The best places in Europe to be an entrepreneur » SMEInsider

The best places in Europe to be an entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurial success is partly about being in the right place at the right time. Compiled from research by the online credit and business loan platform Spotcap, here are five of the very best places on the continent to launch a business right now.

1. Sweden

Sweden’s focus on entrepreneurial education has certainly paid off. Its entrepreneurs have helped to launch some of world’s biggest brands, including Spotify, Skype and Soundcloud, while improved regulatory systems have cemented its reputation as a great place for startups. Plus, return on capital for SMEs is getting better and better.

2. Netherlands

A thriving startup culture is a source of pride in the Netherlands, and the Dutch have 6% more entrepreneurs than the EU as a whole. In fact, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has placed encouraging entrepreneurship as a top priority and there’s no doubt that the country truly understands the economic value of SMEs.

3. Estonia

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Estonia’s government debt as a percentage of GDP is one of of the lowest in the world, putting the Baltic state in a strong economic position. The government has bee working hard to seize the opportunity to get people into entrepreneurship – last year, Juhan Parts, Estonia’s then Minister of Economic Affairs,unveiled the Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy, which aims to make Estonia one of the best places in the world to start a business.

4. Spain

Spain suffered terribly in the recession, but an unexpected side effect has been a renewed passion for entrepreneurship and, in particular, the potential of SMEs and startups to drive the economy forward and create new jobs. SMEs now make up 65% of the country’s GDP, and four out of five people in employment owe their jobs to SMEs. This is being supported with government tax breaks and access to funding.

5. Austria

Austria’s SME sector has been on an upward trajectory since 2009, to the delight of the European Commission. This growth has been fuelled by the excellent trade opportunities afforded by its neighbours – Austria’s position gives it ample access to markets in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Germany. The Austrian government takes the opportunity very seriously, with its Chamber of Commerce developing an SME stress test, lowering the minimum capital required for creating a limited company, and reducing administrative and tax demands.