IX: Expanding Horizons – Associations and Business Support Networks for UK Companies in the UAE (10 things to know before setting up a business in the UAE)

17 Jul 2023 | Middle East perspective

To support and facilitate the growth of UK companies in the UAE, several associations and business support networks have been established, providing invaluable resources, networking opportunities, and guidance. In this article, we will explore some of the prominent UK associations and business support networks available for British companies venturing into the UAE. If you’re reading this blog, you’re already engaged with the first port of call, the BCB.

British Centres for Business (BCB)


Established a decade ago as a collaborative effort between the UK and Dubai governments, our primary objective has been to foster bilateral trade and investment. Throughout these years, our trade support endeavours have yielded over £120m in Export Wins for UK businesses, while simultaneously assisting 60 British companies in establishing their presence in the UAE through our market-entry incubator. Working alongside UK enterprises venturing into this region has become an integral part of our core identity.

British Business Group (BBG) and British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi

https://bbgdubai.org/ and https://bccad.ae/

The British Business Group (BBG) and the British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi (BCC AD) are both members of the Global Business Network, offering valuable connection to more than 76 accredited chambers worldwide, along with more than 53 UK-based chambers engaged in international trade.

The BBG is a vibrant business network that brings together British companies and professionals in the UAE. Covering Dubai and the Northern Emirates, the BBG provides a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and business development.

The British Chamber of Commerce Abu Dhabi (BCC AD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating trade between the UAE and the UK.

Both the BBG and BCC AD organizes regular events, seminars, and forums, enabling UK companies to connect with local businesses, government officials, and industry experts. The primary objectives of the BBG and BCC AD is to support its members by providing a local network and a range of activities and services.

UK-UAE Business Council


The UK-UAE Business Council operates as a dedicated institution focused on fostering and strengthening the mutually beneficial trade and investment connections between the UK and the UAE. UUBC serves as a collaborative platform that brings together businesses, governments, and other stakeholders from both nations to facilitate their interaction and cooperation. UUBC engages in a series of working groups, as well as hosting regular sector focused events and workshops for its members.

Department for Business and Trade (DBT)


The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is the UK government department responsible for promoting and supporting international trade and investment. DBT has a strong presence in the UAE, offering comprehensive assistance to UK companies looking to expand into the UAE and wider Middle East market.

DBT’s services include market intelligence, business matching, trade missions, and support with regulatory compliance. Furthermore, DBT also provides access to a network of experts, advisers, and embassy staff, ensuring UK businesses receive the necessary guidance and support.

Invest Northern Ireland


Invest Northern Ireland is an economic development agency that operates as a regional business development agency for Northern Ireland. INI’s primary objective is to support the growth of the Northern Irish economy and companies by promoting investment, trade, innovation, and exporting opportunities.

While Invest Northern Ireland primarily focuses on supporting businesses in Northern Ireland, they also provide assistance and guidance to UK companies looking to expand their operations internationally, including in the UAE and wider Middle East region.

Scottish Development International


Scottish Development International (SDI) promotes Scotland’s interests internationally and supports Scottish businesses in expanding their global reach. SDI acts as an economic development agency, working under the auspices of the Scottish Government. SDI’s primary goal is to attract investment and promote Scottish businesses abroad. SDI provides a range of services and support to UK companies, including those from Scotland, looking to expand into international markets such as the UAE.

Welsh Government – Trade & Invest Wales


Trade & Invest Wales is an initiative by the Welsh Government to promote trade and investment opportunities between Wales and other countries. In the case of the UAE, Trade & Invest Wales focuses on fostering business relationships and supporting UK companies in their trade and investment activities with the UAE. Trade & Invest Wales’ main role in the UAE is to provide assistance and guidance to UK companies looking to enter or expand their operations in the UAE market. They act as a bridge between UK businesses and the UAE, facilitating connections and promoting Wales as an attractive destination for investment.


Expanding into the UAE presents a plethora of opportunities for UK companies, and associations and business support networks play a vital role in easing the transition and fostering growth. By leveraging these resources, UK companies can tap into the immense potential of the UAE market, establish valuable connections, and navigate the local business landscape with confidence.