing investment for five to 10 private companies a year to help them list on ADX.
Abu Dhabi launched the Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) strategy in 2019 to help drive social and economic growth and diversification in Abu Dhabi.
Under the umbrella of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT - Abu Dhabi), the CCI strategy is investing more than AED30 billion to propel industry growth across film and TV, multimedia, gaming and esports, as well as heritage, crafts and design, publishing, visual and performing arts.
The emirate’s integrated CCI Strategy brings together best practices while considering the specificities of Abu Dhabi. In support of a sustainable creative ecosystem, goals are being targeted across all sectors under five key pillars: policies and systems, talent and professional development, innovation and digitalisation, business development, and place and infrastructure that enhance quality of life.
The strategy includes more than 16 strategic programmes and 800 initiatives, some already initiated and the remainder to be delivered in the next five years.