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#425630 - 12/19/11 07:48 AM Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,770
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Expats considering a move to Ambergris Caye often ask me what they can do with so much free time. Some expats decide to volunteer. But many opt to stay active by starting a new business. They often venture into something totally different than what they did in the past. The good news is that Belize was recently ranked as one of the most business friendly countries for expats.

For the last three years I’ve been presenting about starting an overseas business at international conferences. My husband and I have set up several business ventures in Belize during the last 12 years. The San Pedro Club Fitness Center was our first major business. It’s shown in the cover photo. We’ve observed a series of expats move to Ambergris Caye and set up a business.

Wildly Popular Wine de Vine on Ambergris Caye

Wildly Popular Wine de Vine on Ambergris Caye

Expats come to Belize with great expectations. Some are very successful. But others fail miserably. Either way, one thing is clear, Belize is one of the easiest places for an expat to set up a new business. But it pays to do your homework.

International Living confirmed this fact in the November 2011 issue of their hardcopy magazine. In it they published their new Business Index for popular countries where expats retire. In the article they ranked their favorite countries by ease of setting up a business (pgs 16-17).

They ranked Belize second, right after Panama. But these two popular destinations were separated by a single point… Panama ranked up 62 points. Belize had 61 points.

Belize vs. Panama – for Ease of Business

Belize beat Panama in several categories – ease of language and commercial premises. They scored equally in ease of startup, business infrastructure, and business culture. Other categories included: access to capital, business opportunities, and future outlook.

Wild Mango's  - Our Favorite Restaurant

Wild Mango's - Our Favorite Restaurant

A big plus, language is not a barrier to business in Belize. English is the primary language, both spoken and for business. Beliz’s legal system is based on the British Commonwealth system. (Belize has a constitutional democracy.) The laws here are straight forward for expats moving from Britain, Canada, and the USA. Contracts and business documents are easy to grasp. There’s no need for an expensive translation process.

Another plus is that the business infrastructure is reliable. Power, water, internet and phone services seldom go down. We have a similar internet speed here to what we had in the USA. Most entrepreneurs consider this a pre-requisite to working in Belize.

Ambar Original Jewelry Store

Ambar Original Jewelry Store

The Belizean government is committed to attracting US dollars to their country. In order to do so, they’ve set up Tax Free Zones. Expats who set up their business in a tax free zone are exempt from business taxes for many years. But they are expected to hire and train Belizeans in exchange for these benefits. It’s a win-win deal.

Learn More at a Chill Weekend or Financial Conference

We address these types of topics at our Chill Weekends and financial conferences. Â Our presenters review some of the incentives the Belize government has developed to attract expats. For instance, an expat can set up a Belizean or offshore International Business Corporation in a few days. And it’s a snap to open an offshore bank account in one day. Professionals talk about these topics and advise attendees.

#425639 - 12/19/11 08:29 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,945
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Er ...... just for the record - Wine de Vine is not an ex-pat business --- Kelly was born and raised here.

#425640 - 12/19/11 08:33 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Diane Campbell]  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,718
Amanda Syme Offline
Amanda Syme  Offline
Originally Posted by Diane Campbell
Er ...... just for the record - Wine de Vine is not an ex-pat business --- Kelly was born and raised here.

And if you put it that way.....Elizabeth of Amber jewelry doesn't need the benefit of Belize being English speaking or the ease and comfort of British common law since she is French.

But seriously International Living articles are rarely accurate - that is why it is fun to read them.

At the crux of the matter though it is true that starting up a business in Belize and operating it as a foreigner is fairly easy - especially compared to being a foreigner trying to move to the US or Canada or the UK.

#425641 - 12/19/11 08:50 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,470
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
I really the comments about the Internet speed and the reliability of infrastructure. grin

#425643 - 12/19/11 09:04 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,718
Amanda Syme Offline
Amanda Syme  Offline
Is the water back on yet? LOL.

#425649 - 12/19/11 09:38 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Amanda Syme]  
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,206
SnoopysMom Offline
SnoopysMom  Offline
Interesting post! I would just add that while it is fairly straightforward to start up a business here, overhead costs can limit profitability. Most especially the costs of imported products (as few goods are actually made/manufactured here in Belize).

On the other hand, for service oriented businesses, the cost of labor can be much lower than the US, which may cancel the other out.....

#425657 - 12/19/11 10:33 AM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,470
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
The water is off right now. Go figure.

#431029 - 02/21/12 05:28 PM Re: Belize #2 Most Business Friendlyť in America [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 52
Indiana-Jones Offline
Indiana-Jones  Offline
Movie acting opportunities are getting less now that I am aging.

If I wanted to set up an internet business that gets all of its profits from outside of Belize then would those earnings be tax free in relationship to the Belize government? I realize that people may have tax liability depending on their country of citizenship.


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