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    where is the best country to grow your business?

    Compare growing a business in the UK vs USA (Delaware) vs Ireland vs Portugal vs Singapore vs Estonia: business environment, startup culture, investment opportunities, and more.

    Compare the best country to grow your business in UK, USA (Delaware), Ireland, Portugal, Singapore and Estonia.

    So where is the best country to grow your business? Before you register a business, it’s important to think long and hard about this, as the long-term implications can be significant. 

    Some countries place more emphasis on promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, research and development (R&D), and developing the startup scene than others. And there's a good reason why many startups are attracted to specific countries when it comes to choosing where to incorporate.

    This may be due to favourable tax regimes, political stability, access to large markets, the availability of startup funding and access to venture capital, as well the existence of a thriving network of business startups. 

    We've already compared some of these topics for Portugal, Ireland, Estonia, Singapore, the UK and Delaware in three earlier blog posts:

    In this article, we compare the UK, Ireland, Delaware, Singapore, Portugal and Estonia when it comes to growing and scaling a business.  

    Best country to scale your business: UK, Delaware (USA) Portugal, Ireland, Singapore or Estonia?

    There are different factors to consider when you’re choosing the best place to start a company and run it remotely. 

    Clearly, it’s a good idea to consider how costly and easy the company registration process is, what it takes to actually run a business remotely and what access you’ll have to digital services. Plus, it’s important to think about the costs and complexity of managing a company on an ongoing basis, as well as the tax implications and how onerous the reporting requirements are in different jurisdictions.

    If you’re an entrepreneur or you want to build a startup, then it’s equally important to consider the business environment and entrepreneurial culture in a different countries. In addition, you'll want to know how much support and funding there is for innovation, research and development, and scaling up.

    Below we delve into these aspects in an effort to showcase how this compares in the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore, Delaware and Estonia.

    Growing your company in the UK

    If you’re deciding whether to start up a company in the UK or not, you might want to look at what its business environment is like, whether it’s supportive of startups and if there are opportunities for startups to scale and grow through investment and business support programmes. 

    An overview of the UK business environment

    The UK is one of the largest economies in the world, with a highly skilled workforce. The business environment in the UK has changed rapidly since it exited the European Union in 2020. Brexit has increased the costs and complexity of doing cross-border business and trade and has resulted in many supply chain disruptions. 

    A large proportion of business leaders interviewed for a JP Morgan business survey feel that a UK recession is on the cards in 2023, but they remain nevertheless optimistic about how their companies will perform. 

    The UK startup and business culture

    London has a thriving startup ecosystem comprising 40 startup hubs and incubators. This includes organisations like Tech Nation and The Founders’ Network, which work with hundreds of entrepreneurs, founders and startup companies. 

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in the UK

    The UK has a wide range of top universities, many of which have leading research and development facilities which support innovation and startups. There is also a lot of government support provided for startups in the UK such as innovation funding schemes to support startups. Many of these opportunities are made publicly available on the government’s website and can be easily applied for online. 

    Growing your company in Delaware (USA)

    Are you interested in starting a company in Delaware? Before you do, it’s a good idea to look into the business environment there. And if you have a startup business, you may want to consider what type of support and opportunities are offered in Delaware to help your company scale and grow.

    An overview of Delaware’s business environment

    The US State of Delaware is a magnet for tech startups and entrepreneurs looking to incorporate companies, especially ones that require venture capital funding. 

    Not only does Delaware have the second lowest business costs in the US, but it’s also considered a domestic tax haven, making it an attractive business environment for entrepreneurs and startups. 

    The Delaware startup and business culture

    The USA was awarded CEOWORLD’s top ranking for startup friendliness in 2021, taking into consideration human capital investment, research and development, entrepreneurial infrastructure, technical workforce, and policy dynamics.

    Delaware in particular is a popular choice when it comes to business incorporation, with 66% of Fortune 500 companies in the USA choosing to incorporate in Delaware. This is largely due to its startup and business culture and supportive tax and legal frameworks. 

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in Delaware, USA

    Not only does Delaware provide numerous state-wide grants and programs that support startups, but it’s also one of the best places to find venture capital in the US. This is due in part to the favourable tax laws. And in fact, many venture capitalists and investors actually prefer or require that companies be incorporated in Delaware to receive their funding.

    Growing your company in Ireland

    Do you want to launch a new business in Ireland? Some of the key considerations as you compare Ireland with Estonia, the UK and other startup jurisdictions, is what their business environment is like, and how supportive Ireland is for startups. That may dictate how fast your business is able to scale and grow, and ultimately how profitable it may become. 

    An overview of the Irish business environment

    Ireland is a member of the EU and is actually the only English-speaking member since the UK’s breakaway from the EU. This provides access to one of the largest economies in the world. 

    Despite Ireland’s economic struggles (linked to the global financial crisis of 2007-2008), the country has managed to recover well and is known for being a business-friendly environment with a low corporate tax rate of 12.5%. Even though this rate is expected to increase slightly to 15% (due to an OECD decision), Ireland’s corporate tax rate will nevertheless remain highly competitive. 

    In addition to its favourable business tax rate, Ireland also enjoys political stability and regulation certainty which are important factors needed to help businesses flourish. It’s no wonder then that many top tech companies have chosen to base their EU headquarters in Ireland. 

    Ireland’s startup and business culture

    Ireland has a thriving startup and business culture, with a vibrant startup ecosystem and strong interest from venture capitalists. 

    Many global technology companies have their headquarters in Ireland and there’s a high concentration of tech skills in Ireland. 

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in Ireland

    There are seven unicorns in Ireland (companies that are worth over 1 billion dollars), and SMEs in Ireland managed to attract €1.3 billion in venture capital in 2021. 

    Enterprise Ireland has been effective in boosting and supporting startup hubs across Ireland, facilitating networking amongst the thriving startup community. They also provide funding for startups, offer training and capacity building and give development support to entrepreneurs. In addition, Ireland’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) gives support and mentoring to small businesses through a network of country-wide offices. 

    Growing your company in Portugal

    If you’re thinking about starting a business in Portugal and considering your options, then it’s worth comparing the business environment, startup culture, and the ability to get funding and support for your startup in Portugal and other countries like Estonia. 

    An overview of Portugal’s business environment

    Portugal’s economy is recovering after the global pandemic and is known for being a leader in providing financial services and telecommunication services and for its bustling tourism sector. 

    However, Portugal has not fully embraced digital transformation across all government sectors and has high levels of public debt which hinder its ability to attract investment needed to scale significant economic growth. 

    Portugal’s startup and business culture

    Lisbon is home to most of Portugal’s startup scene and is well known for a range of popular start-up events and summits like Startup Grind Lisbon and the Web Summit. 

    Startup Portugal, which is a government-supported programme, is involved in promoting entrepreneurship, startups and digital nomadism. 

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in Portugal

    There are several opportunities within Portugal for startup businesses to receive funding and other types of support needed to grow and scale. This includes the ability to access credit through the SME Invest/Growth and Capitalizar which helps companies access funding. This includes fixed investments that are offered with public guarantees for up to 75% of the loan. In addition, Portugal’s tax system helps to encourage capitalisation. 

    Growing your company in Singapore

    Singapore is a popular country for anyone wanting to start a company, and has access to several of the world’s leading consumer markets through established bilateral free trade agreements. It’s worth considering Singapore’s business environment and startup culture, as well as its support for entrepreneurs and startups when looking at alternatives to running a company in Singapore. 

    An overview of Singapore’s business environment

    Singapore is a popular choice of country in which to start a company because of its relatively low corporate tax rate of 17%, as well as its various double taxation agreements. Singapore also has a supportive business environment, which is why many foreigners choose to start companies there.

    Singapore’s startup and business culture

    Singapore is well regarded as a startup hub in Asia, which is due to favourable corporate tax rates and the ease of starting a business there. 

    Startups are supported in Singapore through a range of tax benefits and schemes, designed to help them grow and scale. This includes tax exemptions for startups through the Tax Exemption Scheme for New Startup Companies which provides a 75% exemption of tax on the first 100,000 SGD of taxable income. There’s also a 50% exemption for startups on the following 100,000 SGD of income. 

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in Singapore

    Singapore supports startups through tax exemption schemes, but is also known for its access to venture capital and support for startups. There are 20 unicorns in Singapore, as well as increasing numbers of investors and investment funds that support the growth of startups in the country. 

    Growing your company in Estonia

    Estonia is one of the best countries when it comes to supporting startups and company growth. Not only does it have a large number of entrepreneurs and startups that have incorporated companies in Estonia, but its competitive corporate tax rate, ease of starting and managing a business, and access to the large EU market all help provide a supportive business environment. 

    An overview of the Estonian business environment

    Estonia is an EU member country and therefore by starting a company there you can access the world’s largest single market economy. 

    Estonia’s tax competitiveness, digital services, and e-⁠Residency program are all factors that help attract startups and entrepreneurs to Estonia. 

    Estonia also boasts a competitive tax rate and simplified tax system, offering a 0% tax on reinvested profits and between 14% and 20% tax on distributed profits. It’s also dubbed Europe’s most entrepreneurial country

    Estonia’s startup and business culture

    Did you know that Estonia is #1 in terms of the number of unicorns per capita? According to the The State of European Tech 2022 report, it also has the most startups per capita with over 1,452 startups in 2022. Needless to say, Estonia is a world leader when it comes to startup ecosystems and business culture.

    Estonia boasts various startup incubators, business chambers, accelerators, and approachable seed investors, VCs and crowdfunders. Some of its best known VCs and crowdfunders include Fundwise, ESTBAN, Superangel, and The Better Fund.

    Funding opportunities and investment statistics for businesses in Estonia

    Estonia is a veritable powerhouse for venture capital funding for startups, having raised more investments per capita compared with any other European country, as of 2022. This is yet another reason why Estonia is attracting so many new startups and entrepreneurs who are looking to grow and scale their businesses through funding and investment. 

    Enterprise Estonia and Kredex are two government agencies that help to support business growth through national and EU-funded grants and services. That includes startup grants, foreign recruitment grants, starter loans, and venture capital funding. 

    Where is the best country to grow your business: the final verdict

    Based on our findings from research conducted by PwC aimed at comparing different jurisdictions in terms of various metrics, here are some of our insights and verdicts:

    • Best overall business environment: It’s a tie between Estonia, Delaware, Ireland and the UK
    • Most vibrant startup culture: It’s a tie between the UK, Ireland and Estonia
    • Best funding and support opportunities for businesses and startups: It’s a tie between Delaware and Estonia

    This article was written by guest contributor and seasoned digital nomad Andy Stofferis (

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