The 10 Best Countries for Entrepreneurs

Print Email

10) Chile
> No. of procedures necessary to start a business: 7
> No. of days to start of business: 7
> 2010 GDP: $203 billion
> Pct. employment by companies with 250+ employees: n/a

Chile, the only South American nation in the OECD, has one of the least-restrictive systems for starting a new business. The entire process can be completed in as little as a week. The average disposable income in the country is only $8,618, the lowest reported for all OECD countries. However, 73% of Chileans aged 18 to 64 believe entrepreneurship is a good career option. The notion that business ventures can be successful in the country appears to be taking root with foreign entrepreneurs as well. Start-Up Chile is a program created by the government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship by providing “$40,000 of equity-free seed capital and a temporary 1-year visa,” according to the website. Chile also has a total tax rate of 25%, according to the World Bank, the lowest of all the OECD countries.

9) Portugal
> No. of procedures necessary to start a business: 5
> No. of days to start of business: 5
> 2010 GDP: $230.6 billion
> Pct. employment by companies with 250+ employees: 20.9%

In Portugal, it takes just a few days and a few steps to start a business. However, most Portuguese citizens aged 18 to 64 do not believe good entrepreneurial opportunities exist in their country. Their concerns may be valid. Between 2005 and 2008, more jobs were lost from companies going out of business than were created by start-ups. Additionally, in both 2007 and 2008, company failures occurred more frequently in Portugal than in any other country.

8) France
> No. of procedures necessary to start a business: 5
> No. of days to start of business: 7
> 2010 GDP: $2.6 trillion
> Pct. employment by companies with 250+ employees: 39.5%

Starting a business in France costs about $345, slightly more than half that of the U.S, according to the World Bank, and the process can be completed in about a week. In January 2009, the French government started auto-entrepreneurship, a plan aimed at increasing entrepreneurship by decreasing the taxes, paperwork and social charges for people looking to start small businesses. According to the OECD, there was a 55.5% increase in the number of businesses started in France in the second quarter of 2009, demonstrating that people will create businesses if the government eases costs and work associated with starting a company. France has a total bank loan success rate of 83.3% and more than 94% of businesses are microenterprises — businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

7) South Korea
> No. of procedures necessary to start a business: 5
> No. of days to start of business: 7
> 2010 GDP: $1.03 trillion
> Pct. employment by companies with 250+ employees: 26.1%

Starting a business in Korea takes seven days and five procedures. The fixed initial costs of these procedures, including making a company seal and paying a corporate registration tax, is just $36. Although it is cheap and quick to start a company, few Koreans feel inclined to do so. In 2011, just 11% of Koreans perceived that there were favorable opportunities to start a company, while just 27% felt they had the capabilities to do so. Additionally, 45% of respondents indicated a fear of failure would deter them from starting a business. Despite this, 34.8% of Koreans worked for companies with between 10 and 49 workers — more than any other country within the OECD.

6) United Kingdom
> No. of procedures necessary to start a business: 6
> No. of days to start of business: 13
> 2010 GDP: $2.2 trillion
> Pct. employment by companies with 250+ employees: 48.6%

It takes about two weeks and at least $257, according to the World Bank, for an entrepreneur to start a business in the UK. Almost 50% of the UK workforce is employed by a company with 250+ employees, the second highest among the OECD countries that reported, while only about 20% work for businesses with fewer than 10 employees. With a bank loan success rate of only 64.6%, it may be hard for Brits to get the necessary starting capital for their businesses. According to Wired News, the government has been trying to lure entrepreneurs and investors by introducing “an entirely new type of visa, created for ‘prospective entrepreneurs’” in 2011. Foreign entrepreneurs and investors can now settle in the UK in as little as two years, depending on how much money they can inject into the economy, compared to the minimum five years for other visas.