By Marcus Leach

Seven in ten (70%) expat entrepreneurs believe they have achieved more by starting up a business abroad.

Singapore, Hong Kong and the USA were rated as the top three countries for nurturing enterprise, while Spain, UAE and China are the worst.

The countries with the most positive business prospects are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, while those with the least positive outlook are Portugal, Spain and France, according to the fourth annual NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) Quality of Life Index.

The study, in conjunction with The Centre of Future Studies, highlights the extent to which countries promote entrepreneurialism by making it easy for expats to do business, the business climate in the country in which they are working and the prospects for their business in the next three years.

Interestingly over three quarters (78%) of expat entrepreneurs believe faster growth is one of the major advantages of running their business abroad. A further 74% believe access to cheaper resources is a real advantage and for 65% it is the tax incentives that are the big draw. When it comes to disadvantages, over seven in ten (71%) believe foreign regulations and standards are a hindrance.

“Setting up your own business can be difficult and you would imagine doing so abroad would be a task for the brave," Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking said.

"A new breed of entrepreneurs is emerging and it is encouraging to see that the ‘21st pioneers’ are thriving in foreign climes. It is interesting the see that Singapore, Hong Kong and the USA are fruitful entrepreneurial countries according to the index yet China and UAE rank so low. Given the current economical climate, it is no surprise that expat entrepreneurs in Portugal, Spain and France do not feel they have a positive business outlook.”

Despite the adverse impacts of the global recession, the expat entrepreneurs have a relatively positive view of the current business climate in which they are working. When looking at countries with sunny business climates despite the impacts of recession, China, Hong Kong and Singapore emerged in the most positive light; Spain, Portugal and France in the least positive light.

When thinking about their business in the next three years - 22% of expats entrepreneurs consider the prospects for their business in the next three years to be excellent or very good and over half (55.8%) rate their prospects as good. Respondents from Canada, Hong Kong and the USA are the most positive; those from Spain and Portugal are the most negative.

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