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50 best countries for doing business in 2019

  • 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

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

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