The Top 7 North and South American Countries to Start a Business

Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

Selecting a country in North America to invest or expand into is one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face.

With the number of countries to choose from, narrowing down options to even only two or three countries can prove to be difficult.

Knowing the top countries in North America that best support entrepreneurship is a good way to limit your choices. The Legatum Institute, a London-based international think-tank which releases the annual Prosperity Index, highlights two important factors that show how welcoming and supportive certain countries are in terms of local and foreign investments.

These pillars are:

  1. Business Environment

    This pillar measures a country’s entrepreneurial environment, business infrastructure, access to credit, investor protection, barriers to innovation, and labor market flexibility.

  2. Economic Quality

    This factor measures a country’s performance in terms of economic satisfaction, expectations, and openness, distribution of prosperity, structural policies, and production quality and diversity.

North American Countries With Attractive Entrepreneurial Environments

Based on the 2018 Legatum Prosperity Index, here are the seven countries in North America which rank high on both the business environment and economic quality and, as such, are potentially great places to start a business:

  1. United States

    Ranking first in terms of the business environment pillar and 13th in economic quality, the United States remains one of the best countries to invest in.

    The country’s economy is mainly fueled by its rich natural resources. It also has one of the biggest and most influential financial markets not only in the Americas but in the world as well.

    At present, the fastest growing industries in the U.S. are computer system design, home healthcare, cybersecurity, and green energy.

  2. Canada

    Often considered one of the business and economic powerhouses in the world, Canada ranks third in the business environment and 21st in economic quality pillars respectively.

    Canada is considered by many as an energy powerhouse due to the country’s abundance of petroleum and natural gas. It is one of the biggest exporters of these products as well.

    Aside from oil and gas, the country’s most lucrative industries also include agri-food, logging, automotive, biopharmaceuticals, business and financial services, and mining.

  3. Chile

    Chile is ranked 41st in terms of economic quality and 44th in the business environment pillar.

    This country has been one of the most financially stable and prosperous nations in South America for many years now. This is mainly due to its large, profitable sectors which include copper mining, manufacturing, business and personal services.

    Chile is also one of the best countries in South America that rank high in global indexes for ease of doing business.

  4. Panama

    Placing 24th in terms of the business environment and 45th in economic quality, Panama is considered by many as one of the best countries to invest in now.

    The biggest economic sectors in this South American country are financial services and agriculture. However, business is also booming in the insurance, aircraft spare parts manufacturing, textiles, and medical and health industries.

    Panama is also a popular travel destination so it is also one of the best investment-worthy countries in South America for those specializing in the travel and tourism industry.

  5. Mexico

    Ranking 27th in the business environment measure and 66th in terms of economic quality, Mexico remains one of the most welcoming countries for foreign investors.

    Since the country’s economy relies greatly on export, the majority of Mexican trade operates under free trade agreements. Aside from trade, agriculture, automotive, oil, manufacturing, and tourism are big industries here, too.

    Enterprises of various scales are welcome in Mexico. It is, therefore, worth considering starting a small business in this vibrant country.

  6. Colombia

    Colombia has placed 29th on the business environment factor and 74th in economic quality.

    This country has one of the largest economies by GDP in Central America. Its main industries include petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, chemicals, coal, emeralds, shipbuilding, and electronics.

    Tourism is also an important sector in Colombia due to its numerous natural and man-made attractions.

  7. Uruguay

    Uruguay ranks 42nd in the business environment pillar and 52nd in economic quality in last year’s Prosperity Index.

    The country’s main, most lucrative sectors are agriculture, mining, textiles, telecommunications, and travel and tourism.

    Uruguay placed 30th on the overall Prosperity Index ranking, one of the highest standings bestowed on a South American country.

With many of North and South American countries having relatively favorable business and economic climates, these could be great places to consider starting a business.

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