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Starting a Business Abroad

When looking at the number of South Africans leaving the sunny and beautiful country it can be said that one of South Africa’s major exports to the global market is skilled labour and entrepreneurs.

For those that are looking to start your business in other parts of the world will not only be faced with the challenge of finding a local boerewors supplier, but that of legally starting a business as a foreigner. Whether you want to set-up shop in Australia, the US or Mauritius, you will be faced with a list of requirements that you have to fulfill in order to set-up your business as a foreigner. One of the key requirements is a comprehensive business plan.

This article will take a look at the basic requirements one would need to have in their business plan of starting a business abroad. Funding Connection helped a couple of entrepreneurs to successfully start their own business abroad.

We have selected four popular destinations South Africans tend to emigrate to: Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Before we get started, we just want to note that Funding Connection does not assist with emigration and visas. Funding Connection will only be able to assist with the business plan side of your business emigration process.

However, we have listed emigration agencies for each of the countries that we will be discussing in this article:

United Kingdom:

United States of America:

New Zealand:

If you are wanting to start a business in New Zealand you will have to apply for a Entrepreneur Work Visa, in which you will need to submit a business plan. The New Zealand Visa authorities require a business plan that includes specific information, including the following:

· the industry

· the location

· whether you will set up a new business or buy an existing one

· details of any occupational registration you have, if you need it to run your business in New Zealand

· details about the business environment and market you will work in, as you understand it

· how your business will meet at least 1 of the business characteristics identified in the Entrepreneur Work policy objective.

For more information on the Entrepreneur Work Visa please follow this link to the guide:


A buzz-word in South African emigration, Australia provides many opportunities to those who want to establish their business there. Applications for business and investment migration visas as well as employer-sponsored working visas are often required be supported by a sound business plan. There are five different streams of ‘Investor’ Visas for those who want to set-up a business in Australia: Business Innovation Stream, Investor Stream, Significant Investor Stream, Premium Investor Stream and Entrepreneur Stream. For starting a new business the Entrepreneur Stream would be applicable and it is compulsory that you submit a business plan in your Investor Visa. Investment immigrants to Australia can apply under this Visa if they have arranged a third party to invest at least AUD200 000 into Australia.

Below are the additional basic requirements:

· The applicant must engage in ‘Complying Entrepreneur Activity’. This means that the entrepreneur can engage in any business activity that leads to commercialisation of products or services. This excludes; labour hire, residential properties and buying out an existing business entity or franchise in Australia.

· At the least 10% of the funding must be payable to the entrepreneurial venture within a year of its starting in Australia.

· As a business investor, you should have at least 30% business interest in the venture.

For more information please visit:

United Kingdom:

The UK is another popular entrepreneurial destination for South Africans. Here, a Start-Up Visa is required, which has replaced the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. The Start-up Visa category is reserved for early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs starting a business in Britain for the first time.

There are several requirements you must meet in order to obtain a Start-Up Visa:

· You must be at least 18 years old;

· Your business or business idea must undergo an assessment by an approved body;

· You must meet English language requirements; and

· You must provide evidence of personal savings to support yourself during your time in the UK.

Additionally, the aspiring entreprenuer must be able to show that your business idea is:

· a new idea - you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading

· innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market

· viable, with potential for growth

This can only be shown in a bankable business plan. For more information on the Start-Up Visa requirements visit:

United States of America:

The ‘American Dream’ has driven those looking for a better life from across the globe over the past 400 years. Although it is no longer required that you survive a three-month boat trip to start a new life in the US, there are new boxes to be ticked in order to be eligible to start a business in the US. There are two types of visas that you can apply for: L-1 and E-2 Visa. A business plan is mandatory for both visas.

An L-1 visa is for foreign nationals who currently own or operate a business outside of the US and are looking to expand their businesses by opening a US branch. The business plan for an L-1 visa application should include documentation showing a physical office for the business, as well as how the individual plans to support an executive position in the United States for at least a year.

When establishing a start-up an E-2 Visa will be the applicable visa to apply for. It is required that the foreign national must be from a country with which the US has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation. If the small business that you will start will be a corporation, at least 50% of the members must be nationals from a treaty country.

Please contact us if you require a business plan for your immigration, click here! !

Written by Stephen Thring (M.S.S Economics; Project Manager at Funding Connection Pty Ltd)


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