• The Bench

Nook: A Dubai Freezone for Sports, Fitness and Wellness Start-Ups


Following on from our other free zone blogs on SHAMS and IFZA, we now look at another free zone offering in Dubai - Nook.


Nook launched in 2018 and is tailored specifically for the sports, fitness and wellness industry and enables business owners to easily set up a legal presence in Dubai via Nook's partnership with one of the world's leading free zones, DMCC, and enjoy a range of discounts (up to 70% off set-up costs) and other benefits.


Key Facts and Figures:

  • Location / Jurisdiction: Located in Level 2, One JLT, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai. As with all free zones, the licence only entitles you to do business from within the free zone.

  • Target Sector: Sport, fitness and wellness industry.

  • Licence Categories/Activities: The available activities are essentially a sub-set of the full DMCC activites and include sports training, sports clubs, event management, sports & entertainment consultancy, fitness clubs, performing arts, sports academies, yoga centres, sports events and exhibitions etc. The full list is available here.

  • Corporate Vehicles: A DMCC limited liability company (which can be 100% foreign owned).

  • Fees: The annual fees are currently AED 22,450 plus VAT, comprising the DMCC trade licence fee of AED 10,450 and a coworking plan of AED 12,000 + VAT. In the first year there is also a Nook onboarding fee of AED 2,000 + VAT. So whilst it is not the cheapest free zone in the UAE it does however provide the prestigous DMCC badge at a hefty discount.

  • Included: The trade licence; the ability to issue 2 visas (but not the actual visa costs); individual or team coworking access (high speed wifi, printing/scanning facility, free coffee/tea) equal to the number of visa allocations; a company stamp; reception services; business support and networking opportunities with more than 100 like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs;

  • Excluded: PRO, visa and EID fees; third party approvals/NOC and associated fees (e.g. from the General Authority Youth Sports & Welfare, Dubai Health Authority or the Knowledge and Human Development Authority) for regulated activities (if required); annual licence renewal, auditing costs, personal and business insurance.

  • E-Channel: E-Channel fees and deposits waived, which is a great help to start-ups as this can cost over AED13k (e.g. AED7k+ for registration, AED5k deposit and annual renewal fees of AED1k+) with other free zones.

  • Offices: Flexible leasing and payment plans incuding co-working spaces or dedicated offices.

  • Audited Accounts: Being part of DMCC, audited annual financial accounts are required (which isnt mandatory in all free zones).

  • NOC: A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required by your current employer (if applicable).

  • Website: www.nookwork.ae

  • Extras:

  • Nook hosts community socials, talks and training workshops;

  • Recognised by the Dubai Sports Council;

  • Discounted onsite gym, studio, meeting and event rates (e.g. studios from AED 150 per hour).

If you are active in the sport, fitness and wellness sector and want to be embedded in a like-minded entrepreneural community in a great looking facility in Dubai, Nook is definitely worth considering.


If you have any questions in relation to setting up in Nook, DMCC or elsewhere in the UAE, please email us at info@thebenchlaw.com. The Bench's corporate team has extensive experience in establishing companies in the UAE for clients ranging from individual entrepreneurs to major international companies. Some of our team members even helped to set up the first free zones in the UAE and have held positions as free zone regulators so we are uniquely well placed to assist.

87 views0 comments