The Top 5 Best Countries to Start a Business In

In a recent report, Best Countries, in partnership with BAV Group and The Wharton School, found the best countries to start a business in. They analysed five different attributes to determine how successful one could be starting a business in that location. This included affordability, bureaucracy, manufacturing costs, connection to the rest of the world, and access to the capital city. Below, we look into the top five best countries to start a business to see what makes them so effective.


Singapore was deemed to be the best country to start a business in. Known as one of the ‘Four Asian Tigers’, Singapore has recently surpassed Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan in terms of GDP per capita. Singapore has a GDP per capita of $59,797. It is one of the only Asian countries to have received a AAA credit rating from the ‘big three; credit rating agencies. Singapore also boasts a low unemployment rate, currently at around 2.1%, showing good recovery from the high of 3.4% during the 2020 pandemic.

The largest industries in Singapore are focused on telecommunications, banking, transportation, and manufacturing. Tourism is also a major contributor to the local economy. For new businesses, Singapore can provide cheap manufacturing and low tax rates, with minimal bureaucracy to overcome and minimal risk of corruption in business and government. Overall, Singapore is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and can offer many opportunities for new businesses.


Indonesia ranks second among the best countries to start a business. It’s the largest archipelagic state with a population of 271 million – over 300 languages are spoken across Indonesia. It has the largest economy in the region and is the only G20 member state in Southeast Asia. Indonesia has the 17th largest economy by nominal GDP, currently at $4,691.

Indonesia is classified as a newly industrialised country, a category of developing countries that have shown much higher economic growth than their peers. Whilst the economy was once focused on agriculture, in recent years it has developed to manufacturing, finance and business. There are 50 million small businesses in Indonesia, showing that if one can find a gap in the expanding market, a small business set up there is likely to succeed.


Mexico is the third best country in the world to start a business. It is the 16th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, and the second-largest economy in Latin America. It’s expected that the Mexico economy will continue to grow, with the potential for it to be the fifth, sixth, or seventh largest economy by 2050.

Once the economy was focused on agriculture, but it has been moving away from this into electronics manufacturing, tourism, and finance. The electronics industry especially has boomed in the last decade, and Mexico now has the sixth largest electronics economy in the world. For new businesses, Mexico is most noted for its cheap manufacturing costs and minimal bureaucracy. It’s also fairly well connected to the rest of the world.

United States of America

The USA is the fourth best country to start a business. It has the world’s largest economy and net wealth, ranking fifth in nominal GDP per capita. The USA is the second-largest manufacturer in the world, with industries focused on petroleum, steel, automobiles, aerospace, telecommunications, electronics, and consumer goods. It’s the largest importer and the second-largest exporter in the world.

For new businesses, the USA does not rank highly when scored for cheap manufacturing costs. However, it has minimal corruption and bureaucratic hurdles whilst also providing a well-developed infrastructure and legal framework. The USA also offers new businesses a skilled workforce with technological expertise, with superb connections to the rest of the world.


Malaysia is the fifth best country to start a business. It has the third largest economy in Southeast Asia and the 34th in the world by GDP. Its GDP per capita is at $10,401. It has been a fast-growing economy in recent years, focused on exports of high-value technology as well as palm oil and other industrial crops. The capital of Kuala Lumpur has a large financial sector, and the country has become a global centre for Islamic banking. Tourism is also a huge part of the economy, being the third-largest contributor to Malaysia’s GDP.

Those starting a new business in Malaysia can benefit from cheap manufacturing costs with minimal bureaucracy and corruption. The infrastructure in Malaysia is still being developed, but the telecommunications network is the second biggest in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.

If you’re thinking of moving abroad to start a new business, don’t forget your international medical insurance. Expatriate Group has a range of health insurance policies designed for expats living and working abroad. For more guides and advice for working overseas, see our Studying and Working Abroad Expat Insights.

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