Posted by Millie Empson on September 24th, 2019.
If you’re starting your own business you’ll have many hurdles to jump – and starting that business overseas can create additional challenges.
To reduce the stresses and strains of dealing with both a new business and a new culture, you should choose a country which offers support and opportunity, and one in which language and cultural differences are unlikely to become an issue.
We’ve put together a list of three English-speaking, start-up friendly countries which could provide the perfect platform for your fledgling business.
Ranked as one of the most start-up friendly countries in the world, America is the original Land of Opportunity, founded on the firm belief that anyone can triumph from the ground up, regardless of their background.
A 2019 profile from the US Small Business Administration revealed that 99.9% of businesses within the country were newly formed, so there’s never been a better time to join the start-up flock and experience your own state-side triumph!
But while the US may be the perfect place for small business, America itself is far from small! So where should you start?
Seattle is the birthplace of the entrepreneur, with Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks all springing from the heart of the city’s vibrant business sector. In short, there is no greater place to launch your American Dream.
The local government encourage start-ups, with special grants available through their ‘Only in Seattle Initiative’. On top of this, there’s great camaraderie between youthful companies and older contemporaries, with lots of investor support to help you gain a foothold no matter how little a fish you may feel within the bigger pond.
Renowned as one of the world’s most inspiring start-up zones, Austin Texas was recently labelled the best place in the US for new business by Inc.com and the ‘rockstar’ of small business cities by Fortune magazine.
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Dropbox all show a heavy presence, while the 20th century success story, Dell, was first established here and continues to be an inspiring legacy for businesses throughout the city.
Austin stands out on affordability with its zero corporate tax rate and low cost of living. A community of like-minded entrepreneurs, meanwhile, create a welcoming and supportive place for start-ups of all shapes and sizes. So Austin may be the place to be in 2019 if you want to jump into the heart of start-up vogue.
Fintech start-ups should look no further than Charlotte, North Carolina. The ‘Queen City’ state is emerging as a fintech capital, with a business scene thriving on support from financial service providers and a welcoming community of tech giants and minors alike, including Amazon and computer legend IBM.
Note also that the cost of living in Charlotte is one of the lowest in any major US city, while the cost of conducting business is 12% lower than the national average, making this a highly attractive money-saver as well as a hotspot for new business.
While Brexit is now synonymous with political chaos, the UK remains one of the best countries in which to launch your venture, with a huge pool of talent, a robust business community and low barriers to entry-level start-ups.
Support within the United Kingdom comes in many forms, from R&D grants and investment schemes to a strong financial sector eager to lend revenue. Add to this a historic business community which naturally fosters entrepreneurial talent and you have an ideal crucible in which to forge strong networks.
While London may strike you as the ideal place for a start-up due to the sheer number of people and businesses, the capital is expensive, with a mixture of high wages and exorbitant property prices likely to drag on your early profit margins.
Instead, consider some of the UK’s more progressive and emerging business bastions like Bristol, Manchester or Sheffield, where lower housing costs and burgeoning start-up communities flourish on local government incentives and strides to improve commerce.
Moreover, the relatively small size of the British Isles combined with a sprawling rail network – including a high-speed north/south connection currently under construction – provides a quick journey to the capital while saving you from the crippling cost of London living.
Canada has evolved in recent decades to become one of the most start-up friendly countries in the world. The Canadian government this year pledged to welcome one million new permanent residents by 2020, making this an inviting and attractive destination for expats looking to build a business.
Fintech is a thriving sector, benefitting from a rich vein of talent fed by Canadian nationals and expatriates emigrating from abroad. But like the US, Canada is a vast target, so where should you look to base your new venture?
The diverse city of Toronto is a university enclave, churning out a steady stream of fresh talent to create a formidable pool of skilled candidates for your start-up. Moreover, the city is a booming artificial intelligence hotspot, boasting the highest concentration of AI businesses in the world. Amazon, Etsy, GM and Samsung all look to Toronto for their AI development needs, so if this is your area of expertise you’ll find an almost guaranteed array of corporate opportunities.
As a proud seat of learning and innovation, Toronto offers research grants and makes regular development investments in its own infrastructure. The cost of living is also much lower compared with other prominent start-up flashpoints like Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.
Ranked in second place behind Toronto as a tech epicentre, Ottawa has the highest concentration of technology employment within Canada and looks set to become a major AI hub in North America.
Local government are already looking to ramp up the city’s flowering reputation by offering financial investment support to emerging companies. The Invest Ottawa incentive provides stimulus to every level of enterprise, from ideas to inception all the way up to the expansion of big business. For the entrepreneur looking to jump in at ground level and ride the wave of a rising market, Ottawa presents an exciting opportunity.
One of Canada’s best kept secrets, the relatively small city of Waterloo is located just 60 miles from Toronto and is one part of the tri-city group including Cambridge and Ontario. Here on the banks of the Grand River stands a city with a start-up density comparable to Silicon Valley!
In efforts to encourage the city’s already expanding tech sector, underscored by corporate heavyweights like Sun Life, BlackBerry and Google, the local government have introduced a number of programmes designed to assist new business. The Accelerator Centre – ranked fourth as one of the best university-linked programmes in the world – offers one-to-one mentorship for entrepreneurs. Alongside this, Waterloo’s unique Institute for Quantum Computing, based at the city’s main university, is fast drawing global interest as a learning mecca for researchers and computer engineers alike.
So whether you want to live the American Dream, reap the benefits of Britain’s business networks and financial sectors or dive into the future of Canadian fintech, there are no shortage of places to choose from. Just remember that no business idea can hope to succeed unless it leaves the inventor’s imagination and finds a home in the real world. Luckily an entire and receptive world lies ready and waiting, so take the plunge and start planning how and where your start-up adventure will unfold.
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