We Were Pretty Depressed By This List Of Countries Where It's Easiest To Start A Business


Team New Zealand, Louis Vuitton Cup

YouTube/America's Cup

The World Bank is out with its annual ranking of countries with the most business-friendly climates.


On the overall ranking, which measures things like taxes and construction and electricity costs, the U.S. scored at No. 4, which is where it was last year.

We were interested in one category in particular: where it's easiest to start a business.

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The World Bank measures this according to four components: number of procedures, time, cost as a percent of income per capita, and minimum capital required.

The top 10 is a little bit wacky because it includes developing countries where "start-up" means something different than it does here.


But we were surprised to find where the World Bank ranks America.

You would think, given its "startup culture," it would be No. 1.

Not even close.

Here's the top-ranked developed nations for ease of starting a business:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Canada
  3. Singapore
  4. Australia
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Lithuania
  7. Ireland
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Malaysia
  10. Taiwan
  11. U.S.
  12. Chile
  13. U.K.
  14. Portugal
  15. Korea

That's right. The U.S. only ranks 11th in a category you'd think it would own.


But the World Bank says it takes on average six different "procedures," five days, and costs 1.5% of U.S. income per capita, or about $750, to start a business here.

Compare that with New Zealand, where there is only one "procedure" required, requiring less than a full day's work and costing about $150. (Neither country's government officially requires minimum capital.)

Of course, the Kiwis are well aware of their No. 1 status.

And comparing their official "starting a business" site to America's does reveal some striking differences.

For instance, while New Zealand only has three different types of business registrations - sole trader, partnership, and company - the U.S. has at least six.


And in the U.S., you're basically nudged into getting a start-up loan, which may have the perverse effect of raising upfront costs. New Zealand doesn't seem to do this.