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Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power

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Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power


Starting a new business isn’t as simple as coming up with an idea.

In addition to the time investment needed to formulate and create a business, there’s often a hefty capital requirement. A new business usually requires paying different fees for licensing, permits, and approvals, and many governments also have minimum on-hand capital requirements.

And costs are relative. Though it might be more costly to start a business in some countries on paper, affordability also takes into account relative income.

These graphics from BusinessFinancing.co.uk use data from the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report to examine the startup cost for a small-to-medium-size LLC in the largest business cities across 190 countries.

The Cost of Starting a Business in Different Countries

From a pure cost perspective, the affordability of starting a business is extremely dependent on where you are located.

Some countries make the cost of business extremely low to encourage more economic activity. Others have high or nearly inaccessible fees to protect existing businesses, or to simply cash in on the entrepreneurial spirit.

Country Cost (2020 USD) % of Monthly Income
Venezuela 0 -%
Rwanda 0 -%
Slovenia 0 -%
Kyrgyzstan 8 0.1
Sudan 8 0.13
Timor Leste 10 0.09
Azerbaijan 11 0.04
Kazakhstan 12 0.02
Ukraine 12 0.06
Egypt 13 0.07
South Africa 13 0.03
Mauritania 14 0.12
Uzbekistan 14 0.13
Chile 16 0.02
United Kingdom 17 0.01
Belarus 18 0.04
Pakistan 20 0.16
Croatia 27 0.03
Sierra Leone 29 0.81
Armenia 30 0.1
Burundi 30 1.77
Iran 31 0.09
Benin 32 0.38
Liberia 32 0.87
Niger 32 0.78
Afghanistan 33 0.86
Georgia 33 0.1
Mongolia 37 0.17
Romania 38 0.05
Botswana 40 0.08
New Zealand 43 0.02
South Korea 47 0.02
Kosovo 49 -%
Angola 54 0.63
Togo 56 1.29
Indonesia 74 0.3
Bulgaria 75 0.11
Moldova 76 0.24
Mozambique 76 2.09
Russia 77 0.11
Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 80 2.39
Ireland 86 0.02
Lesotho 86 0.89
Mauritius 86 0.1
Lithuania 90 0.07
Tunisia 93 0.42
Belize 99 0.33
Bhutan 100 0.45
Madagascar 100 2.72
Laos 105 0.68
Montenegro 105 0.16
Denmark 110 0.02
Serbia 112 0.24
Trinidad and Tobago 115 0.1
Malawi 117 4.72
Morocco 120 0.52
Zambia 120 1.28
Cameroon 125 1.24
Ghana 125 1.03
Vietnam 128 0.73
Tajikistan 136 1.86
China 138 0.21
India 142 0.98
Bangladesh 149 1.11
Ethiopia 150 3.21
Honduras 152 0.85
Czech Republic 158 0.13
Uganda 163 3.67
Canada 165 0.05
Argentina 167 0.21
Eritrea 174 4.63
Kiribati 174 0.7
Estonia 176 0.11
Sri Lanka 176 0.56
Turkey 177 0.28
Myanmar 179 1.73
Nepal 186 2.43
Jamaica 189 0.48
Thailand 201 0.43
North Macedonia 202 0.52
Algeria 203 0.79
Comoros 204 1.9
Greece 204 0.14
Slovakia 209 0.17
Brazil 218 0.35
Nigeria 223 1.68
Bahrain 231 0.14
Micronesia, Federated States of 231 0.82
Paraguay 232 0.61
Dominican Republic 233 0.39
Singapore 238 0.06
Taiwan 239 -%
Sweden 259 0.07
Tonga 262 0.78
Portugal 268 0.17
Latvia 287 0.25
Samoa 296 1
France 318 0.11
Tanzania 322 4.55
The Gambia 326 6.71
Libya 328 0.59
Guinea-Bissau 332 5.72
Senegal 343 3.35
Kenya 353 3.01
Peru 355 0.77
Costa Rica 363 0.4
Colombia 364 0.85
Brunei 366 0.18
Hungary 369 0.34
South Sudan 373 5.31
Palau 375 -%
Australia 377 0.1
Guinea 380 6.42
Poland 387 0.36
Philippines 389 1.44
Swaziland (Eswatini) 425 1.59
Guyana 436 1.29
Namibia 446 1.15
Papua New Guinea 459 2.71
Vanuatu 484 2.04
Mali 493 8.02
Oman 502 0.65
Hong Kong 512 1.2
Germany 524 0.16
Central African Republic 529 14.55
Malaysia 567 0.83
Zimbabwe 576 5.01
Chad 591 13.58
Albania 597 1.71
Marshall Islands 610 -%
Malta 620 -%
Japan 641 0.24
Fiji 705 1.65
United States of America 725 0.16
Panama 730 0.66
Spain 736 0.34
Cambodia 746 7.55
Finland 797 0.23
Yemen 808 10.7
Kuwait 814 0.31
Guatemala 819 2.63
Bosnia and Herzegovina 833 1.93
Seychelles 842 0.75
Jordan 860 2.67
Somalia 900 -%
Haiti 941 14.03
Gabon 947 2.18
Nicaragua 948 6.6
El Salvador 975 3.53
Dominica 1073 2.31
Iceland 1089 0.23
Barbados 1159 0.92
Congo (Republic of the) 1229 25.46
Israel 1241 0.41
Saudi Arabia 1267 0.81
Antigua and Barbuda 1271 -%
Bolivia 1293 5.67
Luxembourg 1343 0.27
Uruguay 1344 1.13
Syria 1392 10.41
Grenada 1410 -%
Mexico 1450 2.34
Switzerland 1463 0.27
Norway 1482 0.27
Iraq 1573 4.34
Cyprus 1576 0.72
Liechtenstein 1619 -%
Ecuador 1630 4.23
Bahamas 1810 0.89
Netherlands 2190 0.59
Equatorial Guinea 2322 7.18
Belgium 2402 0.74
Austria 2475 0.71
Lebanon 2855 5.35
Suriname 3030 11.14
Qatar 3952 0.92
San Marino 4672 -%
Italy 4876 2.02
United Arab Emirates 7444 2.23

At a glance, the cheapest regions for starting a business include Central Asia and Africa.

But the cheapest countries on the dollar for a new startup are Venezuela, Rwanda, and Slovenia. While the former does have fees that only total $0.21, both Rwanda and Slovenia have no fees for new businesses, though Slovenia does have a capital requirement of €7,500.

Expensive countries for new businesses are also spread across the world. There are some in Europe, including Italy at $4,876 and Austria at $2,475, as well as the Americas, including Suriname at $3,030 and Ecuador at $1,630.

The most expensive countries, however, are largely in the Middle East. They include #1 UAE at $7,444, #4 Qatar at $3,952, and #6 Lebanon at $2,855.

Which Country is the Most Affordable for Starting a Business?

Just as costs vary by country, so too does relative affordability.

Though some countries are cheaper than others for starting a business on the dollar, the picture changes when accounting for monthly income. When it comes to the cost of starting a business relative to monthly income, many developed countries take the cake.

Not including countries with missing data, the most affordable countries for starting a business include the UK, Denmark, and Ireland in Europe, South Korea in East Asia, and New Zealand in Oceania. Startup costs in each range from just 1%-2% of monthly income.

The picture is similar in the Americas, where Chile and Canada have the lowest relative fees at 2% and 5% of monthly income respectively. Even the U.S.—which has a decently high cost of $725 for starting a business—is relatively affordable at 16% of monthly income.

Some of the least affordable countries lie in the Middle-East and Central America. Haiti and Suriname have startup costs that are 1,403% and 1,114% of monthly income, while Yemen has affordability rates of 1,070%.

But the least affordable countries are in Africa. Many countries on the continent have startup costs that are more than 100% of monthly income, but the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic have affordability rates of 2,546% and 1,455% of monthly income, respectively.

Where is the best place to start a business? It can depend on the barrier to entry. But the biggest barrier takes time and ingenuity: finding the right idea at the right time.



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