Starting a new business is never easy, but firms that must grow out of their infancy in countries that are unfriendly or even hostile, to entrepreneurs, are highly likely to fail. Ideally, aspiring business owners have the flexibility to incorporate in countries that more openly embrace capitalism and new business development. Earlier this year, the World Bank released a study on the most business-friendly nations. These countries were selected based on how easy it is for individuals to conduct business. The study also factored in the ease of starting a small business in these nations.

Singapore consistently ranks highly in terms of one of the best countries in the world to own and operate a business. It was founded as a British trading colony back in 1819, which allowed it to start its history with a mindset favorable to entrepreneurialism. Its economy is solidly free-market and one of the most open in the world. As a result, it has become one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. Pharmaceutical and medical technology firms are currently embracing Singapore for new business ventures.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong's roots also tie back to the United Kingdom, which occupied Hong Kong back in 1841. Hong Kong also has a reputation as operating one of the most open and free-market economies in the world. It has since been designated a special administrative region by the People's Republic of China, which has so far allowed it to maintain an extremely business-friendly environment. International trade and finance are important businesses to Hong Kong, and it is one of the best gateways for businesses seeking to operate inside mainland China.

New Zealand
A former British colony, New Zealand has steadily shifted from agriculture to important current industries, such as food processing, wood and paper products processing and manufacturing, and transportation equipment. Tourism is also an important and growing industry, as is mining. Businesses looking to operate in Asia would be well served to consider New Zealand for a subsidiary or even operating headquarters.

United States
Even with its current struggles, the U.S. remains one of the best places in the world to open and run a business. Its roots also tie back to Britain, which served as the initial seeds to it growing into one of the largest economies in the world. Per capita GDP in 2011 was right around $49,000 per year, which is among the highest in the world. This figure has been stagnant in recent years, but new businesses continue to sprout up and thrive in a business climate that encourages startups and has the capital to commit to funding new ventures.

Denmark is the only country in the top five with no past formal ties to the U.K. However, it has found its own way to supporting a market economy and high-tech agriculture, pharmaceutical firms, renewable energy, and a large shipping industry. Its key advantage compared to other more developed economies in the current global economy is the very strong position of its government fiscal finances. What is equally important is the fact that Denmark is not a part of the struggling European monetary unit, opting instead to keep its krone.

The Bottom Line
Smaller firms with global ambitions would be well served to consider the above countries for opening international operations. Most continents are covered and Asia represents an important region that should continue to experience above-average growth potential when compared to the rest of the world. Contrarian-minded entrepreneurs may want to consider Europe for its turnaround potential, while the U.S. remains one of the steadier places to do business.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Why the Philippines Is the #1 Source for Tech Startups & Talent

    In the last few years, the Philippines has been working diligently to re-invent itself, and that work has paid off. The Southeast Asian nation is rapidly gaining notoriety as a leading source ...
  2. Investing News

    Austin Set to Rival Silicon Valley

    Over the years, Austin, Texas has lovingly embraced its quirky reputation with the slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” Today, the capital city is attracting several tech startups and investors, making ...
  3. Professionals

    5 Ways Your Small Business Is at Risk for a Cyber Attack

    Small business owners think they are immune to hacks because of their size, but they are not. When they find the guard is down, hackers are exploiting common weakness.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful Korean Entrepreneurs

    Discover the backgrounds of some of the most successful Korean entrepreneurs and information about the companies and projects leading to their success.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Most Successful Swedish Entrepreneurs

    Understand what makes Sweden a great place for entrepreneurship. Learn about five successful Swedish entrepreneurs who are making big impacts.
  7. Investing

    Essential Tips on Making Your Hobby Your Career

    Here are some ways to turn what you love to do for fun into your job.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Most Successful Mexican Entrepreneurs

    Understand why so many socially conscious entrepreneurs have come out of Mexico. Learn about the top most successful Mexican entrepreneurs.
  9. Investing

    Oprah Winfrey Biography

    Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American media magnate, television and film producer, and talk show host with a net worth of roughly $3 billion.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Why Every Small Business Needs A Website

    The reality of living in the twenty-first century is that customers find business information and product offerings predominantly on websites, and small businesses without an online presence ...
  1. Can mutual funds invest in private companies?

    Mutual funds can invest in private companies, which may come as a surprise to many investors. It is rare for a fund to have ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How autonomous are special administrative regions?

    When most people think of special administrative regions, or SARs, they are referring to Hong Kong and its relationship with ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can a special administrative region declare autonomy?

    Special administrative regions, or SARs, namely Hong Kong and Macau, do not declare autonomy so much as they are granted ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can I buy insurance to reduce unlimited liability in a partnership?

    Partnership insurance is actually quite common. Most of the time, partners buy insurance to safeguard against the possibility ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What countries are currently considered to be special administrative regions?

    The two countries, both under the overall sovereignty of the People's Republic of China, designated as special administrative ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!