Top 10 Countries for Self-Employed Workers to Set Up Business

headshot of Cristin Monnich

By Cristin Monnich, Associate Director, IC Solutions, GoGlobal 

In today’s dynamic world of work, the allure of self-employment has arguably never been more prominent. Around 1.57 billion people worldwide have embraced the path to professional autonomy, with data from the World Bank suggesting nearly half (46.7%) of the global workforce is comprised of freelancers.  

The trend towards self-employment is not just a statistic. It’s a reflection of a changing workforce ethos. The model benefits both self-employed individuals, offering them freedom and control over their careers, as well as businesses seeking specialized talents without enduring the traditional constraints of long-term employment commitments. 

Recognizing this growing trend, we’re excited to embark on a countdown of the top 10 countries for self-employed professionals to start a business. Each country on this list offers a unique blend of favorable policies, supportive environments and thriving economies – making them ideal destinations for entrepreneurial spirits. We’ll also highlight how GoGlobal IC Solutions can serve as a guiding hand in empowering self-employed workers and entrepreneurs.  

10. Netherlands

The Netherlands combines business-friendly policies and a high quality of life, making it a top destination for self-employed professionals. 

  • Corporate tax rate at 25% with incentives for small businesses and startups. 
  • Innovation-driven economy with investments in technology, green energy and life sciences. 
  • High broadband penetration rate and a strong English-speaking workforce. 
  • Government commitment to sustainability and social welfare supports a balanced work-life culture. 

9. Ireland

Ireland stands out with its low corporate tax rates and anticipated growth in key sectors. 

  • The low corporate tax rate of 12.5% attracts startups, especially in tech and pharmaceuticals. 
  • Strong emphasis on innovation, supported by government incentives. 
  • Member of the EU single market and eurozone with a resilient economy. 
  • Rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and supportive communities enhance the quality of life. 

8. Australia

Australia’s stable economy and strategic location in Asia Pacific (APAC) offer diverse business opportunities for the self-employed.  

  • Robust economy without recession for two decades, driven by various industries. 
  • Vibrant sectors such as technology, energy, natural resources, agri-foods and financial services. 
  • Strategic location for business growth across APAC.  
  • High standard of living is a significant draw for entrepreneurs. 

7. Germany

Renowned for its efficient business practices, Germany offers economic stability and a skilled workforce. 

  • Corporate tax rate around 30% balanced by economic stability. 
  • “Freiberufler visa” designed for freelancers in key fields. 
  • Strong industries including manufacturing, automotive and technology. 
  • Quality infrastructure, access to European markets, commitment to sustainability and protective regulations for independent contractors (ICs) 

6. Canada

Canada offers a stable economy, progressive policies and a supportive environment for small businesses. 

  • Federal corporate tax rate at about 15% with provincial variations. 
  • Supportive measures for startups, especially in technology and sustainable energy. 
  • Emphasis on multiculturalism and inclusivity for international entrepreneurs. 
  • High quality of life, vast natural landscapes and access to the US market. 

5. New Zealand

New Zealand’s ease of doing business and focus on innovation make it an attractive destination. 

  • Streamlined processes for starting and operating a business. 
  • Strong economy, political stability and government support for innovation. 
  • Quality of life with low crime rates, friendly culture and work-life balance. 
  • Strategic location in the APAC for international market access. 

4. Estonia

Estonia’s digital advancement and business-friendly policies support a thriving startup culture. 

  • E-Residency program facilitating business setup and management online. 
  • Favorable tax regime including zero corporate income tax on reinvested profits. 
  • Strong startup ecosystem and affordable living standards, make it popular for digital nomads 
  • Position within the European Union fostering technological advancement. 

3. Singapore

Singapore, a thriving international financial center, is defined by its highly advanced technological infrastructure.  

  • Fast internet speeds and digitized public infrastructure catering to remote work. 
  • Efficient legal system, stability, corporate tax advantages and ample visa opportunities for foreign nationals.  
  • Hub for international corporations, offering ample business opportunities and operational advantages.  
  • High quality of life, cultural vibrancy and flourishing business environment. 

2. United Arab Emirates

UAE’s business-friendly policies, Middle East location and tax incentives make it highly desirable. 

  • Zero personal income tax policy and attractive corporate tax environment. 
  • International trade hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure. 
  • Specific visas and permits supporting freelancers and businesses. 
  • Commitment to innovation, streamlined setup processes and tax advantages. 

1. Poland

Poland’s supportive business policies for remote work, startup initiatives and favorable taxation make it the top destination. 

  • Flat tax rate and lower social security contributions benefit self-employed individuals. 
  • Burgeoning startup scene supported by co-working spaces. 
  • Accommodating residency options for non-EU nationals. 
  • Strategic location in Central Europe for European market access. 

How GoGlobal’s IC Solutions can assist 

Navigating international business setup can be complex. GoGlobal’s IC Solutions are tailored to empower ICs, providing a range of services aimed at facilitating seamless engagements with clients while aligning compliance with global standards.  

Our meticulous compliance evaluation ensures correct classification, enabling ICs to work confidently with clients and leverage their business opportunities. Through our Agency of Record (AOR) services, we streamline the contracting process, manage engagements and deliver prompt payment processing, enabling independent contractors to focus on their work without administrative hassles.  

In cases where compliance issues surface, our team offers guidance to rectify potential concerns. We collaborate closely with both the client’s management and the IC for a smooth resolution. If an IC status faces challenges, our solution seamlessly transitions the relationship to a more compliant Employment Outsourcing (EOR) model, preserving the business connection while upholding compliance standards.  

Operating in 83 countries, GoGlobal’s team of seasoned experts has supported numerous Fortune 500 companies, providing comprehensive AOR and EOR services that empower self-employed professionals to navigate diverse global markets, engage effectively with clients and capitalize on opportunities – while achieving compliance at every step. 

Check out the details for GoGlobal IC Solutions or contact us to learn more about how our services can help you navigate the complexities of self-employment seamlessly while ensuring your business thrives.