New entrepreneurs are shifting their focus towards the UK's burgeoning business scene, with seemingly endless opportunities to get started. With rapidly growing industries like tech, creative services and health care, there's no shortage of options to test the waters for creating a business in the UK.
Canada is one country that has been enthusiastically embracing the benefits of the UK markets. There has been a long history of mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between Canada and the UK. Canada has been exporting and investing in the UK generously. Similarly, the UK reciprocates with generous amount of exports and invests in Canada and both the countries want to maintain and enhance these relations in their mutual self-interest in the coming years too.
Broadly speaking, setting up a company in the UK as a Canadian entrepreneur can be broken down into a few main steps and is pretty straightforward. You can set up and run a company in the country without having to travel or stay there. Everything can be done online, making the process much easier.
Can a Canadian citizen start a business in the UK?
Yes, a Canadian citizen can start a business in the UK. Forming a company in the UK as an overseas company presents several advantages, including access to the UK market, tax advantages, and potential business opportunities.
The UK is a major global business hub and has a thriving economy, making it an attractive destination for foreign investors. Starting a business in the UK can provide access to new customers, suppliers, and partners, which can help to grow your business.
The UK also has a favourable tax regime for businesses, with low corporate tax rates, tax reliefs, and incentives for certain types of businesses. This can help to reduce the tax burden on your business and increase profitability.
In addition, the UK has a well-developed legal system and a business-friendly regulatory environment, which can provide a stable and secure foundation for your business.
Overall, starting a business in the UK from Canada can provide several advantages, including access to a large market, potential business opportunities, and a favourable tax regime. By forming a UK company as an overseas company, Canadian citizens can take advantage of these benefits and establish a foothold in the UK market.
Can I get a visa if I start a business in the UK from Canada?
It's possible to obtain a UK visa if you start a business in the UK from Canada. However, the type of visa you will need will depend on the nature of your business and your specific circumstances.
One of the most common visas for entrepreneurs is the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. This visa is designed for individuals who want to start a business in the UK, invest in an existing business, or take over an established business. To be eligible for this visa, you must have access to at least £50,000 in investment funds, meet the English language requirement, and score enough points on the points-based system.
Another option is the Start-up visa, which is designed for early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the UK for the first time. To be eligible for this visa, you must have an innovative business idea that has been endorsed by an approved endorsing body.
There are also other visa options available, depending on your circumstances, such as the Innovator visa, which is designed for experienced businesspeople who want to establish a business in the UK based on an innovative idea.
It's important to seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer or business consultant to determine the most appropriate visa for your specific circumstances and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the visa application process.
Tips for setting up a company in the UK
If you're thinking of setting up your own business in the UK, here are a few tips:
- Make sure you have a good idea for what you want to create – No matter how big or small your business may be, make sure that it has potential and can really stand out from the competition.
- Do your research – There are hundreds of startup companies operating in the UK today, so it's important to do some digging before making any decisions about which one to choose.
- Get organised – Once you've nailed down the specifics of your business, it'll be much easier to start putting together a plan and timeline. Make sure you have all the paperwork in order ( incorporation documents, financial statements etc.), as well as images and videos that illustrate how your product/service works (these can really help when pitching investors).
- Don't be afraid to ask for help – Whether it means finding a business accountant or working with a professional body to get your company out there, there are plenty of resources available in the UK to help new businesses take off.
How to open a business in the UK from Canada
If you're located in Canada and you want to start a business in the UK, you'll need to follow these steps
1.Check if you can legally start a business: In order to start a business in the UK, you'll need to comply with all of the local regulations. This includes meeting certain income requirements and filing relevant paperwork with your local government.
2.Write a business plan: Creating a business plan is a key to making sure your startup succeeds. Your plan should outline your company's goals, financial projections and strategies for growth. This document is further required during your company registration.
3.Decide on your business structure: There are a variety of business structures available to Canadian businesses operating in the UK. You may want to consider registering your company under a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.
4.Choose a business name and address: Once you've determined your business structure and goals, it's time to choose a business name and address. Registering your company with the UK government will involve some fees.
5.Prepare tax documents: You'll need to submit all of the appropriate paperwork related to taxation in the UK if you're incorporated or operating as a sole proprietorship.
6.Register your company in the UK: Once you're satisfied that you can legally open a business in the UK, it's time to register it with Companies House (CH). This process is relatively straightforward and should take around a few weeks from when you submit your application. This might take longer in case of any complexities or missed out information. You'll need to provide detailed information about your company, including its name, registered office and legal entity status.
The steps you’ll need to cover with Companies House include:
- Get a company name that is not already being used by other companies or businesses in the same industry. You can check on this using Companies House’s database of existing companies.
- Register your private limited company with Companies House, who will create an official record of your business and its details (including directors and any shareholders).
- Once registered, you must also notify HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) and HMRC may ask for proof that you own your business name(s) before they can issue VAT numbers; if you do not own your name(s), then you must choose another one which isn’t already registered by another company - so make sure it's unique
7.Get a business account: Once you've registered your company with the UK government, it's time to get a business account with one of the major banking institutions in the country. You can look up High Street banks like HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group or business finance solutions like wamo, Wise or N26 to open a business account. Opening a business account is essential for accessing modern financial services, such as merchant banking and factoring.
8.Check any additional rules for your type of business: There might be additional legal documents required for your business, which depends on the type of business that you would be running. These documents could be
- Legal permits
- Rules to follow if you buy or sell goods abroad and have personal information.
The easiest way to open a limited company in the UK from Canada
Setting up a limited company in the UK can sometimes become a daunting and a long process. It is always suggested to take professional help if you are not confident enough to go through the process entirely alone.
With so many procedures to go through, it is best to have a company formation service handle the process for you.
There are various organisations and professionals that can help you in setting up a company, and at wamo we're happy to say we're about to make it particularly easy. Soon you’ll be able to register a UK company through the wamo app or web app and get a wamo business account at the same time. It will take just 20 minutes to apply and you;ll have your company certificate within 48 hours. There’ll also be the option of a London virtual office address, free for 1 year. All you’ll need is a few basic business documents and an idea of what you would like your company to do.
So if you are ready to hop on this journey, get prepared with these documents to register with wamo
- Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A)
- Proof of shareholder structure
- Proof of company address
- Registry extracts
- Certificate of Incorporation (COI)
Download wamo business from the App Store or Google Play or head to wamo's website to register yourself, you’ll be added to the waitlist as soon as you start to register.