Startup Insight

Best European Countries for Business

May 28, 2024 | By Startup Rise EU

There are many key factors that are important when starting a company in a European country, such as taxes, economic growth, infrastructure, quality and cost of living, political stability, and much more.

There are many key factors that are important when starting a company in a European country, such as taxes, economic growth, infrastructure, quality and cost of living, political stability, and much more.

SUMMARY

  • There are many key factors that are important when starting a company in a European country, such as taxes, economic growth, infrastructure, quality and cost of living, political stability, and much more.
  • The European Union's Schengen area has removed border controls between countries, which is simplifying travel and trade in European countries.

When selecting a country for business expansion, it is important to understand the social and cultural context, including past and present issues such as conflict and labour abuses. All these factors collectively decide whether a country is the easiest country to start a new business or not.

In this article we will discuss the top 10 easiest countries to start a new business in Europe.

Ireland

Ireland is a top choice for starting a business in Europe due to its high income, digitally advanced economy. Smartphone usage is at 90%, and home internet usage is at 92%, creating a solid foundation for tech and digital businesses. Enterprise Ireland invests in approximately 200 startups annually, indicating strong support for entrepreneurs.

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Major companies like Google and Facebook base their European operations in Ireland for good reason. With access to both the British and European markets following Brexit, Ireland is an attractive place to start a business. After overcoming fiscal challenges, Ireland is on its way to becoming a strong European economy.

Ireland's EU, OECD and Eurozone membership, use of the euro and English as a primary language make it attractive to European entrepreneurs. This setup facilitates easy business operations, access to a larger market and cost savings without foreign exchange or translation fees. It is one of the Best european countries for business

Entrepreneurs from the UK, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the EU do not need a permit or visa to set up business in Ireland. The country also supports remote company setup and registration for non-EU citizens. With a corporate tax rate of 12.5% and double taxation treaties with approximately 72 countries, Ireland offers a favourable environment for business.

Germany

Germany is the largest economy in Europe and one of the largest economies globally. Famous for their technology and manufacturing sectors, German businesses follow strict quality standards. Meeting these standards gives you a significant global edge over competitors.

Bordering nine countries, Germany is a central hub of European culture and trade. As Europe's largest economy and industrial powerhouse, it is a reliable choice for most businesses. Germany supports small and medium-sized companies, known as Mittelstand, as well as large corporations. Its economy is resilient, supported by sensible fiscal policies and stable leadership. It is Best european countries for business in Europe

Germany offers a welcoming environment for foreign investors even though taxes and bureaucracy may be high. The country offers generous investment and talent visas, has a high level of English proficiency, and boasts the lowest rents among major European cities. Germany's strong economy, strong infrastructure, high English proficiency, generous visa schemes and relatively low cost of living make it one of the best European countries for business.

The United Kingdom (UK)

Britain is still in a strong position even though Brexit has created some economic uncertainty. With a large economy and low unemployment rate, it is an excellent choice for starting a business, especially in the tech industry.

According to the British Business Bank, around 360,000 new businesses are set up in the UK every year. Forming a company is quick, easy and inexpensive, with postal applications processed within eight to ten days and online applications processed within 24 hours.

In 2021, the UK tops Tide's list of best European countries to start a business due to its affordable and straightforward company setup processes. The UK boasts one of the most diverse economies and workforces in Europe. It provides support to businesses in their early years when profitability is low and provides tax relief on the revenue gained from selling assets at the end of the business's life.

Additionally, the UK has a strong taxation and legal system with efficient processes and a corporate tax rate of 25% for all limited companies. With one-third of adults holding some form of advanced degree, the workforce is highly skilled and adaptable.

Czechia (the Czech Republic)

Czechia's innovative activities, strong economy and skilled workforce create an ideal environment for new ideas. The Czech Republic has excellent infrastructure and one of the lowest poverty and unemployment rates in Europe, making Czechia an attractive location for entrepreneurs from around the world.

The country offers a favourable environment for foreign entrepreneurs due to its affordable cost of living, low tax rates, and central location in Europe. The Czech government and organisations like CzechInvest are actively developing the national startup ecosystem. They provide startup and digital nomad visas for foreign entrepreneurs, thereby boosting the talent pool.

Public sector initiatives include a fund of funds with the European Investment Fund to support early-stage startups and a strategy to become an innovation leader within ten years. This includes increasing public spending, policy evaluation and reforming intellectual property laws.

With significant investment and a proactive government approach, Czechia is fertile ground for startups targeting the European market. Various initiatives, funding and resources support the growth of the Czech startup ecosystem.

Finland

Finland is famous for its happy population, strong social welfare, and universal health care systems. While the cost of living is high, this is balanced by high salaries and very low startup costs. Finland is an important hub for gaming and offers many benefits for starting a business, including stability, a strong tech and gaming startup scene, abundant local talent, high foreign investment and an excellent startup network.

The country's vibrant startup ecosystem is supported by top technology infrastructure, skilled workforce and substantial R&D investment. Finland is very startup-friendly , it is known for its stability, transparency and openness to new technologies. The public sector provides support through incentives, reduced taxes, funding and services for early stage companies and universities.it is one of the best european countries for business in europe

The Finnish Startup Permit allows foreign entrepreneurs to set up or expand their business in Finland. The country also has a strong investment environment with VCs supported by accelerators, angel investors and government initiatives. Despite its small market, Finland has produced successful startups such as Nokia, Supercell and Rovio and offers growth opportunities in bioeconomy, clean tech, health, ICT and tourism. Events like Slush attract global participants, further boosting Finland's reputation as a startup hub.

Denmark

Denmark offers some of the highest wages globally, with even low-skilled workers earning competitive wages. This high cost of living is balanced by these salaries, ensuring that the population is generally happy, like other Scandinavian countries. Denmark is built on the principles of equality, universal health care and well-being, which CEOs should keep in mind when starting a business there. Entrepreneurs will find startup costs in Denmark remarkably low.

All Scandinavian countries are great for starting a business, but Denmark arguably leads the list. It is one of the easiest countries in Europe to start a business due to business-friendly policies, strong support for startups, and excellent infrastructure including reliable transport links and widespread high-speed internet.

While Denmark is part of the European Union and the Schengen Area, it uses the Danish kroner instead of the euro. Entrepreneurs should be aware of potential paperwork issues, including tax payments and contract enforcement.

For more information, see our article on the best cities to start your business in Denmark. The advantages of starting a business in Denmark include a strong local talent pool, low regulation, high standard of living and strong infrastructure.

Switzerland

Banking is a central part of the Swiss economy, but its membership in the European single market also supports strong export and import industries. The country has a highly skilled, happy and stable workforce. Switzerland is known for its favourable tax laws and wealth, Switzerland's corporate tax rates are equally low.

Switzerland projects an image of stability and organisation, which makes it a reliable investment destination due to its banking policies and political stability. Despite not being part of the European Union, the country's federal structure and direct democracy has fostered a strong ecosystem.

Switzerland has bilateral trade agreements with all European countries.It is not one of the cheapest countries in Europe  still it is Best european countries for business in europe.

The public sector actively promotes entrepreneurship. The private sector also supports startups through organisations. The START Summit program helps students build global networks with industry leaders and investors.

Switzerland's highly skilled workforce backed by renowned universities is an asset for startups. Switzerland remains a top destination for startups looking for funding, support and networking opportunities.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is now a growing hub for global entrepreneurs. Bulgaria offers a variety of business structures. Limited liability companies (OODs) are popular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while joint stock companies (ADs) are suitable for larger businesses.

The country is known for its easy company registration process and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU at 10%. The cost of living is also much lower than many Western European countries, making Bulgaria an attractive destination for businesses looking to cut costs. These factors make Bulgaria one of the Cheapest countries to start a business in Europe.

Setting up a company in Bulgaria involves less bureaucracy and only takes a few weeks. There are no legal restrictions for foreign companies purchasing land, and only operating costs need to be paid after registration. EU entrepreneurs benefit from cheap, skilled and multilingual labour, while still having access to the European single market.

Bulgaria's location in Southeast Europe provides easy access to established markets such as Greece and Turkey and opportunities in Serbia and North Macedonia.

Netherlands

The Netherlands is very friendly to entrepreneurs, with Amsterdam being a prime location. The city's history is rooted in commerce, and the Dutch government supports a favourable business climate. Although the tax rate is typically 25%, residents find the services worthwhile.

The government also provides considerable support for entrepreneurs. The benefits of starting a business in the Netherlands include low regulation, extensive English proficiency, a history of technological success, strong infrastructure, and a skilled workforce.

After Brexit, the Netherlands is a strong alternative to the UK. It has the highest percentage of non-native English speakers in the EU and minimal business regulation, making it an attractive location for many companies. This has boosted its thriving technology sector and Amsterdam's financial reputation.

The Netherlands boasts high education standards and excellent connectivity with strong international rail links, Schiphol Airport and advanced internet infrastructure. Although it faces challenges such as a growing population and small size, the benefits of the Schengen Area far outweigh these shortcomings.

Sweden

Sweden consistently ranks among the top countries for business according to Forbes. Its strong economy has made it a major European startup hub. The government supports innovation and entrepreneurship, which helps offset high living costs.

With world-class infrastructure and technology, Sweden was ranked second in the Network Readiness Index 2020, which measures the country's digital readiness. This makes Sweden a major hub for tech entrepreneurs, with many early adopters of new technology.

As the largest Scandinavian economy, Sweden has a thriving manufacturing sector with excellent access throughout Northern Europe. A stable government and low corruption levels further increase its appeal for entrepreneurs.

Conclusion

The European Union's Schengen area has removed border controls between countries, which is simplifying travel and trade in European countries. The European Economic Area's free trade agreements also simplify trade between EU member states. As English is widely spoken and the infrastructure for most industries already established, it is no surprise that many entrepreneurs consider Europe first for business expansion.


Which European country is easiest to start a business?

Denmark is one of the easiest European countries to start a business.


Which is the most profitable business in Europe?

Tech startups, renewable energy, e-commerce and healthcare are among the thriving industries in Europe, offering attractive opportunities for entrepreneurs.


Which Industry is booming in Europe?

Automation, cyber security, software and artificial intelligence are some of the industries that are booming in Europe.


What is the richest country?

Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in Europe.

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