How much does it cost to set up a business in every country?

The disruption that the pandemic has caused in our lives and economies has had the potential to give us all a reason to consider going it alone and starting up a new business. According to reports, by Q3 of 2020 there were 1.5m new business applications made in the USA, 77% up on the previous quarter and more than double any quarterly report from 2004 to 2017.

Of course, starting your own business comes with risks attached, but also costs. BusinessFinancing has done research into how much it would cost in each country for start up a new company and how affordable it would be, based on the local average income and figures from the World Bank’s Doing Business project.
How much does it cost to set up a business in every country?
The most (and least) expensive countries for entrepreneurs to start a business (Study)

Starting a business in Europe

Start-up costs vary widely across Europe but the most expensive place to be an entrepreneur is Italy, where you need to pay $4,895, making it also the least affordable country to start a business, because that’s double the average monthly income of $2,403. There are other countries where the costs are above $1k but generally these have higher average monthly income. One of the cheapest is the UK, where it costs just $17, which is still more than Slovenia, where you don’t need to pay anything if you have starting capital of more than $7k.

Starting a business in North America

American entrepreneurs need to pay $725 to start up a new business, but with an average monthly paycheck of $4458, that’s one of the more affordable rates on the continent. It’s certainly a lot easier for them than their counterparts in the Bahamas, where startup costs can be $1810, which is more than ten times the monthly income, so anyone wanting to create their own business needs to have deep pockets. The same can be said for much of the Caribbean, where fees are generally over $1k, with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago which has costs of just $114.

Starting a business in South America

Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit in Venezuela won’t need to save up for long to afford the required fees, which add up to just $0.21. However it’s a very different story in Suriname, where the startup fees are an eye watering $3030.38, which would be high in any country but are almost insurmountable for people who earn an average of $384.25 a month. Fees are also very high in Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay, while starting a new business in Chile costs a mere $16.32. In Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, fees are less than the monthly wage, making them relatively high but still affordable.

Starting a business in Africa

Across Africa, while the monthly average income levels are almost uniformly low, the costs of starting up a new business vary widely. In Rwanda it’s free for two years, while it's also very cheap in South Africa, Sudan, Egypt and Mauritania and below $100 in several countries. However the costs in Equatorial Guinea are a restrictive $2,321, particularly for people earning an average of $324 a month. Meanwhile, the Republic of the Congo is the least affordable place in the world with an average wage of just $48 and startup fees of $1236.

Starting a business in the Middle East and Central Asia

If you had any plans to move to the United Arab Emirates and start a new business, you need to have been saving up for a while first, because it’s the most expensive country in the world for entrepreneurs with costs of $7443. Even with average monthly paychecks of $3,332 that’s still a big ask, though less so than in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, where it costs more than $1k and wages are much lower. For much cheaper startup fees, Kyrgyzstan requires just $8.35 while Kazakhstan has fees of a mere $11.70 as well as much quicker processing time than many other countries with just five days needed to get up and running.

Starting a business in the rest of Asia and Oceania

The cheapest place in this region to start a new business is Timor Leste, where the startup fees are just $10, but the best place in the world to be an entrepreneur is New Zealand according to these results. It costs just $43 to do so, while monthly average incomes are $2838, giving it an affordability percentage of 2%. Australia, by contrast, has fees of $379, while the highest fees in the region are in Cambodia, where you need to pay $746 despite monthly wages of just $114.75.

As you’ll have seen, the costs of starting up a new business around the world varies widely as do the average monthly incomes, meaning that some countries are much more affordable than others for wannabe entrepreneurs. Why not dig deeper into the data and see how your country compares to the rest?

The Cost of Starting a Business in Europe

The Cost of Starting a Business in North America

The Cost of Starting a Business in South America

Read next: How to Find Success as a Freelancer (infographic)
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