20 best countries for startups

The World Bank's annual "Doing Business" report ranks 181 countries on how friendly their regulatory climate is to entrepreneurs. Check out these top 20 hot spots.

1 of 20
1. Singapore
2009 rank: #1
2008 rank:

Singapore has a three-year history at the top of this ranking, thanks to its business-friendly bankruptcy and labor laws, its low and quick-to-file taxes, and its generally high-tech approach to everything.

This year, reforms in two sectors - starting a business and dealing with construction permits - helped the city-state hold its place at number one.

A new company can now be set up in four days thanks to improvements in Singapore's electronic business registration service.

Singapore's newly streamlined construction-permit application process, also online, has reduced waiting times to 38 days, the third fastest time in the world. What's more, once they've filed their paperwork, builders in Singapore can receive regular e-mail or text-message updates on the status of their applications.

In other areas, Singapore continues to come in on top, with some of the world's strongest laws protecting investors, lenders and borrowers; lowest import and export costs (less than $500 per container); and the fastest time to resolve commercial disputes in the world: 150 days.

NEXT: 2. New Zealand
Source: All data comes from "Doing Business 2009," a publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Detailed methodological information is available at www.doingbusiness.org.
LAST UPDATE: Sep 11 2008 | 1:18 PM ET
Sponsored by
Full story: Global best spots for small biz Singapore is tops in the World Bank's survey of the friendliest regulatory environments for startups and small companies. More
10 worst countries for startups These 10 countries filled out the bottom of World Bank's list, presenting major obstacles to fledgling new ventures. More
100 best places to live and launch Fortune Small Business's picks of the best places in the U.S. to start a company. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.