Beating Brexit: Which country should UK companies go to?

Brexit has created a lot of headaches for UK exporters, with all the extra paperwork, long delays and higher costs. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Brexit has been particularly challenging. Many SMEs do not have the resources or expertise to navigate the complex Brexit process, and as a result, they are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

However there is a way to deliver your products in the EU without all those problems: by relocating your warehousing and distribution functions to a country within the EU. This will increase your service levels while optimizing operating costs, helping you to maintain your profitability and secure future growth in the world’s largest market.

What to look out for

When considering Brexit relocation, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you will need to establish a new legal entity in your chosen country. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process, so it’s important to start planning early.

Second, you may need to find suitable office space and logistics and warehousing operations. Hiring staff can be a challenge, especially if you’re not familiar with the local market, especially in smaller countries like Estonia where the talent pool is limited. It’s important to start your search early and be prepared to pay higher salaries than you would in the UK.

Third, you will need to comply with the local laws and regulations. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it’s important to seek professional help.

There are a number of popular locations for Brexit relocation, including the Netherlands, Ireland and Estonia. Each of these countries has its own unique laws and fiscal regimes, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Let’s get started.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is an ideal location for most types of business looking to establish a presence within the EU, thanks to its long history of international trade and business, its central location within Europe, and its stable business environment. The Netherlands has a well-developed infrastructure and is home to several international and EU institutions. Thanks to its skilled workforce and English-speaking population, the Netherlands is especially well-equipped to handle logistics and warehousing needs for businesses of all sizes, making it an attractive option for UK businesses seeking to deliver their products in the EU post-Brexit.

Furthermore, the Government of the Netherlands offers various subsidies and tax incentives to promote entrepreneurship. The main financial assistance programmes are: the Innovation Incentives Scheme, the Starters Facilitators Scheme and the Regional Investment Incentives Scheme. The Government also offers free advice and support to entrepreneurs through the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl). RVO.nl provides information on government regulations, financing options and other practical matters related to starting a business in the Netherlands. In addition, RVO.nl can put you in touch with relevant government agencies, business support organisations and professional service providers. For more information on starting a business in the Netherlands, please visit RVO.nl or contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK).

Read more in our guide on doing business in the Netherlands.

Ireland

Ireland is an attractive location for businesses within the EU for a number of reasons.  It traditionally offers an attractive tax regime, is English-speaking and has a skilled workforce. It is also located in the same time zone as the UK. Also of course it has a land border with Northern Ireland. This provides businesses with relatively easy physical access to both markets. In summary, Ireland is an appealing option for businesses within the EU due to its English-speaking population, skilled workforce, and convenient location.

Starting a business in Ireland can be a daunting task, but there is assistance available. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the government subsidies and laws that may apply to your business. You will need to register your business with the Irish Government. This process can be complex, but there are resources available to help you through it. By taking the time to do your research and prepared upfront, you can increase your chances of success when starting a business in Ireland.

Read more in our guide on doing business in Ireland.

Estonia

Estonia is a small country with a population of only 1.3 million people, located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Estonia is a member of the European Union, and like the Netherlands is part of the Schengen Area, making travel within Europe easier. Estonia recently became the first country to allow e-residents to establish a business within its borders. This makes Estonia an attractive location for businesses seeking to establish a legal presence within the EU. Estonia’s business environment is further enhanced  its commitment to reducing bureaucracy and red tape. In addition, Estonia offers a number of incentives for businesses, such as free public wifi, free office space in Tallinn’s Old Town district, and free co-working space in Tartu.

Tallinn

One of the most common questions asked by those considering starting a business in Estonia is what kind of government assistance is available. The answer, unfortunately, is not as straightforward as many would like. While the Estonian government does offer a variety of subsidies and tax breaks for businesses, the availability of these incentives is often dependent on a number of factors, including the sector in which the business will operate and the location of the business. As such, it is important to consult with an experienced business lawyer before making any decisions about starting a business in Estonia. Only then can you be sure that you are taking advantage of all the available incentives.

Estonia’s e-residency program has already attracted over 3,000 applications from businesses around the world, and this number is sure to grow in the future. With its favorable business environment and commitment to digital innovation, Estonia is well-positioned to become a leading destination for certain types of businesses within the EU.

Read more in our guide on doing business in Estonia.

Small is beautiful

Brexit has created a lot of issues for UK exporters, but there are still options for businesses within the EU. EU countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland, and Estonia offer significant advantages. Despite their small size, these countries have favorable business environments, skilled workforce, and convenient locations. If you’re considering starting a business in the EU, be sure to take the time to do your research and be prepared upfront in order to increase your chances of success. Brexit may have created some hurdles for businesses, but with careful planning, you can overcome them and find success within the EU. If you are looking for a more comprehensive comparison of European countries, please read this article.

If you’re considering Brexit relocation for your SME, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help!

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