Setting up a business abroad is always going to be a tough call. It’s not simply the geographical distance; it’s also the cultural distance and the legal difference. The E.U. is not just one country, it’s 27 and although common E.U. laws cover a lot of business practice, specifics vary from country to country. Europe is eager to attract overseas investors and consequently many E.U. countries allow a more tax-friendly status for non-resident businesses than they do for their own home-grown companies, Ireland, and Romania, for example, offer tax levels below 4% to foreign businesses, if certain conditions are met. Interested? Here are some further reasons why you should consider investing.
The E.U. is the second largest economy in the world
With a collective GDP of $18.8 trillion the E.U’s economy isn’t far behind that of the U.S.A’s $21 trillion. The average population of an E.U. country is around 18 million, but the total population is more like 500 million. That’s a vast market, comprised of many different cultures but with free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. There are opportunities here to seek areas where established products and services are of low quality and move in and provide better alternatives. In addition, 340 million people in the E.U. use the euro, so there are no problems with currency conversion and exchange rates.
Access to skilled labour and premises at reduced cost
Your business will have access to a huge labour pool and the opportunity for considerable savings. In Portugal, for example, half the labour force, under the age of thirty, are STEM graduates and you can hire skilled I.T. operatives for less than half of what you would need to pay in Paris or Berlin. The same situation applies to the acquisition of premises, either offices or factory space, and by choosing your location judiciously huge savings can be made.
There are many E.U. programs to assist SMEs
There are a whole range of incentives intended to encourage foreign entrepreneurs and business ventures, which range from direct grants and tax breaks to support in setting up and legal advice. In addition, the E.U. competition laws prevent large companies from exerting their power to deter customers or suppliers from doing business with competitors. Europe is a place of huge diversity and huge opportunities and the decision about where to locate your business will depend on the type of service or product which you supply.
An opportunity for a change of lifestyle
The capitals of Europe are among the great cities of the world, full of rich architectural heritage and wonderful cultural opportunities. Cities like Lisbon and Madrid are great for business, Portugal and Spain are still important locations for trade connections with North America, but they are also great places to live. These cities offer a very attractive sunny European lifestyle, as well as property prices that are considerably lower than comparable North American locations.