2008 rank: #24
Recent reforms in Saudi Arabia brought it up seven places from 24th position in last year's overall ranking.
Starting a business got a whole lot cheaper after fees were reduced by 80%; a new computerized system made registering property title deeds twice as fast, taking two days rather than four; and the country's port fees were halved, making importing and exporting relatively cheap, at less than $700 per container.
Taxes, meanwhile, are relatively low at 14.55% of profits, and demand less than 80 hours of paperwork time a year.
Less favorable to small business owners are Saudi Arabia's regulations for contract enforcement. Commercial disputes can take 635 days to resolve, and don't come cheap, with resolutions typically costing 27.5% of the claim. A rigid employment law, which mandates about 80 weeks of salary in penalties, notice and severance pay for terminated workers, may also create an obstacle to entrepreneurs.
NEXT: 17. Sweden
- Digital tip jar coming to a coffee shop near you
- How immigrant entrepreneurs are making it
- Ex-con launches startup aimed at inmates
- Free startup advice from Silicon Valley's best, including Marissa Mayer, Marc Andreessen
- Why Atlanta is ripe for innovation
- I'm a legal immigrant, but not allowed to work