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


Ireland has come top in the inaugural ‘Best Places For Business in Europe’ Index. 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 league table for best places for business in Europe:

1. Ireland
2. Slovakia
3. Latvia
4. Malta
5. United Kingdom
6. Slovenia
7. Netherlands
8. Romania
9. Hungary
10. Spain
11. Luxembourg
12. Sweden
13. Poland
14. France
15. Bulgaria
16. Estonia
17. Finland
18. Czech Republic
19. Greece
20. Portugal
21. Belgium
22. Cyprus
23. Croatia
24. Denmark
25. Germany
26. Austria
27. Italy

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.

Commenting on the report Edward Hardy, Analyst at World First said: “For any business looking to expand in Europe, the first consideration is how easy it will be to make your business successful in your chosen market.

“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% which has led to the influx of a number of multinationals already.

“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.”