Authorities in various countries have introduced policies to support entrepreneurship. Tax exemptions, low-interest loans, and facilitated bureaucracy are among the incentives to encourage entrepreneurship within states. Governments have started looking beyond borders to bring in foreign innovators and investors by creating startup visa opportunities.
Startup visa opportunities are not rare. A lot of developed countries, as well as developing ones, have created comparable visas to attract entrepreneurs and supercharge their growth. If you are considering starting a business in a foreign country, you might already have a few candidates; the question is how to assess theses startup visa opportunities and choose the one best fit for you. If you are researching startup visa opportunities to determine your next step, this piece is for you. We will not be listing countries; we aim to arm you with essential knowledge for your research.
The Fetching Startup
Ideas can change the world, and they can, thanks to the global model introduced in the last few decades. Startups have proven to be effective business formats. Investors have recognized the profitability of enabling innovators to realize their vision, and so have governments. Entrepreneurs create jobs and induce economic growth as well as improving other related life quality metrics that concern governments. That is the reason why startups are hot commodities in the eyes of governments and why everyone is trying to attract more of it for themselves. It is all about creating jobs and supercharging the national production.
Why should anyone choose to move to another country to start a business? The reasons behind this choice may vary for each person, and this distinction dictates the suitability of the country you choose. The reason for entrepreneurs moving to another country can be summarised in the following items that we shall discuss.
Added support for startups can attract entrepreneurs from across the world. This support can be in the forms of incubators and accelerators, or a culture that drives a national will to facilitate innovation and business. Studying general indicators such as this one can give you an idea of the state of startups in a given country. Researching the incubator ecosystem in countries can also present valuable information that would help you assess the support available for your startup.
Reaching new markets can be the drive for fetching startup visa opportunities. A new market can be a source of great success.
There are still a lot of countries in the world with untapped opportunities for the execution of proven ideas. In this regard, you might reconsider your search parameters and focus on the developing world instead of developed countries.
Also, note that researching the market and analyzing competitors before you commit is of crucial importance.
Access to new funding sources can be the reason you are looking for startup visa opportunities. The general economic metrics can be good measures, yet you might need to go deeper and analyze the private investors and their portfolio as well.
Something to consider is that not everyone could figure out the economic state and outlook of a country. I strongly recommend consulting with experts before making any decisions, because what might seem great on the paper could be the signs of an ailing economy.
Convenient access to better, cheaper, and more abundant resources is a very attractive factor for entrepreneurs. These resources can be labor, talent, technology, or simply raw materials.
Sometimes it is not about the country’s market or resources, but the neighboring markets and transportation infrastructures.
Consider your goal to be the market of a specific country A. Some little research could give you the idea to start your business in a neighboring country B and take advantage of their cheaper labor, ample funding, and export incentives, while quickly reaching your target market in country A.
Laws have been among the leading causes of large corporations’ movements. Favorable laws create a powerful incentive for starting businesses in a particular jurisdiction.
Law is everchanging and complicated intrinsic to the way legal systems develop over time. Taking advantage of lower tax rates in a jurisdiction is a great prospect, yet tax law is not the only thing you should consider when seeking startup visa opportunities. Trade, financial, and customs laws should carefully be considered before committing, and this almost always requires expert help.
A lot of times, it is the chance of living in a better place, which inspires moving to a new country. Statistics about the development of a country can help you figure out the general living quality. The social progress index, human development index, and gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity can depict a fair picture of the living quality in a certain country.
You should consider the residence and citizenship regulations to make sure the conditions are hospitable for starting a new life.
Who Can Apply for Startup Visa Opportunities?
Innovators and investors can take advantage of startup visa opportunities. A few countries ask for proof of existing funding; others focus on your business plan and would allow you to search for investors in the destination.
Sometimes having relevant experience and/or educations is required to apply for the startup visa. They might ask for proof of language ability as well.
Your nationality might be a factor in receiving certain types of startup visas. Make sure you read the regulations closely.
Some countries like Denmark would expect you to “play an active part in running the business”; others consider the investment enough and do not expect anything more from you.
I this section, we take a look at some sample data obtained straight from governmental sources, just to get an idea of various requirements of startup visa opportunities.
Take a look at Canada startup visa requirements:
have a qualifying business
meet the language requirements, and
have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business”
Here are the requirements for an Italy startup visa:
Presentation deck (in .ppt format or equivalent)
Forecast of costs and revenues (business plan)
Cover letter for proof of financial resources and attached files
Copy of your passport”
To get the UK startup visa, you must show that your business idea is:
“a new idea – you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading
innovative – you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
viable, with potential for growth”
To receive the UAE business Visa, you must:
“Be able to substantiate your experience as an entrepreneur.
Have been a majority shareholder of a startup or a member of its senior leadership.
Be willing to relocate to the UAE and legally establish a business in one of the Emirates.
Have a business idea or business plan that you wish to bring to life in the UAE.”
I would also suggest to check out Riccardo’s previous article on The Best European Countries for Startups!
How Can I Find Startup Visa Opportunities?
As discussed previously, Startup visa opportunities are becoming customary. Startups Without Borders has listed 15 countries with such possibilities. WhereCanI.Live also has its more extensive list that I suggest you take a look at.
A Google search of countries name + “startup visa” almost always guides you to some very relevant information. Sometimes you would have to search for phrases like “Residency through Business” or “Entrepreneur Visa” or “Immigrant Investor” to find what you need.
This website has very useful links you can explore.
But should you trust the web? Well, yes and no. The information on the web (as the ones discussed earlier) are very useful and can help you narrow your search down. Nevertheless, almost always, there is some tiny but very important detail overlooked on the web articles.
You can also visit or write to the council and the chamber of commerce of the country you are researching and ask your questions. Immigration lawyers and consulting firms also can empower you to take your next step with more confidence.
Which Country Is Better For Me?
There is no one perfect destination, and you would need to evaluate your situation to find the best fit. The first step would be putting any pre-judgments aside and assessing the cases based on the facts. Wishful thinking is your enemy. Always be researching and looking for small details. Maybe travel to the country and experience it first hand. Do not be shy to ask questions. It is a big decision, after all, and you would need any help you can receive.