21 July 2023

Recent years have seen a growing interest from OECD countries in attracting foreign entrepreneurs. Starting in 2010, 22 OECD countries have introduced specific visa programmes and schemes to attract and retain top entrepreneurial talent.

Several areas must be identified as key to creating a favourable start-up environment that facilitates the creation and growth of start-up business: regulatory frameworks, access to capital, start-up ecosystem infrastructure, market conditions, access to human capital, creation and diffusion of knowledge, level of digitalisation.

Canada is the most attractive country for start-up founders in the OECD. The United States also ranks among the top countries, with a very strong start-up ecosystem environment.

France has the most favourable policies for international start-up entrepreneurs, with funding opportunities and pathways for start-up staff attached to the start-up visa. International start-up founders are also granted a relatively long period to develop their business before a change in the visa is required.

Smaller European economies, for example Ireland and Portugal, have favourable tax systems (tax subsidies for R&D), and in the case of Ireland low corporate tax, low living costs (Portugal).

Japan and Israel are found at the bottom of the ranking, despite being known as having strong start-up environments with good access to venture capital and well-developed start-up infrastructure.

More in the publication: Migration Policy Debates, OECD, No. 30, March 2023.

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