This topic measured 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 used 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 considered 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 2019. See the methodology and video for more information.

See information about entrepreneurial activity - including firm entry rates and gender-disaggregated statistics - in the Entrepreneurship Database.

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. 

Forty-six economies made starting a business easier in 2018/19 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 post-registration procedures by eliminating the need to obtain a general business license or company seal whereas others set up or improved one-stop shops, reduced or eliminated minimum capital requirements and set up online platforms for entrepreneurs.

South Asia was the region with the highest share of reformers in the area of starting a business in 2018/19. Following the introduction of a one-stop shop for company registration in 2018, Pakistan further expanded the procedures covered by the one-stop shop in 2019. Starting from January 2019, incorporation application at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan allows founders to also register their company with the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, the Excise & Taxation Department of the District for Professional Tax, the Employees Social Security Institution and the Labor Department. Under the new system, while filing the incorporation application, founders can opt for all of the above registrations at the same time. In March 2019, India made starting a business easier by abolishing filing fees for the SPICe form, the electronic memorandum of association and the electronic articles of association for companies with an authorized share capital below IDR 1,500,000.


Reforms implemented in 2018/19 are available here.

Summaries of reforms by economy, since DB2008:

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