Sometimes it seems that the trendiest word today is a “startup”, but what exactly is a start-up? Read this article to find out!

“Start-up” is often treated as a catch-all buzzword among businesses.

While the popular definition of a startup as a “tech company with less than 100 people” isn’t wrong, it fails to explain its’ entire philosophy.

Many years investors treated startups as small businesses. This was a real problem because there is a huge conceptual and organizational difference between a startup and a small business.

According to startup guru Steve Blank, a startup is a “temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”, while the small business runs according to the fixed business model.

For a startup founder this concept means the following three main functions:

  • To provide a vision of a product with a set of characteristics;
  • Create a series of sceneries of the business model regarding customers, distributions, and finance of the company;
  • Understand, whether the model is the right one, based on customers behavior, as your model predicts.

Start-up is a passion, with drive, focused on an idea. It navigates through uncountable difficulties for finding a way to success – overcoming even impossible-to-climb barriers. But this crazy ride somewhere and somehow ends.

Most likely a start-up and a small business start from a mere idea, and with founder’s own or friends/family money, or a bank loan.

Later, a successful startup receives funding from investors, venture capitalist, or IPO. With each funding, an investor receives a part of the company and becomes a co-owner of the startup.

Main Characteristics

There are three essential features that every startup must have:

  • Scalability, it means their ability to grow esponentially using few resources;
  • Innovation in process or product, because startups are born to satisfy a need not yet evident and to create a new market;
  • Temporariness, because the startup phase defined is transitory and represents the first phase of the company’s growth path that will lead it and hopefully in future will become a large company.

Without these characteristics, we can hardly say that we are facing a start-up.

The rules for starting a start-up are different; it’s depend on the country in which you decide to invest. Let’s see together some differences:

Start-up in Ireland

Ireland is one of the top-rated countries in the world to do business in.

To commence any kind of business, one requires a lot of grants. However, if the idea is solid then things do get a lot easier to secure desired investment. The support could be in all forms and it varies and will depend on plenty of factors.

If you are looking to start a new venture in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland has to be your answer. It provides grants and supports like no other institution does.

The company thrives on by providing financial support to welcoming ideas. Moreover, it also helps in expansion after observing a potential growth and opportunity.

If you are interested about this topic, we talked about it in more detail in our articles: Start Up Grants Ireland and Business Startup Grants in Northern Ireland.

Many successful Ireland-based global corporations of today were only early-stage start-ups 7 years ago. If you want to create a start up in Ireland, you are on the right track here!

In our guide How to Set up a Startup in Ireland we have outlined the key steps you should follow when setting up your business. 

Start-up in Italy

The Italian Government has implemented a special legislation package to favor the creation and development of innovative startups in Italy providing one of the most favorable legislation in Europe for start-up companies.

But you may ask: “What are the main benefits for innovative start-up companies in Italy?

Firts of all, there are tax incentives (tax credit up to 40%) and facilities for corporate and private investments in startups, both for direct investments in startups and in case of indirect investments and also a tax credit by 35% for hiring highly-qualified personnel.

Then there is a fast track VISA procedure with a maximum of 30 days to obtain a VISA trough the Italia Start-up VISA procedure.

Startups can hire personnel through fix-time contracts (6 to 36 months). Contracts can be renewed more than once.

After 36 months, the contract can be further renewed for just one more time, for no longer than 12 months, i.e. the total duration of the contract must not exceed 48 months.

You can find other information about this topic in a dedicated page on the Italian Government’s website.

Start-up in Japan

Japan is known as one of the most innovative nations and it is an attractive environment for startups. One of the reasons is that it has a long history of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Japanese startup ecosystem is really evolving.

In order to start a new business in Japan as a foreign national, it is necessary to obtain a specific type of VISA.

If you do not have a VISA yet, you will need to obtain a 4-Months Business Manager Visa or a Start-Up VISA which is provided in some municipalities (Tokyo, Fukuoka and other cities) in Japan.

If you already have a Japanese VISA, it is important to make sure that you are legally able to start a new business with the same VISA or if it is necessary to apply for a new one.

For a short-term stay, with the 90-days VISA you are allowed to do these activities as long as they don’t include remunerative activities: tourism, business, visiting friends or relatives.

You can find further details about VISAs on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.

Japan knows very well the value of a successful startup. For that reason it launched the J-Startup Program to make winning startups in the global market and bring new value to the world.

If you’re interested in this topic, you should read our article about it: J-Startup Program: A New Growth For Japan Startups!

Start-up in South Africa

Starting a start-up as a foreigner in South Africa can be an arduous task without enlisting professional help. There are a number of ‘hoops’ that must be circumvented and the process can be time consuming and a distraction from the all important task of establishing your business.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) provides business development and support services for small enterprises.

SEDA will give you all the information you need to start a business, including how to write a business plan, and once you have a business, to grow it.

If you’re interested in starting a business in South Africa, you should visit also the Integrate Immigrant website which will help you in the creation process.

If you are interested in startups, you should also read our article about What Is The Meaning Of Seed Round? a fundamental step for each startup!