Start-up Success: The Best Countries and Industries To Start a Business

Starting a business can be a daunting and challenging experience, but keeping the momentum going can be even harder. There are many factors to consider, such as outgoings and turnover, when it comes to building a successful business.

However, one prominent factor that can affect business success is where you establish it.

Small Business Prices has researched various metrics, such as industry growth, business death rate and expected revenue, to reveal the best countries across the globe where to establish a business if you want it to be successful.

The U.S is the Best Country To Set Up a Business

Rank

Country

Business Survival Rate % 

Number of Registered Businesses 

Gross Domestic Spending on Research and Development (million £)

1

United States

N/A

733,825

453,408

2

United Kingdom

89.18

664,974

38,259

3

Australia

75.80

235,654

N/A

4

France

83.25

201,087

47,399

5

Chile

N/A

132,740

N/A

6

Italy

81.21

114,360

25,347

7

Spain

75.59

94,676

16,626

8

Turkey

80.19

85,798

18,371

9

Mexico

N/A

83,903

5,016

10

Germany

74.86

72,844

98,058

We’ve looked at 43 countries globally and analysed various metrics to compile a list of the top 10 best, and worst, countries for starting a business within if you want it to be successful.

The United States and United Kingdom take spots one and two respectively. Both countries have over 650,000 registered businesses (the USA has 733,825 and the UK 664,974).

However, they differ massively on how much they spend on research and development. The USA spends just under half a billion on elevating businesses across their country, whereas the UK spends a considerably lower amount of £38,315 million.

It should be noted that gross domestic spend on research and development doesn’t always equate to business success. In Mexico just over $5 million is pumped into businesses which is only a mere sum in comparison to that spent in the USA.

Regardless of the difference in spend, Mexico ranks only 8 places lower than the number one country, with 83,903 businesses. This could be due to Mexico’s existing skills and infrastructure that make it an attractive country for businesses.

International companies; HP, Coca-Cola and Intel all manufacture their products in Mexico.

Iceland has the least amount of registered businesses

Rank

Country 

Business Survival Rate % 

Number of Registered Businesses 

Gross Domestic Spending on Research and Development (million £)

1

Iceland

76.30

2,283

333

2

Austria

86.38

3,830

10,858

3

Canada

60.00

4,065

20,426

4

Slovenia

85.87

4,182

1,153

5

Malta

86.08

5,527

N/A

6

Lithuania

63.50

6,072

716

7

Luxembourg

89.62

7,309

557

8

Costa Rica

N/A

8,984

N/A

9

Greece

96.86

9,793

2,847

10

Latvia

74.96

9,864

263

Taking last place, as the worst country to set up a business, is Iceland.

The Scandinavian country has an overall business survival rate of 76.3%, and the total number of registered businesses sits at 2,283.

A considerable reduction in comparison to the top ten countries. The difference in how populated the countries are, is a playing factor; the population for the second-place country (UK) is 9,425,622 whereas Iceland sits at just over half a million, with 590,335 residents.

Iceland also has the second least amount of money spent on research and development for businesses, with only £333 million being spent across the country.

Latvia, a country situated in the north east of Europe, took the top spot of this unfortunate variable – spending just £263 million on researching and developing their citizens’ businesses.

The most successful businesses in the United Kingdom are within the scientific and technical industries

Rank

Industry

Active Companies in UK (in thousand)

Company Births in UK  (in thousand)

Company Deaths in UK (in thousand)

1

Professional, Scientific and Technical

544

66

60

2

Construction

402

51

42

3

Business Administration and Support Services

304

59

45

4

Information and Communication

263

32

28

5

Retail

240

33

27

If you are looking to have a successful, thriving business within the United Kingdom then you should consider setting up a business in the professional, scientific and technical industry.

Examples of businesses within this sector include; legal advice, engineering, architectural, medical and veterinary establishments. There are 544,000 active businesses within this industry in the UK, with the birth rate sitting at 66,000 and the deaths at 60,000.

Although businesses within the professional, scientific and technical industry are the most successful, jobs within this sector require a high level of training and expertise.

The second most successful industry in the UK is construction, with 402,000 active businesses, nearly 150,000 less than the professional, scientific and industrial industry.

The death rate is considerably less, for construction businesses the death rate sits at 42,000.

This reduced number of business deaths could be down to the increased demand for new housing, offices and overall industrialization that the UK is under.

Businesses within the education industry are the least viable in the United Kingdom

Rank

Industry

Active Companies in UK (in thousand)

Company Births in UK (in thousand)

Company Deaths in UK (in thousand)

1

Education

46

5

5

2

Finance and Insurance

48