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Top talent, low taxes, cheap beer: Surprising havens for your next startup

Having trouble launching in Silicon Valley? Time to whip out your passport

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Topic: SMBs
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1 of 16 Per-Anders Pettersson/Corbis

These countries want your startup

If you're having trouble getting your startup off the ground, maybe you need to find a new piece of ground.

Like, say, in Rwanda. Yep. Really. More than a decade after a brutal genocide that saw the murder of up to 1 million Rwandans, the east African nation is turning to tech to secure its future. And entrepreneurs are paying attention.

A new, nationwide 1,430-mile fiber-optic network and recent tax reforms (such as a 7-year holiday for investors and large cuts in the corporate tax rate) have helped build Rwanda's reputation as one of the top sub-Saharan countries for new businesses.

And oh: Like Paris and Milan, Kigali also has its own Fashion Week.

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2 of 16 Corbis

Rwanda: Scandinavia heads south

Even as the country continues to come to terms with its past (this is the walkway through the Kigali Genocide Memorial) the future beckons.

Just last year, the Sweden-based telecom firm, Millicom, announced the creation of Think, a new tech incubator in the capital of Kigali.

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3 of 16 Corbis

Kazakhstan: Borat should brag

The Kazakh city of Almaty recently lost out to Beijing in a bid to host the Olympics. But Borat still has plenty to be proud of: Foreign investors get a 10-year tax break when starting a new business in Kazakhstan.

The government has also suspended the requirement to obtain a visa before starting a company, provided the business owner or executive is from a country that invested in Kazakhstan's economy, such as the U.S. or Britain.

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4 of 16 Corbis

Kazakhstan: Serious caffeine

Earlier this year, Kazakhstan hosted the Russian Startup Tour in the city of Almaty, which aims to boost startups such as the self-help mobile app Being Beethoven.

If that doesn't sell you, consider: This barista is putting edible gold flakes on a cup of cappuccino called "The Golden Horde" at the Ritz-Carlton in Almaty. The price: About 10 bucks.

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5 of 16 Corbis

Egypt: Join the party

Major political shakeups aside, the Arab Spring of 2011 marked a turning point for the tech startup scene in Egypt.

Pre-2011, only three Egyptian startups had created profiles on the investment matchmaking site AngelList. Now there are 218.

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6 of 16 Corbis

Egypt: Uber is already there

It costs about $1,500 to register and establish a business in Cairo, but the primary allures are the large pool of young, hungry and talented techies, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as an e-commerce market that's forecast to hit nearly $500 million by 2016.

No wonder Uber is already in Cairo.

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7 of 16 Michel Gounot / Godong, Ref:307

Guatemala: Start a company, see a pyramid

A tropical climate, incredibly low costs of living, and a deep pool of top-level devs are launching Guatemala into the startup spotlight. Guatemala City has Campus TEC, the first technology park of its kind in Central America. It hosts more than 100 startups.

Also: There are pyramids, like this one.

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8 of 16 Reuters/Corbis

Guatemala: REALLY cheap beer

Also calling Guatemala home is Startup Cities Institute, which is an organization that works with governments around the world to help foster development of startup scenes in urban environments.

With beer and cocktails in Guatemala costing as little as $1-$3 each, aspiring tech entrepreneurs are increasingly considering Guatemala for their company's headquarters.

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9 of 16 Blk 71/Launchpad

Singapore: Cleaning up the block

Singapore is known as the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia. Nowhere is this more evident than the country's creation and development of the Launchpad (otherwise known as Blk 71), which is a project that turned an old industrial block into a startup campus that currently houses nearly 300 startups; a number that's forecast to hit 750 by 2017.

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10 of 16 Corbis

Singapore: Belly up to the bar

Along with it being very easy and straightforward to set up a business there, the bars and nightlife in Singapore are hopping.

That's why entrepreneurs such as Kluje CEO Jamey Merkel, who developed a platform that helps user locate reliable home contractors, made Singapore a home base.

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11 of 16 Justin Mott, © Justin Mott/Corbis

Vietnam: Low cost of living

Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology, along with the World Bank, recently announced the allotment of $100 million to develop the country's tech industry.

With low salaries required for admins and coders, and the ability to live there very comfortably on $1,500 a month, Vietnam has found itself on the radar of startups looking to bootstrap and run lean.

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12 of 16 Hub.IT

Vietnam: Hunting for unicorns

The coworking hub Hub.IT is among the stars of the Vietnam startup scene, with Singaporean founder Bobby Liu working to provide young startups an environment to become the country's next success story.

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13 of 16 Corbis

India: Meet the new boss

India has been known as a difficult country to launch businesses. But recent reforms have helped to change that reputation. These days the country touts more than 3,000 new tech start-ups. That number is expected to mushroom to 11,000 by 2020.

One new perk that's keeping India's young talent close to home: free health care for in-laws.

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14 of 16 Startup Village

India: Cutting the red tape

Just this year, India's Ministry of Corporate affairs introduced a major reform for its entrepreneurs; incorporation of a new business will require the completion of only one form. It used to be eight.

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15 of 16 Lisa Wiltse/Corbis

New Zealand

Launching a startup can be a grind, which is why the breathtaking scenery and friendly, hospitable culture of New Zealand has attracted entrepreneurs who like to enjoy life out of the office as much as they do in it.

Other enticements: A business can be established online for just over $150.

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16 of 16 Xero

New Zealand: Shiny future

With a $2 billion market cap and a reputation as the "Apple of accounting," makers of Xero software are among the startups who have found New Zealand to be as welcoming as a warm, dry Hobbit hole.

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