UK’s surprise showing in business start-up costs

By Hal Williams

BUSINESS support platform Rovva recently analysed World Bank figures on the cost of starting businesses around the world.

When the data were in, the firm had a list of the 10 cheapest countries in which to set-up a company. The UK came in at a surprising fourth place — or even third, depending on how you score it.

In joint number one spot are Rwanda and Slovenia, where there are no charges to register a business. Hard to beat. Then comes South Africa, with a £9 fee, Ukraine with a reasonable tenner, and Britain — where it costs just £12 to register a business with Companies House.

By way of contrast, check out Venezuela. Not exactly flavour-of-the-month for entrepreneurs, but those who brave hostile business operations laws, harsh regulations and generally elevated risk, a fee of £9,062 awaits. That’s the highest in the world; the United Arab Emirates is second, with fees equivalent to £5,198.

Not to beat up on poor Venezuela, but it listed 188th of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business rankings. But the question may be not so much “Why is Venezuela so expensive?” as “Why is Britain so cheap?”

Answers on a postcard (or email), but no mention of lockdowns, Covid stats or Brexit, please…