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    From choosing your insurance providers to your business energy suppliers, starting a business requires several crucial choices which can impact its success. That’s why comparing your options is important, and utilising insurance or electricity business comparison sites could make the difference.

    One of the biggest decisions is the location. Each country and city will have its positives and negatives, and weighing these factors up can give your business the best chance of success.

    Doing this can be daunting, which is why we’ve done this for you. We’ve looked into education, internet speeds, business survival rates, and more to determine the best countries to start a business.

    Global Business Report

    The Netherlands is the best place to start a business, with a score of 8.49 out of 10

    We’ve looked at internet speeds, employment rates, salaries, education, and business survival rate to determine the best countries to start a business.

    Top 10 countries to start a business
    Top 10 places to start a business table

    1. The Netherlands – 8.49 business score

    The Netherlands is the best place to start a business, with a business score of 8.49 out of 10. The Netherlands boasts a high average salary, a high percentage of people with tertiary education, and one of the best business survival rates in the world. The Netherlands is considered to have one of the best education systems in Europe, evidenced by the 90% of its population who are fluent in English.

    2. Switzerland – 7.86 business score

    In second place is Switzerland, with a business score of 7.86 out of 10. Switzerland has one of the highest average salaries, as well as one of the highest rates of employment on our list. It’s also a very educated country with over 50% of people continuing their studies at university or college. Switzerland is known as a global leader when it comes to finance, with one of the biggest offshore financial centres in the world.

    3. Japan – 7.83 business score

    Our top three is completed by Japan with a business score of 7.83 out of 10. Japan is one of the world’s most educated countries, boasting an excellent employment rate to back that up. Japan has over 20 ports and five international airports which makes it a great place for distribution.

    South Korea is the most Educated country, with 70% of the working population completing tertiary education

    The people you hire can have a massive effect on the success of your business, with experience and education being some of the key factors. We’ve focused on education to find out the percentage of each country’s working population that has completed tertiary education. Tertiary education is education for people above the school age, which in most cases is university or college.

    Top 10 most educated countries

    1. South Korea – 69.29% of the population completing tertiary education

    South Korea is the most educated country, with just under 70% of the working population completing tertiary education. Despite having such an educated population, South Korea ranked 12th in our overall list of best places to start a business. Largely because of its employment rate which was one of the lowest compared to other OECD countries.

    2. Canada – 66.36% of the population completing tertiary education

    Canada takes second place with just over two-thirds of its working population having completed tertiary education. Canada was ranked as the fifth best country to start a business in our overall list, boasting a good salary and employment rate alongside its education.

    3. Japan – 64.81% of the population completing tertiary education

    Completing our top three once again is Japan, with just under 65% of the working population having completed tertiary education. Japan is internationally recognised as one of the leading countries when it comes to education. In the 2022 QS World University Rankings, 50 Japanese universities are featured on the list.

    Swedish businesses have the best chance of surviving the first year, with a 97% survival rate - the highest in Europe

    Getting your new business past the first year is one of the biggest challenges, but also one of the most rewarding milestones. We’ve looked at the survival rate of businesses in Europe after the first year to see which country a business is most likely to succeed.

    Top 10 countries with the highest one year business survival rate

    1. Sweden – 97.11% one-year business survival rate

    The country with the best one-year survival rate is Sweden, with just over 97% of businesses surviving the first year. Swedish business culture includes a lot of meetings, with decisions usually being made by consensus. Some of the biggest Swedish companies include Spotify, Klarna, and of course, Ikea.

    2. The Netherlands – 95.66% one-year business survival rate

    Second place goes to the Netherlands, which boasts a one-year business survival rate of just over 95%. Transparency and reliability are key elements of the business culture in the Netherlands. Some of the most successful companies from the Netherlands include Amstel, ING, and Shell.

    3. Hungary – 95.06% one-year business survival rate

    Our top three is completed by Hungary, with 95% of businesses surviving past the first year. Hungarian business culture is often focused on hierarchy and structure. Successful Hungarian businesses include IP Systems and Prezi.

    Icelandic people are the most employable, with an employment rate of 83% - more than any OECD country

    We’ve looked at the percentage of each country's working population that are in employment, to reveal the most employable countries.

    Top 10 most employable countries

    1. Iceland – 83.54% employment rate

    Iceland has the best employment rate with just over 83% of the working population having a job. The Icelandic labour market has been characterised by a high union density and willingness to work. The tourism industry in Iceland contributes to its strong economy, attracting twice its population in visitors each year.

    2. The Netherlands – 82.27% employment rate

    Narrowly behind in second place is the Netherlands with an employment rate of 82.27%. The Labour Market in the Netherlands is described as tight, meaning there are more job openings than available workers. The largest industry in the Netherlands is the health and welfare sector which employs over one million people.

    3. New Zealand – 80.34% employment rate

    Our top three is completed by New Zealand with an employment rate of 80%. The work ethic in New Zealand is relatively relaxed and stress-free, with a big focus on work-life balance. Retail trade and accommodation is the industry which employs the most people, followed by services and construction.

    Luxembourg has the highest average salary at £61,695 - more than any OECD country

    We’ve looked at the average salary in each OECD country to find out which countries have the highest earners.

    Top 10 countries with the highest average salary

    1. Luxembourg – £61,694.56 average salary

    Luxembourg takes the top spot, with an average salary of £61,695 per year. Luxembourg is home to a significant number of financial institutions and international companies, which offer high-skilled jobs. However, the cost of living in Luxembourg is extremely high.

    2. Ireland – £61,656.78 average salary

    Ireland takes second place with an average salary of £61,657. Due to its low corporation tax rates, Ireland is home to the headquarters of many multinational businesses, offering plenty of opportunities. Ireland also has one of the highest standards of living in Europe, which, however, comes at a cost as it’s one of the most expensive countries to live in.

    3. Norway – £53,918.59 average salary
    Our top three is completed by Norway with an average salary of £53,919. Norway’s salaries are high due to the high cost of living. It’s not quite as high as first and second place in our top three, but it certainly is up there.

    Methodology

    We used Speedtest for the download speeds.

    We used World Bank for the average salaries. We then converted these figures from USD to GBP and EUR on 07.07.2023.

    We used OECD data for the employment rate and the percentage of the population that’s completed tertiary education. Tertiary education figures show the percentage of the population aged 25-64 that’s completed the highest level of education.

    We used Eurostat for the one-year business survival rate.

    We put this data into a weighted table, normalising each score out of 10 before taking an average of each score.

    Data was collected on 03.07.2023.

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