Many foreign investors read about Belarus as a potential market to expand their business, but might be discouraged because of the lack of information and most of all, lack of experiences available. The amount of foreign business here is not substantial, for example the Scandinavian companies (Finland included) with any real level of activity only number about 40-50.
There are however many good reasons to consider Belarus as a new market for your business, not the least of which are the free economic zones set up by the Belarusian goverment. IT businesses can apply to become members of the High-Technology Park ( http://www.park.by/?lng=en ) and enjoy zero taxation on all major taxes for a period of three years, with reduced taxes afterwards as well. Similarly, production companies can set up in the Great Stone industrial park near Minsk airport ( http://www.industrialpark.by/en ) and enjoy similar advantages. These zones are a result of the Belarusian government's startegy to attract foreign investment, but so far they are not well known internationally. Companies interested in investing in Russia may want to consider Belarus as a gateway country to the market, with lower labor costs but practically without a border in between.
Setting up a company is no harder than, say, in the Baltic states. Take it from us - we started our Belarusian office in the Spring of 2018! All you need to do is to provide the relevant documents (founder's charter and registration certificate etc.) to a trusted legal partner of your choice in Belarus, and your company will be up in an matter of days. As usually, the most troublesome part is to manage the timing of hiring your director and choosing a premises. Technically you should have them both from the first day, but usually your legal partner can provide a temporary director for the company, and help with getting a temporary address.
Renting property in Minsk is getting more expensive right now, but it's not as expensive as 5-6 years ago. If you want some of the best spaces in the city center, you should prepare to pay about 20-25 eur/sqm. For about 15 eur/sqm you will find nice office spaces in many business centers adjacent to the Minsk city center.
Hiring the right employees is perhaps the most important factor for a successful business start. There are very good headhunting companies available which you may want to consider if you have special requirements. Right now one of the biggest bottlenecks for employment in a foreign company is to find employees who have good English language skills. However, in general Belarusian young professionals are well educated.
If you are interested in Belarus, feel free to contact us for advice!
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