The Best Countries to Launch a Startup in 2024

From business tax rates to quality of life scores, we’ve revealed the best, and most challenging, countries for entrepreneurs launching a startup in 2024.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when starting a business, from keeping on top of finances to avoiding burnout and stress when first getting their business off the ground.

To help those considering embarking on the exciting journey of starting a business, we at Business Name Generator have analyzed 52 countries around the world, revealing which places are the best and most challenging to start a company from the ground up. The study has considered metrics including business tax rates, the average time it takes to legally set up a business, predicted GDP growth in 2024, monthly cost of living, WiFi speeds, cost of hotdesking and quality of life and happiness scores.

This analysis has been refreshed from a similar study by Business Name Generator  last year, taking into consideration additional metrics to keep up with the changing global landscape in 2024. 

Our previous study found the United Kingdom to rank sixth in the top 10 ranking of best countries for startups, however they have slipped to 39th place in our updated ranking. Meanwhile, Hungary missed out on a top ten spot in our 2023 ranking, coming in 11th place, however in our updated research for 2024, they have come in first place.

10 Best Countries to Launch a Startup in 2024

Based on the economic and social metrics mentioned above, here are the 10 best countries to launch a startup in 2024:

RankCountryGDP per capitaDays to set up a businessBusiness tax ratePredicted GDP growth in 2024Monthly cost of livingMonthly cost of hotdeskingWiFi speedQuality of life scoreHappiness score
1Hungary$16,77779%3.1%$694.31$150218.9132.56
2Netherlands$51,052425.8%1.1%$1,023.49$214248.7198.27.4
3United Arab Emirates$47,66349%4%$983.62$236136.9162.76.6
4Lithuania$18,813615%2.7%$794.89$157103.31646.8
5Romania$12,6032016%3.8%$628.65$141191.31306.6
6Czech Republic$20,5412519%2.3%$822.20$162264.2161.86.8
7Finland$47,0231320%1%$995.81$219215.7189.38
8Bahrain$24,93280%3.6%$842.26$263133.4147.56.2
9Estonia$21,651420%2.4%$894.84$174116.2180.76.5
10Malaysia$11,947.001824%4.30%$473.84$105148.8124.26

1. Hungary

Hungary image

Our analysis found Hungary to be the best country in the world  to launch a startup in 2024. With the second lowest corporate tax rate of just 9%, it’s one of the most economical places to start a business. A low tax rate stimulates economic growth in new companies, leading to more significant  business expansion, increased productivity, and, of course, higher profits.

The cost of living is also reasonable, with costs coming to around $694 per month without rent. Not only do low living costs contribute to the overall happiness of resident employees, but having more disposable income encourages more consumer spending, which is good news for startups. 

Although Hungary has a relatively low GDP of $16,777 per capita, its economic GDP figure is estimated to increase by 3.1% in 2024, which is promising for new businesses. Rising GDP elevates consumer spending, increases the likelihood of investments in new businesses, and overall creates more economic stability in the country. 

It also takes just seven days to complete the legal proceedings needed for a new business, a relatively short duration compared to other countries on the list, meaning startups can take off in no time. 

2. The Netherlands

The Netherlands image

Taking second place is The Netherlands. It has the highest GDP among the top 10 countries, at $51,052 per capita, indicating a stable economy for starting a business. Whilst the Netherlands has the highest corporate tax rate in the top 10 of 25.8%, it takes just four days to legally set up a business here, suggesting you can get your business off the ground in a short period of time. Companies also benefit from the second fastest WiFi speed in the ranking, at 248.65 Mbps, a vital factor to consider for new businesses operating online. 

On top of this, the Netherlands has the second-best quality of life score, at 198.16 (out of a total score of 240) and the third-highest happiness score of 7.4 out of 10 in the entire ranking. According to research by the Social Market Foundation, happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees, indicating that staff in the Netherlands will likely be happier in their everyday lives and therefore, more productive at work — undoubtedly a significant benefit for startups. 

3. United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Joining Hungary with the second lowest corporate tax rate on the list, at just 9%, the United Arab Emirates takes third place. It also has a fairly high GDP of $47,663 per capita, with its economic GDP estimated to grow by 4% in 2024, demonstrating that the nation is moving forward economically. 

It also takes just four days — one of the shortest durations on the list — to complete the legal proceedings in order to start a business here, allowing startups to get off the ground very quickly.

4. Lithuania 

Lithuania ranks as the fourth best country for new businesses in 2024, with companies taxed just 15%, the fourth lowest figure on the list. The cost of living is also reasonable, at $795 per month, meaning costs are relatively low from this perspective. 

5. Romania 

Rounding off the top five in the list is Romania. With an affordable hotdesking cost of $141 per month and a reasonable cost of living, at around $629 per month, Romania is an affordable location for new business owners starting out on their new ventures. However, it also has a considerably low GDP of $12,603 per capita.

6. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic boasts the highest WiFi speed of all the countries, at 264.15 Mbps, a great location for digital-heavy businesses. According to recent data, 89% of companies worldwide have already adopted a digital-first business strategy, so it’s more vital than ever to have a reliable connection. The business tax rate in the Czech Republic is also a reasonable 19%, and hotdesking in the country costs an average of $162 per month.

7. Finland  

Finland has the highest happiness score  at 7.8, and the fourth highest quality of life score at 189.28, indicating a productive workforce beneficial to startups. In terms of business tax, Finland has a standard rate of 20%, and an impressive GDP of $47,023 per capita — proving that it’s a excellent place for new businesses to consider. 

8. Bahrain 

Interestingly, Bahrain has a business tax rate of 0%. Unless the business is in the oil or gas industry, companies in Bahrain are paying no tax on income, sales, capital gains, or estates. This makes Bahrain a coveted location choice for startups to get off the ground, as businesses here can be hugely profitable. Despite this, Bahrain has a fairly high cost of living, at $842 per month, excluding rent, meaning the consumer base has potentially less disposable income available to support small businesses. 

9. Estonia

Estonia has a high cost of living, at $895 per month, and a fairly low GDP of $21,651 per capita, indicating a more challenging economy for startups compared to other countries in the top 10. Despite this, the quality of life score in Estonia is 180.65, which is among the top 10 for this metric, and its GDP is expected to grow by a healthy 2.4% in 2024. Furthermore, it takes just four days to complete the legal proceedings to register a new business. 

10. Malaysia 

The 10th spot on our list is taken by Malaysia. The cost of living here is almost half that of Bahrain, at $474 per month, indicating a higher level of disposable income that can be put into small businesses. It also has the fourth best value for hotdesking at $105 per month, which is a great price for new businesses needing office space.

10 Most Challenging Countries to Launch a Startup in 2024

At the other end of the scale, the research also revealed the 10 countries that offer the least favorable environment for startups and their employees.

RankCountryGDP per capitaDays to set up a businessBusiness tax rateMonthly cost of livingMonthly cost of hotdeskingWiFi speedQuality of life scoreHappiness score
1Philippines$3,7543325%5.9%$556.39n/a54.485.75.5
2Italy$33,6141127.80%0.7%$928.62$22870.0137.86.4
3Brazil$8,9641734%1.5%$564.52$15891.1108.96.1
4Egypt$4,2891322.50%3.6%$421.26$10314.484.54.2
5South Africa$6,0834027%1.8%$560.58$120177.9138.25.3
6South Korea$34,461826.50%2.2%$1,037.34$247109.7138.66
7Colombia$7,0481035%2%$504.95$143111.7102.75.6
8Switzerland$91,4981019.70%1.8%$1,776.98$25675.4183.67.2
9Australia$61,909230%1.2%$1,149.60$28298.7159.67.1
10France$39,166425.80%1.3%$1,035.81$25587.91516.7

1. Philippines 

Philippines image

The Philippines ranks as the most challenging country in which to launch a startup. The Southeast Asian country has the second lowest GDP per capita of all the locations, at $3,754. It would also take 33 days to legally set up a business here, the third longest time out of all locations analyzed. 

The quality of life score is also the second lowest at 85.7, and it has a slow WiFi speed of 54.37 Mbps. However, the Philippines has the second-highest forecasted economic GDP growth of 5.9% in 2024, which is a positive sign for the economy and future startups in the country. 

2. Italy

Rome image

Italy ranks as the second most challenging country for startups, with the third lowest predicted change in GDP for 2024 at an increase of 0.7%, indicating the economy here isn’t improving drastically. It also has a fairly high business tax rate of 27.8%, making it a less profitable option than other countries in the list. 

3. Brazil  

Brazil image

Businesses in Brazil are required to pay 34% in tax, the second highest figure of all the countries analyzed — a potential setback for businesses just starting out. 

Brazil’s quality of life score is on the lower end of the scale at 108.93, coming in the bottom 10 out of all countries on the list. However, it does have a fairly reasonable cost of living, at $565 per month. 

4. Egypt  

Egypt has the lowest quality of life score of all the countries analyzed, at 84.5, as well as the second lowest happiness score of 4.2, and the fifth lowest GDP per capita, at $4,289. It also has the slowest WiFi speed in the ranking at 14.39 Mbps. 

5. South Africa   

South Africa has a GDP per capita that is slightly on the lower side, at $6,083, as well as taking 40 days to legally set up a business, the longest time out of all the countries analyzed. The country’s business tax is fairly high, at 27%, and it has the fourth lowest happiness score at 5.3. 

However, the cost of living is reasonable at $561 per month, and the cost of hotdesking is a decent price at $120 per month. 

6. South Korea  

In terms of business tax rates, South Korea places the 14th highest, with 26.5% of earnings taxed. The cost of living is also fairly high on the list, at $1,037 per month, without rent. 

7. Colombia   

Colombia has a low GDP figure at $7,048 per capita, and has the second highest business tax rate alongside Argentina (35%), making Colombia a difficult country economically for startups. Plus, the quality of life score is on the lower end of the scale at 102.66, along with a low happiness score of 5.6. 

8. Switzerland  

With the third highest GDP per capita of $91,498 and high quality of life scores, it might come as a surprise that Switzerland ranks as one of the most challenging countries for startups. However, with its high cost of living of $1,777 per month without rent and high cost of monthly hotdesking ($256). Switzerland is a challenging country financially for budding new entrepreneurs.

9. Australia   

Australia has an impressive GDP per capita of $61,909, and it only takes on average two days to legally set up a business. So, why is it among the most challenging countries to launch a startup?

It has one of the highest tax rates at 30%, meaning profits are affected significantly for businesses here. On top of that, its economic GDP figure is estimated to grow just 1.2% in 2024, one of the lowest increases overall. Australia also has one of the highest costs of living , at $1,150 per month, making it the fifth most expensive on the list.  

10. France

In last place as the most challenging country of all in which to launch a startup is France. With a fairly high business tax rate of 25.8% and high cost of living ($1,036 per month without rent), France is another country where entrepreneurs might struggle financially.

UK Comes in 39th Place in the Ranking for 2024

Coming in sixth place overall in the top 10 ranking of best countries for startups in 2023, the United Kingdom has slipped to 39th place in 2024. 

The United Kingdom is predicted to have a small GDP growth of just 0.6% in 2024 and it has a relatively high business tax rate of 19%. The monthly cost of living ($1,303 without rent) and cost of hotdesking per month ($241) is also quite expensive in this country. Meanwhile, the quality of life score in the United Kingdom is fairly low at 159 out of 240.

That being said, the United Kingdom can be a very straightforward country for setting up a business with it taking just four days to get the legal proceedings completed to register your startup. The government also offers a range of financial support for new businesses to help you nurture and grow your startup. 

The United States Comes in 33rd Place Overall For Startups 

Perhaps surprisingly, the United States comes in 33rd place in the ranking. The US has a fairly high business tax rate of 25.8% and its GDP is expected to grow by just 1.5% in 2024. Furthermore, the cost of living is fairly high at $1,204 per month without rent.

Despite this, there’s no doubt that the US is a great place for passionate entrepreneurs on the lookout to achieve the American Dream. With legal proceedings to set up a business taking just four days, budding new business owners can get their projects off the ground in a matter of days. 

The Best Countries to Work as an Employee

Startups need to prioritize the happiness and wellbeing of their employees, not only allowing business owners to be successful leaders by positively impacting employees’ lives, but also by leading to productivity and success within their company.

Let’s look at the countries with the highest happiness scores, the most expensive for hotdesking, and those that are the most affordable. 

Finland is the Happiest Country in the Ranking

The top three places with the highest happiness scores are all Northern European countries. Finland has the highest score of all, with an average total of 7.8. This score was calculated through monitoring performance in categories such as GDP, social support, life expectancy, population generosity, and freedom to make autonomous choices. 

Denmark comes in second, with a score of 7.6, followed by the Netherlands, with 7.4. 

India Comes Out on Top as the Most Affordable Country to Live

India ranks as the most affordable country on the list, with an average cost of living of $348, without rent. Rent in India averages at $221 for a one-bedroom city apartment, and with this number also considered, living costs are still reasonably low. 

Egypt comes second, with a slightly higher monthly living cost of $421. Argentina comes in close behind, with a cost of living of $439 per month. 

Saudi Arabia is the Most Expensive Country for Hot desking 

Saudi Arabia is the most expensive country for hotdesking, coming in at $363 per month. Singapore comes next, at $314 per month, followed by Norway, at $300 per month. 

Though the costs in these countries are high, the benefits of hotdesking are evident for startups. Using hotdesking can offer businesses flexibility when incorporating hybrid working, cost savings due to less need for more office space, and increased collaboration of employees within companies.

Key Takeaways 

In conclusion, Europe dominates the top 10 ranking of best countries for startups, providing positive economic and social environments in which entrepreneurs can flourish. Meanwhile, expensive costs of living, high business tax rates and low quality of living are the factors contributing to why many of the countries in our bottom 10 rank unfavorably. 

Methodology and sources

Starting with a seedlist of 52 countries, we used a ranking to create this list, based on the following metrics: