Where’s the Best Place to Start or Acquire a Business?

The short answer is anywhere.

You might think me flippant, but check the data. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place to start a business. Time to pack up and ship out?

Not quite.

The results change depending on where you look and what you measure. Every country wants the accolade of Best Place to Do Business.

For example, since country size and population vary, you might think the number of businesses per square kilometer would provide the answer. On that measure, The Netherlands wins the top spot.

Or, you might consider the number of registered businesses per capita, and on that basis, the Czech Republic wins. 

You might think a country’s openness to business is the ultimate criterion. On that score, the United States is the clear winner.

Or, you might adopt a simpler analysis and choose the country that registered the most businesses this year, where you’ll find the United Kingdom leads the pack.

See where I’m going here?

Perhaps I am being a little flippant. I’ve not crunched the numbers, and this is just an overview of some recent reports. But you probably won’t find any one country as the perfect place to launch or Acquire a business. Really, it’s a trick question – since you can do either anywhere in the world once you’ve made the right connections.

Entrepreneurship is global, and so are we. One thing we’ve learned from our partners in Africa, Turkey, and India is that entrepreneurs around the world face similar problems: How to bring ideas to market, where to find talented people and support, and how to maximize return at exit.

Everything from mentorship to tax relief helps you succeed as an entrepreneur, so before you decide where to Acquire or start a business, consider the following. 

How to Make the Most of Local Communities

Join Entrepreneurship Groups to Get Some Advice

As managing editor of Bootstrappers, I speak to many founders who regret not asking for help sooner. They spend too long trying to figure things out alone and end up wasting time, effort, and money as a result. You could splash out on a business coach (or an M&A advisor if you’re acquiring a startup), but don’t forget to connect with fellow entrepreneurs too. 

From global communities like Entrepreneurs’ Organization to local Facebook groups, you’ll find no end of advice, guidance, and even collaboration opportunities – all for free. Sites like Indie Hackers, for example, are a great way to connect with people whose skills complement yours. You needn’t even be on the same continent, for example, to build a million-dollar business

If you’re new to a country, state, or region, understand how the local market works. Join as many professional groups as you can and build relationships with local founders before you start building, acquiring, or selling there. Since entrepreneurship benefits everyone, you’ll find these communities welcoming and only too keen to see a fellow entrepreneur succeed. 

Hire Professional Help

If you plan to sell or Acquire a startup in another country, hire a local tax advisor or an M&A advisor specialized in international markets. Trying to do this alone could mean falling foul of local regulations, paying too much tax, receiving penalties and fines, or being taken advantage of by a buyer or seller who knows the market better than you do. Don’t risk it. 

That said, most countries allow foreign investment and ownership of domestic corporations. India, for example, received $44.4 billion in direct foreign investment in 2016. It’s probably easier to Acquire companies from within common economic regions like the European Union, but don’t assume each member’s laws are identical. Hire an expert to avoid local pitfalls. 

Exploit Tax Breaks, Grants, and Subsidies

Governments around the world offer all sorts of incentives to encourage entrepreneurship. Competition is good for the economy and its people, offering better prices and more choices for consumers. In the US, you can access support, loans, and tax breaks from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The UK offers similar incentives such as business grants (as do many countries).

If you choose to Acquire or start a business in a developing economy, you might also raise funding via platforms like Pariti. Organizations that help foster economic growth can offer you financial help and support, and often have broad investor networks. Acquire, for example, is open to entrepreneurs everywhere and has already established M&A corridors across most of the world.

The question of where is the best place to Acquire or start a business is down to you. Where might your idea best find its roots? What does a return on investment look like to you? Is it purely financial or do you also want to have a social or environmental impact? You can start, scale, and exit startups pretty much anywhere, so maybe it’s time to think of where you might have the most impact rather than the place that has enjoyed the most success. 


The content on this site is not intended to provide legal, financial or M&A advice. It is for information purposes only, and any links provided are for your convenience. Please seek the services of an M&A professional before entering into any M&A transaction. It is not Acquire’s intention to solicit or interfere with any established relationship you may have with any M&A professional.