Which Country is the Cheapest for Starting a Business?
Which Country is the Cheapest for Starting A Business?
Starting a new business isn’t as simple as coming up with an idea.
In addition to the time investment needed to formulate and create a business, there’s often a hefty capital requirement. A new business usually requires paying different fees for licensing, permits, and approvals, and many governments also have minimum on-hand capital requirements.
And costs are relative. Though it might be more costly to start a business in some countries on paper, affordability also takes into account relative income.
These graphics from BusinessFinancing.co.uk use data from the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report to examine the startup cost for a small-to-medium-size LLC in the largest business cities across 190 countries.
The Cost of Starting a Business in Different Countries
From a pure cost perspective, the affordability of starting a business is extremely dependent on where you are located.
Some countries make the cost of business extremely low to encourage more economic activity. Others have high or nearly inaccessible fees to protect existing businesses, or to simply cash in on the entrepreneurial spirit.
|Country||Cost (2020 USD)||% of Monthly Income|
|Congo (Democratic Republic of the)||80||2.39|
|Trinidad and Tobago||115||0.1|
|Micronesia, Federated States of||231||0.82|
|Papua New Guinea||459||2.71|
|Central African Republic||529||14.55|
|United States of America||725||0.16|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||833||1.93|
|Congo (Republic of the)||1229||25.46|
|Antigua and Barbuda||1271||-%|
|United Arab Emirates||7444||2.23|
At a glance, the cheapest regions for starting a business include Central Asia and Africa.
But the cheapest countries on the dollar for a new startup are Venezuela, Rwanda, and Slovenia. While the former does have fees that only total $0.21, both Rwanda and Slovenia have no fees for new businesses, though Slovenia does have a capital requirement of €7,500.
Expensive countries for new businesses are also spread across the world. There are some in Europe, including Italy at $4,876 and Austria at $2,475, as well as the Americas, including Suriname at $3,030 and Ecuador at $1,630.
The most expensive countries, however, are largely in the Middle East. They include #1 UAE at $7,444, #4 Qatar at $3,952, and #6 Lebanon at $2,855.
Which Country is the Most Affordable for Starting a Business?
Just as costs vary by country, so too does relative affordability.
Though some countries are cheaper than others for starting a business on the dollar, the picture changes when accounting for monthly income. When it comes to the cost of starting a business relative to monthly income, many developed countries take the cake.
Not including countries with missing data, the most affordable countries for starting a business include the UK, Denmark, and Ireland in Europe, South Korea in East Asia, and New Zealand in Oceania. Startup costs in each range from just 1%-2% of monthly income.
The picture is similar in the Americas, where Chile and Canada have the lowest relative fees at 2% and 5% of monthly income respectively. Even the U.S.—which has a decently high cost of $725 for starting a business—is relatively affordable at 16% of monthly income.
Some of the least affordable countries lie in the Middle-East and Central America. Haiti and Suriname have startup costs that are 1,403% and 1,114% of monthly income, while Yemen has affordability rates of 1,070%.
But the least affordable countries are in Africa. Many countries on the continent have startup costs that are more than 100% of monthly income, but the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic have affordability rates of 2,546% and 1,455% of monthly income, respectively.
Where is the best place to start a business? It can depend on the barrier to entry. But the biggest barrier takes time and ingenuity: finding the right idea at the right time.
The Type of Business Every Country Wants to Start
This series of maps shows a regional breakdown of the most popular types of businesses people want to start, based on online search results.
The Type of Business Every Country Wants to Start
View a higher resolution version of this map.
Every year, millions of new businesses are started across the world—in 2021, nearly 5.4 million new business applications were filed in the U.S. alone.
And since startups and new businesses play a significant role in shaping a country’s economic growth, encouraging entrepreneurship is vital. But what types of businesses around the world are people most interested in starting?
These maps by ZenBusiness show the most popular types of businesses that entrepreneurs in nearly every country want to start, based on analyzing relevant internet search results.
Most Searched Businesses Around the World
To source the data, ZenBusiness analyzed searches from Ahrefs, specifically looking for the term “start a business” and its equivalents in local languages as of February 2022.
They then found the relevant topic or keyword with the highest search volume, and organized the results into 11 different industries:
- Beauty & Cosmetics
- Food & Drink
- Logistics & Infrastructure
- Personal Services
- Software Development
- Business & Financial
- Leisure & Tourism
- Real Estate
- Retail & E-Commerce
The data showed that the industries entrepreneurs are most attracted to vary greatly from country to country, depending on a variety of factors such as infrastructure, business climate, and culture.
Here’s a breakdown of the most searched businesses around the world, broken down by region.
From cooking gas refills in South Africa to supplements in the Gambia, entrepreneurs across Africa seem to be interested in starting a wide range of businesses (at least according to their searches).
But while the results varied across the region, the most-searched industry was personal services such as cleaning, interior design, and contracting. Cleaning was especially popular, ranking first in six different African countries.
One African country worth highlighting is Morocco, where freight is the most-searched startup term across the country. This makes sense considering Morocco is home to several major ports, including the Port of Tanger Med, which is Africa’s largest port by cargo capacity.
In Europe, real estate is the most-searched industry, ranking number one in seven different countries across the continent. Over the last decade, the European Union’s real estate market has boomed—between 2010 and 2021, home prices in the EU increased by 42%.
Retail is also a popular industry across Europe, with clothing-related searching taking the top spot in five different European countries.
Middle East & Central Asia
From soap production in Uzbekistan to dropshipping in Azerbaijan, the Middle East & Central Asia have the most diverse searches compared to any other region.
One particularly interesting top search was in the United Arab Emirates, where imports and exports ranked first. The UAE’s economy is heavily reliant on trade, especially oil, which makes up 30% of the region’s GDP and 41% of public revenues.
Rest of Asia & Oceania
Asia and Oceania had an interesting mix of unique business searches. For instance, pig farming ranked number one in the Solomon Islands, and lawn moving took the top spot in New Zealand.
But generally speaking, retail was one of the most-searched-for business types across this region, with clothing taking the top spot in countries like Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Across North America, retail takes the top spot for most searched business type. In fact, the top searches in nearly half of the region’s countries are related to the retail or e-commerce industry.
The U.S. currently has the largest retail market in the world, although China is close on its heels. In 2021, America’s retail market was valued at over $6.5 trillion U.S. dollars.
Food was the top searched industry across South America, ranking number one in half the countries across the region. In Brazil, sweets took the top spot, which might not be surprising considering the country is the top sugar cane producer worldwide.
Clothing was also a popular business idea, taking the top spot in five South American countries.
Which countries surprised you the most with their new business interest?
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