Following ‘Brexit’, increasing numbers of people have been looking abroad to work, but what of entrepreneurs? I asked Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie, the people behind this data, for their top countries in which to start up. This list is by no means exhaustive, but they’ve tried to pick something for everyone; whether it be an economic powerhouse, or up-and-coming nation, there should be an option for every internationally-minded startup owner.
According to Forbes Denmark is the best place in which to do business in the world, for a number of good reasons: The country benefits from all the freedom of trade (and movement) associated with being in the EU; a strong tech scene; world-leading science and research sectors (particularly in green energy) and it also offers a great Central-European location.
Denmark also offers one of the highest quality of life indexes of anywhere in the world. This is perhaps best exhibited in the art of hygge, ‘the Danish ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness.’ So if you’re looking to find somewhere to escape from the pressures of starting your business, Denmark could be that very place.
Another chart-topper: Singapore was the world’s leading business hotspot according to 2015 World-Bank figures. The city-state has developed into a major international hub: In its formative years, Singapore was a meeting-point of major shipping routes, today it is home to some of the world’s biggest businesses: Global banks, insurance brokers and many more all take up residence in the area.
But there are all sorts of reasons to start a business here too, not least the competitive environment created by such impressive company. There are also hundreds of startups alongside these, thriving under the government initiatives and bodies designed at supercharging innovation. It is also pretty easy to set up a business in Singapore, the whole process is done online and costs as little as S$65. Finally, to make this even easier, the ‘Entrepass’ is a handy scheme which allows entrepreneurs from abroad to move to Singapore, with their family, and get working quickly and easily (they hope).
Canada was one of the most popular countries for workers looking abroad-post Brexit. But what does it have to offer entrepreneurs? Well, the answer is an awful lot: For a start it is the fastest-growing G7 country; it claims lower tax rates than the US and a more cost-effective environment for R&D than its neighbour.
It boasts an eclectic mix of cities too: You’ve all heard of the multicultural Montreal, spectacular Vancouver or the bustling Toronto (and of course the capital Ottawa), but Canada’s small cities are seeing an entrepreneurial renaissance: The evocatively-titled Grand Prairie and Moose Jaw are but two of Canada’s smaller conurbations listed in the top 10 of a recent list of entrepreneurial Canadian cities.
The up-and-comer on the list, Macedonia was voted as one of the top 20 countries in which to do business by the World Bank - and we’re big fans too. While other countries (see the United States, Germany, or France) may be more obvious choices, why not pay attention to the little guys too? So why should people be setting up here?
According to the official figures it is the second easiest country in which to start a business, with the country’s government recently cutting the costs and time associated with establishing a new business. Labour and land costs are also comfortably the lowest on this list: All this should be music to the ears of entrepreneurs.
While Brexit may have hit the UK’s appeal, there is no doubting it remains a top-class place in which to do business, and this is unlikely to change – certainly in the short term. The United Kingdom is a great all-rounder, offering everyone a little bit of everything: Top-class universities, healthy government support for enterprise, a good quality of life and plenty of big businesses already calling the UK home.
It’s also a great time to be building a business in Blighty, in the last few years the UK has been at its most entrepreneurial. There were at least 2 million businesses set up (the highest levels seen since records began) since 2009 according to parliament data; all of which happened through a time of recession – which we think is pretty remarkable.
It also has, in London, one of the best cities in the world for business, and indeed for pretty much everything (you can read more in Office Genie’s guide to London). The UK obviously isn’t just all about the capital though, with growth in recent years being seen across the country. Ultimately, while London continues to shine, and the UK’s regions continue to grow, we’d be tempted to say it remains arguably the best place to do business in the world.