Top Ten Countries to Start a Business as a Foreigner

Since the last many decades the world has seen rapid development and industrialization which is aided by globalization. Globalisation emphasized on the concept of doing business across the world where a company of one country can setup their business in another country, export and import goods and services from each other while agreeing on general terms of trade and tariffs.

The communist world has always been that of a protectionist that has rejected the idea of globalization and free market trade and has resisted the concept of private corporations getting involved in big trades. Since the fall of Soviet Union, the world has accepted globalization more or less and now the scene is that nearly all the countries actively trade with each other and promote their citizens and corporations to indulge in trade activities.

Businessmen find new opportunities wherever in the world possible to invest and start a business that not only gives them profit but also aid the interest of the country in which they are doing business.

With the establishment of GATT and later WTO this concept has been more institutionalised and made much more competitive. Various other bodies including IMF and World Bank also promote business at global level and also publish reports that indicate various positions at which various countries stand in doing business.

In order to be the best in doing business there are various steps that a country takes to ensure that it becomes an attractive destination for businesses to setup their business. With new ventures comes more revenue, tax collection, jobs and prosperity. Generally, in order to be at top in facilitating the incorporation of business, a country must have smooth laws that makes incorporation of business easier, progressive taxation policy, government aides, less interference by the government, infrastructure, power, transport, friendlier bureaucracy, etc.

Here is the List of Top Ten Countries to Start a Business as a Foreigner

Keeping in mind the above requirements, certain countries have ensured that they become the best nations to facilitate businesses. Not only to its citizens but also to the foreigners given the importance of globalization, foreign direct investment, reduction in imports and facilitating more exports.

One nation has to do a bit more than regular for foreign businesses or businessmen in order to facilitate their business. Since a foreigner is a stranger in that host nation it is important that he must be at ease in starting a business. Unfamiliarity with the local laws, their complexities, their bureaucracy, and their business atmosphere makes it a challenge for a foreigner to start a business.

Some vested interests take advantage of the same and demand bribes making it unfavorable for them to invest in that country. Therefore in order to be the best in attracting investors a country has to go few steps ahead than normal to attract them to invest.

Some countries have done well or to say precisely, excellent in attracting foreign investment thus making them top the list. Here are those ten countries that are best in facilitating business for foreigners.

1. New Zealand

New Zealand has topped the list for the fourth consecutive time in being the best place for doing business. As per the Ease of Doing Business report of 2019 published by the World Bank New Zealand was ranked number 01 in ease of doing business. The report that is made by the World Bank has setup various criteria based on which they place countries at top and thereafter.

Some of the criteria are: Resolving Insolvency, Enforcing contracts, trading across borders, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, getting credit, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and registering property. New Zealand has done the best in overall in terms of easiest country to start your business.

New Zealand has been ranked 36th, 23rd, 63rd, 3rd, 9th, 1st, 1st, 7th, 48th and 2nd respectively in the above sequence. The payback is the first rank that is the best way to attract investors. The nation also has external affair help desk to help new foreign investors in investing in their country. 

2. Singapore

Singapore is quite a small country in the South-Eastern region of Asia close to the Indian Subcontinent. Despite being a small country with a relatively very small economy in comparison to the biggest economies, it is still one of the best places to invest and start a business.

Various regional headquarters of top MNCs are situated in Singapore. Singapore saw a drastic change of development in the 50s and 60s initiated by Lee Kuan Yew that transformed the nation making it to one of the major business hubs of the world. Ease of Doing Business by World Bank ranks Singapore at the 2nd place which the nation has maintained in the last two years. The reason for this position can be best attributed to the criteria mentioned below. 

Singapore ranks at:

  • Starting a Business: 1st 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 3rd
  • Getting Electricity: 6th 
  • Registering Property: 2nd 
  • Getting Credit: 5th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 2nd 
  • Paying Taxes: 2nd 
  • Trading across Borders: 2nd 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 1st 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 3rd 

3. Denmark

Denmark, is a European country ranked at third spot by the World Bank in Ease of Doing Business. From the perspective of a foreigner the country is best placed to do business given its favorable weather and its connectivity with European nations. Denmark ranks at the following in the parameters given below.

  • Starting a Business: 45th 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 4th 
  • Getting Electricity: 21st 
  • Registering Property: 11th 
  • Getting Credit: 48th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 28th 
  • Paying Taxes: 8th 
  • Trading across Borders: 1st 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 14th 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 6th 

Apart from these criteria what matters much is the attitude of the government of Denmark and its system that is pro-business. Foreign investors are vary of those countries that look businesses with suspicion. Regular changes in government policy leads to uncertainty and instability which also discourages investors. Denmark ensures that such things do not occur. 

4. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is state administered by China. It ranks at the 4th spot in doing business. Hong Kong is one of the most developed states that has seen recent control by China which has also led to various disturbance impacting business yet it was ranked at the 4th. The state is home to various headquarters of global businesses. Ranking of Hong Kong on various parameters mentioned below.

  • Starting a Business: 5th 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 1st 
  • Getting Electricity: 3rd 
  • Registering Property: 51st 
  • Getting Credit: 37th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 7th 
  • Paying Taxes: 2nd 
  • Trading across Borders: 29th 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 31st 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 45th 

5. Republic of Korea or South Korea

Republic of Korea is an Asia country which had embraced market economy in the mid-20th century along with United States while the other part of the world was still following communism along with USSR. The Korean state in at present a leading superpower when it comes to innovation and number of MNCs founded. Various companies originated in Korea are now known MNCs. Ranking of Korea at various parameters as per World Bank.

  • Starting a Business: 33rd 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 12th 
  • Getting Electricity: 2nd 
  • Registering Property: 40th 
  • Getting Credit: 67th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 25th 
  • Paying Taxes: 31st 
  • Trading across Borders: 36th 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 2nd 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 11th 

6. United States of America

USA ranks at the 6th spot when it comes to doing business. USA is the world’s biggest economy which is now reaching close to 20 trillion dollars. Since the days of 2nd World War, US has focused on economy which was empowered by technology. It is home to nearly all the top corporate. USA followed the policy of capitalism, globalization and a free enterprise economy in contrast to that of USSR that followed socialism.

Though USSR was decimated to dust in the 90s, USA is still the world power. Ranking of USA on various parameters.

  • Starting a Business: 55th 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 24th 
  • Getting Electricity: 64th 
  • Registering Property: 39th 
  • Getting Credit: 4th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 36th 
  • Paying Taxes: 25th 
  • Trading across Borders: 39th 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 17th 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 2nd 

7. Georgia

Georgia is a Euro-Asia country situated amidst the borders of Europe and Asia. The country ranks at the 7th spot in doing business. Known for its smooth business laws, progressive tax policies and government aided incentives, Georgia has seen a major attraction from the foreign investors. Being situated at the borders of two continents it also becomes easy for facilitating trade across borders. Georgia’s rank on various parameters as per World Bank.

  • Starting a Business: 2nd 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 21t 
  • Getting Electricity: 42nd 
  • Registering Property: 5th 
  • Getting Credit: 15th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 7th 
  • Paying Taxes: 14th 
  • Trading across Borders: 45th 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 12th 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 64th 

8. United Kingdom

Known to be the initiators of industrial revolution, UK has come a long way since then. UK though has lost its clout over the globe it still is an attractive destination for businesses. Being developed when it comes to infra, electricity, transport, trade, UK is a pioneer in enterprising. Business laws, taxation policy, digitization and being part of the EU makes it an attractive market.

UK is also party to various trade treaties with various group of nations making cross border trade easier. UK has always taken the initiative when it comes to innovative business and has been an equal partner in globalization. UK ranks at 8th spot.

9. Norway

Norway being 9th in the list is still in the top ten. Norway has been a mecca of corporate and has perhaps pampered them well. Norway has perhaps done quite well when it comes to digitization, removing bureaucratic hurdles, removing complex procedures, easing industrial laws, etc. Ranking of Norway in various parameters as per World Bank. 

  • Starting a Business: 25th 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 22nd 
  • Getting Electricity: 44th 
  • Registering Property: 15th 
  • Getting Credit: 94th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 21st 
  • Paying Taxes: 34th 
  • Trading across Borders: 22nd 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 3rd 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 5th 

10. Sweden

Another country Europe with its capital as Stockholm is one of the best countries to start your business as a foreigner. Sweden ranks at 10th spot in Ease of doing business. Being part of the 20th century development drive the country provides the best possible facilities at various parameters. It ranks at 39th spot in starting a business. It has quite attractive business policies and schemes with progressive tax policies. 

Most of the above named countries are active from the Foreign Affairs desk in helping out investors. E-visas, business visas, citizenship, tax exemption, incentives from government and separate economic corridor makes it worth investing in these countries. 


1. Which countries offer the best environment for foreign entrepreneurs to start a business?

Generally speaking, countries with strong economies, attractive business regulations, quality infrastructure, and supportive, business-friendly governments offer the best environment for foreign entrepreneurs to start a business. Examples include the US, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the UK, and Denmark.

2. What types of businesses can I start with a foreign business visa?

The types of businesses you can start with a foreign business visa depend on the country in which you plan to do business. Generally, most countries will allow entrepreneurs to open a business, engage in commerce, and invest in businesses.

3. Do I need a special visa to start a business as a foreigner?

Yes. Depending on your nationality and the country in which you plan to do business, you will likely need to obtain a foreign business visa.

4. Are there any countries that will allow me to start a business without a visa?

Yes, some countries may allow foreign entrepreneurs to start a business without a visa, depending on their nationality and the type of business being formed.

5. Is it possible to have an online business when finding a country to start a business as a foreigner?

Yes, it is possible to have an online business in any country. However, the regulations, taxes and processes for setting up and operating an online business may vary from country to country.

6. Is there a special visa for foreigners who want to invest in foreign businesses?

Yes, some countries may offer special visas for foreign investors. However, you should check with the target country’s embassy to confirm the visa requirements.

7. Are there any countries that offer special incentives to foreign entrepreneurs?

Yes, some countries may offer special incentives and concessions to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start a business in their country. It is best to check the specific regulations in the target country.

8. Are there any countries where I can open a business without having to hire local employees?

Depending on the type of business and the country, it may be possible to open a business without hiring local employees. However, you should check with the country’s laws and regulations before making any final decisions.

9. Are there any advantages to starting a business as a foreigner in another country?

Yes, starting a business as a foreigner in another country may provide certain advantages, such as lower taxes and cheaper labour costs. However, it is important to properly research the pros and cons before making a decision.

10. Is there any assistance available for foreigners who want to start a business in another country?

Yes, there is assistance available for foreigners who want to start a business in another country. Your local embassy can provide guidance and resources, and there are also various organizations, such as the International Trade Council, that provide assistance to entrepreneurs looking to start a business in another country.

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