By Salman Haqqi
From the countries with the most government business grants to those that have the best startup culture, we bring you the top nine countries to start a new business, around the world.
Canada tops the Innovation Investment Index, making it the nation with the most support to keep its businesses flourishing into 2021.
Almost half of all businesses registered in Canada are startups (52.6%), and with 413 new business grants offered by the government, it’s easy to see why the Canadians are ahead of the pack.
With 689,907 startup companies in Canada and 1,311,024 businesses in total, over half (52.62%) of businesses in the country are startups. The Canadian governments 413 grant options and 197 government-backed loans to choose from has enabled new businesses to flourish.
According to our Innovation Investment Index, 13.75% of businesses in Singapore are startups. With 400,000 businesses in total – only 55,000 of those are startups. Singapore offers seven startup grants, totalling up to £22k.
The government offers positive support to start-ups through innovative policies and significant subsidies. Singapore has a well-developed start-up community with over 100 incubators and accelerators, as well as more than 150 venture capital investors. Some of the most successful start-ups from Singapore include Grab, Garena, and Lazada.
The United Kingdom claimed third place in the Innovation Investment Index – with over one in 10 businesses being startups. This means out of a total of 5,900,000, the number of businesses that are startups are 672,890.
The UK startup ecosystem has continued producing innovative companies such as Revolut, TransferWise and Perkbox despite Brexit negotiations. Start-ups in the UK benefit from the largest English-speaking population in the EU, easy access to European markets, and a highly-educated and technically-qualified workforce.
Just 10% of all businesses are startups in Austria, which means out of 381,870 businesses, 38,327 are startups. Startup businesses can claim up to five grants, totalling up to £450.9k.
The Austrian government has increased its efforts to support entrepreneurs, structuring a comprehensive startup programme in 2016 to make the country attract more startups to set up shop there.
Technology and science research is incentivised not only by the Austrian government and universities but also within the private sector.
Switzerland took the top spot for the maximum amount of loan money on offer with £127,324,890 available to borrowers wanting to take the next step with their business plans. 9.9% of businesses in Switzerland are startups.
Swiss startups are mainly prominent in fintech and blockchain, with the Zug region has even gained the nickname “Crypto Valley.” However, in addition to finance, Switzerland is at the forefront of innovation in multiple sectors – from food tech to banking.
In Ireland, 6.33% of total businesses can be classed as startups. Out of 271,000 businesses, 17,160 are startups – which isn’t bad at all when Ireland has the lowest population in the index. The government supports these startup businesses by having five grants to offer. Despite having five different grants for startup businesses, they can only apply for up to £9.5k.
A range of tech giants including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have their European headquarters in Dublin, based in the “Silicon Docks” alongside many budding startups. One reason is low corporation tax; others are generous government incentives designed to boost the tech industry.
In Norway, 5.93% of all businesses are startups, totalling 25,793 small or new businesses. Norway has four grants available to help give startups the support they need.
The business environment in Norway offers a well-educated workforce, strong ecosystem and government support, abundant early-stage capital and digital ‘readiness’ across the board.
Norway has the perfect environment in which startups can go on to change the world; they have a stable government, a high standard of living, a good education system, highly skilled labour, a tech-savvy population, great infrastructure and ease of doing business, lots of private incubators, and a low unemployment rate. It also certainly helps that the country has the second-highest GDP per capita in the world.
Finland’s business ecosystem is a strong hub for venture capital investments, also being home to cool tech events like Slush, and boasting success stories like Angry Birds and Wolt. Strong in the gaming, electronics, software, cleantech, biotech and health industries, the Finnish startup ecosystem is a hotbed for innovation.
Belgium tops the list of nations with the most valuable grants for new businesses. In Belgium entrepreneurs and innovators can apply for two different grants, worth an average of £315.6k each – one of the highest in the world.
Denmark has a world-class digital infrastructure, alongside a strong network of clusters for tech-entrepreneurs. The country has a strong tradition for digital design and user-driven solutions.
The Danish government has initiated Start-up Denmark as the one-point-of-entry for talented entrepreneurs to relocate and grow high-impact start-ups in Denmark.
The programme targets early-stage businesses and can accept up to two founders. If accepted, you can get a residence and work permanently for up to two years, with the possibility of an extension for an additional three years.
Salman Haqqi’s 10 year career in journalism started out writing for DRUM! Magazine in California, USA, where he interviewed some of the most famous musicians in the world. He then moved to Pakistan, writing for the Dawn and later, Newsline Magazine, reporting on breaking news events. He left the world of journalism and moved to the UK pursue a passion for personal finance. In his free time, Salman is a self-confessed news addict, and an avid travel and landscape photographer.
(Published in partnership with Money.co.uk. First published here.)