Best Countries to Start a Business

Credit availability and property registration, along with other interesting factors, cause countries like Singapore and Denmark to be among the best countries for business.

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 World Bank’s Doing Business Report ranked them at the top of the list.

10. Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia starts the list in tenth place. Sicne the country gained independence in 1991, the economy of this southeastern country has truly been on the upswing. Due to government incentives, the country is home to headquarters of many companies. The IT market, in particular, has been growing very quickly in Macedonia.

9. 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.

8. 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.

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. 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).

5. South Korea

The Republic of Korea earned a DTF score of 83.40 and the ‘Doing Business’ ranking of 4th globally. The DTF is the measure of the Distance an economy is To the Frontier. An economy’s DTF is indicated on the scale of 0-100 where 100 is the highest performance in terms of innovative development and penetration of new technologies. South Korea ranked towards the top due to strong results when it comes to obtaining electricity, trading across borders, and enforcing contracts.

4. 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. The DTF score for Hong Kong was 84.97, and 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.

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, since 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 need take only 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. 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.

Best Countries to Start a Business

RankEconomyDoing Business Score
1New Zealand87
4Hong Kong84
5South Korea 84
7United Kingdom83
8United States82

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