No matter where in the world you decide to do it, starting a business can be a difficult challenge. So many factors can contribute to a company’s success and failure, some of which are outside of your control. However, you can choose where you decide to start your business, and choosing the right country can make all the difference between a business that thrives for many years and one that quickly fizzles out.
But how do you choose the right place to establish your business? Several factors should be examined for any country you’re considering, particularly its economic environment. This includes the available workforce, tax laws, business framework, existing infrastructure, manufacturing services, economic outlook, GDP, and access to the larger regional market.
Popular economic powerhouses such as the United States, Germany, and Hong Kong might sound enticing to someone preparing to start a business, but if you focus only on those countries, you will miss out on opportunities that are equally or even more impressive in other parts of the world, such as in Bahrain.
Before deciding just where to establish your new business, consider the following nations in your economy comparison. Though they may not be the obvious choice, they are increasingly becoming the smart economic choice for entrepreneurs and developers — and some of the world’s best countries for business in 2019.
Bahrain stands apart from other options due to our role as a physical and economic gateway to the rest of the Middle East. We have a population of around 1.4 million, and our economy is vibrant and continuously growing. Our GDP is a healthy $35 billion overall, with GDP per capita at just under $24,000 and GDP growth at 3.8%. We also have a remarkably low unemployment rate of approximately 3.5%.
There’s much more to admire about Bahrain beyond our GDP. Bahrain’s workforce keeps us highly competitive in the world economy. Our country’s workers are relatively young; for example, 60% of workers in the information and communications technologies industry are ages 18-24. They’re also highly educated and can speak multiple languages.
Bahrain also features a diverse economy besides the ICT industry, with plenty of business opportunities centered around financial services, manufacturing, logistics, tourism & leisure, and more. Opportunities also exist outside of these sectors; we at Bahrain EDB (the Bahrain Economic Development Board) are always happy to discuss these with potential investors if you contact us.
And take note: Bahrain offers multiple benefits to entrepreneurs who launch a startup company, including 100% foreign ownership, cost competitiveness as well as an attractive regulatory environment and an ecosystem which has been designed to incubate startups and give support in scaling a business.
In addition to its economic strength and business opportunities, Bahrain is also highly regarded as a place to live and raise a family — so much so that more than half of our population comprises foreign nationals. Bahrain was also ranked 1st overall in the InternNations Expat Insider 2018 survey, receiving top honours for ease of settling in and placing 2nd for personal happiness.
If you’re looking for a nation with a tourism-driven business scene and a bright economic future, check out Seychelles. This archipelago country comprises 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, and while it doesn’t have many people with a population of about 100,000, its outlook for economic growth is promising. GDP growth in Seychelles is estimated at more than 5%, and the unemployment rate remains low, at around 3%.
About a quarter of the country’s workforce operates in the tourism industry, but lately more resources are being put toward other industries such as renewable energy, ICT, and offshore financial. When you consider that along with the low tax burden in Seychelles, it’s easy to see why many young businesses find Seychelles a good place to call home.
While Singapore may get the most attention out of Southeast Asia, don’t overlook Brunei. This relatively small country of around 500,000 boasts a GDP per capita of more than $28,000, which is one of the highest in the world. It also has a workforce of well-educated people who mostly speak English, making it a prime location for many international businesses. Brunei is looking to make its economy more diverse, which means moving away from oil and natural gas production and toward other industries such as ICT.
In terms of economic freedom, Brunei is near the top of the list in trade freedom in the world. Citizens also don’t have to pay any income taxes.
Cyprus is an island country located in the Mediterranean Sea with a GDP of $22 billion and a GDP per capita of $25,200. This is another nation with a fairly small population, with a little over 1 million people living in Cyprus. The market economy of Cyprus relies on industries such as finance, tourism, shipping, services, and real estate.
Efforts to diversify the economy have contributed to a promising economic outlook, with GDP growth of 3.9%. Much of the growth in recent years has exceeded expectations, and the government in Cyprus is working to make sure that continues. Helping in this effort is a highly educated workforce. The generous tax system also helps businesses get off the ground.
The nations listed above have some of the strongest economies in the world and are among the best countries for business in 2019. With the favorable economic climate in each, it’s reasonable to assume that the growth and stability in these countries will continue. Businesses will find a lot to like in places such as Bahrain, Cyprus, Brunei, and Seychelles.