UK one of the best places in the world to start a business

The UK ranks sixth, up from eighth last year, according to a Legatum Institute report

Zlata Rodionova
Monday 02 November 2015 14:13

The UK economy has improved faster than all major European countries to become one of the best places in the world to start a business, according to a major international survey.

The UK ranks sixth, up from eighth last year, according to opportunities for entrepreneurs, which looks at the countries where citizens are encouraged to be entrepreneurial, innovative and seek opportunities for a higher level of income and well-being. Knocking on the door of the top global five, it is considered one of the best places in Europe to start a business.

Low costs associated with setting up a business combined with people’s perceptions of the UK’s entrepreneurial environment contributed to the country’s high ranking. The data showed that 88 per cent of Britons believe that if you work hard you can get ahead in life, up from 84 per cent last year, and 78 per cent in 2010 - the highest in the EU. The UK also retains the third lowest start-up costs in the world at just £81.45 in 2014.

Meanwhile the UK’s economy climbed nine places to 19th place thanks to strong growth in full-time employment and what Legatum called the “closing gap between the richest and the poorest”. Legatum said it was first time the UK has exceeded its pre-2008 rating, which is calculated by assessing areas like the unemployment rate, inflation, and perceived job availability.

Germany remains higher in the ranking, in fifth place, but has only jumped by four rankings, while France has fallen by eight to 30th, according to the research.

“Britain’s real success has been its recent economic transformation. Since the financial crash, the government has prioritised getting people into work. And the results—seen in the 2015 Prosperity Index—are quite incredible,” said Nathan Gamester, Programme Director of the Prosperity Index.

Norway remains top of the table, followed by Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden while Ireland is ranked 10th.

The UK however scored poorly for health, in 20th place. The US came ahead in 11th place and Germany ranked at sixth. Britain also fell behind major developed economies in education, where it was ranked 25th.

A different survey by the World Bank also ranked the UK as the sixth best place to do business recently as measured by regulations that enhance business activity across 189 countries. This was its highest ranking since 2011 and a higher score than countries such as the US, Germany and Japan.

However, a similar list called the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, compiled by The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Freedom, ranked the UK much lower, in 13th place.

Top ten countries for entrepreneurs

1. Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

2. Denmark

3. Switzerland

4. Iceland

Iceland has a population of little over 330,000 people

5. Norway

Oslo would become first European city to impose a blanket ban on cars

6. United Kingdom

Only two other forces outside London reported incidents over the last three years

7. Austria

8. Finland

9. Luxembourg

10. Hong Kong

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