So you have a great StartUp idea, but you have no clue where to actually base your company and commence your dreams and ambitions. There are obviously a number of factors to take into account when choosing where to base your new StartUp. Notwithstanding the fact that you must be legally resident in the country of your choosing, there are a few very important factors to bear in mind when making your choice. Its very true that some countries are much more welcoming and supportive than others. We have reviewed a few nations whom we believe to be the front runners, taking into account everything from security to attractive corporate laws and tax benefits.
The United States
Near the top of the list back-to-back since the introduction of Silicon Valley is the U.S.A. The diversity and vibrant go-getter energy from the Big Apple to the Bay Area attract top talent from home and abroad. This Mecca of tech currently cradles over 15k startups and over 2 million tech workers, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Following Silicon Valley in terms of positive startup culture comes New York City. NYC is currently booming- mainly due to the fact that foreign startups have begun to headquarter or open secondary offices there, creating a rival to the Silicon dynasty across the country.
Even Boston is becoming a mass hub for tech entrepreneurs over the past few years. Boston is a newly growing hive for biotech, pharma, and robotic startups (Boston Dynamics, anyone?). According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship , from just 2009 to 2014, the greater Boston area had a near 80% surge in startup growth, legitimizing it on the world stage.
Ireland (North & South)
Though the Irish economy struggled during the financial crisis, Ireland has rebounded over the last few years with hefty GDP growth. To do this, the government introduced a number of business friendly measures to encourage inward investment including low corporation tax of only 12.5% in the Republic of Ireland and easing the process to starting a business in the country.
Southern Ireland has attracted a number of the big technology firms including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter, all of whom have their EMEA headquarters in the capital city (Dublin). This has fostered a vibrant tech scene and brought in a lot of talent and investment to the region. Northern Ireland has also attracted some top international companies including CME, Citi and many others. Belfast is now seen as an attractive Technology centre with a strong talent pool, high calibre universities and a much more settled society.
If you’re an international focussed business with a groundbreaking idea looking to set up in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland offers hands-on support, advice and sometimes even investment to entrepreneurs who have an innovative product and technology. Other schemes like MicroFinance Ireland and Jobplus also offer financial support to startups in the country. InvestNI (INI) in Northern Ireland offers similar help for foreign direct investment to the country, with initiatives such as salary assistance on offer amongst other great services.
Coined the least corrupt country in the world, New Zealand, especially the capital (Wellington) is known for being laid-back, fun-loving, and creative. This island nation way way down under doesn’t play games anymore when it comes to innovation, though. Startups are beginning to flock across the globe to take advantage of the relatively cheaper costs of living and setting up a company, lower taxes, and government grants and incentives for research. Starting a business has recently become extremely fast and digitalized, taking some only hours. Since the 2009 recession, New Zealand has seen a healthy annual GDP growth of 2-3%, has changed laws and tax codes to be more business friendly, and is starting to bring in worldwide diverse talent. Deservingly so, The World Bank just gave New Zealand the title as the best country on earth to start a business.
Japan has traditionally a risk-averse culture but it has also spawned world-changing innovation. Despite the cutting edge technology, there are still example of old tech dotted around the cities and villages of this interesting country.
There is also evidence that the country is also on the brink of a sizeable cultural shift. While people once preferred to join large multinational corporations with the promise of lifelong employment, today’s young people are leaning towards smaller, more entrepreneurial companies. It is clearly now easier to set up business in Japan while some of the barriers that were there in the past are being removed.
Tokyo is still the country’s heartbeat with a sizeable expat community which makes it easier for foreigners to make professional connections. English is spoken by some in Tokyo and the government is actively training more English speakers but learning the Japanese language and social mores are essential for any entrepreneur in Japan.
Opportunities to escape the busy fast pace of start-up and technology life is one of the perks of living in Japan, with numerous nature getaways across the island nation.
Germany has the world’s fourth-largest economy and is the largest in Europe. Its mix of transparent business culture, highly educated workforce and start-up friendly policies make this nation a very attractive choice for your new Start Up.
Unlike other countries, where a single city is normally the economic hub, Germany has a number of large business hubs, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg.
English is also widely spoken in Germany – it is the primary business language at many companies and start-ups – which makes it easier to build a multinational company and attract diverse talent.
However, Germany does have some challenges for new business owners, in particular its complex tax code that almost always requires hiring an accountant or tax advisor. VAT must be reported for companies whose revenue exceeds 17,500 euro compared to £85,000 (around 97,500 euro) in the UK, which can add additional administrative work at an earlier stage of the business. Housing shortages are also starting to become a problem in Berlin and other metros due to population growth, increased immigration and lack of new construction, though cost of living still remains low compared to other European capitals.
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