This topic measures the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement for a small- to medium-size limited liability company to start up and formally operate in each economy’s largest business city.  To make the data comparable across 190 economies, Doing Business uses a standardized business that is 100% domestically owned, has a start-up capital equivalent to 10 times the income per capita, engages in general industrial or commercial activities and employs between 10 and 50 people one month after the commencement of operations, all of whom are domestic nationals.  The starting a business indicators consider two cases of local limited liability companies that are identical in all aspects, except that one company is owned by five married women and the other by five married men.  The overall score for starting a business is the average of the scores obtained for each of the component indicators.  The most recent round of data collection for the project was completed in May 2018. See the methodology for more information.

Doing Business Reforms

Removing obstacles to starting a business

Entrepreneurs in many economies continue to face significant barriers to entry when starting a business. Burdensome and costly regulation can prevent entrepreneurs from entering the formal economy, negatively impacting both the public and private sectors. Formalization allows entrepreneurs and employees to access the legal and financial services available to registered companies (such as obtaining loans and social security benefits). There is clear evidence that streamlining regulatory procedures can encourage business entry, business growth, job creation and rising national incomes. 

Fifty economies made starting a business easier in 2017/18 by reducing the procedures, time, cost, or paid-in minimum capital requirement associated with the process. The majority of these economies simplified registration formalities by abolishing requirements to obtain various approvals or consolidating several registration processes into one. Others streamlined postregistration procedures by eliminating the need to obtain a general business license or company seal. And still others set up or improved one-stop shops, reduced or eliminated minimum capital requirements and set up online platforms for entrepreneurs.

East Asia and the Pacific was the region with the highest share of reformers in the area of starting a business in 2017/18. China, which launched a new online company registration process in 2018, also simplified the social security registration process. Indonesia combined different social security registrations and reduced notarization fees in Jakarta and Surabaya. Malaysia introduced an online system to register for goods and service tax. Vietnam started publishing the notice of incorporation online and reduced the cost of business registration.


= Doing Business reform making it easier to do business. = Change making it more difficult to do business.