Top 4 Interesting Countries to Start Your Entrepreneurship Journey With

Entrepreneurship as a whole is getting a lot of exposure and support from governments of many countries. However, what makes a country interesting for an entrepreneurial journey is the ease and time frame in which the procedures can be completed to divert full concentration on the business & operations at hand and also the support a country provides to entrepreneurs.

Here is a list of countries that entrepreneurs are looking at for setting up their business respectively:

1. Estonia

Estonia is a part of the European Union which gives the entrepreneur access to the member states of the EU. The country where Skype was founded is no stranger to startups – with 13 incubators and accelerators plus a robust VC and angel investor network. The incorporation expenses are low as compared to that in the US and getting a visa is easier in Estonia. This country offers a startup programme for which the entrepreneur doesn’t have to visit the country and the virtual addresses becomes available in just a few weeks. VAT (Value added tax) number is obtained in just 15 Minutes. Talk about speed!

Being incorporated in Estonia means the hiring of foreign talent becomes easier. Even funding assistance can be sought out from the EU.

2. Dubai

Dubai plays a very prominent role in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region. It also attracts top talent from around the region and the world. The government is very supportive towards new entrepreneurs and even provides angel funding of Rs 60 Lakh – in the early stages of the business. Dubai was the first emirate in the UAE to establish the Economic Free Zone Model – wherein these free zones allow non-native entrepreneurs to retain 100 % company ownership. However, if a company is registered out of these ‘free zones” then the involvement of a local partner comes into the picture and this partner would own 51 % stake in the company. Startups in the free zones are also exempted from corporate and incomes taxes for 50 years.

Local support is also not hard to find as new accelerators and startup facilitators help entrepreneurs by offering programs which help keep overall costs low along with set-up support, discount on registrations and visas, networking opportunities, access to angel investors and VCs.

3. Bahrain

Bahrain – popularly known as the pearl of the Arabian Gulf, is located at the heart of the Gulf. Due to its centralized location – Bahrain is also seen as the gateway to the Gulf market and is ideal for entrepreneurs due to the low operations cost in the country. There is no corporate tax and no VAT. There are three main Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in Bahrain – Bahrain Logistic Zone, Bahrain International Investment Park and Bahrain International Airport. There is more freedom to do business than in Qatar. Bahrain stands at the 63rd place on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Bahrain also ranks among the 20 best places for expats.

As a tax free economy, the net income in Bahrain is more than that in European countries. Bahrain has the freest economy in the Middle East and has a free trade agreement with the US along with bilateral and economic agreements with other 43 countries. Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, Japan, Germany, and France are Bahrain’s major trading partners. Bahrain is well connected to Saudi Arabia via roadways and a similar connection with Qatar is also in the works. In fact, Bahrain’s trade routes to worldwide markets (through fast and efficient access by air, sea and road) prove to be a big attraction point for businesses.

4. Ireland

Ireland is a country which has high level of startup support programmes. Dublin (the capital of Ireland) is home to over 2000 startups. In 2015, a funding of more than €300M+ was raised in Dublin, add to this mixture low corporation rates and the country makes a great place to set up a business. Ireland is one of the most open and globally connected countries in the world. Its geographic location, easy transport links to Europe, US and Middle East along with membership of the EU (and having the Euro as its currency) provides easy access to international markets.

Ireland has an in-house Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) that allows a non-EEA (European Economic Area) national with an innovative business idea & minimum funding of €50,000 to come and set up a business. The objective of this programme is to provide support to High Potential Start-Ups which are defined as start-up ventures that are:

>Introducing a new or innovative product/service to international markets.
>Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realizing €1 million in sales within 3 to 4 years of starting up.
>Led by an experienced and focused management team.
>Headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
>Less than 6 years old.

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