Ireland trumps the rest of Europe as the best place to start a business

Ireland and the UK top the list of the best countries to start a business due to easy access to finance and strong economic growth, a study reveals.

For ambitious businesses looking to grow in Europe, the Emerald Isle of Ireland needs to be firmly on their radar.

Ireland has come top in the inaugural ‘Best Places For Business in Europe’ Index, compiled by World First, the international money transfer experts. A combination of a business friendly tax system, easy access to finance and strong economic growth placed Ireland ahead of Slovakia, Latvia and Malta.

Italy, whose economy has suffered over the past few years, came last in the ranking for businesses looking to expand in Europe.

Ireland is regularly cited as a good model for achieving economic recovery post financial crisis. The country’s progressive economic policies has attracted a wealth of foreign investment and seen the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft open up local offices and creating thousands of jobs.

Ireland is also among the top three for education levels in the EU with over 92 per cent of the population attaining a high school education.

Despite the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum, the UK comes 5th on the list beating Spain (10th), France (14th) and Germany (25th).

Italy scored last position due to a toxic mix of low economic growth and a pessimistic attitude among private businesses on the availability of funding.

The criteria covered a range of economic and demographic evidence including GDP growth, VAT, business birth and death ratios, corporation tax, education levels, tax breaks for SMEs and access to finance. World First’s interactive index, allows businesses to compare which countries ranked highest across each benchmark.

All underlying data has been sourced from Eurostat, the World Bank, finance ministries across the EU and respective official domestic statistics agencies.

Edward Hardy, analyst at World First, thinks that the first consideration for any business looking to expand into Europe, is how easy it will be to make your business successful in your chosen market.

Hardy adds, ‘Our research reveals Ireland as the optimum place to achieve such business success in Europe with new businesses being able to benefit from the Emerald Isle’s growing economy and the business friendly initiatives put in place to assist the private sector.

‘This includes the loosening of Ireland’s tax residency requirements and reducing corporation tax to 12.5 per cent which has led to the influx of a number of multinationals already.

He concludes, ‘Despite the uncertainty caused by the UK’s vote to leave, it remains one of the best places to do business in Europe which bodes well for a post-Brexit UK. As the fastest growing G7 economy, the UK provides businesses with a competitive tax system and access to diverse talent.

‘These key characteristics are what the current government will be keen to highlight when negotiating trade deals post-Brexit as they seek to convince foreign firms that the UK is open for business.’

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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