Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

50 best countries for doing business in 2019

1/
AndyLeungHK // Pixabay

50 best countries for doing business in 2019

In a world that is more connected now than ever before, entrepreneurs are looking beyond their own backyards for business opportunities and growth. Companies all over the world have increasingly taken advantage of government reforms and internet tools to expand sales, diversify customer bases, counter seasonal fluctuations, and mitigate risk through a reduced dependence on a single market. With tax incentives and low barriers to entry, the risk to set up shop abroad is much lower.

Since 2005, the World Bank has been ranking countries based on the ease of doing business, analyzing the regulatory regime of nations to see which ones are conducive to launching and maintaining businesses. The countries are ranked out of 190 with the lower the number meaning the better the ease of doing business, and the rankings are determined by weighing the aggregate score from 10 categories—from paying taxes to trading across borders.

These scores—benchmarked in May 2018 for the most recent list—help to demonstrate the growth of a country’s economy over time and, in particular, how that growth relates to regulatory reforms a government might implement to encourage business development. The annual rankings encourage economies to compete for more effective and efficient regulations and offers an objective basis for evaluating business around the world.

Stacker has taken the top 50 countries from the World Bank’s rankings to determine where in the world to get down to business. Read on to find out where the movers and shakers of today are making it big.

RELATED: Best states to start a business

2/
Ggia // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Montenegro

- Starting a business: #90 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #75
- Getting electricity: #134
- Registering property: #76
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #57 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #68
- Trading across borders: #47
- Enforcing contracts: #44
- Resolving insolvency: #43

Not only is Montenegro a breathtakingly beautiful, though often overlooked country, it is one of the easiest places to do business in Europe. In fact, starting a business in Montenegro only takes about a week, requires no capital, and only costs about 22 Euros—about $25. To launch a Montenegrin business, the government requires just three documents: the articles of incorporation, corporate statutes, and a list of directors. A number of well-known U.S. companies belong to the American Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro including Deloitte, KPMG, and Pfizer.

3/
Godot13 // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Israel

- Starting a business: #45 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #41
- Getting electricity: #78
- Registering property: #89
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #23 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #90
- Trading across borders: #64
- Enforcing contracts: #90
- Resolving insolvency: #29

Israeli businesses are especially successful, particularly in the industries of technology and communications, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, and tourism. The country is sometimes referred to as “Startup Nation” due to the number of entrepreneurs drawn to the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft have research centers in Israel. Israel is also home to some fascinating tech startups including the ridesharing service Via and Mobileye—a subsidiary of Intel that specializes in driver-assistance tech.

4/
Max Pixel

#48. Serbia

- Starting a business: #40 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #11
- Getting electricity: #104
- Registering property: #55
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #83 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #79
- Trading across borders: #23
- Enforcing contracts: #65
- Resolving insolvency: #49

The cost of operating a business in Serbia is the lowest in all of Europe due to the country's 15% flat corporate tax rate and lowest salary tax rate in eastern Europe. It takes just 12 days to form a new corporate entity in Serbia, after which businesses are required to pay registration fees and obtain tax certificates. The country's main trading partners are Italy, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Germany, Montenegro, and Russia.

5/
felix_w // Pixabay

#47. Moldova

- Starting a business: #14 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #172
- Getting electricity: #81
- Registering property: #22
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #33 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #35 (tied)
- Trading across borders: #35
- Enforcing contracts: #69
- Resolving insolvency: #68

Moldova has signed free trade agreements with more countries in Europe than any other European country, making it easier to conduct international business in large markets like the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The country also has a low corporate tax rate of just 12 percent and relatively low employment costs. Spamol—the largest manufacturer of saunas in Europe—is headquartered in Moldova.

6/
Severin.Stalder // Wikimedia Commons

#46. China

- Starting a business: #28 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #121
- Getting electricity: #14 (tied)
- Registering property: #27
- Getting credit: #73 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #64 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #114
- Trading across borders: #65
- Enforcing contracts: #6
- Resolving insolvency: #61

There are huge opportunities for growth in several Chinese business sectors including online retail, education, healthcare, tourism, wealth management, entertainment, and clean energy. China is also home to several of the world's biggest internet-based companies, some of which have seen huge amounts of success in just a year. Foreign businesses including IKEA, LinkedIn, and Evernote have performed well and continue to flourish within the country.

7/
dimitrisvetsikas1969 // Pixabay

#45. Belgium

- Starting a business: #33 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #38
- Getting electricity: #112
- Registering property: #143
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #57 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #60
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #54
- Resolving insolvency: #8

Belgium is a popular place for business as it is home to many European Union and NATO institutions as well as many multinational headquarters. The country prides itself in linguistic diversity, as many of its residents are multilingual and proficient in English. In 2014, Belgium was ranked the #4 most productive country by the Conference Board and #17 for its business environment by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

8/
mesuttoker // Pixabay

#44. Kosovo

- Starting a business: #13 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #100
- Getting electricity: #113
- Registering property: #37
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #95 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #44
- Trading across borders: #51
- Enforcing contracts: #50
- Resolving insolvency: #50

The low corporate tax rate of 10% makes Kosovo an attractive locale for entrepreneurs looking to conduct business. Experts point to especially rich business opportunities in the areas of information technology, wood, textiles, agriculture, and mining. A number of Kosovan organizations are even dedicated to helping businesses grow in the nation, including the Kosovo Investment and Enterprise Support Agency and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development.

9/
mfk // Pixabay

#43. Turkey

- Starting a business: #78 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #59
- Getting electricity: #60
- Registering property: #39
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #26 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #80
- Trading across borders: #42
- Enforcing contracts: #19
- Resolving insolvency: #109

Turkey is ripe with opportunities for investment and for small business growth with the country's economy being the seventeenth largest in the world. In particular, the banking and construction industries have driven a large amount of economic growth in Turkey, and businesses in these areas are particularly successful. A background in engineering or construction would even be sufficient to start a construction or supply business in Turkey. Beko and Vestel—home appliance companies—are two of the highest-grossing Turkish businesses.

10/
Svetovid // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Slovakia

- Starting a business: #127 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #143
- Getting electricity: #47
- Registering property: #9
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #95 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #48
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #47
- Resolving insolvency: #42

Slovakia, or the Slovak Republic, is a popular place to do business because of its low hourly labor costs, which are 3.2 times lower than nearby Germany's. Slovakia has been particularly focused on boosting investment by providing tax relief, subsidies for job creation and training, and initial investment. Evidently, the government incentives for doing business are working; in 2017, a Slovakian consulting firm recorded that more than 20,000 companies were launched in the country that year.

11/
Serouj Ourishian // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Armenia

- Starting a business: #8 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #98
- Getting electricity: #17
- Registering property: #14
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #51 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #82
- Trading across borders: #46
- Enforcing contracts: #24
- Resolving insolvency: #95

In Armenia, it can take less than a single day to start a business—and with no capital requirements, low registration costs, and few reporting requirements, the corporate environment is favorable for many entrepreneurs. These facts are perhaps appealing enough to offset the slightly higher corporate tax rates of 20% compared to Armenia's nearby eastern European neighbors. In particular, the information technology industry is surging in Armenia, and companies such as Microsoft, Sprint, and Synopsys have taken root.

12/
Dunhpasizer // Flickr

#40. Slovenia

- Starting a business: #38 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #120
- Getting electricity: #23
- Registering property: #56
- Getting credit: #112 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #30 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #41
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #110
- Resolving insolvency: #9

There are a number of fruitful business opportunities in Slovenia, particularly in the food industry, forestry, tourism, green technology, and infrastructure. Because of the country's geostrategic position in central Europe, many investors flock to Slovenia to take advantage of investment incentives, investment tax allowances, and the skilled workforces. Some of the companies that have set up shop in Slovenia include Porsche, Johnson & Johnson, and Colgate.

13/
MasashiWakui // Pixabay

#39. Japan

- Starting a business: #93 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #44
- Getting electricity: #22
- Registering property: #48
- Getting credit: #85 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #64 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #97
- Trading across borders: #56
- Enforcing contracts: #52
- Resolving insolvency: #1

Japan is renowned worldwide as a hub of innovation. The capital city of Tokyo serves as the headquarters for many banks, commercial businesses, and media outlets and is a hotspot for international trade. The city of Osaka is known for its successful high-tech startups, and Kyoto—home to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems—is the center for technological advances. Entrepreneurs frequently flock to Japan to attend the many trade shows, including the Mobile Solutions Expo and World Smart Energy Week in Tokyo.

14/
Steve Evans // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Switzerland

- Starting a business: #77 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #69
- Getting electricity: #11
- Registering property: #16
- Getting credit: #73 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #110 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #20
- Trading across borders: #39
- Enforcing contracts: #55
- Resolving insolvency: #46

Switzerland not only has one of the world's most robust economies, but a strong business relationship with the U.K., making it a perfect locale for many businesses looking to go international. Switzerland also has a network of 28 free trade agreements with 38 partners outside of the European Union. Geneva is particularly focused on health and emergency relief and is home to 24 UN organizations, attracting potential business partners and service providers. Businesses in the areas of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and sanitation supplies might be especially successful in Geneva.

15/
Adam Jones // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Belarus

- Starting a business: #29 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #46
- Getting electricity: #20
- Registering property: #5
- Getting credit: #85 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #51 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #99
- Trading across borders: #25
- Enforcing contracts: #29
- Resolving insolvency: #72

Belarus is a popular place to do business due to its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, which facilitates economic cooperation between central Asia and Russia and allows for the free flow of goods. The capital city of Minsk is home to the High Technology Park, an environment for information technology business development that has been compared to Silicon Valley in the United States. The Belarusian government recently attracted foreign investors even more by reforming the tax process and making the process of starting a business so simple that it can take just seven days to set up. Five thousand foreign investors have taken an interest in the country, including Coca-Cola and Hewlett-Packard.

16/
Alf van Beem // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Netherlands

- Starting a business: #22 among 190 countries (tied)
- Dealing with construction permits: #84
- Getting electricity: #56
- Registering property: #31
- Getting credit: #112 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #72 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #21
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #74
- Resolving insolvency: #7

The Netherlands is a popular choice to do international business, considering it is home to Europe's largest port. The Dutch tax system includes several tax incentives to encourage business innovation, including a broad participation exemption and no statutory withholding tax on interest and royalties. The Netherlands has become a hub for businesses in the agrifood, energy, logistics, information technology, and life sciences sectors. Unilever, Heineken, and Royal Dutch Shell are among the 10 largest Dutch companies.

17/
kirkandmimi // Pixabay

#35. Czech Republic

- Starting a business: #115 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #156
- Getting electricity: #10
- Registering property: #33
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #72 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #45
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #99
- Resolving insolvency: #15

The Czech Republic was named one of the world's best countries for cross-border trade, and investors view the country's stable economy as an added bonus. Businesses in the service industry have taken up residence in the capital city of Prague, while the city of Ostrava is known as an important logistics center for trade. Public WiFi is easily accessible and has been ranked in the top 10 for fastest internet speeds, making it easy to conduct business just about anywhere.

18/
Pedro Szekely // Flickr

#34. Portugal

- Starting a business: #57 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #60
- Getting electricity: #32
- Registering property: #36
- Getting credit: #112 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #64 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #39
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #35 (tied)
- Resolving insolvency: #16

The Portuguese government offers businesses and investors a number of tax incentives to encourage business growth. Portugal offers especially lucrative incentives to businesses within certain industries. For example, the country has provided funding to businesses involved in or promoting renewable energy. Depending on the region of your business, it is possible to take advantage of even more tax credits. Some of the world's biggest tech companies—including Google and Amazon—have recently opened or are looking to open offices in Portugal.

19/
ABC Glass Europe // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Poland

- Starting a business: #121 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #40
- Getting electricity: #58
- Registering property: #41
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #57 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #69
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #53
- Resolving insolvency: #25

Encouraging foreign investment is a key priority for the Polish government, and in 2016, Poland was one of Europe's top recipients of foreign direct investment. Poland is one of few countries that has seen real unit labor costs decrease since 2004 and has access to the European Union Single Market, which has approximately 500 million customers. Popular business industries include information technology, human resources, procurement, and finance. Some of the world's most successful companies operate in cities across Poland including Bayer, Lufthansa, Sony Pictures, and Thomson Reuters.

20/
Spixey // Wikimedia Commons

#32. France

- Starting a business: #30 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #19
- Getting electricity: #14 (tied)
- Registering property: #96
- Getting credit: #99 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #38 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #55
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #12
- Resolving insolvency: #28

In the European Union, France has the second largest economy and is the second largest exporter. With three large international airports, high-speed train connections to other European cities, and almost 7,000 miles of motorway, France's extensive transport network promotes corporate success. Approximately 20,000 foreign businesses with around two million employees are in operation. A number of profitable companies have bases in France, including Chanel, PwC, Deloitte, and Societe Generale.

21/
joneybrain // Pixabay

#31. Russia

- Starting a business: #32 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #48
- Getting electricity: #12
- Registering property: #12
- Getting credit: #22 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #57 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #53
- Trading across borders: #99
- Enforcing contracts: #18
- Resolving insolvency: #55

The most fruitful business sector in Russia is real estate, which is followed by retail, manufacturing, natural resource extraction, construction, public administration, and finance. A number of reforms passed by the government have made doing business easier, and starting in 2016, cross-border trade became much more efficient. In the same year, various large international companies—including Mercedes-Benz, Valio, and Schneider Electric—announced new Russian investment projects, which are serving as corporate development strategies for the Russian market.

22/
jarmoluk // Pixabay

#30. Spain

- Starting a business: #86 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #78
- Getting electricity: #48
- Registering property: #58
- Getting credit: #73 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #30 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #34
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #23
- Resolving insolvency: #19

Spain's economy is on the rise since the country's earlier economic downturn. In particular, the Catalonia region—where Barcelona is located—is Spain's economic powerhouse, hosting some of the world's most popular trade shows. It is also one of the top automotive manufacturing regions in Europe. Meanwhile, the capital city of Madrid is a hub for high-tech innovations and financial centers. Spain is also popular with businesses as it is considered one of the safest gateways to European trade.

23/
Raddison // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Rwanda

- Starting a business: #51 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #106
- Getting electricity: #68
- Registering property: #2
- Getting credit: #3 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #14
- Paying taxes: #35 (tied)
- Trading across borders: #88
- Enforcing contracts: #78
- Resolving insolvency: #58

Due to its small size and proximity to larger African epicenters, Rwanda can be overlooked by some businesses. Obtaining certifications for manufacturing and construction takes just a few days in Rwanda, and there is no minimum amount of money required to invest. There is a huge demand in Rwanda for businesses related to housing and real estate, energy, commercial agriculture, lightweight manufacturing, and telecommunications. In 2015, Rwanda had one of the world's fastest growing economies. Today, its economy is growing at approximately 8%.

24/
Max Pixel

#28. Kazakhstan

- Starting a business: #36 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #35
- Getting electricity: #76
- Registering property: #18
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #1
- Paying taxes: #56
- Trading across borders: #102
- Enforcing contracts: #4
- Resolving insolvency: #37 (tied)

Opening a business in Kazakhstan could open the door for entry into other large Asian markets due to to the country’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. The membership allows for easy access to Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. Kazakhstan has five main economic regions known for everything from oil and coal to cotton. Companies in power, transport, communication, and agriculture are performing especially well within Kazakhstan and are sectors with high foreign investment. Members of the American Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan include ExxonMobil, Honeywell, and Mastercard.

25/
AdenArdenrich // Pixabay

#27. Thailand

- Starting a business: #39 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #67
- Getting electricity: #6
- Registering property: #66
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #59
- Trading across borders: #59
- Enforcing contracts: #35 (tied)
- Resolving insolvency: #24

For entrepreneurs, Thailand is not just pristine beaches and rich culture, but a unique opportunity for investment. The country's main exports are machinery, electronic equipment, vehicles, rubber, and gems, and many tax incentives are incorporated into Thai law to encourage export activities in these industries. Thailand is one of the largest countries in southeast Asia and in close proximity to other strategically important countries such as Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Aetna and G.E. Medical Systems are among some of the successful international companies doing business in Thailand.

26/
tookapic // Pixabay

#26. Austria

- Starting a business: #118 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #42
- Getting electricity: #28
- Registering property: #32
- Getting credit: #85 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #33 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #40
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #10
- Resolving insolvency: #21

Many businesses flock to Austria because of its competitive corporate income tax rate as well as several tax relief incentives, especially for expenditures relating to research and development and education. The country is particularly attractive to financial institutions because of its deregulated and competitive environment. Some of the most successful companies in Austria are Red Bull, Swarovski, and Raiffeisen.

27/
Nick Taylor // Flickr

#25. Azerbaijan

- Starting a business: #9 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #61
- Getting electricity: #74
- Registering property: #17
- Getting credit: #22 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #2 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #28
- Trading across borders: #84
- Enforcing contracts: #40
- Resolving insolvency: #45

Azerbaijan's extensive oil reserves have boosted the country's economy and created ripe opportunities for foreign investment. In fact, 80% of Azerbaijani foreign investment is in the oil and gas sectors. Additionally, industrial and agricultural production in Azerbaijan has been stable for at least 20 years. In 2016, the president of Azerbaijan signed a law to further improve the country's business environment, boost international rankings, and develop a legal and institutional framework for corporations.

28/
Max Pixel

#24. Germany

- Starting a business: #114 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #24
- Getting electricity: #5
- Registering property: #78
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #72 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #43
- Trading across borders: #40
- Enforcing contracts: #26
- Resolving insolvency: #4

Some of the world's most well-known brands have operations in Germany, including T-Mobile, Aldi, and Adidas. Many businesses choose to take root in Germany due to its status as the largest consumer market in the European Union and the world's third largest exporter of goods. The cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf are giant industrial economic centers and often serve as suppliers for small or medium-sized businesses, while Berlin is known for its developed science and research community.

29/
Macnolete // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Ireland

- Starting a business: #10 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #28
- Getting electricity: #43
- Registering property: #64
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #4
- Trading across borders: #52
- Enforcing contracts: #102
- Resolving insolvency: #18

Ireland has invested heavily in communication and technology infrastructure, property developments, and transportation networks, giving rise to companies in medical technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and the internet. IBM and PayPal are just two profitable companies that are based in Ireland. The existing talent and competitive corporate tax rate of just 12.5% puts Ireland in an attractive position for investors looking to enter the international market.

30/
Wladyshaw // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Canada

- Starting a business: #3 among 190 countries (tied)
- Dealing with construction permits: #63
- Getting electricity: #121
- Registering property: #34
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #11 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #19
- Trading across borders: #50
- Enforcing contracts: #96
- Resolving insolvency: #13

According to a 2012 Forbes study, Canada is the best country in the G-20—the international forum of 19 countries and the European Union—and for good reason. The Canadian banking system is known for a stability that can weather economic downturns, which means lower risk of opening up shop. The country is strategically located in North America and has free trade agreements with a number of other countries. Even American producers have taken stock of Canadian success in many industries including fiber optics, aerospace, and biopharmaceuticals.

31/
ThinkGeoEnergy // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Iceland

- Starting a business: #59 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #71
- Getting electricity: #13
- Registering property: #15
- Getting credit: #73 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #30 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #33
- Trading across borders: #53
- Enforcing contracts: #31
- Resolving insolvency: #12

Iceland offers a variety of incentives to welcome international businesses and is a popular choice for companies as it offers tariff-free entry to the larger European market. Businesses in the energy sector do especially well in Iceland, as it is globally recognized as a leader in renewable energy, with 99% of its electricity coming from renewable sources. Iceland has recently implemented a new tax regime which has particularly helped to lure businesses in the high-tech industry and is aimed at fueling foreign investment.

32/
Simisa // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Mauritius

- Starting a business: #21 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #15
- Getting electricity: #34
- Registering property: #35
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #6
- Trading across borders: #69
- Enforcing contracts: #27
- Resolving insolvency: #35

Brands including Oracle, Marriott, and FedEx have forged the way for businesses located on the island of Mauritius. Mauritius prides itself on offering a business environment that is highly conducive to easy setup and successful corporate growth. The country also has 23 banks and has been ranked among the top international financial centers in the world, making it safe and easy to do business. The country's strategic location in the Indian Ocean also offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore both African and Asian markets.

33/
Max Pixel

#19. Latvia

- Starting a business: #24 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #56
- Getting electricity: #53
- Registering property: #25
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #51 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #13
- Trading across borders: #26
- Enforcing contracts: #20
- Resolving insolvency: #54

Latvia is currently in the process of implementing reforms for businesses in line with its Business Environment Improvement Plan, which may boost its rankings in the comings years. Some of the reforms approved by the Latvian government include online registration of businesses, a reduced registration fee, waiving of some previously required documentation, and the simplification of the reorganization process for changing a limited liability company to a corporation. Samsung and L'Oreal are among many of the successful international companies that have chosen to do business in Latvia.

34/
Taschengeld // Pixabay

#18. Australia

- Starting a business: #7 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #9
- Getting electricity: #52
- Registering property: #50
- Getting credit: #8 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #64 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #26
- Trading across borders: #103
- Enforcing contracts: #5
- Resolving insolvency: #20

Australia has one of the largest economies in the world, and in 2009, the standard of living within the country surpassed that of the U.K., France, Japan, and Russia. Many businesses view Australia as an opportunity to enter the Asian Pacific region, and Australia offers many different cities—from Sydney to Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane—to base one's company. The costs of office space and telecommunications in Australia are relatively low, which in turn drives down the cost of operating a company. Deloitte, Accenture, and Dell Technologies are all companies with a large and growing presence down under.

35/
Mikko Paananen // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Finland

- Starting a business: #43 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #34
- Getting electricity: #25
- Registering property: #28
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #72 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #11
- Trading across borders: #34
- Enforcing contracts: #46
- Resolving insolvency: #2

Finland is not only the third largest export market for the United States, but it's linked to the rest of Europe and Asia via its geographic proximity to Russia. While the capital city of Helsinki is the country's hub for finance, politics, and international business, Tampere is the epicenter of the health, biotechnology, and mechanical engineering industries. Finland is constantly looking for U.S. partners to develop computer software products, but it also invests heavily in electronics, machinery, boats, and telecommunication equipment.

36/
paulmuenzner0 // Pixabay

#16. Estonia

- Starting a business: #15 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #14
- Getting electricity: #46
- Registering property: #6
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #83 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #14
- Trading across borders: #17
- Enforcing contracts: #13
- Resolving insolvency: #47

Estonia can boast a 0% income tax on retained and reinvested profits, and the business incentives don't stop there. It takes just a few hours to establish a company in Estonia, and the process can be completed entirely online. There are a wealth of opportunities of which new businesses can take advantage in the areas of software development, mechanical engineering, and high-tech systems.

37/
Max Pixel

#15. Malaysia

- Starting a business: #122 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #3
- Getting electricity: #4
- Registering property: #29
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #2 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #72
- Trading across borders: #48
- Enforcing contracts: #33
- Resolving insolvency: #41

Malaysia is one of the world's top locations for offshore manufacturing and service-based operations, and a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, which is projected to become the world's fourth largest market by 2030. The most popular sectors for trade between Malaysia and the U.K. are machinery, manufactured goods, chemical products, fuel, and food and beverage; there continues to be a demand for businesses in those areas. Shell, Dyson, BAE Systems, and Tesco are among some of the most successful international companies within the country.

38/
3dman_eu

#14. Lithuania

- Starting a business: #31 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #7
- Getting electricity: #26
- Registering property: #3
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #38 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #18
- Trading across borders: #19
- Enforcing contracts: #7
- Resolving insolvency: #85

The leading Lithuanian industries are financial services, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. The country’s geography puts it right in the middle of important trade networks, making it a popular location for business. Foreign investment is allowed in all legal commercial-economic activities, and enterprises without a permanent residence in Lithuania are subject to only a few taxes—and they're taxed solely on income originating in Lithuania. These incentives have helped companies like Jeep, Microsoft, and Uber prosper in Lithuania.

39/
tingyaoh // Pixabay

#13. Taiwan

- Starting a business: #20 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #2
- Getting electricity: #8
- Registering property: #19
- Getting credit: #99 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #29
- Trading across borders: #58
- Enforcing contracts: #11
- Resolving insolvency: #23

Though only a small island state, Taiwan has helped businesses like Acer and Microtek make it big. Businesses benefit greatly from using Taiwanese suppliers because these suppliers use “smart manufacturing” to cut expenses while increasing productivity. This enables companies to obtain the best price possible while helping boost the Taiwanese economy. Taiwan is also considered to be one of the epicenters of technology, which is evidenced in its Mass Rapid Transit. This rail system provides trips across all of Taiwan for as little as $1.

40/
Twincinema // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Sweden

- Starting a business: #18 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #25
- Getting electricity: #9
- Registering property: #10
- Getting credit: #85 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #33 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #27
- Trading across borders: #18
- Enforcing contracts: #38
- Resolving insolvency: #17

Sweden is often viewed as the leader in global technology development, and the country's test market for new technologies ranked in the top five of the 2015 Global Innovation Index. The Swedish government offers a competitively low corporate tax rate and capital gains exemptions. Companies focused on clean technology, life sciences, and information technology have frequently taken advantage of these incentives. The most famous Swedish-based company is arguably IKEA, but other well-known companies such as H&M and Spotify have Swedish roots as well.

41/
Roman Logov // GoodFreePhotos

#11. United Arab Emirates

- Starting a business: #25 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #5
- Getting electricity: #1
- Registering property: #7
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #2 (tied)
- Trading across borders: #98
- Enforcing contracts: #9
- Resolving insolvency: #75

The United Arab Emirates is an excellent place for business, as it has one of the most free and open trade regimes in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates is especially interested in expanding its investments in trade, banking, logistics, tourism, real estate, and manufacturing. Plenty of lucrative incentives are offered to companies in those industries, making it a desirable choice for a home base. The country's Free Trade Zone helps seal the deal for many businesses, as it provides 100% foreign ownership and no taxes.

42/
Mike Norton // Flickr

#10. Macedonia

- Starting a business: #47 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #13
- Getting electricity: #57
- Registering property: #46
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #7 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #31 (tied)
- Trading across borders: #29
- Enforcing contracts: #37
- Resolving insolvency: #30

Macedonia has the lowest tax rates in Europe and has been ranked #1 in total tax rates in the world. While Macedonia is not yet in the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it has recently taken steps—including a name change to North Macedonia—toward joining both. Some officials expect accession talks could take place as early as June. Companies can take advantage of the Macedonian “one stop shop system,” which allows investors to register businesses just four hours after submitting an application and has reduced common administrative barriers and startup costs.

43/
traveljunction // flickr

#9. United Kingdom

- Starting a business: #19 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #17
- Getting electricity: #7
- Registering property: #42
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #23
- Trading across borders: #30
- Enforcing contracts: #32
- Resolving insolvency: #14

Businesses often choose the U.K. as a spot for growth due to its economic prominence and position as a global leader. There is a high demand for products that improve productivity, equipment, and services related to aerospace, defense, safety, and cybersecurity. The country has also set goals to reduce its carbon footprint and is consistently looking for U.S. products and services that facilitate renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green technologies. Companies looking to succeed in the U.K. should express a long-term commitment to the market, demonstrate a clear value proposition, and pay close attention to cultural differences.

44/
Andy C // Wikimedia Commons

#8. United States

- Starting a business: #53 among 190 countries (tied)
- Dealing with construction permits: #26
- Getting electricity: #54
- Registering property: #38
- Getting credit: #3 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #50
- Paying taxes: #37
- Trading across borders: #36
- Enforcing contracts: #16
- Resolving insolvency: #3

The United States has the largest entrepreneurial marketplace in the world and is a hotspot for business innovation, as a third of the U.S. economy is based on global market trade. The country prides itself on offering an equal opportunity work environment, which lends itself to a wide scope of customers and employees. But in the world's biggest market, it is crucial to find a “micro market” in cities or states that have appropriate regulations and tax levels and cater to the right market.

45/
pxhere

#7. Norway

- Starting a business: #22 among 190 countries (tied)
- Dealing with construction permits: #22
- Getting electricity: #19
- Registering property: #13
- Getting credit: #85 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #15 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #30
- Trading across borders: #22
- Enforcing contracts: #3
- Resolving insolvency: #5

Businesses can easily set up shop in Norway through the Brønnøysund Register Centre, which can be accessed online. Unlike other countries companies might consider for expansion, Norway offers a tax system that is easy to understand and has a flat tax rate of 25% that applies to the sum of profits and capital gains. Among the most important industries in Norway are oil and gas, fish farming, industrial fishing, mineral processing, hydroelectric power, and ship building.

46/
GoodFreePhotos

#6. Georgia

- Starting a business: #2 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #27
- Getting electricity: #39
- Registering property: #4
- Getting credit: #12 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #2 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #16
- Trading across borders: #43
- Enforcing contracts: #8
- Resolving insolvency: #60

Georgia boasts the highest ranked economy in the Europe and Central Asia region, and the positioning can be attributed to the large number of reforms the country has implemented in recent years to streamline the process of starting a business. In the past year alone, Georgia has simplified post-registration procedures, made it easier to pay taxes, eased the process of enforcing contracts, and enhanced its existing “one stop shop” for business incorporation. Toyota and BP are among the top 10 largest companies in Georgia, in addition to several other oil and gas companies.

47/
Chu // Wikimedia Commons

#5. South Korea

- Starting a business: #11 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #10
- Getting electricity: #2
- Registering property: #40
- Getting credit: #60 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #23 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #24
- Trading across borders: #33
- Enforcing contracts: #2
- Resolving insolvency: #11

South Korea is considered one of the most developed and industrialized countries in the world, with a variety of leading industries including electronics, vehicle production, telecommunications, shipbuilding, steel, and chemicals. U.S. companies in particular have taken a keen interest in South Korean vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and mineral fuels. South Korea also has a Free Trade Agreement in place with the United States, meaning 95% of Korean goods can enter the U.S. free of duty and merchandise processing fees.

48/
AndyLeungHK // Pixabay

#4. Hong Kong

- Starting a business: #5 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #1
- Getting electricity: #3
- Registering property: #53
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #11 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #1
- Trading across borders: #27
- Enforcing contracts: #30
- Resolving insolvency: #44

Hong Kong can attribute its steady and stable economic growth to retail, logistics, financial services, real estate, and tourism, and it is always looking for new businesses in those areas. Many companies choose to operate in Hong Kong due to its connection to mainland China and the rest of Asia, as well as its designation as a free port that does not levy any customs tariff. Many U.S. companies have found Hong Kong a suitable environment for small and medium-sized businesses due to its strong rule of law and respect for property rights. Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and IBM are all among the top 50 businesses operating in Hong Kong.

49/
MDP01605 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Denmark

- Starting a business: #42 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #4
- Getting electricity: #21
- Registering property: #11
- Getting credit: #44 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #38 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #9
- Trading across borders: #1 (tied)
- Enforcing contracts: #14
- Resolving insolvency: #6

Denmark prides itself on playing host to hundreds of world-class companies and, despite its high taxes, is ranked #7 in the world for capital investment. The country is especially focused on creating renewable energy and has one of the strongest global sectors for biotech and life science due to its emphasis on creating public-private partnerships. Companies in Denmark with the highest numbers of employees include LEGO, Carlsberg Breweries, and ISS.

50/
dronepicr // Flickr

#2. Singapore

- Starting a business: #3 among 190 countries (tied)
- Dealing with construction permits: #8
- Getting electricity: #16
- Registering property: #21
- Getting credit: #32 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #7 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #8
- Trading across borders: #45
- Enforcing contracts: #1
- Resolving insolvency: #27

Singapore is a hub for information and communication technologies, distribution, and logistics. It's also a popular place to do business due to its proximity to other Asian markets, favorable tax codes, strong intellectual property protection, and general lack of corruption. All but 1% of imports enter Singapore duty-free, and companies in aviation, defense, energy, healthcare, and medtech have begun taking advantage of the country's various business incentives. More than 4,200 U.S. companies in Singapore have successfully conducted business there, and native companies are said to respond enthusiastically when representing new products.

51/
Brett Taylor // Wikimedia Commons

#1. New Zealand

- Starting a business: #1 among 190 countries
- Dealing with construction permits: #6
- Getting electricity: #45
- Registering property: #1
- Getting credit: #1 (tied)
- Protecting minority investors: #2 (tied)
- Paying taxes: #10
- Trading across borders: #60
- Enforcing contracts: #21
- Resolving insolvency: #31

There are little to no restrictions on establishing, owning, and operating a business in New Zealand, and by simply using an online portal, business registration can take as little as a few hours. In 2017, one in three firms in New Zealand reported undergoing expansion—most notably in the construction and manufacturing industries. The rate of the total portion of businesses that innovate was 47%. The country's top 100 businesses include McDonald's, Kmart, and Burger King.

2018 All rights reserved.