Top Ten European Countries to Start a Business

Since the last three centuries the only continent to have seen continuous growth is the European subcontinent. From Industrial revolution to post World War growth and to the present technology driven growth, Europe has seen it all and has been a pioneer in introducing new technology and businesses that were less common in the world.

While the a certain sector of nations along with some third world countries followed the communist growth model of Socialism, Europe along with United States favored going for free market economy that had both capitalism as well as welfare state. Though not all countries followed the same path but after the formation European Union the continent grew following similar methods of economic model that benefitted each of the nations. 

These countries incentivized the business that were growing in the country and also invited foreigners to invest in the country. As a result, these nations’ amended laws, created new laws, simplified and reduced taxes, and made many other important changes in order to attract new businesses.

According to BizTerrain – Business Magazine, at this present day, with the formation of WTO and globalization it has become impossible to imagine a country not connected with other through trades. Some of these European countries have become top destinations for businesses around the world to invest and start their business. There are various factors that leads to this while most factors depends on the political conditions in that country along with the policy of the government.

Here is the list of ten countries in the Europe that are top destinations to start a business:-

1. Ireland

A North-Atlantic Island in the Europe, Ireland is one of the prime destinations for business. Ireland ranks at 24th spot in Ease of Doing Business in the world. World Bank ranked Ireland as the easiest nation to do business. Tax policy in the country is one of the most business friendly caring about businesses in practical realities.

Ireland has corporate tax of 12.5% with many exemptions and incentives especially for the R&D sector. Another reason why Ireland has been the favorite of entrepreneurs in that it has business friendly government, bureaucracy, policies along with a constant policy that changes while taking the whole business community on board.

Nobody likes to invest in a country whose policy is unpredictable and changes with the change in regime. Ireland ensures these things do not happen.

2. Iceland

Iceland, another country in Europe ranks 26th in the world in terms of doing business easily. The country is known for its infrastructure, registering properties, getting electricity, and resolving insolvency. Though there are always varieties of reasons that makes a country attractive for business, Iceland’s business friendly environment and pro-business policies by the government makes it much more attractive among the European nations.

Tax structures, authorities and tribunals take great care in ensuring the interest of businesses. The legal structure for doing business is also very simple thus ensures that entering the market and exiting is easy and simple. The country is diversifying its economy through the manufacturing and service sector while it has also been an avid exporter of various items.

3. Sweden

Sweden being top third in Europe is the 10th best destination for doing business according to the World Bank. Sweden being a country that has done excellent at various parameters whether it is infra, taxation policy, government regulations and incentives, business laws or the promptness in the bureaucracy.

Sweden is also a hub for various foreigner owned companies having millions of immigrants from all across the nation. The country also focuses on Research and Development and offers various incentives to businesses investing in cutting-edge technology. In starting a business Sweden ranks at 39th spot while in registering properties it ranks at 9th spot. The country also provides easier insolvency options while promoting easier cross border trade. 

4. Denmark

Denmark ranks at 4th spot in the ease of doing business. Being a part of Europe it has access to the whole of Europe thus making cross border trade easier. Despite being a known welfare state, the country has ensures a pro-business atmosphere by rolling out business friendly policy that includes progressive tax policies, just labor laws, incentives to new businesses, tax rebate, stable government and its policies.

Apart from business, Denmark also provides a very exotic and standard lifestyle to the residents as well as immigrants. There are various policies that provide various benefits to these immigrants. Some of the ranks based on various parameters.

  • 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

5. Estonia

Estonia ranks at 18th spot in terms of ease of doing business. It can be easily understood that Estonia provides very favorable atmosphere to businesses especially those coming from foreign countries. There are various incentives and opportunities in some special sectors like R&D, software, hardware, food, business services, etc.

There is much ease in incorporating a company since you can do it online by providing few key documents. It doesn’t takes much time to register. There is also a very progressive tax policy that gives whooping discounts on income tax, corporate tax, etc. Digitalization plays a key role in the business transactions of Estonia where 99% of the transactions are done digitally.

Lastly, the country provides just business laws that are favorable to the businesses, infrastructure and labor laws. 

6. Lithuania

Lithuania ranks at the 11th spot in terms of doing business. The country has some very good reasons to be at this spot. The country has a very progressive tax policy. The corporate and income tax is 15% while VAT is at 21%. There are also various incentives apart from these. 5% reduction is given on corporate tax when invested in R&D.

Government also has laid down various business friendly rules and laws. The bureaucracy is also very disciplines cooperates with the businesses instead of bullying them. With stability in the government policies, businesses find confidence in investing in Lithuania. Some rankings of Lithuania based on various parameters that makes Lithuania a top business destination.

  • Starting a Business: 34th 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 10th 
  • Getting Electricity: 15th 
  • Registering Property: 4th 
  • Getting Credit: 48th 
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 37th 
  • Paying Taxes: 18th 
  • Trading across Borders: 19th 
  • Enforcing Contracts: 7th 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 89th 

7. Latvia

Latvia ranks at 19th spot in ease of doing business, a report published by the World Bank that shows probable opportunities and conditions to carry out business in the country. Latvia plays a major role in cross border trade since it has a very unique location in the European Subcontinent.

The country has a very multicultural and democratic setup that ensures cultural fusion and harmony among citizens. The country has also very progressive tax regime. Latvia has 15% of Corporate Income Tax, 23% of Income tax, 21% of VAT. On Global Competitiveness Index it ranks at 49th spot, on Index of Economic freedom it ranks at 36th spot. 

8. United Kingdom

United Kingdom, a country whose sun never sets. Being a pioneer in earlier trade through sea, UK was the pioneer in industrial revolution and later the globalization. At this day, the UK has everything that makes it a leading country when it comes to doing business. It ranks at 8th spot in ease of doing business. It also ranks within top 10 on various parameters that determines ease of doing business.

The country because of its years of development and trade has the best of infra, cross border trade routes and a very progressive business laws along with atmosphere for business. 

9. Romania

Romania ranks at 55th spot in terms of ease of doing business. With 16% of Corporate Tax Romania becomes a very attractive place for many to invest in the country. The country is also very well versed in order to provide hospitality to new investors where the government has various policies and exemptions to favor new entrepreneurs.

The country also favors small and medium sized businesses by providing various schemes and incentives. Digitalization, swift action in dispute resolution, prompt bureaucracy and many more. Some of the parameters that makes a Romania a leading destination for business in Europe and their rankings.

  • Starting a Business: 91st 
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 147th 
  • Getting Electricity: 157th 
  • Registering Property: 46th 
  • Getting Credit: 25
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 61st 
  • Paying Taxes: 32nd 
  • Trading across Borders: 1st 
  • Enforcing Contracts:  19th 
  • Resolving Insolvency: 56th 

10. Norway

Norway ranks at 9th spot in ease of doing business. The country also 3rd in enforcing contracts. Norway has been a pioneer in various business initiatives along with 22% liberal corporate tax making it attractive for various businesses. The country also provides various incentives to business investing in technology, that provide many employments, R&D, etc.

The country is very vibrant and has a plural democratic setup which lives harmoniously with its citizens as well as immigrant settling in Norway. It also a very high standard of living. Digital methods of business transaction, online portals for tax payment, incorporating a business and guidance makes it much more a very attractive country for businesses. 


1. What is the least expensive European country to start a business in?

Bulgaria is one of the least expensive countries to start a business in Europe, costing only €165 to register a company.

2. Are there any free trade agreements in Europe that may benefit a small business?

Yes. Trade agreements like the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA) provide preferential access to a large number of European markets, benefiting small business owners in Europe.

3. What type of business activity is most common in Europe?

The most common business activities in Europe are in the services sectors, such as financial services, information technology and telecommunications, and tourism.

4. What rules apply to businesses operating across multiple European countries?

Businesses operating in different countries in Europe must comply with the applicable local regulations for each country. Additionally, businesses must ensure that the applicable EU regulations and directives are also met.

5. What type of permits or licences do I need to start a business in Europe?

Depending on the type of business activity and country, there may be certain permits and/or licences required in order to start a business. It is important to contact the relevant authorities in the country you are wishing to do business in to find out the specific requirements.

6. Are there any tax benefits available to businesses operating in Europe?

Yes. Different countries in Europe have different tax benefits and incentives available to businesses, so it is important to research the applicable tax laws in the countries you are thinking of doing business in.

7. Are there any restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses in European countries?

Yes, some countries in Europe may have restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses, including limits on the percentage of foreign ownership of a company. It is important to research the applicable laws in each country to ensure compliance.

8. What kind of legal structure is the most typical for businesses in Europe?

The most typical legal entity type for most businesses in Europe is a limited liability company (LLC) or similar corporate legal structure, although this can vary from country to country.

9. Do any countries have specific Government grants or funding available to small businesses?

Yes, various European countries have various funding opportunities available to small businesses. It is important to research the specific funding opportunities available in the country you wish to do business in to ensure you are taking advantage of any available grants and funding.

10. Are there any special requirements in terms of accounting and record-keeping?

Yes, most European countries have specific requirements for accounting and record-keeping. Generally, businesses are required to keep accurate financial records in order to calculate taxes and comply with other applicable laws. It is important to research the specific requirements for each country when doing business in Europe.

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