Is Cyprus the Best Country to Start a Business as a Foreigner?

Is Cyprus the Best Country to Start a Business as a Foreigner?

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For many, the journey to entrepreneurship is a thrilling venture, yet foreign landscapes can add an extra layer of complexity. Thankfully, Cyprus boasts an inviting business environment, offering diverse opportunities to foreigners. Let’s delve deeper into the business ecosystem in Cyprus, and how it might make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

There are several reasons why you might consider Cyprus as your launching pad for business. Be it the favourable taxation system, the ease of company formation, or the efficient banking sector, Cyprus stands out on the global stage. In the forthcoming sections, we’ll examine why this Mediterranean gem might indeed be the best country to start a business as a foreigner.

Thinking about incorporating your company in Cyprus?

Book a free consultation with a trusted company incorporation lawyer, and get guidance on legal requirements, tax implications to help you navigate the local business landscape.

Thinking about incorporating your company in Cyprus?

Book a free consultation with a trusted company incorporation lawyer, and get guidance on legal requirements, tax implications to help you navigate the local business landscape.

Life in Cyprus for Foreigners

Quality of Life

While business considerations are vital, the quality of life is equally important for foreigners moving to a new country. Cyprus scores highly in this regard, offering a pleasant Mediterranean climate, beautiful landscapes, and rich culture.

Healthcare and education in Cyprus are of a high standard, with several international schools and world-class medical facilities. The crime rate is one of the lowest in the EU, making Cyprus a safe place to live.

Cost of Living

In comparison to other European countries, the cost of living in Cyprus is relatively lower. Housing, in particular, is more affordable, with property prices and rents being lower than in many EU countries.

Groceries, utilities, and other everyday expenses are also reasonably priced. This lower cost of living allows for a comfortable lifestyle while running a business, making Cyprus an even more attractive destination.

Workforce and Language Proficiency

Quality of Workforce

One of the most significant resources any business can have is its human capital. In Cyprus, businesses have access to a highly educated and skilled workforce. According to Eurostat, Cyprus has one of the highest percentages of university degree holders in the EU.

The younger generation, in particular, is well-versed in fields like IT, finance, and marketing, making Cyprus a breeding ground for innovation. Additionally, Cypriots are known for their work ethic, which is a boon for businesses looking for dedicated employees.

Language Proficiency

Another critical aspect for foreigners is language. Cyprus excels in this regard, boasting a high level of English proficiency. The EF English Proficiency Index ranks Cyprus highly in English skills among non-native English-speaking countries.

English is the language of business in Cyprus, and the legal, banking, and governmental sectors all operate seamlessly in English. This eliminates significant language barriers for foreign entrepreneurs and facilitates smoother operations.

Understanding Cyprus Business Environment

Economic Stability

A crucial factor when considering where to set up a business is economic stability. In Cyprus, you’ll find an economy that has demonstrated resilience and growth. As per the World Bank Open Data, Cyprus’ GDP grew by 3.8% in 2022, outpacing many European peers.

Cyprus has a diversified economy, reducing its reliance on any single sector. Key industries include shipping, tourism, financial services, and real estate, providing a balanced economic base.

Importantly, the Cypriot government has implemented a series of economic reforms aimed at promoting growth and stability. This shows a commitment to maintaining a healthy economic environment conducive to business.

Market Accessibility

Cyprus’ strategic location offers businesses access to key global markets. It serves as a gateway to the European Union, which it joined in 2004, offering access to a market of over 500 million people.

In addition to the EU, Cyprus has strong trading links with the Middle East and North Africa due to its proximity. In 2022, Cyprus was the UK’s 54th largest trading partner, with total trade exceeding £1 billion.

Moreover, Cyprus’ extensive network of Double Taxation Treaties and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements further enhance market accessibility. These agreements remove barriers to international trade and protect foreign investments.

Local Resources Available for Businesses

For foreigners setting up businesses in Cyprus, a range of local resources is readily available. The Cypriot government, in cooperation with various stakeholders, has established several initiatives to support businesses.

Entities such as the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency provide invaluable assistance to new businesses. They offer services like business advice, networking events, and investor guidance.

Below is a table outlining some key local resources available for businesses in Cyprus:

ResourceServices Provided
Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI)Business advise, advocacy, networking events
Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Invest Cyprus)Promotion of Cyprus as a business and investment destination, investor guidance
Cyprus Entrepreneurship Fund (CYPEF)Financing options for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
District Development AgenciesLocal support, project implementation assistance

These resources, combined with Cyprus’ advantageous economic and market conditions, make it an attractive destination for foreign entrepreneurs considering where to start their businesses.

Ease of Starting a Business in Cyprus

Let’s move on to the ease of starting a business in Cyprus, an aspect critical for any foreigner. Cyprus ranks high for the ease of setting up a business. Procedures are relatively straightforward, with less red tape compared to other countries.

Moreover, the country has an excellent professional services sector. Lawyers, accountants, and consultants are readily available to assist newcomers. This makes the company formation process even more streamlined.

Here’s a list of the basic steps involved in setting up a company in Cyprus:

  1. Approval of company name
  2. Preparation of Memorandum and Articles of Association
  3. Registration with the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver
  4. Registration with the Tax Department for VAT
  5. Opening of a corporate bank account

Taxation in Cyprus

One of the standout advantages of doing business in Cyprus is its attractive taxation system. The corporate tax rate stands at a flat 12.5%, one of the lowest in the European Union.

There are numerous tax incentives for businesses, including exemptions on dividend income and profits from sales of securities. The country has an extensive double tax treaty network, eliminating the risk of double taxation for foreign investors.

However, navigating the taxation landscape requires sound understanding and expertise. It’s important to seek professional advice to fully comprehend and take advantage of the tax benefits in Cyprus.

Legal System and Company Formation

The legal system in Cyprus is another advantage for foreigners setting up businesses. It is based on English Common Law principles, offering a familiar and transparent legal framework for business operations.

The table below gives an overview of the key aspects of company formation in Cyprus:

Number of ShareholdersMinimum one can be a natural person or a legal entity
DirectorsMinimum one, no nationality or residency restrictions
Registered officeMust be in Cyprus
Annual ReturnMust be filed with the Registrar of Companies every year
AccountingObligation to keep proper books of account, prepare, audit and file accounts

Banking and Insurance in Cyprus

The banking sector in Cyprus is efficient and highly developed. Banks offer a variety of services to businesses, including multi-currency accounts, online banking, and trade finance services.

Banking in Cyprus is reliable and secure, with robust regulations in place to protect businesses. Furthermore, English is widely spoken in banks, making communication easy for foreigners.

On the insurance front, Cyprus has a competitive market with numerous insurance companies offering a wide range of business insurance. It’s advisable to consult with an insurance broker to understand the best options for your business.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

Transport Infrastructure

One aspect not to be overlooked is Cyprus’s efficient transport infrastructure. The country has two international airports, in Larnaca and Paphos, providing regular connections to major European and Middle Eastern destinations. This allows easy travel for business purposes.

Cyprus also boasts an advanced road network, ensuring ease of movement within the country. Its strategic geographical position also places it as an ideal hub for sea freight, with Limassol and Larnaca serving as major commercial ports.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

Digital Infrastructure

In the digital age, robust digital infrastructure is a necessity for businesses. In Cyprus, you’ll find excellent digital connectivity, which is key for global business operations. Cyprus ranks 29th globally in the 2022 UN E-Government Survey, showcasing its commitment to digital innovation.

Furthermore, the Cyprus government is investing heavily in digitalization and ICT infrastructure. It’s part of their strategy to make Cyprus a regional hub for technology and innovation.


From a favourable business environment and ease of company formation to an attractive taxation system and efficient banking, Cyprus indeed makes a compelling case. For many foreigners, it has become the best country to start a business.

Of course, each business journey is unique, and decisions should be based on individual circumstances. However, as someone who’s experienced the transition, I can vouch for the myriad of opportunities Cyprus presents. As you contemplate your next business move, I hope this guide helps you see why Cyprus might just be the ideal location for your entrepreneurial venture.

Remember, at Be In Cyprus, we’re here to connect you with trusted professionals who can assist you further. Feel free to reach out and make your business dream a reality in Cyprus.

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