This year’s Forbes “best countries for business list” was an eye opener. Both the UK and, most surprisingly, the USA missed out on the top 10, finishing 13th and 18th respectively.
Like myself, you may have assumed that these western powerhouses would have been up near the peak of the list due to the sheer size of their GDP and standing in the world.
After all the US for example, is still the world’s economic super power, still managing to fend off stiff competition from the fast growing economies of both China and India. However despite the economic superiority of the US, which continues to produce billionaire start-ups, the climate and regulations in place are often obstacles for new businesses.
So which countries give new businesses the best chance to succeed?
The big winner of Forbes list this year was Denmark; Kurt Badenhausen from Forbes described why they topped the charts...
“Denmark is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. The government streamlines the start-up process with only four procedures needed to start a new business and at minimal costs. The regulatory climate is also one of the most efficient.”
The list is compiled by looking at 11 categories, which include the countries corporate tax policies, the amount of financial regulations in place as well as its overall business climate. Denmark scored high in all 11.
Making up the top ten were countries such as Hong Kong, Ireland and New Zealand. All have economies, which are not in danger of challenging for global supremacy but nevertheless, allow small businesses the opportunities to grow with minimum intervention from the state.
Which begs the question, what can the UK, and the other countries that should be performing better in these lists, do to improve conditions for small businesses?
Well there are plenty of options, from cutting business tax, to implementing new legislation surrounding things like employment rights. Denmark was praised especially for its “flexicurity” model.
Another option is to seize on existing opportunity in terms of boom industries within a countries economy. It’s no secret that some countries still favour certain industries over others. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to open an office abroad, it might be worth taking a look at this infographic, which displays the countries that have a penciant for a particular sector of businesses well as the global headquarters for some of the top brands in a variety of countries.
All of this talk about helping businesses raises an interesting question. Is it now not just an opportunity for countries but a necessity for them to help budding entrepreneurs? In other words, do governments have a duty to themselves to make it easier for small businesses to succeed?
The UK seems to think so. In November last year the government launched a scheme to help more small businesses get online. Although the campaign pledged just £2 million to local enterprises, a relatively minute amount in terms of the bigger picture, it’s a step in the right direction and a multitude of these type of schemes can make a big difference to the environment a business grows from.
Of course, no amount of government aide can save a business if your hearts not in it. Concentrate on what you can control, and treat any additional help from the government as a bonus. Unfortunately we can’t all live in Denmark.