Which is the best country for a startup? If you’re wondering where to register a startup, this guide will tell you the right place to begin the launch process.
It’s official – we’re a planet of entrepreneurs! There are over 213 million businesses worldwide, and this number is growing all the time.
This poses a valid question… where is the best country in the world to launch a business?
At You Are Launched, we’re often asked if it pays to register a startup in a specific country and whether there are any particular benefits to doing so. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best countries to start a startup and what to do to maximize the chances of your idea being successful there.
- First things first… what do we mean by ‘registering a startup’?
- Can I register my startup in any country?
- Why would I register my startup in a particular country?
- The importance of validating your startup idea;
- How to validate your business idea: what to do before you register your startup;
- In summary: the best startup country is all relative.
First things first… what do we mean by “registering a startup”?
By registering a startup, you’re telling the government that you’re legally starting a business venture. The process depends on the country you’re registering in and the type of startup you want to create.
Let’s say you’re registering a business in the UK. If you want to register as a sole trader, you tell the HMRC and register as self-employed, so you make sure you’re paying the right amount of taxes. If you want to register as a limited company, you apply to Companies House for a certificate of incorporation.
Most people register a business in the country they live in because that’s where they do the bulk of their work. However, what do you do if you want to register your startup in another country?
Can I register my startup in any country?
It depends, and there are a lot of factors to consider.
You generally need to have a physical presence in a country to be able to register and operate a business there. Case in point, 17% of non-UK nationals have started a business in the country.
If you’re willing to move, some countries encourage entrepreneurs to live there and develop their business ideas. For example, Canada offers a Startup visa (SUV) which is available if you have a letter of support and guaranteed funding from an investor.
It gets a bit more complicated if you don’t have a physical presence in a country. Many countries insist you (or someone else) live there if you want to register a business. However, there are some countries where it is relatively easy to register a company without stepping foot there.
Take, for example, Singapore. To register a business in Singapore, you don’t have to have a physical office, live there, or hire Singaporean employees. All the forms can be filled in remotely. Similarly, you can open a business in Estonia and do all the paperwork online.
In these situations, you can register your startup yourself, or some businesses will help you with the paperwork for a nominal fee.
Important note: If you want to register a business in another country, we always recommend consulting a lawyer with specialist knowledge. They will be able to let you know what paperwork you need to complete and ensure your startup gets registered without any issues.
Why would I register a startup in a particular country?
The primary reason is that you are running a business in that country and want to establish trust. When customers see your address is in the same country as theirs, they’re more likely to want to do business with you.
You might also need to prove your business operates in a certain country to hold a particular website domain. For example, you need a local business license if you want a Chinese (.cn) domain. Many UK-based businesses had to surrender their .eu website domains after the UK left the European Union
The other thing to consider is that registering your business in a particular country may provide you with additional benefits. For example:
- Better government support
- Access to grants, investment, and funding
- Access to accelerators and incubators. Bear in mind that the majority of accelerator programs insist that you move to their country for a few months, although there are a few that can be completed online
- Lower taxes and business rates
- Access to a skilled and educated labor force
- Access to other markets. For example, if you are registered in an EU country, you can easily Trade with other EU countries
- The ability to communicate in a specific time zone. For example, if you are working with an Australian investor or VC, you’ll want to make sure you’re available when they are!
As well as the good, you also need to consider the bad when starting a business in a country that’s not your own. For example, a country might have a high concentration of investors, but also a high cost of living. It’s important to do your research before you commit.
Do we recommend a particular country to register your startup in? Again, it depends on your industry, your startup, and what you want to achieve.
Some countries will be better than others for businesses and entrepreneurs. For example, you’re more likely to find success in Norway than you are say, in Venezuela.
The importance of validating your startup idea
At this point, you might be ready to stick a pin in a map, pack your suitcase and start planning to register your startup in the country of your choice.
However, hold off for a little while longer.
Registering a startup takes time, money, and effort, especially if you want to register in a different country than the one you’re already in. It can cost at least $2,500 to register your business in some countries, which is a lot of money when you’re just starting out.
And given that one in five startups fail at the end of their first year, it’s important to do what you can to improve the chances of success.
One of the ways you can do this is by validating your startup idea.
What do we mean by validating your startup idea? We mean carrying out market research to see if your startup idea solves a problem (or problems) people have.
If it does, you’re on the right track and are one step closer to registering your business. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
When you’re confident that your idea will work, you can work on registering your business, safe in the knowledge that you’re not wasting time and money.
How to validate your business idea: what to do before you register your startup
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to validating a business idea, and different startups will have different techniques.
The main thing is testing your idea to make sure it works, and that people will be interested in it.
We’re all about lean startup methodology at You are launched. This methodology focuses on optimizing the amount of time required to ensure your startup idea is viable. That way, you’re not wasting time, and you can get your product or service to market as soon as possible.
Here’s how you can easily validate your business idea before you register your startup.
1. Understand the problem your startup solves
All products and services need to solve a problem. When you know how your startup will resolve your customer’s pain points, you’re on the right track.
The first step is to know the target audience your startup is aimed at. When you know this, you’re in a position to understand the problems they experience and how you can help. There’s plenty of research you can find online, or better yet, you can speak to people who might be interested in buying your product or service.
The lean model canvas is ideal for determining problems and solutions and means you can quickly understand how your startup idea can help people.
2. Do your competitor research
Unless your startup idea is extremely niche, you’ll likely have competitors. Therefore, it’s essential to understand what makes your rivals tick.
Look at what their product or service does, the market share they have, and who their customers are. The more you know, the more likely you are to ensure your startup idea stands out and has a unique selling point.
If you want to register your startup in a particular country, don’t forget to research your competitors in that market. You don’t want to spend time and money registering your business, only to come across a completely new competitor you forgot to investigate.
3. Create a proof of concept
A proof of concept (POC) will help you see if your idea will work. For example, let’s say you’re creating a mobile app. You can use a POC to see if your app will solve a particular problem in a set amount of time and use the feedback to identify any issues you need to focus on.
It’s essential to create a proof of concept as soon as possible. The earlier you do it, the more confidence you’ll have in your idea.
4. Test, test, and test again!
Your proof of concept will help you determine if your idea is a viable one, but don’t forget that testing is important too.
You can test your startup idea both internally and externally. A prototype is a sample version of your product or service that you can use to get feedback internally from your team. A minimal viable product, or MVP, is a ‘no-frills’ version of your product or service that you ask the public to test.
You must get honest, constructive feedback from your testing. It’s better to know what issues your startup idea has at this stage, rather than after it’s too late.
When you’re confident that your startup idea is validated, congratulations! It’s time to register your startup in the country of your choice.
In summary: the best startup country is all relative
If you Google ‘which is the best country to register a startup,’ you’ll see hundreds of articles saying that country X or country Y is the ideal place to start a business. However, in our opinion, it’s all relative as there are so many factors you need to consider.
The good news is that you don’t have to move to Japan, Canada, or the US to maximize the chances of your startup idea being successful. Of course, if you want to take advantage of in-person networking opportunities and a skilled workforce, go for it, but having a physical presence is no longer a mandatory requirement.
The internet makes it easier than ever before to connect with the right people, whether you are looking for investment or want to hire remotely.
As long as you’ve got a great idea and have validated it to make sure it works, the sky’s the limit!
Need help validating your startup idea? You are launched can help
We’ve been working with startups since 2014, helping them validate their business ideas and getting them to market.
If you have a fantastic startup idea and want to make sure it’s viable, our team of experts will work with you to ensure success. You can then get registered in the country of your choice.
The best thing about us? We can work with you wherever you are in the world. No matter if you’re in Ukraine, US, or United Arab Emirates, we’re dedicated to growing your business idea.
Contact us today, and let’s get your startup idea launched