Formalizing small businesses - the case of Colombia
Start-up businesses often find the process of registration time-consuming and burdensome, and small businesses in particular have limited administrative resources to deal with these procedures. Governments stand to benefit, of course, if such businesses are encouraged to register to pay taxes and comply with health and safety and social security requirements, and many countries have brought about reforms to make their registration procedures simpler. This article describes the various approaches to streamlining that have been tried in Spain, Ontario, Australia, and Mexico, and derives some international best practice principles from these experiences. In Colombia, the Chamber of Commerce is seeking to reform business start-up registration in Bogotá, with a view to replicating successful practices in other metropolitan areas in Colombia. The current system in Bogotá is described, and Colombia is contrasted with other Latin American countries. Recommendations are made for how Colombia, and Bogotá in particular, can further improve its business registration process. The conclusions can be of use for any other country interested in improving their business registration procedures.