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Infographic: How Quickly Can You Start a Business, Around the World?

In the U.S., we take it for granted that starting a business should be quick and simple. But abroad, it can be mind-numbingly complex–and that’s one reason why economists often use the number of days it takes to start a business to gauge a country’s entrepreneurial competitiveness, its prevalence of red tape, and its straight-up corruption. (Since corruption often starts when there’s more red tape–and more opportunities for bribes.)

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This sweet, simple map plots it all out, and the results can be astonishing. In the U.S., it takes about six days to start a business. Russia, it takes 30. And in notoriously troubled countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo or Venezuela, it can take well over 125 days. (New Zealand is the quickest on the list, at one day.) In places like those, you can see why entrepreneurship dies a quick death.

Though it sounds like this data would be hopelessly complex to gather, it’s actually pretty straightforward: It comes from incorporation lawyers, who’ve created lists of procedures it takes to start a business in each country. Each item on the list is assumed to take one day. So this is, in all likelihood, the minimum amount of time it takes to start a business–the real world is surely much more complex and inefficient.

It’s a sobering thought to see how hard it is in countries with almost nothing to simply make a good idea come to life–and it makes you wonder at the prospects for foreign aid, when such inefficiency is still in place.

[Via I Love Charts]

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