Britain becoming hot spot for entrepreneurs

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The Independent Online
Britain Is second only to Ireland as the top entrepreneurial hot spot in Europe, according to a survey out today.

Britain Is second only to Ireland as the top entrepreneurial hot spot in Europe, according to a survey out today.

The survey, which ranks countries according to their business-friendly attributes, suggests Silicon Valley has more to fear than just redundancy slips as cities such as London increasingly steal a march on California's appeal to entrepreneurs.

Britain comes fifth in the poll of the best places in the world to start a business conducted by Forbes Global magazine. France comes a distant 22nd while Germany is ranked 11th. The study is based on a number of yardsticks, such as the legal cost of starting an enterprise and the "stock option misery index", which includes social security levies and taxes on the options themselves.

The US still tops the rankings, but faces a strong challenge from Asia, as countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong capitalise on their status as windows on the global world to pull in players looking for an international base.

Leading venture capitalists supported the study's findings. Tim Brown, a partner at Alta Berkeley Venture Partners, which has backed 96 European start-ups over the past two decades, says that among Europe's strengths in attracting innovative businessmen are its academic and commercial research facilities. London, he notes, benefits from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, while Helsinki has Nokia, the mobile telecoms giant, and Singapore has no less than 13 government-funded research institutes. In Britain it takes just 11 days to set up a new business; only the US, with seven days, and Australia, with three, are speedier.

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