All Around the World, These Are the Businesses People Want to Start Most

From clothing in Columbia to fashion in Finland, these are the businesses that most attract entrepreneurs in more than 150 countries.

Small businesses all around the world are what make the world go around.

In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 27 million small businesses, and they generate about 50% of our GDP, according to the Small Business Administration. They also create jobs, spark innovation and provide opportunities for women and minorities to achieve financial success and independence.

Globally, small and medium businesses represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment, according to the World Bank, and in emerging economies they contribute up to 40% of GDP. The figures don’t even include informal small businesses.

What kind of businesses do people want to start? In the U.S., many people want to start a cleaning business, according to an analysis of Google search terms by ZenBusiness, an online platform that provides legal and compliance services for small business startups. And it’s not a bad idea—a cleaning business has low overhead and reliable demand and you can start small.

To find the type of businesses that people most want to start in every country, ZenBusiness used a search engine optimization tool to find the frequency of certain search terms in every country. They searched the term “start a business” or its equivalent in the most spoken language of each country then identified the relevant keywords with the highest search volume. Relevant terms, for example, might include “how to start a cleaning business” vs. “how to start a cleaning business in Australia” for results in Australia. Cleaning was the third most popular search in the world.

The results are inspiring and vary from country to country depending on  factors such as infrastructure, business climate, economy and culture. The startup-related search in nearly a third of all countries was either clothing, real estate, or cleaning, with clothing the most popular worldwide.

In North and Central America, the most popular query related to starting a business was about the retail and e-commerce space in nearly half the countries.

In Europe, where the top search was real estate, entrepreneurs in 16% of countries were looking to capitalize on the hot housing market.

The diversity and variety of business aspirations around the world cover industries ranging from cosmetics and clothing to spices and software. Here are the top 10 types of businesses that people want to start most:

 1. Clothing

Clothing-related businesses are the most-searched in 22 countries, including Peru, pictured here. Other countries where clothing was most searched include Canada, Columbia, Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, Australia and Tanzania.

2. Real Estate

In 19 countries, real estate was the most popular start-up search. These included Iceland, shown here, along with Germany, Croatia, Greece, India, and Ethiopia.

3. Cleaning

Cleaning-related businesses attracted the most searches in 13 countries, including the United States, Turkey, the U.K, France, Ireland and Japan. 

4. Recycling

The term “recycling” was the fourth most popular search in conjunction with “start a business” around the world, coming up the most in seven countries, including Mali, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, the Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Serbia and Haiti. In Haiti, recycling entrepreneurs earn an average of $3,000 a year by collecting plastic and trading it into the Plastic Bank, an international corporation that offers money and other benefits in exchange for waste, according to the United Nations.

5. Import/Export 

This was the most popular start-up search in six countries, including Saudi Arabia, Chad, Egypt and Tunisia.

6. Coffee Shop

The coffee shop search came up most in 5 countries—Kazakhstan, Romania, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Moldova.

7. Food Business

This was the most popular startup search in five countries: Israel, Uruguay, Guyana, Cuba and Costa Rica.

8. Restaurant

“Restaurant” was searched most in five countries, including Bulgaria, Bahamas and Cambodia. Above, a cook prepares traditional Bahamian conch salad in Harbor Island, Bahamas.

 9. Software

In Taiwan, Palestine, Libya and Oman, “software” was the most searched along with “start a business.”

10. Transport

Transport was the 10th most searched business startup around the world, coming up most in four countries, Switzerland, Afghanistan, Poland and Belgium.

Here are some of other top business ideas that most attract entrepreneurs in various countries:

Homemade food in Honduras and El Salvador

Investment business in Sweden

This was also the most-searched type of business in Norway.

A laundry business in Spain

A bakery in Venezuela

These tasty-looking treats are tequeños, a typical Venezuelan snack of fried dough.

A metal recovery business in Italy

A hair salon in Samoa

A sweets startup in Brazil 

A vendor sells brigadeiros, a traditional Brazilian sweet, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

A fast food business in Chile

A security business in Suriname

Private security companies are common in the former Dutch colony.

A travel business in Mongolia

Spices in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, where peelers harvest the rare Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lankan evergreen trees, “spice” is the most-searched-for business type.

Social media marketing in South Korea

A lawn mowing business in New Zealand

New Zealand is very green, and more entrepreneurs search for information about starting a lawn mowing service there than any other business.

A crafts business in Angola

Interior design in Mauritius

A jewelry business in Cape Verde

A freight business in Morocco

A liquor business in Nepal

A vacation rental in Laos

An offshore business in Liechtenstein

A pig farm in the Solomon Islands

A tour guide in Armenia

The most searched in neighboring Georgia was “tourism.”

A fashion business in Finland

Other popular business idea searches around the world include: advertising in Kuwait, commodities in Kyrgyzstan, drop shipping in Azerbaijan, lipgloss in Jamaica, hotel in Macedonia, cosmetics in Hungary, sewing in Latvia and soap production in Uzbekistan.

Data was not available for some countries, including China, Iran, Yemen and Syria. 

Check out the maps and see the methodology for this list at Zen

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