The first merit of GER.co is that it puts all governments of the world on the same page, literally. It shows on the same page what it takes, in every country, to become a legitimate entrepreneur.
To create a business, having a business idea, skills and funds are not enough. To be allowed to work legally, entrepreneurs must also register their business with the state. This involves not only one but multiple registrations, with various public agencies. It can be a tedious and complicated process that keeps hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs at the margin of formal economy.
This process is what is shown and compared, at the global level, on GER.co.
GER.co lists official sites that either allow entrepreneurs to register their business online or show what the process is. A site allowing users to register a business online is called a single window. A site showing what the process is called an information portal.
So far, only 29 countries have a single window and offer online business registration. Only 5 of them get the maximum rating on GER, 10 dots. What makes a good single window? The fact that it allows you to deal at the same time with various agencies as if it were a unique process. You can apply with a single form, pay all fees at once and receive all registrations at once. This, for the time being, is possible only in Denmark, Estonia, Oman, New Zealand and Switzerland. In the other 24 countries with a single window you still can’t get all the mandatory registrations through the window.
Countries which don’t have a single window usually have an information portal where the business creation process is described. It is absolutely essential that entrepreneurs know what they need to do to be able to exist and work legally. 130 countries have such information portals. But not all portals are of the same quality. Out of 130, only 26 get perfect rating on GER. That means that they list all the mandatory registrations and, for each, indicate where users should apply, what are the forms and requirements, what the cost is, and what the underlying regulations are. Only 26 countries list all this information.
In the other 104, entrepreneurs are still not told in a clear and comprehensive way what are the rules and how they can comply.
Another 59 countries do not have information portals at all. This is why GER.co has launched a “go green by 2019” campaign, to invite all countries to put their business creation online by year 2019 and to list them on GER.
We are glad to welcome today two new countries on GER, the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of Cameroun. Bhutan is now listed on GER thanks to a newly launched information portal that describes step-by-step de business creation process, for both domestic and foreign investors. Thanks to this new service, Bhutan gets the top rating for information portals on GER, 10 dots.
Cameroun is the first of the 17 members of the Organization for the Harmonization of Commercial Law in Africa (OHADA) to offer an online business creation system. The “Mybusiness.cm” online service has been in operation since March this year. It allows small entrepreneurs and companies to register online, simultaneously, with the Business Registry and the Tax administration, through one single form and with one single payment. The Cameroun business registration system is one of the highest ranked single windows on GER, with 7 dots.
All UNCTAD congratulations go to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to the Republic of Cameroun for these impressive achievements.
However, the spirit behind GER.co is not to put good and bad marks. It is to highlight the fact that making it easy for entrepreneurs to register their business is an important element of any good investment and entrepreneurship policy. It is certainly not sufficient, but it is absolutely necessary. By allowing the exchange of good practices and offering criteria to assess the quality of business registration websites, GER.co helps governments improve their business registration services and promote formal investment and entrepreneurship.