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I regularly come to think of what would be the best place to create and run a small IT company say a start-up. By safe I mean:

  1. Not bothered by criminals collecting money from all businesses in the neighbourhood

  2. Not bothered by the army of lawyers trying every single hole in legislation system on every single little company (like it is in Germany)

  3. No software patents and endless suits about every single little feature or color piece in your software

  4. Free from responsibility for user-generated content, well as long as you remove all generally considered "illegal" content after a request to do so or after you yourself notice it

  5. The local court system does not welcome such attacks from local and foreign lawyers and "protects" their homegrown companies

  6. Reasonable taxes not killing a private entrepreneur from the very start of his adventure

  7. Low bureaucracy and paperwork

  8. Private data protection for your company (not like giving out your state of affairs to whoever asks)

  9. Well developed communication infrastructure (not like sitting over dial-up as the latest technology breakthrough)

P.S. Will here be a better location for such a question?

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Should be community wiki –  Nik Reiman Jun 3 '09 at 9:29
    
If you ask then have it as such... –  Mastermind Jun 16 '09 at 19:20
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closed as not constructive by Ward, RobM, Iain Dec 3 '12 at 9:21

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13 Answers

I'm liking Canada. Less litigious than the US. Better crypto export laws; OpenBSD is homed from Canada in part because of that. Low crime rates.

The taxes aren't the lowest, though.

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great bacon too, don't ever forget the bacon... –  Chopper3 Jun 3 '09 at 0:41
    
the bacon does have a lot going for it. –  Electrons_Ahoy Jun 3 '09 at 0:57
    
Doesn't everyone realize it's just slightly differently cured ham?? People these days amaze me sometimes ;-) –  Joshua Nurczyk Jun 3 '09 at 3:35
    
Aha - but it's DELICIOUS. Something that tasty, they can call it whatever they want. –  Electrons_Ahoy Jun 3 '09 at 6:32
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And if you need decent and prompt medical care, the US is nearby... –  Mikeage Jun 3 '09 at 9:41
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The United Kingdom doesn't seem to be that bad. Can't really comment on the bureaucracy, but it doesn't seem overly onerous. Communications are getting better, especially in larger cities.

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Libel laws in the UK might very well fail (4) –  derobert Jun 3 '09 at 5:06
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In practice, unless you're running a newspaper, you're very unlikely to get sued for libel as a company. Libel is rather easy to avoid; don't say anything bad about anybody. It's rather good business sense too. –  David Pashley Jun 3 '09 at 6:40
    
I'm also thinking the fail on #4, plus #7, and very much so on #8. –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 23 '10 at 13:31
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I'm doing it in Singapore. Startup company taxes are non-existent for the first few years. Personal taxes are low low (I paid less than S$2K in my first year!). Government hands out startup cash and consulting help to companies.

Moving countries just to start a company is a big step tho.

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Does seem like an awful lot of work to move countries, but I guess if the business is important to you, it could be the right thing to do. –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 23 '10 at 13:33
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Delaware in the US is the most common choice for start-ups, primarily due to it's advanced fair and effective corporation laws.

USA isn't a good answer because corporation law differs dramatically from one state to another.

Here's a really good forum thread on the topic.

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Singapore meets most of your criteria. I'm not sure about the patent lawsuits -- never heard of any but... I've been here in Singapore for 5 years now, working in my 3rd start-up. The government, via the EDB (economic development board) and other agencies has tried to make the country start-up friendly, though they are more focused on BioTech than silicon valley types. Staffing is one concern, there are lots of entry level and mid-level technical people here at reasonable costs, but senior technical people are very hard to find, that's just not the typical career path. But all-in-all; if you can stand the heat then Singapore is a great place to be.

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Deeply odd question - but my first instinct is that one of the small European 'tax-havens' such as Monaco, Liechtenstein, Jersey etc. may be the closest you'll get to meeting these requirements.

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Traditionally, "California" has been the answer to that question, which is one of the reasons Silicon Valley happened here.

The US is slipping down the desirability scale on several of your points, but I wouldn't personally consider taking a startup anywhere else.

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I've always believed that Silicon Valley succeeded, DESPITE being in Cali. It fails so many of the requirements that it's not even funny. Yet, it works. Probably just because people will tolerate all the restrictions just to have the nice weather. :-) –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 23 '10 at 13:34
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I would say the UK for the following reasons (Corresponding with your points in your question):

  1. Doesn't happen in the UK.
  2. UK is not too bad for this
  3. Software Patents are not granted as much in the EU as they are in the US. Also, >90% of this granted software patents in the EU would fail in a court of law. From what I gather, there isn't a lot of software-patent litagation in the UK
  4. EU has a good law on this and the UK has some good case law which says that as long as you didn't have any knowledge of the content, and you remove it ASAP, you are in the clear. Additionally, libel laws are going to be reformed soon in the UK.
  5. Not sure about local but the EU likes "home grown" businesses
  6. Again, UK is OK for this. Not the best, but nothing too bad
  7. I started when I was 17 without an accountant...
  8. EU has strict Data Protection laws. The case in the EU is actaully the opposite to this question (not always a good thing!)
  9. Co-location is cheap in the UK. £45/month for 1U of Rackspace with 100Mbit internet connection. Very cheap!
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#8 - The EU data protection laws are always highly touted, yet, the UK is sticking cameras all over the place and recording sound, etc. The UK appears to be actively harvesting as much data as they can get, and protecting none of it. Seems like the data protection laws are all show and no substance. I sure wouldn't go there to start a company! –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 23 '10 at 13:36
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The only place I can think of is LaLa Land. Actually, such a place doesn't exist. Even if local conditions meet your "requirements" it will still be affected by laws and actions originating from other places. Dream on.

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Yeah, pretty crazy how people in other areas can mess things up for you. Rulings on laws being proposed by people in New York and Chicago keep coming over and harming the rest of us. So much for voting for our representatives. Those people end up effectively representing us, yet we have no say in electing them since they're in a different state. –  Brian Knoblauch Jun 23 '10 at 13:38
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@Brian, those same decisions frequently affect those of us who are not even in the same country! –  John Gardeniers Jun 23 '10 at 13:55
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China. specifically- Shenzen. beats the pants off everyone else on every count in your list.

just go there once, and see for yourself. I accidently went there with a friend, and came bak thunderstruck.

as a COBOL coolie, i've worked in Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Frankfurt, HK and Sydney nothing like shenzen exists anywhere.

av. new delhi. india

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What do you mean? Tell us more... –  Rich Jun 3 '09 at 7:34
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An answer like this really needs more elaboration. You can't just say some place is so much better than anything else and not give a single reason. –  DWilliams Jul 9 '09 at 3:05
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Sure China is a great place to do business, as long as the local communist officials are happy with you. –  duffbeer703 Jul 20 '09 at 11:59
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I will say ShenZheng, China. is the best.

1. IT belongs to high-tech sector, that means you will be highly regarded by local government. Their achievement is largely determined by how quick their regional GDP grows, and recently it changes into how much review comes from high-tech sector. Being a high-tech company means you will get tax deduction, friendly government relationship(this is extremely important in this country since government has lot of power) and so on.

2. Lot of highly educated graduates and experienced individuates. To be sure there is sigh of labor shortage in China, but the amount of college graduates are enormous. Only laborer numbers are shrinking and their salary is going up as well.

3. Chinese government is working very hard to emulate India in IT service. Since you are in this sector, I believe you will get lot of goodies form government. It is quite secure in China and Shenzheng as well. Army of lawyers trying every single hole in legislation system on every single little company. Even heard of it here.

4. Benefits listed above may not good enough to convince you that Shenzheng is better than Singapore, but one thing is more important, that is market. China has a very promising domestic marketing, and it is growing every day.

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5. Great if you like massive human-rights abuse –  Chopper3 Jun 23 '10 at 9:03
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The Philippines is a good location. Cebu in particular. Good talent at a good price. Taxes are low, cost of living is low.

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You may find this report my KPMG useful.

I am Ukrainian, naturally I would recommend Kyiv (Kiev) or especially Lviv as good places for running IT company. They are both included in the report above.

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I have an Ukrainian friend whose relative is an entrepreneur and almost got killed recently in an assassination attempt. exUSSR is like a war-zone for business these days. –  Mastermind Jul 20 '09 at 12:59
    
And thanks for the report, looks interesting. –  Mastermind Jul 20 '09 at 13:00
    
I'm afraid I have to discard this report as the complete BS. –  Mastermind Jul 20 '09 at 13:04
    
Mastermind, Ukraine is outsourcing destination, maybe not a place to launch a startup, I agree here. –  Taras Chuhay Jul 20 '09 at 14:43
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Ukraine was a very popular outsourcing target for norwegian financial systems until a law recently arrived where they state that any sensitive information is not allowed to leave the motherland. The financial sector is now brining all their systems back to Norway, and lease Ukraine workers on projects.. –  pauska Jun 23 '10 at 10:17
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