Best Business Cities For Millennials

Our list of cities we recommend to millennials does not encompass cities that are good for digital nomads on the usual criteria of cheap and fun living. Millennials are also an aspirational lot. Our list includes mainly cities where Millennials can gain employment or an internship which will add to their CVs, or whether they would like to start a serious business. The World Bank Group’s report of ease of doing business ranks by taking a combination of the ease of incorporating a company, the number of days to hook up electricity and the ease of enforcing legal contracts, among others (see full report on their website at http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/688761571934946384/pdf/Doing-Business-2020-Comparing-Business-Regulation-in-190-Economies.pdf).

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Perth, Australia

With a Doing Business Score of 81.2, Australia took the 14th spot in 2020 for ease of doing business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company for your business is easy in Australia, and you may register your company online using the Australian government business registration service. Do note that there is a requirement for at least one director of your new company to be ordinarily resident in Australia.

In terms of internet connectivity, Australia has wide and superior coverage, although it has an average fixed broadband speed of 41.78 Mbps, and is ranked 68th in the world for internet speed.

Perth also has plenty in terms of lifestyle to offer, ranging from a laid-back atmosphere, wonderful beaches to charming towns outside of Perth, like beautiful Denmark, a leisurely 4 hour drive away. In 2020, its total population was just slightly above 2 million, and has one of the most disposable income of Australian cities.

Consistently ranked among the Top 10 most liveable cities in the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Perth is a center of government, commerce, culture, education, sports, recreation, shopping and entertainment. It is set between the beautiful Swan River and the 400 hectares of Kings Park. A large proportion of the City’s 19.36km2 area is public open space. Perth has a Mediterranean climate, and enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia.

Food is as diverse as its local communities, and one can slurp up a bowl of authentic Vietnamese Pho to a cracking good Barramundi burger by one of its famous beaches.

For millennials, the city is also relatively affordable. Average living costs are around A$1,500 a month, not including rent which can be another A$1,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. However, most millennials share a three-bedroom house that costs upwards of A$1,500 outside the city center. The minimum wage in 2020 in Perth was A$19.49 per hour.

In terms of cultural and individual freedom, Australia is one of the most liberal countries in the world and millennials will not have their creativity and individuality stifled in Perth.

LGBTQ Score: Australia is one of the most LGBTQ accepting countries in the world, with popular support of and legalized same-sex marriage. The age of consent is 16 for all states except for Tasmania and South Australia where it remains at 17.

However, as with all countries, there will always be a few places within the city center and out of the city that one may find some resistance. Overall, Perth is generally a safe city, although drunken brawls are not unusual.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria has been placed at the top 3 cities to live in by numerous publications. The Austrian capital is a blend of affordability, ease of living, and safety.

With a Doing Business Score of 78.7, Austria took the 27th spot in 2020 for ease of doing business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company for your business requires a few steps to be completed. A trade license is required to be obtained at the district authority or the municipal authority and thereafter you will need to register with the Austrian Commercial Register for the actual incorporation of your company. All documents submitted will have to be in translated into German by an official translation service. In Austria, unless you’re a citizen or resident of the EU, an EEA state, or Switzerland, you will need a residence permit. There is also a minimum capital requirement of Euros 35,000, which is quite a bit.

In terms of internet connectivity, Austria has wide and superior coverage, although it has an average fixed broadband speed of 71.97 Mbps and is ranked 52nd in the world for internet speed.

Vienna, however, consistently takes the top spot for the most liveable city in the world. It has breathtakingly beautiful architecture and the city has a remarkably high walking score, which means things are never too far away on foot, and most of all, its public transport system is surprisingly cheap for a European city. And what’s more rental is amazingly affordable. You can rent a one- bedroom apartment for about Euros 380 a month or about Euros 1400 for a 140 square meter apartment. This comes with good tenant protection. Throw in its café culture and diverse cuisine, Vienna is not only affordable, but a very pleasant city to live in.

This city of about 1.93 million in the metro area, is a cultural hub where you’ll find something going on every season of the year. The food scene in Vienna is extremely diverse, and food in small cafes can be elevated to fine cuisine levels.

The minimum wage in 2020 in Austria is a uniform Euros 1,500 per month. Speaking German is not a must, but you will find it difficult to get work if you do not.

In terms of cultural and individual freedom, Vienna is one of the most liberal cities in the world.

LGBTQ Score: As of 2019, Austria has performed better than the OECD average concerning laws to address discrimination and challenges faced by same-sex couples and intersex individuals. In Vienna, attitudes are very liberal, and millennials will find the atmosphere relaxed and exciting even though Austrians are polite but direct in their social interactions.

Hong Kong SAR, China

With a Doing Business Score of 85.3, Hong Kong took the 3rd spot in 2020 for ease of doing business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company for your business is easy in Hong Kong, and you may register your company online via the Hong Kong Companies Registry. There is no requirement that at least one director must be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, and there is no minimum paid-in capital required, which means you can start a company with a paid-in capital of HK$1.00 only.

In terms of internet connectivity, like many smart cities in Asia, Hong Kong has wide and superior coverage, with an average fixed broadband speed of 226.80 Mbps, and is ranked 3rd in the world for internet speed.

Arguably the most exciting city in Asia, Hong Kong is fast-paced and bursting with energy, but it also has plenty of countrysides which are found near its borders with mainland China. In the cooler months from November through March, hiking is a popular sport. Its skyline is one of the most recognized in the world, especially viewed from Kowloon.

In 2020, its total population was 7.5 million, and it has traditionally been one of the two Asian cosmopolitan cities (the other being Singapore) where young graduates from the West have flocked for their first jobs.

While the city itself has not made the usual top 10 cities for liveability, it is by no means unliveable. Millennials will find the energy of the city exhilarating, where time is money as they say in Hong Kong. As mentioned, further afield, there are plenty of tracks for walking and it has some wonderful beaches hidden amongst its many islands around the main Hong Kong island. Culturally, it has the best of East meets West and you can catch a traditional Chinese Opera and the best of Italian operas on the same night.

Food is what most Hong Kongers live for and one can eat street fare for as little as $5 or dine in one of its many Michelin starred restaurants. In between, there is so much more to choose from.

For millennials, the city can seem expensive and living conditions cramped. Average living costs are around $2,000 a month, not including rent which can be another $2,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. Outside the city center, rental is lower but expect to pay about $1,500 onwards for a small apartment of about 35 sq meters. While average salaries for Hong Kongers is about $3,500 per month, a new graduate is likely to make an average of $8,000 per month onwards in the financial industry.

Hong Kong is a relatively liberal city, as local attitudes are not as conservative compared to other Asian cities.

LGBTQ Score: Hong Kong is one of the very few cities in Asia where same-sex relationships have been decriminalized. This was done prior to the handover of Hong Kong to mainland China. At the current time, the age of consent is still 21 for gay men and 16 for heterosexuals. No mention is made of the age of consent for gay women.

Same-sex marriage, however, is not recognized in Hong Kong, and while attitudes are loosening up even within the conservative Chinese communities, there is still a certain amount of reservation when it comes to talking about one’s sexuality openly.

Singapore

With a Doing Business Score of 86.2, Singapore remains the 2nd easiest place in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company for your business is easy in Singapore, and you may register your company online via the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The is no minimum paid-in capital required, which means you can start a company with a paid-in capital of S$1.00 only. However, at least one director must be ordinarily resident.

In terms of internet connectivity, like many smart cities in Asia, Singapore, known as the “smart city” has wide and superior coverage, with an average fixed broadband speed of 245.31 Mbps, and is ranked 2nd in the world for internet speed.

In comparison to Hong Kong, Singapore is often said to lack behind Hong Kong in terms of excitement, but makes up for being consistently one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. With a tropical year-round climate and arguably more green space per square kilometer than any other city (albeit man made), this city-state has lived up to its garden-city name.

In 2020, its total population was about 5.8 million, and it has traditionally been one of the two Asian cosmopolitan cities (the other being Hong Kong) where young graduates from the West have flocked for their first jobs.

For millennials, Singapore may not at the top of the list to choose, most come because of their jobs. Experience gained in Singapore sets millennials up for their future role elsewhere in Asia or back home. Over the years, Singapore has become more exciting in terms of nightlife and cultural events. Its marina waterfront area is particularly attractive with the iconic Marina Bay Sands as its backdrop. The entire island is also linked by a series of park connectors which means you can cycle around the island through parks and park connectors. This has made cycling a major sport and also the most popular leisure activity.

Like Hong Kong, food choices are plentiful, with its Hawker food culture sitting at the very heart of every Singaporean’s gastronomic gravity. There are restaurants aplenty, but freshly cooked, cheap, and hygienic food in the Hawkers’ centers is perhaps one feature of living in Singapore that is often missed by most after their return home.

For millennials, the city can also seem expensive and living conditions a little cramped. Average living costs are around $1,500 a month (depending on how you live), not including rent which can be another $2,500 per month for a smart one-bedroom apartment within the city center. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about $1,800 onwards if you want your own space. Most expat workers either share a bigger apartment, or more have flocked to the city’s public housing as an alternative option. There are, however, strict restrictions to owners of public housing renting their entire apartments out.

While average salaries for Singaporeans is about $3,000 per month, a new graduate is likely to make an average of $6,000 per month onwards in the professional industries.

Singapore is labeled a conservative country, but those who have lived in Singapore will tell you that on the ground, attitudes are not as conservative as advertised.

LGBTQ Score: Same-sex relationships have not been decriminalized, although the official position is that generally, it will not be prosecuted either, which is cold comfort for a lot of LGBTQ people. That said, the number of bars, clubs, and other gay venues appear to say the opposite. These venues are operated legally and are not underground.

Berlin, Germany

With a Doing Business Score of 79.7, Germany ranks 22nd as one of easiest places in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company is relatively easy. You will need to contact a notary to help you file an electronic certified form and to register your articles of association. After that you will have to register for tax and for employee health and social insurance. The is a minimum paid-in capital requirement of Euro 25,000, of which at least Euro 12,500 must be placed in a bank account at the time of registering the company. There is no residency requirement for any director so long as the director is able to enter Germany or apply for a visa to enter into Germany.

In terms of internet connectivity, Germany is a little slow with an average fixed broadband speed of 113.19 Mbps and is ranked 33rd in the world for internet speed.

However, Berlin is one of the most inexpensive capitals in Western Europe to live in with an excellent quality of life. Rent, food and public transport are all very affordable which mean that there always seems to be extra money left over for travel! Beer is cheaper than ordering water in a restaurant.

Berlin has been a startup hub in Europe. The startup scene in Berlin is young, energetic, and offers a lot of variety. Berlin is also an ideal base for the creative and the self-employed. There is no shortage of co-working spaces available across the city either which makes networking with other like-minded people easy. Throw in the fantastic clubbing where there’s just about a club for every taste and persuasion, you’ll never be bored. Based in Berlin also means you’re able to explore Germany and its lovely towns. In Berlin, work-life balance is taken very seriously and it’s not surprising to land a job with a 30 day a year paid-holiday.

In 2020, its total population was about 3.6 million, making it a city that is not too small or dense.

For millennials, the fun and entrepreneurial atmosphere where you’re likely to meet a diverse range of people from all over the world makes this city truly exciting.

As mentioned, living is very affordable. Average living costs are around $1,200 a month, not including rent which can be another $1,200 per month for a smart one-bedroom apartment within the city center. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about $800 if you want your own space.

Average salaries for Berliners are about $3,000 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be much more.

LGBTQ Score: Berlin is the beacon of freedom for LGBTQ people, and since 2017, same-sex marriage has been fully recognized, with same-sex relations decriminalized since 1969 in West Germany, and in 1968 in East Germany. Almost 87% of Germans polled in 2013 indicated that they believed gay people should be fully accepted in society.

London, United Kingdom

It may come as a surprise still for some, but this capital city of the world has been topping the liveable charts as one of the top 3 cities to live in for some years now.

With a Doing Business Score of 83.5, the United Kingdom ranks 8th as one of the easiest place in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company is extremely easy. You can register it online via Company House. There is no minimum capital requirement, and this means you can set up your company with just GBP 1.00. There is no residency requirement for any director and you only need one director and one shareholder, which can be the same person.

In terms of internet connectivity, the UK is a little slow with an average fixed broadband speed of 67 Mbps and is ranked 31st in the world for internet speed.

Notwithstanding, London is one of the two acknowledged capitals of the world, after New York. While living costs are not cheap in London, salaries are among the highest in all of Europe.

While in London, there’s a million and one things to do, and if you’re up for a breather from city life, a train ride or a drive out to the many beauty spots in the UK will soothe you for your return to the bustling city. Some would say it’s the one city everyone needs to have lived in at least once in a lifetime.

In 2020, its total population was about 9.3 million and is a true cosmopolitan city where you’ll hear just about every language being spoken there.

For millennials, landing a job or starting a business in London is a serious career move.

Average living costs are around $2,000 a month, not including rent which can be another $2,200 per month for a smart one-bedroom apartment within the city center. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about $1,800 if you want your own space.

Average salaries for Londoners are about $4,000 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be much more.

LGBTQ Score: Same-sex relations have been decriminalized since 1967 and same-sex marriage has been recognized since 2014 in England and Wales and Scotland and since 2020 in Northern Ireland. Protection against discrimination has been in place since 2010, and most larger companies have strong anti-discrimination policies in place and are very robust about upholding such policies of non-discrimination.

Seoul, South Korea

With a Doing Business Score of 84, South Korea (Republic of Korea) ranks 5th as one of the easiest places in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company is relatively easy, procedurally speaking. While there is no residency requirement to be a director or shareholder of a South Korean company, and only one director and shareholder are sufficient to form a new company, there is, however, a requirement for a foreigner to invest $90,000 in the company. We recommend that you seek out a professional firm to help you incorporate.

In terms of internet connectivity, South Korea has one of the fastest internet speed in the world, it has a fixed broadband speed of 155.39 Mbps and is ranked 14th in the world for internet speed. However, with its 5g roll-out last year, its mobile internet is currently the fastest in the world.

Seoul ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities in 2020. With its ancient culture, strong fashion sense, and highly entrepreneurial attitude, Seoul is a great place for millennials to sample Korean life for a while. Although admittedly, it is quite difficult to obtain work as a foreigner other than teaching English, the start-up scene is beginning to open up to foreigners, but because of the investment requirement of $90,000, most will still find the requirements a little difficult to overcome.

However, if you are hired from abroad to take up a position in Seoul, it will probably be one of the most enriching times you’ll spend. Outside of Seoul, traditions abound and there’s beautiful Jeju which give European colors in Autumn and Spring and a good run for its money. Most young Koreans speak English well and are warm and friendly.

In 2020, its total population was about 9.7 million, but Seoul is spread out with various different city centers in different districts.

Average living costs are around $1,500 a month, not including rent. For an Asian country, rent in Seoul is relatively cheap and one can find a small one-bedroom apartment within the city center for around $900. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about $600 if you want your own space.

Average salaries in Seoul are about $2,700 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be much more.

LGBTQ Score: Although there are no express laws in South Korea in respect of LGBTQ, it remains a conservative nation in terms of sexuality generally. An LGBTQ person may not face criminal sanctions in South Korea; however, there may be a certain amount of social ostracization outside of Seoul. Same-sex marriage is not recognized and remains taboo.

Tokyo, Japan

With a Doing Business Score of 78, Japan ranks 29th as one of the easiest places in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company is relatively easy. While there is no minimum capital requirement, and no residency requirement or minimum number required for directors or shareholders of a Japanese company, we recommend that you seek out a professional firm to help you incorporate.

In terms of internet connectivity, Japan has one of the fastest internet speed in the world, it has a fixed broadband speed of 150.27 Mbps and is ranked 21st in the world for internet speed.

Tokyo has consistently been ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities, and in 2020 was placed number 7 by CNBC in its world liveability index. With its strong culture and tradition, iconic places like Harajuku, Tokyo is an exciting if not alien-like place (for its quirkiness) for millennials to live for a while. Like Seoul, it is quite difficult to obtain work as a foreigner. Most foreign employees you see and meet there have been sent there by their companies. Apart from these expats, you’ll also meet a good number of young people who have gone there simply to have a year out.

Outside of Tokyo, the Japanese countryside is stunningly beautiful and diverse. Winter in Hokkaido is a wonderland.

In 2020, Tokyo had a total population was about 37.3 million. Tokyo is indeed a huge capital city and is flung far and wide.

Average living costs are around $1,800 a month, not including rent. Rent in Tokyo is about $1,300 per month for a tiny apartment. Further afield, rental is slightly lower but expect to pay about $900. Compared to other Asian cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, Tokyo is not that much more. However, some landlords still practice the custom of asking for “key-money”. Add this to the deposit that you will have to pay, it can amount to something like 6 months rental in advance.

Average salaries in Tokyo are about $3,200 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be much more.

LGBTQ Score: Same-sex relations are not prohibited in Japan and has not been so since 1880. Japan remains a conservative nation in terms of sexuality generally. One should, however, be aware that outside of big metropolitan areas, there may be a certain amount of social ostracization. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Japan.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto has always been in the top five most liveable cities in the world.

With a Doing Business Score of 79.6, Canada ranks 23rd as one of the easiest place in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company is extremely easy. You can register it online via the website of the Government of Canada. There is no minimum capital requirement, and this means you can set up your company with just C$1.00. You only need one director and one shareholder, which can be the same person; however, at least one director must be ordinarily resident in Canada if you have a company of not more than 4 directors. The general rule is that at least 25% of your board of directors must be ordinarily resident.

In terms of internet connectivity, the UK is a little slow with an average fixed broadband speed of 145.24 Mbps and is ranked 17th in the world for internet speed.

Toronto represents lifestyle and easy living. While not nearly as exciting as New York, Toronto represents a more relaxed vibe and has everything a metropolitan city has to offer, from culture to clubbing. Torontonians are a friendly bunch, and you’re unlikely to find attitudes that prevail in New York.

In 2020, its total population was about 6.2 million, represented by almost all ethnicities. For millennials, a move to Toronto could mean ending up staying a lifetime, notwithstanding the cold northern winters. Toronto puts you at ease and makes you feel at home all at once while exciting enough for millennials to explore their creativity and entrepreneurial sides.

Average living costs are around $1,500 a month, not including rent which can be another $1,600 per month for a one-bedroom apartment within the city center. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about $1,000.

Average salaries for Torontonians are about $3,000 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be much more.

LGBTQ Score: Canada is one of the more liberal countries in the world with same-sex relations decriminalized since 1968. Strong protections are also in place for LGBTQ in the workplace and in the community. Same-sex marriage has been recognized since 2005 throughout Canada. It was one of the first countries where the highest court of the land ruled it unconstitutional and discriminatory for marriage to be defined as only between a man and a woman.

Mexico City, Mexico

The lure of a latin American city has always been on most millennials’ mind. Inexpensive living and plentiful entertainment have always been a definite draw.

With a Doing Business Score of 72.4, Mexico ranks 60th as one of the easiest place in 2020 to do business, according to the 2020 Report of ease of doing business published by the World Bank Group.

Registering a new company has become easier of late. There is no minimum capital requirement and this means you can set up your company with just $1.00, although there is a list of industry sectors that are closed to foreigners or allowed up to 49% participation. Technically, you only need one director and one shareholder, which can be the same person; however, as the role of a director must be exercised personally and not through representatives, it is a grey area whether you need to be ordinarily resident in Mexico. There are also state requirements in addition to federal requirements which may add to your administrative burden when incorporating a new company in Mexico.

In terms of internet connectivity, the UK is a little slow with an average fixed broadband speed of 42.12 Mbps and is ranked 70th in the world for internet speed.

Mexico is a great combination of great lifestyle and easy living. It is a city of culture and fun people. In the recent years, millennials have been flocking to Mexico universities for exchange programs, and most stay on for a while having found jobs. While like most Latin American countries, Mexico is still hugely popular with internet nomads, it is beginning to gain a reputation for millennials landing jobs after graduation, especially if you speak Spanish. Safety has also improved generally; however, as with all places, a sense of where not to venture to alone is essential.

In 2020, its total population was about 21.8 million, making it one of the larger capital cities.

Average living costs are around $500 a month, not including rent which can be another $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment within the city center. Further afield, rental is lower but expect to pay about half that.

Average salaries for locals are about $1,100 per month, although salaries in the professional fields can be more.

LGBTQ Score: Mexico is one of the most tolerant Latin American countries. Same-sex relations have been legal since 1871 and same-sex marriage since 2016. Outside of metropolitan areas, owing to the machismo culture of Mexicans, discretion is advised. Having said that, among native Mexicans, especially among Isthmus Zapotecs and Yucatán Mayas, tolerance of sexual diversity is high.

Summing-Up

In today’s era of unprecedented urbanisation, the world’s leading business capitals are under immense pressure to realise their economic potential and enhance quality-of-life for their citizens. Many global cities face a similar scale and complexity of challenges to create ideal working environments for millennials.

Rent prices are key. According to The Global Cities Business Alliance, in Boston, workers earning an average wage pay 29.8% of their salary towards rent. While in Mexico City which is overall far cheaper to live, the salaries are also less and equate for 58% of earnings.

Cities are increasingly important to the global economy. They are the main hubs of economic growth, innovation and talent, generating more than 80% of global GDP. Global businesses have the knowledge, experience and reach to enable cities to achieve their potential. Yet how cities handle crisis like covid-19 and continue to create friendly environments for millennials, is how they will see more millennials settling in.

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