Small Businesses Stuck

Its becoming more and more difficult to open a business in Kuwait and get the right paperwork done. I remember one time taking over a year to get everything sorted with the company and we knew the right people to help out. I’ve invested a lot of times in stocks while my stay there, and as you can see at, the stock market season is ideal for investment, but the paperwork presents new difficulties and deters me from investing. An individual would get lost in the process between all the government entities and these people would run in your circles, I remember one time getting stuck for a month about the name of the company.

One major problem we have is that they don’t define small business and have a different rules and applications for them. They make it impossible for you to operate and very difficult to move forward. Now if you want hire labor for your company or need qualified staff you can’t hire from outside the country, you can only choose from inside of Kuwait. So you have a very limited pool of talented people that you can work with or you have a high cost to hire qualified people. And I have yet to see the government make a move on those people trading work permits and bringing people and treating them as slaves, what is sad is that a lot of these people are not educated so they don’t know who to complain to or what to do. To hire people from outside of the country you need at least 1 Million KD as the capital of the company or a government contract.

The new labor laws make it nearly impossible for a company to operate and limiting its capabilities. The main problem is that they don’t take a perspective of the businesses and choose a direction which is more efficient, I remember reading a paper of a student talking about the 10 rules which can be efficiently brought down to one rule with no exceptions so people can get their work done. But they love exceptions in Kuwait so that people can be owed favors, its really a vicious circle we are stuck in at this time.

With all that is going on it is really crushing small businesses in Kuwait and making it very difficult for them to prosper. Someone might have a good product or service but at this point there are so many hurdles that make it nearly impossible to operate a profitable business. Lately there are a lot of desert start ups and I’m happy that people are trying, there is always hope, and there are way to get your business off the ground but right now there is no real support from the government or the tools in place to help. I’m just frustrated with all this.

A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!


  1. Unfortunately, nobody wants to think outside the box in the ministries and take initiative. Laws in place have been there for so long, not adapting to the changes in the local and world markets. I had the same issue when I started my company, and till this day, you can never get a straight answer on any procedure… big or small! Quite an annoyance!

  2. it’s all about corruption
    the cut is deep

  3. Akbar

    Honestly small businesses do not have a market in Kuwait. Sad but true. If you had a million KD in cash, you wont even bother to start a business…!

  4. Realist

    Well said. The problem here is there is no small business association to address the problem with the government. Apparently this government needs spoon feeding. Also when corruption is high having hurdles means one thing to government employees……MONEY

  5. furuta

    mr. Z.! why not under armour here in kuwait?it will explode and trumple the likes of nike,adidas,reeebok etc. most hardcore sportsminded people will surely patronize the products…

  6. BYB

    I apologize for the rant, but i have been going through the same process to start a company for a little over a year, and i just can not wrap my mind around this idea that it takes this long to start a small business.
    1. corruption, to the point that its well known and out in the open.
    2. Who are you? and what can YOU do for me? “but i have all the requirements”…UR NOT PAYING ATTENTION! WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR ME?
    3. 7asad, “hatha! yabee yfta7 sharika, ana a67as ib dawam 7ukuma 3ala ma3ash” …he will make it impossible in every way.
    4. making up rules to suit the employee/mudeer mood for the day. example: you go to get a paper signed but a requirement is made up on that day that is in the other part of town just to get out of doing his job.
    5. favor sharks(which is connected to point#2)ill make him believe i did him a favor today to ask for one some other day.

  7. Sometimes I can’t help but think that this country’s leadership doesn’t really want it to thrive. Either that, or they really suck at what they are do. They can’t even get the small stuff right.

  8. I still remember try to open a video games shop with a partner, it was a nightmare, we couldn’t do it by ourselfs so we paid around 400kd to a company that would handle the paper works for us, and still it toke us over three months to finish them.

    Renting a place was hellish experience, so many places didn’t want a video games shop, prices were over the top, our budget was around 10,000kd but it felt like 1kd.

    Unfortunately we couldn’t continue because the importing rules we have in Kuwait, they make doing bessines almost impossible here in Kuwait.

  9. BYB

    from my one year battle in trying to start up my company i found out that (makatib takhlees mu3amalat)have people on the inside helping them for a “nominal fee” of course…and i the client end up paying the mandoub, the maktab, the guy who takes my papers to get signed, and every one else i run into. I wont tell you how much I spent so far but its much more than KD400.

  10. Jawbone

    This is all because of corruption of course. When the people that run the country also run the biggest companies or are friends/relatives/associated with the people that do then they will MAKE UP laws that serve their own interests and discourage competition.
    This is common sense as the situation presents several natural conflict of interests between govt. and business. That’s why other more civilised countries have measures to insure this doesn’t happen too much or at least try to curb it and make people aware of what’s going on but of course Kuwait doesn’t do any of these things for obvious reasons.

    What’s happening in Kuwait is basically a business cartel made up of a number of families that control EVERYTHING in Kuwait and will do anything possible to keep it that way. And if a random person somehow manage to set up a good thing, the cartel will either force him to sell it to them or they will bankrupt him straight out of the market.
    The business world has always been ruthless but in Kuwait it’s just plain NOT FAIR and there is NOTHING that can change it properly. It’s corrupt from the core and just too rotten to fix now.

  11. Sharon

    Guys ! Im planning to start a small business(service Industry).Can someone guide me if banks offer loans to finance the project.Im an expat !

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