SUPPORT | November 19, 2015

Make Business Registration Easy Everywhere by 2017

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“Reducing the number of steps required to start a business saves entrepreneurs and investors time and reduces opportunities for corruption,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and founder of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

A 2002 study found that business entry costs as a percentage of GDP per capita were an astonishing 94 percent and 67 percent for Africa and Central Europe, respectively, versus a mere 3 percent for high-income countries5. Complex administrative processes pose an enormous barrier to small and medium-sized enterprises which, lacking the resources to comply with such processes, forego potential business expansion.

According to Ortmans, “For individuals, GER.co’s assistance with business registration brings the dignity of a step toward participating in the formal economy, and for governments, the platform helps identify the best business registration practices, simplify their own business registration procedures, and foster an inclusive global economy.”

The “Go Green by 2017” campaign is a call to action for governments everywhere to make their business registration process clear and simple by 2017. This will facilitate economic growth and good governance globally. If governments see that they can make business registration processes easy, they will be inspired to simplify other administrative procedures, which will improve investment climates exponentially.

The campaign targets governments with two messages:

  • To governments that have not put their business registration processes online: please do so. (See “How it works/Not listed” on GER.co for a list of 69 economies without online business registration websites. These economies are grey on the GER.co world map)
  • To all governments: please clarify and simplify business registration processes. (Start the simplification process by completing the “Governments/Assess your website” form on GER.co).

The GER team rates each country’s official business registration website for its user-friendliness, using a scale of zero to ten green dots, with more green dots signifying better processes: hence, “going green.” According to Ortmans, “governments can help entrepreneurs everywhere by creating and maintaining business registration websites that rank high on the green dot scale, continuing their efforts to simplifying procedures, and putting more government administrative procedures online.”

5Bannock, G. et al. (August 2002), 15.

This is an excerpt from an article originally written for Capital Finance International (CFI) Magazine. You can view the full text here.

Ann Low is deputy director of the Office of Investment Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and the architect of the GER.co initiative and Go… About the author