The Best Countries to Start a Business In

Ease in starting a new business is an essential factor for the World Bank Doing Business Report, and the top performers all succeed in this regard
Ease in starting a new business is an essential factor for the World Bank Doing Business Report, and the top performers all succeed in this regard

According to World Bank rankings, the easiest countries to conduct business in aren’t always the global giants like Brazil, China or even India. In fact, none of these three even make the top 10. The report ranks countries based on 10 key indicators that are conducive to effective business dealings. The foremost criteria include ease of starting a business, ease of obtaining construction permits, access to electrical utilities, ease of registering property, availability of credit, protection for minority investors, tax rates and collection methods, capacity for trade to occur across borders, and ease of enforcing contracts and declaring insolvency. Labor market regulation is also considered in compiling these rankings. The highest ranking (lowest numeric value) means that the above indicators are conducive to business operations. Below is a list of 10 countries where it’s easiest to do business, and a brief explanation of why the 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business Report ranked them at the top of the list.

10. Sweden

High standards of living combined with one of the world’s most skilled labor forces are among the many factors that make Sweden an excellent country within which to carry out commerce. Its strong infrastructure and well-developed social programs are strong incentives as well.

9. Georgia

The Eurasian nation of Georgia is one of the world’s top places to start a business. For years, the middle-income country has been benefiting from an emerging economy. One of the reasons behind this is that it only takes two days to register a new business in Georgia, and it only costs around the equivalent of $40 US dollars.

8. Norway

Norway has managed to successfully combine a strong technology sector and energetic workforce with a strong safety net of social programs to its citizens, which makes a force to be reckoned with in the global business arena. Furthermore, Norway has one of the most efficient systems on the globe to handle insolvency filings. The business start-up procedure in Norway usually takes only four days, and the relative cost to launch a venture is quite low (only 0.90% of annual per capita income).

7. United Kingdom

The U.K. ranks 7th in ease of starting a business, up from eighth place in previous rankings. According to the World Bank report, the low costs associated with setting up a business there, combined with increased levels of entrepreneurial optimism, have contributed to the high ranking. According to the report, 88% of Britons believe that working hard can get you ahead of life, compared to 84% last year and 78% in the year 2010.The start-up cost for businesses in the UK is £ 81 ($121.50 US), which is in the low end in comparison to global norms.

6. United States

Although the U.S corporate tax rates are relatively steep, the country is able to make up for it by having some of the lowest costs related to operating businesses. This means lower costs for supplies, offices, and logistics, just to name a few. Despite ranking seventh among the ‘World’s Best Places to Start a Business’ it lags behind other developed countries when it comes to having an attractive business environment, and seems to be losing it hold as such at increasing rates.

5. Hong Kong

The report shows that, although starting a business is becoming more difficult in Hong Kong because of increased registration fees, there is a great deal of protection for minority investors there. It is partly because of this that Hong Kong ranked number five in terms of ease of starting a business. Hong Kong also received a high ranking due to the simplicity of obtaining construction permits there and conducting trade across the border.

4. Korea

The Republic of Korea is ranked as the fourth best location to start a business. South Korea ranked towards the top due to strong results when it comes to obtaining electricity, trading across borders, and enforcing contracts. This all comes without even mentioning South Korea's super speedy internet connection - the fastest in the world. This speed is something that the government cleverly used to promote South Korea as an attractive location for start-ups. The government touted this fact in their initiatives that began in 2012 to attract entrepreneurs to the country.

3. Denmark

The World Bank Doing Business Report pointed out that Denmark’s effective digitization process is one of the prime factors contributing to its third place rank. The digitization process allows quick and easy registration of new businesses, the acquisition of a ‘NemID’ signature, and employee insurance registration. These procedures can be done in just one day, and the fee for starting a company can cost as little as 670 Kroner ($98 USD). Trading across the border in Denmark is easy, as it has a ‘free border’ and documentary compliance on exports and imports. According to the same report, the Danish government is the front runner in enforcing regulations that facilitate market interaction without hindering the private sector.

2. Singapore

The report indicated that Singapore continues to be the economy with the most business-friendly and secure environment. For example, resolving commercial disputes in Singapore’s court system on average takes around 150 days, which is the shortest time in the whole world. The cost of the same is 26% of the claim’s value, which is significantly low compared to the fellow Asian country of Myanmar, ranked 167 out of 189 economies, where it takes three years to resolve a dispute and the fees run more than 50% of the disputed value. In the U.S, it takes 420 days to resolve such a dispute, and the cost is more than 31% of the claim as indicated by the same report.

1. New Zealand

In New Zealand, starting a business only takes a few hours of an entrepreneur’s time thanks to a simple online procedure. In the past few decades, New Zealand has been transformed from an agrarian economy, largely dependent upon the British market, into a world-leader among industrialized, free-market economies. Ever since the country emerged from a recession in 2009, it has achieved a 2-3% annual growth rate in the time since. The World Bank report indicates that New Zealand is the best country when it comes to protecting minority investors, as well as the best for starting a business. Its free trade agreements, pro-competition regulations, efficient tax codes, and an open political system are all contributors to its high ranking.


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