Why the UAE?

With FDS opening new offices around the world, Jenna Leeds reports on last year’s addition to the network, Stephen O’Donovan operating in the United Arab Emirates


Franchise Development Services (FDS), now one of the best known franchising consultancy experts in the world, is gradually expanding across the globe with offices already throughout the UK, Spain, Australasia and now in 2013, Lebanon and Pakistan (read further on pages 120 and 121) but 2012 welcomed Stephen O’Donovan, who has successfully expanded the FDS network to the United Arab Emirates, (UAE).



The United Arab Emirates is one of the hottest franchise markets in the world, home to famous UK brands such as Boots, WHSmiths and Thorntons, which already have laid strong foundations and proved profitable track records.

In such an up and coming market, growing at a rate of 25 per cent year on year, FDS saw the vast level of franchise opportunities. However, this isn’t the first time that FDS has developed brands in the Middle Eastern market, they worked with Mothercare and the Aishaya Group back in 1985, where now both of these are some of the world’s leading franchise brand owners and developers.

With FDS UAE well established, it will be delivering expert advice and guidance, providing local knowledge and understanding the ability to make high-level introductions to established organisations and franchise entrepreneurs seeking to acquire and develop franchise brands to their full potential.

Benefits of franchising in the United Arab Emirates:

  • It has a thriving business environment signified by its investor friendly policies for infrastructure, corporate taxes, transferring profits back home, entity ownership and a large community of human resources and recruitment agencies.
  • Businesses located in the multiple free zones enjoy tax exemption.
  • The UAE franchise sector receives a great deal of support from the Government.
  • The state is promoting the franchise sector to induce growth and development of small-medium businesses.
  • Government backed Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment For Young Business Leaders provides business training to entrepreneurs and also encourages women entrepreneurs. Further, the government has established the UAE Franchise Association in 2004.
  • The Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has a program for aid of young UAE citizens under which it extends to them for buying franchise business. All these factors have led large number of people in UAE seeking franchise owners for self-employment.