Finance · 28 November 2016

UK better place to start a business than US and most of Europe

Start a business in the UK
The UK would place first if it had a better entrepreneurial environment score

A new body of research published by Mara Foundation has revealed Britain is statistically an easier place to start a business than many of its economic rivals.

The first annual Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index placed the UK fifth overall, behind the likes of Singapore, New Zealand and Canada, but ahead of the US, Germany, Japan, Australia and China.

Countries were ranked on policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and financial, with the UK scoring 382 out of 500. It scored best for policy (85 out of 100) and financial (84), with its worst category being entrepreneurial environment (65).

In examining the state of entrepreneurship and best nations to start a business, the survey commended the UK for its “ability to provide a supportive financial culture for entrepreneurs to flourish in”. The UK is noted for its attractiveness to investors in venture capital and private equity, beaten only by the US.

Its policy pillar score is, according to a statement, due to the framework put in place by the government to encourage entrepreneurs – with the pillar “excelling” due to the lack of perceived risk stemming from its high credit rating and the economic freedoms afforded by its open approach to capitalism.

Similarly to the UK, Singapore’s policy (93) and financial (90) scores saw it rank first in the index with 395 points – bettering New Zealand by only one mark. Antipodean entry New Zealand has the best global score for education (92) but fared poorly for entrepreneurial environment (58).

Top ten best countries to start a business

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As covered by Business Advice in a recent feature looking at the best and worst places to start a business around the world, New Zealand is also well known for its entrepreneurial culture. The government claims it’s simplistic online registration portal “can be completed in a matter of hours”, while the country boasts a regulatory environment that is easy to navigate for small business owners.

The cost of reserving a company name is only NZ$10.22 (£5.83), while registering the company itself only comes in at NZ$150 (£85.49).

Entrepreneurial rival the US did not excel across any pillar, achieving a final placing of 13th, but scored well in all five. It’s best performing area was education (82) and financial (78).

The lowest-placed European nations were Russia (53rd), Ukraine (51), Greece (50th), Italy (48th) and Bulgaria (40th).

James Endersby, managing director of index partner Opinium, said: “The research indicates that on the global stage, the UK is one of the most open and nurturing environments for entrepreneurs to build their own business.

“While fifth place is a significant and admirable position in the overall ranking, the lack of entrepreneurial spirit that it indicates in the average citizen is concerning. More must be done to encourage people to take hold of the opportunities available to them, particularly if we want to continue to nurture our economic position in a post-Brexit environment.”

How the Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index pillars were broken down

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Business Advice. He is also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative. Prior to his role at Real Business, he was editor at competitor website Growth Business and head reporter at M&A Deals. Throughout his career he has interviewed leading entrepreneurs including Alex Chesterman, Lopo Champalimaud, Sarah Wood, James Averdeick and Alex Saint.

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