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BlogSIMPLIFY YOUR GLOBAL BUSINESS EXPANSION WITH CENTURO CONNECT
Start A Company, Hr +2
SIMPLIFY YOUR GLOBAL BUSINESS EXPANSION WITH CENTURO CONNECT

When we think of business expansion, we often associate this type of growth with employing more staff or upgrading to a larger office space. For some, true growth comes from testing your business in new cities, countries, and continents. But how easy is it to expand your business abroad, and where do you even start?Fortunately, Centuro Global has engineered a brand-new and unique platform designed specifically for those looking to expand internationally. It acts as a centralised online resource where you can research, plan and learn more about your expansion journey. It’s a simple setup process, and it's very user-friendly!Here are just a few of the benefits the Centuro Connect platform provides businesses:- A tailored approach to your business expansion needs;- A detailed bank of key facts and statistics for 100+ countries around the world;- Business and industry insights that are location-specific;- Insights into the economy, legal, banking, property, immigration, and more;- A timeline feature that details and tracks each step of your business expansion;- Professional support and industry specialists on hand to aid your journey.WHAT IS CENTURO CONNECT?As with any business that’s scaling up, taking your company abroad isn’t without its challenges. Being able to streamline and visualise the process is invaluable when taking on such a task. Below, we’ve detailed the key areas in which our Centuro Connect platform is designed to make your business expansion journey as simple, streamlined, and stress-free as possible.Bespoke & Tailored To Your BusinessNo matter your business size, type, or industry, the Centuro Connect platform facilitates global expansion to a wealth of countries.When setting up your free login with Centuro Connect, the process begins with answering several easy questions about your company. You don’t need any specific documentation to complete this process, just a good idea of where your company is at currently and what direction you’re looking to take next.With this information, we’re then able to quickly suggest the best course of action. It may be that you’re at a point where one of our expert team members can reach out to you straight away and start discussing your options. If you’re a little earlier on in your global expansion journey, then it will be beneficial to gain some further insight from our online resources.Expanding your business abroad is never a ‘one size fits all' solution. Because of this, we’re always sure to tailor your ongoing plan in a way that suits you. If your circumstances change at any point, you can easily go back and resubmit your information for a more accurate experience.Extensive Country-Specific InsightsThe Centuro Connect platform allows you to choose from over 100 countries. If you already have an idea of what region or specific country you want to relocate or expand to, you can easily choose one from our interactive world map. If you want to browse your options, you can do so in the same way. Simply hover over and select the countries that appeal to you the most to find out more. If you change your mind, simply go back to the map and choose another option.For every country that’s applicable, comes a wealth of information. This ranges from general facts about the location you’ve selected, as far as legal requirements and office solutions. All of this information is accessible on an easy-to-use webpage, with each option coming with a dropdown option, making it extremely easy to navigate.Accurate Time FramingExpanding your business overseas is far from an overnight process. With every detail that goes into successfully setting up abroad, it can be daunting, and even off-putting, when it comes to defining a timescale.Centuro Connect’s extensive insights mean that we can provide you with an estimated timeline for each aspect of your global expansion. In visualising your expansion journey, you can better understand the process from start to finish. You can also define internal deadlines for specific processes and plan your businesses’ future with a much higher degree of certainty.A time frame will appear in a timeline format, which is broken down into months. Each aspect of your businesses’ global expansion will have its own place on the timeline, showing at which stage of your journey it should be completed.Expert SupportGlobal expansion shouldn’t be a lonely process. When working with the Centuro Connect platform, you’re actually working alongside a big team of experts that are contactable at the click of a button.Each country has its own bank of local experts with its own relevant specialisms. These industry specialists have been handpicked and can help you on your journey. You can access the profiles of these experts and contact them easily when you need a helping hand. Specialist areas include immigration, tax, market entry points, HR, and marketing support, just to name a few.The level of depth that the platform goes into means that users have virtually everything they need to know on one page. If you’re looking for an opinion or advice, however, this might be the time to contact a specialist.CONCLUSIONInternational expansion is a challenging process, but we have the technology to make it a streamlined and much simpler journey. You can sign up for the Centuro Connect platform today! There’s no risk and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of information and like-minded experts to help you throughout your international business expansion.

Jul 01, 2021
BlogTech Visa in Portugal: Here’s What You Need to Know
Start A Company, Hr +2
Tech Visa In Portugal: Here’s What You Need To Know

The technological and innovative sector has been experiencing rapid growth in Portugal. In response to this growth, and in consideration of the need for hiring new and qualified workers, oftentimes nationals of third countries, the Portuguese Government has taken steps to allow greater agility in the granting of residency / authorised residence permit visas for these professionals. These measures have been put in place within the scope of the Tech Visa Programme. Tech Visa has also been adopted in different countries such as France, Greece, Chile, and the United Kingdom. The Tech visa programme, in place since January 1st, 2019, is aimed at companies present in the global market, which have their head office or permanent establishment in Portuguese territory, and who wish to attract professionals to Portugal, from non-EU countries, highly qualified to work in Portugal, through granting, in a more simplified way, visas and residence permits. These professionals are recruited by companies that develop activity in the area of technology and innovation. An important requirement to access this incentive is that these companies are properly certified so that interested parties can obtain the Tech visa. The Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) has certified 332 1 companies since the beginning of Tech Visa, a programme integrated into the National Entrepreneurship Strategy — StartUP Portugal. Among the more than 300 certified companies, a few names stand out, such as Bosch Car Multimedia Portugal SA; Huawei Tech. Portugal; Mercedes-Benz.IO Portugal; Nestlé Portugal and Siemens, S.A. According to data released by IAPMEI in 2020, certified companies had already issued 1 265 terms of responsibility for highly skilled workers, of which 93% were trained in computer science. These workers, with an average age of 31 years, come mainly from Brazil (1 027), India (86), and, to a lesser degree, from the United States (19). As for geographical distribution, certified companies are concentrated with greater expression in the Lisbon region (158), followed by the North (71) and Centre (25) regions. How to be a certified company To obtain certification, the following requirements must be met:• Be legally incorporated,• Have a head office or permanent establishment in the Portuguese territory,• Have no debts to the Tax Administration or the Social Security,• Have no overdue wages,• Not be a restructuring company,• If the company is more than three years old, own a positive equity,• Develop international tradeable goods or services activity,• Have a positive assessment in respect of business potential,• Be orientated towards foreign markets,• Have identified the technical qualifications in need. For which professionals is it intended? Regarding the target audience of this measure, all professionals who meet the following mandatory requirements for inclusion in the programme are covered:• Be a third-country national and not residing in the EU,• Be fully up to date with fiscal and social obligations (if applicable),• Have no criminal record,• Be 18 years of age or older,• Be proficient in Portuguese, English, French, or Spanish according to the job specifications,• Engage in highly qualified activity demonstrated by meeting one of the following requirements:• Have a minimum level 6 qualification (university degree) according to the ISCED2 — 2011, or• Have the qualification level 5 (technical course) according to ISCED – 2011, plus five years of experience.• Employment contract or promise with a minimum duration of 12 months,• Have a minimum monthly wage equivalent to 2,5 times the social support index3. The process is straightforward. Companies register on the Tech visa platform and submit their application. A decision on the application is communicated within 20 working days. If favourable, they will be included in the list of certified companies available for consultation. This certification is valid for a period of two years and maybe renewed if the company so wishes. Certified companies may then issue electronic terms of responsibility valid for six months. This whole process is done online at the www.iapmei.pt/techvisa. Upon receiving the term of responsibility issued by the company, the workers present it to the consular services or the foreign and borders service to facilitate and speed up the process of obtaining the visa or residence permit. Should you require more information or need help with applications for the Tech Visa, don’t hesitate and send us an e-mail. We can help you Incorporate, Move and Fund your business in Portugal!1 Data released by IAPMEI on 04/12/2021 2 ISCED - International Standard Classification of Education 3 Social support index in 2021 = 438.81€Minimum monthly salary in 2021 = 438.81 * 2.5 = 1,097€

Jun 28, 2021
BlogThe European Union wishes to attract foreign talent with the EU Blue Card Directive
Start A Company, Hr +2
The European Union Wishes To Attract Foreign Talent With The EU Blue Card Directive

Most countries wish to attract highly qualified workers able to satisfy the demands of companies within their borders. The European Union is not an exception to this rule and wishes to appeal to workers from third-party countries (including the United Kingdom) by creating the EU Blue Card permit.Moreover, travel restrictions due to the COVID pandemic do not seem to affect this type of visa holder from entering the EU, as long as the sanitary measures have been respected.Requirements for the EU Blue CardThe European Council Directive of 25 May 2009, aimed to facilitate the rights of highly qualified migrants to entry, stay, and employment lists the following requirements:Proof that the employee has a high level of education or professional qualifications, either            in the form of a university degree or pertinent professional experience;  Benefits from an employment contract for one year or more with the host            country, member of the European Union; andBenefits from a minimum annual gross salary stipulated by the host country.This type of permit is designed to “simplify” immigration processes, for both the professionals and their family members (the spouse is usually also permitted to be employed in the host country). Although this permit is mostly adapted to stable employment over a long-term, workers may change companies if the above requirements are still met. Long stay or even permanent employment is possible for EU Blue Card permit holders.Mobility implications for EU Blue Card Holders It should be noted that certain European countries have not transposed this permit into their internal legal systems, Britain being one of them before leaving the EU.Mobility between EU member states for holders of the EU Blue CardThe aforementioned European Blue Card Directive provides that holders of the EU Blue Card and their families can transfer to other member states to take up employment of a similarly high-skilled position, but only after having worked for 18 months in their initial host country. The Blue Card Directive decree states that workers should apply for a new European Blue Card in their new host country within one month of arrival. This has the advantage that no new visa application is most of the time necessary to enter the new host country.As the EU is not one nation, EU  member states are free to stipulate certain criteria, in particular the salary threshold for obtaining an EU Blue Card.The discrepancies between countries are great (i.e. 71 946 Euro in Luxembourg,  53 836 Euro in France, 53600 Euro in Germany, 33 808 Euro in Spain, 24 789 Euro in Italy, etc.).Sources: European Commission and VisaGuide.world. Issues that may arise from EU Blue Card eligibilityEven when the salary amounts are respected, other difficulties may arise when an EU Blue Card holder transfers to a new host country within the European Union. For example, they may only have temporary accommodation during their first month, which may not be accepted by the authorities delivering the new EU Blue Card or the blue card application may take several months to produce, during which the applicants have no documentation authorising them to work in the new country, which is incompatible with judicial security.ConclusionIt is clear that some effort is still needed to streamline inter-member state mobility for EU Blue Card holders within the EU. Companies have a role to play in lobbying for more flexibility in the field so that the idea behind the EU Blue Card Directive becomes easier to apply.For more information on the EU Blue Card and all types of work permits and visas, contact us to speak to a member of our immigration team directly.

Jun 23, 2021
BlogGermany: Options for British nationals post-Brexit
Start A Company, Hr +2
Germany: Options For British Nationals Post-Brexit

What are the options for British nationals post-Brexit in Germany? As per the Withdrawal Agreement aka Brexit Deal, all British citizens after January 1st, 2021 who are not in possession of a Residence Permit in Germany can enter Germany only for a maximum of 90 days within the 180-day period. These short stays are meant only for a purpose of travel or business trips. No other economic activities are permitted. If however British citizens are willing to relocate to Germany for work purposes or residency, they are in need of a residence permit that might be applied for directly from Germany or through a German consulate abroad. In case the latter option is preferred, a D-type visa for long-term residency is required. Demand for entry visas is high post-Brexit and pre-approval must usually be obtained from the Employment Agency in Germany prior to applying for the entry visa at the Embassy. Candidates must meet various criteria and provide substantiating documents. The rules outlined by the Federal Republic of Germany state that acceptance for foreign nationals in general employment depends on Germany’s economic needs. Both a vocational qualification and a detailed offer of employment are required. British citizens can also make the most of the Skilled Immigration Act, which came into force in March 2020 and simplifies the immigration procedure for specialists that are in short supply in Germany. These include mathematicians, scientists, engineers, doctors, as well as many other vocations where demand exceeds supply. Are there any compliance risks that companies need to consider? It is of key importance that companies are well informed of various compliance issues and keep them in mind at all times. One common issue results from the fact that UK and US citizens amongst several other nationalities that are considered best friends to Germany are allowed to enter Germany and then apply for a residence or work permit from within Germany. While this is the case, these citizens are not permitted to commence work until the permit has been issued. Some companies may not be aware that it is not permissible to start work immediately after application. The employer has to wait until the employee actually receives their respective permit or visa before starting work. Intra-company transfers can also present compliance risks for companies. For one thing, it is critical that the visa is applied for before the transferee moves to Germany. This even applies to those countries that are usually given preferential treatment, such as the UK and the US amongst others. For intra-company transfers, it is also important that the branch in Germany belongs to the same company or group of companies as the branch where the employee is coming from. Additionally, the employee needs to be employed by the entity abroad at least six months prior to the assignment to Germany. Are you aware of any legal changes to immigration rules and policies that might benefit people? On March 1st, 2020, a new immigration law came into force in Germany, simplifying the procedure for people coming from outside the EU to work in Germany. This Skilled Immigration Act evolved as a result of a lack of qualified candidates such as engineers and nurses, and opened the labour market, meaning that visas that were previously reserved for EU members are now available for employees from outside the EU with recognised vocational training. It has also made searching for employment easier, as potential applicants can live in Germany for up to six months while searching, as long as they have the necessary professional qualifications, basic knowledge of German, and a secure livelihood.  The visa procedure has also been simplified, with easy communication between local immigration authorities and employers, considerably speeding up the entire process. This new immigration law ensures that persons who have obtained a German university degree or vocational training in Germany have the possibility of permanent residence after two years as well as the possibility of residence after four years for qualified workers with a foreign degree. Furthermore, there are some special deals for British citizens. For one, there are special arrangements that make it easier for British citizens to live in Germany post Brexit. The United Kingdom is also given special privileges along with some other countries including the United States, Israel, South Korea, Canada, and Japan. These privileges include the option of moving to Germany for residence purposes without having to obtain an entry immigrant visa. Citizens from these countries also profit from the fact that priority is no longer given to EU member countries when it comes to approving positions. Each of these rules can benefit people in the immigration process. How does the EU card benefit people - can they work in other countries if they have a German EU card? “Labour migration into Europe boosts our competitiveness and therefore our economic growth. It also helps tackle demographic problems resulting from our aging population.” José Manuel Barroso, who served as European Commission President between 2004 and 2014, explains the motivation behind the EU Blue Card scheme. The EU Blue Card enables highly qualified residents of non-EU countries to work in Germany. It must be applied for before entering Germany and requires both a high level of education or professional experience and an employment contract or a binding offer of employment. There is a minimum earning threshold, which is lowered for jobs for which there is a shortage of workers, such as doctors, scientists, and mathematicians. The EU Blue Card not only provides a path towards permanent residence and EU citizenship, its benefits also include working and salary conditions equal to nationals, access to certain rights such as unemployment benefits, good prospects for family reunifications, and free movement within the Schengen area (unless issued in Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus or Croatia). Those who hold an EU Blue Card have the right to move to another EU country after having lived in Germany for 18 months. This is almost always possible without having to apply for an additional visa. However, in order to be able to work, you still need to apply for a work permit in this country. The difference is that this can be applied directly from the new country rather than through an embassy or a consulate. In some cases, the path to the work permit is also easier, but it is still necessary to get this permit!For more information on incorporating into Germany, we have launched a new platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into blueprint specifics helping you do your research all in one place! It is completely FREE - no hidden costs - just the ultimate tool for understanding market entry options, HR, Immigration, Legal Requirements, Tax & Accounting, and much more.Take a look at the platform here! 

Jun 07, 2021
BlogWhen is the right time to globally expand your business?
Start A Company, Hr +2
When Is The Right Time To Globally Expand Your Business?

The generally accepted wisdom for founders with big home markets was to win your domestic market first before thinking about going international after that. However, the most aggressive founders are now thinking about growing sales globally from day one.Judging the right moment to go international is going to be a big moment for a leader and a daunting decision to make. You have to take all the different elements of your company into consideration but there are some general rules we can look to start that might help tell you, you are on track.The 25% RuleThis one is fairly straightforward. When 25 percent or more of your business is coming from international markets, it’s time to scale outside your home country.The Scale RuleThe Scale Rule can help founders to decide if they are ready or too early to scale by defining it. For this, we turn to Steven Carpenter, former Global Sales & Operations at Dropbox and exec at Accel.“I define scale as when your company has reached “product/market fit” in tandem with “business model fit.” It’s the moment when your customer acquisition growth rate is increasing while your acquisition costs are decreasing, AND the unit economics of the business are moving in your favour. You aren’t yet profitable but you understand your cost levers.”The Go-Fast RuleThe founders that follow the Go-fast rule know that they can sell internationally with minimal incremental cost and that if they were successful, they would increase their growth rate and demonstrate that their addressable market extends beyond their home country, the goal being to drive valuation.If your business can use its existing logistics or pass along new delivery costs to the customer to service in the new market then it can generally be a no-brainer to run an AdWords or Facebook campaign in your new market very early on and see what takes. You shouldn’t even need to localise your offering for these tests. If the proposition is going to fly internationally then some customers will convert even when the pricing isn’t a local currency. If you are in a position where you are going to need people on the ground to sell and deliver your product then you need to consider the scale rule.There is also an argument for expanding early that you can pre-empt copycats, American investors looking for ideas from European or Asian markets, etc., and vice versa.Thinking of going global? Here are some reasons why you definitely should!The model is working well enough ruleThere’s often no clear moment when your business model is ‘working’. So, you can ask yourself does it if feel like the management team has moved its focus from continually fighting fires to optimisation? If you are still fighting fires it might be too early but if you aren’t then your business model is probably working well enough that you can handle the fires of an international office.Some considerations:Start-ups from countries with a population of less than 50 million go international twice as fast as start-ups from countries with a population of more than 50 million: 1.4 years as opposed to 2.8 years.Smaller countries need to think internationally from an early stage. A founder in the U.S. or China can focus 100 percent on their home market and comfortably build a $billion business. That’s the upside for bigger countries. The downside is that they may only think about the international market at a late stage and may struggle to adapt their business accordingly. Whereas a founder in Sweden or Ireland knows from day one that their business needs to be international, if it is ever going to get really big, and builds accordingly.As a general rule, the return on investment (ROI) of expanding internationally is usually less than the ROI of expanding domestically. Typically, with a business that is going well in its home market, €1 invested in local growth will increase user and revenues more than €1 invested abroad. Eventually, though, a company will reach saturation point in its home market and need to expand elsewhere, at which point this equation might switch around. But usually, it is cheaper to expand at home than abroad.While the advice may be to go international as early as you can - If possible, start by selling internationally from your home base.CENTURO GLOBALExpanding a business to a new international market is a big challenge to tackle for any company. Depending on which market your start-up wants to enter, you will not only face new business challenges but also cultural differences that can lead to further hurdles. The endeavor requires a lot of commitment and many dedicated resources. The good news is, that you’re not the first one starting this undertakingAt Centuro Global, we strive to assist companies of all sizes at every stage of their journey and growth. We simplify the scaling process for businesses by offering a clear strategy and roadmap for new market entry and business growth. We then connect clients with the right local resources and experts furthering efficiency in scale, within the strategy.DOWNLOAD OUR FREE BUSINESS EXPANSION GUIDEOur FREE business expansion guide will help you:- Define your reasons for international expansion- Determine an expansion strategy- Confidently navigate foreign laws- Understand your expansion funding options- Discover the free resources readily availableDownload your guide below and start your international expansion journey, one simple step at a time! 

May 11, 2021
BlogHow to get started expanding your  business abroad
Start A Company, Hr +2
How To Get Started Expanding Your Business Abroad

So you’re ready to expand your business abroad. You’ve done your due diligence and carefully selected your country of choice, you’ve identified an opportunity and a favourable environment to expand your business to. So now what? How do you get the ball rolling?A recent survey found that nearly six out of ten UK SMEs are considering establishing their business overseas to drive growth, so you're not alone! To help you on your journey here are 6 areas to get right when you expand your business abroad, whatever country that might be.Define your goals and develop a strategy for your global expansion Like any big, overwhelming goal it's always best to break it down and set clear objectives. First of all, what are you trying to achieve with this expansion - access to better infrastructure or business environment? Increasing your customer base? Diversifying your risk? - There are many reasons to expand internationally, having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve will help you make better decisions along the way regarding your strategy. Second of all, review the assets you have in-house and identify what’s missing. Where do you lack in-house expertise? Can you find a mentor or a partner to help with this? How are you going to finance the expansion - do you need to go out and seek funds? And finally, information - what do you know and what do you need to find out about to embark on this expansion. A simple way to approach this is to start with a list of questions, some you have the answer to, some you will need to research.Tip: Download our global expansion checklist here to give yourself a structure to your global expansion and pose questions you may not have thought about. Get to know the legal systemIn a recent survey, legal advice was identified as the most useful form of guidance when it comes to setting up overseas by 46% of respondents. This comes as no surprise as the impact of getting this wrong can come with terrible repercussions. There are normally 3 main considerations - company and employment law, intellectual property, and data protection. Understanding these three areas will help you identify the disparities from your current location and will affect decisions such as who or how many people you employ, what company set-up you choose, what intellectual property protection you will need in place, and how to set up your data handling systems. Tip: Do your desk research first to flag any imminent obstacles that will affect your entrance strategy - it will give you a basis when you seek specific legal help further through your journey.Decide what method of global expansion is the best fit for your businessConsider your market entry options, you may want to set up an overseas office, franchise, direct export, license, or even buy a local company. This is where knowing your business's expansion goal is key and understanding the local environment is crucial to see what the implications of this decision might be.You will also need to decide what entity you want to set up in the new country, what company set-ups are available to foreigners - and what the tax or legal implications are of those company structures might be. This is country by country-specific.Tip:  Specific details on company set-ups for each country can be found on our Global Expansion platform - Centuro Connect, with detailed information on over 100 countries. Explore here! Get your business finances global expansion readyWith a new country comes new requirements for tax & accounting, as many companies already do in the UK, outsourcing taxation, payroll, and business accounting is a smart move. However with something as delicate as your finances you want partners you can trust. It is also wise to see what financial incentives may be available to companies looking to set up in the new territory. Some countries offer incentives to encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to expand to their region. With the total cost of expansion often unclear, it is important not to miss out on extra funding if available! Tip: International global expansion often costs more than expected. Make sure you have a contingency fund to ensure you can complete the expansion. Establish a team - global expansion HRDepending on the market entry method you have decided to pursue you will have to create an employee strategy. Local employees come with an invaluable understanding of the local culture, methods of doing business, and potential connections in the industry. However, with this comes the challenge of employing the right people, staying on the right side of local employment law, and trying to ensure the new venture is carried out in line with your existing businesses strategy. Which if you aim to disrupt may be highly important. Using existing employees involves managing the visa process to ensure that they can legally work in the country you are expanding to whether that's temporary or long-term. Plus ensuring they have applicable skills to succeed in the new country. Tip: Whatever your employment strategy, make sure you have a clear idea of what decisions or actions need to be made locally and what decisions will be made centrally - then make sure you have the right people in the right locations to facilitate success. Gather detailed information for your global expansion This is just an initial look at some of the considerations when expanding your company abroad! To help with this mammoth task we have launched a new platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into specifics for each country helping you do your research all in one place.Download our free guide, packed full practical tips from the experts here at Centuro Global, as well as other leaders in our market, on the steps you can take to increase your business’ resilience on your global expansion journey. DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE! 

May 04, 2021
BlogExpanding Your Business from the UK to Germany
Start A Company, Hr +2
Expanding Your Business From The UK To Germany

Expanding your business in any capacity is a challenge that takes knowledge, willing and time. Successful global expansion will provide you with a new economy to work within, a wealth of industry resources that may not be available to you in the UK, and other new profitable opportunities.Germany’s economy is currently ranked as the 4th healthiest country in the world. The UK is currently ranked 1 place behind in 5th. Because of its steadily growing and healthy economy, Germany is a fantastic option for those looking to expand their own business overseas. Whilst all the signs point towards Germany being a great place to expand your business, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple process. There is time, planning, and red tape to overcome before this dream becomes reality. That is why we created Centuro Connect to help streamline the entire global expansion process.Explore Centuro Connect, a FREE platform tailored to businesses and industries of all types, with a bank of valuable information and guidance all on expanding your business to a choice of 100+ countries.Below, we’ve detailed some of the key factors and reasons why setting up a company in Germany is a fantastic idea. All of the country-specific data and information used in this blog comes from the Centuro Connect platform, giving you an idea of just how in-depth this resource really is. Life in GermanyBusiness aside, relocating yourself and/or your assets to another country can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to understand from the beginning whether or not Germany suits you personally, and not just your company.There is considered to be a much more compartmentalised approach to life in Germany than we’re used to in the UK. There are stricter rules on hours worked, with the official limit being set at 40 hours a week - five days a week. In the UK the limit is 48 hours, but employees can opt to work more than that.This ‘hours per week limit’ means more leisure time for those living in Germany, with a general attitude that distances socialising hours from working life. Living in central Europe means that, naturally, you’re central to many other countries. Whilst very beneficial from a commercial point of view, this is also a personal benefit to many that would otherwise not experience this in the UK. There’s the option for plenty of traveling in your additional leisure time!Germany is also considered a particularly metropolitan country. If you don’t quite have the dialect fine-tuned yet, know that over 70% of the population also speak an additional language as well as German!Notable Benefits of Expanding to GermanyThis is the part that is perhaps most crucial in determining the next steps for your business. You want to ensure that expanding makes financial sense first and foremost and that Germany is providing you with something different from the UK.We’ve already touched upon the economic strength in Germany, but what else is there to know? The 4 focus industries in the country are Automotive, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical, and Electrical. The governmental support for SMEs is much higher than other countries in the EU. Benefits include;Low-interest business loans of up to 10 million eurosRecruitment and training supportWage subsidies for entrepreneurs that register a German company.Doing business in Germany requires less backing than many other locations. Only one director and one shareholder (from anywhere in the world) are required to set up a company in the country. In terms of the marketability of your services or products, Germany has a population of 82 million people. This makes it the biggest market in all of Eastern Europe, with only Russia having a higher population on the continent. This continues to be one of the key drawing points for those looking to expand their company from the UK, where the market is a much lesser 68 million residents. Germany also has a highly educated population, with 81% having a recognised professional qualification or entitled to register at university. With a highly educated population comes a highly educated workforce.How to Get the International Expansion Ball RollingCreating a German startup is actually much simpler than many realise. Expanding internationally is a challenge, but when done correctly, it can be a streamlined process that enhances your business hugely. Want to learn more about how to expand your business to Germany? You can sign up for the FREE Centuro Connect platform today and start your global expansion journey to Germany. If you would like to learn more about expanding your business to Germany, or 100+ other countries the Centuro Connect platform has details on tax, immigration, market entry points, HR, marketing, and real estate - plus contactable reliable experts to help you ace your expansion. This means that no matter what stage of the expansion journey you’re at, support is there if you face a challenge. There’s no risk, no hidden costs, and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of guidance and support, here to aid you and your business throughout your international business expansion.Sign up today by clicking here. 

Apr 30, 2021
BlogExpanding into Lithuania for developing FinTech companies
Start A Company, Hr +2
Expanding Into Lithuania For Developing FinTech Companies

1. Lithuania’s regulatory adaptation and transparencySince early 2017, the Bank of Lithuania has instigated the rapid development of a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem, which continually fosters innovation in the financial sector. The two most notable events were:first, by opening a regulatory sandbox in late 2018 to allow startups and FinTechs to test their innovative products in a live environment under the guidance and supervision of the Bank of Lithuania.5Second, as a result of the UK’s EEA departure and in the absence of an agreement on financial services cooperation between the EU and the UK, some UK companies with licensed activities subsequently passported into the EEA not wanting to be locked into only one single market. Lithuania has led by example, by inviting financial service institutions under their roof with an appealing and easily understood regulatory regime, attractive marketing plan, convincing regulatory supervision, as well as rapidly adapting national regulations for FinTechs, InsurTechs, RegTech, and other startups.One of the most recent examples is Revolut, which transferred its EU customers from its UK-based company to a Lithuanian company. After setting up a Lithuanian company and acquiring a license for its activities, Revolut’s Lithuanian company has passported its licensed activities based on the provision of services without a branch in the other 29 EEA Member States, providing clients uninterrupted services. Revolut went even further by establishing and acquiring a Special Purpose Bank (“SPB”) license. The latter license permits Revolut to receive deposits and other repayable funds from its clients (Revolut currently provides this service in a total of 13 Member States).In terms of numbers, Lithuania edges ever closer each year to the level of the UK within The World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. While Lithuania continues to improve its regulatory regime, in some areas (ahead of the EU), the existing transparent regulator and ‘easy on the eye’ regulations, Lithuania is leaning towards becoming the dominant “Fintech Hub” in the EU.The most popular licenses in LithuaniaAlmost half of the FinTech companies in Lithuania hold an Electronic Money Institution (“EMI”), Payment Institution (“PI”), or SPB license. A majority of these companies can alsoissue prepaid cards and digital wallets for the benefit of their clients, in addition to making money transfers.E-money and payment licensesThe respective provisions of the Lithuanian Law on Electronic Money Institutions defines “electronic money” as a monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer which is issued on receipt of monetary funds by the electronic money issuer from a natural or legal person and has the following characteristics: (i) stored electronically (incl. magnetically); (ii) is issued for the purpose of making payment transactions; and (iii) is received by persons other than electronic money issuers.For any FinTech company to be able to accept money from clients in the ‘electronic domain’ and to hold it in payment accounts for a relatively long time, issuing electronic money and then redeeming it, prior to being able to do, it is first necessary to become an electronic money issuer.The Bank of Lithuania supervises and authorizes electronic money and payment institutions within Lithuania. The authorization process usually includes: (i) submitting an application for an EMI license to the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania; (ii) an assessment of the application for a license of an EMI and attached documents; and (iii) issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license.The entire authorization process, depending on the completeness of the documents submitted, usually takes around 6 to 12 months.If, however, a FinTech company already holds an EMI license and respective documentation in the UK it is considered to be an advantage in producing the necessary documents, as well as saving time during the authorization process.An SPB licenseA key feature of an SPB is the minimum capital requirement of EUR 1 million, while for traditional banks, it is EUR 5 million.In terms of timing, it is possible to acquire an SPB license within 9 to 12 months.An SPB differs from a traditional bank and comes with a number of restrictions attached to the services which an SPB can provide. An SPB is subject to limitations in investment and other financial services of a similar nature. The respective services an SPB can provide are the following:1) acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds;2) lending (including mortgage loans);3) financial lease (leasing);4) payment services;5) issuance and administration of travelers' checks, bills of exchange, and other means of payment, if these activities do not include payment services;6) provision of financial sureties and financial guarantees;7) financial intermediation (agent activities);8) money management;9) creditworthiness assessment services;10) rental of safe deposit boxes;11) currency exchange (in cash); and12) issuance of electronic money.One of the notable benefits of holding an SPB license is the deposits of any one individual may reach up to EUR 100,000 and are insured under the deposit insurance scheme. SPBs are participants of the deposit insurance system and are obligated to make regular (ex-ante) and special (ex-post) deposit insurance contributions to the Deposit Insurance Fund of Lithuania.Importantly, an SPB license is valid across the EEA and activities can be passported to the other Member States enabling access to the EEA financial services market. As previously mentioned, a good example is Revolut.CENTROlinkThe Bank of Lithuania operates a CENTROlink system designated for processing and executing payment orders between Single Euro Payments Area (“SEPA”) participants.The Bank of Lithuania provides technical access to SEPA schemes (credit transfers (“SCT”), direct debit (“SDD”) and instant payments (“SCT”)) for all types of payment service providers – banks, credit unions, e-money, or payment institutions – licensed in the EEA.Any EEA licensed payment service provider has an option to access CENTROlink, given there is no mandatory requirement to establish an entity in Lithuania to access CENTROlink.A recent example of a financial service institution accessing CENTROlink is TBI Bank EAD. The latter is registered in Bulgaria and has passported its activity to Lithuania and the Bank of Lithuania has approved its access to CENTROlink system.Employee Stock OptionsOn 1 February 2020, new tax-favorable legislation for the treatment of employee stock options came into effect in Lithuania.Employee stock options can be exercised at no cost or for lower than their fair market value price, but no earlier than three years of holding stock options, from the date they were granted, are treated as non-taxable income for personal income tax purposes.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingTo encourage the development of capital markets in Lithuania, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) can reimburse the costs incurred in acquiring third-party advisory services necessary exclusively for the listing of shares and/or bonds.In such a way, SMEs can access alternative sources of financing with initially lower cost, for example, by receiving advisory services on setting set up a compliant and viable structure and on the respective financial instruments to be provided in the marketplace.In recent years, the government has paid a lot of attention to the development of capital markets. Legislation has been adopted to develop alternative sources of financing: (i) a legal framework for crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending has been established; and (ii) private limited companies have been allowed to issue bonds publicly. Gather detailed information for your business expansion into LithuaniaThis is just an initial look at some of the considerations when expanding your company into Lithuania. To help with this mammoth task we have launched a new completely free platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into specifics for each country helping you do your research all in one place!It is completely FREE - no hidden costs - just the ultimate tool for understanding market entry options, HR, Immigration, Legal Requirements, Tax & Accounting, access to our global business network, and much more …. with 100 + countries (including Lithuania) it has the specific information you need from our team of business expansion consultants.Take a look at the platform here! 

Apr 27, 2021
BlogESTONIA: A Global Expansion Hotspot for Developing Fintech Companies
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ESTONIA: A Global Expansion Hotspot For Developing Fintech Companies

Estonia’s e-government and embrace on digital platformsIn 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to offer electronic residency to individuals from outside the country. The E-residency program equips e-residents with a digital identity and the status provides individuals access to Estonia’s transparent digital business environment.With the e-residency kit, an e-resident can sign documents and can establish a company online from anywhere in the world, access banking, payment processing, as well as settle tax-related obligations.21A great benefit that comes with e-residency is the network of already existing e-residency entrepreneurs ready to share their experiences with outside companies who are interested in joining the community.E-money and payment licensesIn order to obtain a license to operate an EMI or for the operation of a PI, the company must submit a relevant application to the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (“EFSA”).Depending on the licensed activities, the minimum capital requirement for an EMI is EUR 350,000 and for PIs starting from EUR 20,000 to EUR 125,000.The EFSA shall take a decision on the issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license and inform the applicant within three months after receipt of all the necessary documents, as well as detailing the reasons in the event of a refusal, but not later than within six months after receipt of the application.The seat and the principal place of business of a PI or EMI entered in the commercial register shall be located in Estonia.22Start-up status and visaOnce a startup has decided to relocate its founders and/or employees to Estonia, the first step would be to apply for the ‘Startup Status’.Once the startup holds the Startup Status, the company can hire global talent with ease and the founder can apply for a visa or a temporary resident permit.23Estonians are open to attract non-EU founders via the startup visa, which is also designed for start-ups to ease the process to hire non-EU talents.To be eligible for the startup visa a founder must have a technology-based, innovative and scalable business in mind, at least EUR 160 per month available for day-to-day needs and to receive approval from the Startup Committee.In light of recent amendments, if approved, as of 19 February 2021 the same visa will be granted to family members – spouses and children.24Stock optionsCurrently, Estonia does not hold any specific incentive scheme for start-ups, and issuance of employee share options is provided based on existing general regulations.Rules regarding the offerings of transferrable securities are used to facilitate the need and together with the tax regime currently in force (applicable to all private companies), there are favourable options.Tax exemptions for share options can be applied if an employee holds stock options for at least three years. Most of the terms and conditions attached to stock options are established within a stock option agreement between the company and the option holder.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingWhile the issuance of bonds and/or shares is a regulated market in Estonia (similarly as in Latvia and Lithuania), Estonians have taken a big leap and in late 2017 passed legislation with the aim to regulate cryptocurrency trading. The latter gained popularity in the amounts of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and token generation events (“TGEs”).25The structures of ICOs and TGEs vary and may be used to raise capital for different kinds of projects, for example, creating new coin, app or service launches. These structures provide for an alternative source of financing and are more frequently used for seed/early-stage financing, instead of the ‘traditional’ initial public offering (“IPO”) where the financing is company-based and usually is used as an exit after venture capital funding.Any ICO or TGE should be assessed on its substance to define whether they should be treated as an issuance of a security instrument or not and which corresponding regulation should be applied.26Where to go…?Well, it depends. There is no right or wrong answer.With certain limitations now visible for certain UK-based FinTech businesses trying to reach EU customers, detailed and clear thought needs to be given as to how to potentially widen the options in a fast-growing and developing industry.In the event the EU holds UK rules as equivalent to EU rules, as a result of further discussions, passporting considerations may not be necessary.Without access to the EU marketplace, it significantly reduces the actual or potential customer headcount and therefore limiting prospective growth opportunities.The Baltic States are leaning towards providing somewhat of a City ‘complement’ for FinTech businesses who wish to serve customers throughout the EEA.Regardless of the vision taken, it is important to carry out the necessary due diligence and preparations before engaging any of the regulators in either of the Baltic States.Right from pre-launch planning to initial setup and registration; Centuro Global will work with you, offering end-to-end assistance in navigating complexities by activating the local business ecosystem and offering a coherent roadmap of actionable solutions. Start on your global expansion journey with us today! Enquire today or feel free to send us an email. 

Apr 27, 2021
BlogAre the Baltics the ideal marketplace for developing FinTech companies?
Start A Company, Hr +2
Are The Baltics The Ideal Marketplace For Developing FinTech Companies?

As a result of the United Kingdom (“UK”) exiting the European Union (“EU”) on 1 January 2021, a number of financial institutions in the UK lost their “exclusive” right of access to utilize the European Economic Area (“EEA”) passporting rules. These changes have also been felt by financial institutions based in Gibraltar.Back in 2016, it was reported around 5,500 UK companies with licensed activities which have passported their authorization (i.e., a licensed activity) into the EEA are impacted as a result of the UK exiting the EEA bloc.While the UK certainly has a more favorable corporate tax regime when compared to the other Member States, wider access to a larger marketplace seems to be the more favorable option in the long run for most companies. It is also without a word of doubt, the UK’s focus on retaining its presence as a financial services leader is ever strong, for example, the recent relaxation of some of the eligibility requirements for companies seeking to IPO.3Following the recent memorandum of understanding agreed between the EU-UK, concerning financial services cooperation, no visible guarantee was given to hold UK rules as equivalent to EU rules.4 While this mist of uncertainty hovers above the UK financial services industry, institutions are gearing up for plans B and C.Seeking the necessary permissions and compliance via each individual Member State’s national regimes adds complexity and substantial costs for FinTech companies based in the UK. This is something that all FinTech companies would ideally like to avoid or circumvent. WATCH OUR WEBINAR ON DOING BUSINESS IN A POST-BREXIT EUROPE.In the last couple of years, the Baltic states (i.e., Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) have geared up and responded by implementing favorable regulatory frameworks for all FinTech institutions. With this FinTech focus and benefits stemming from the passporting rules, the Baltic states are slowly driving the industry and attracting all the major market players, including Revolut.In this series of articles, we outline the important practical considerations one needs to consider for each of the Baltic states; their regulatory advancements, licensing benefits, stock options, capital markets, and alternative financing mechanisms. These tools provide a beneficial and attractive environment for financial service institutions to either start out in life or continue growing their business.LATVIALatvia’s regulatory regime supporting FinTechsIn terms of numbers, one in five new Latvian startups belong to the Financial Technology sector.15The Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (“FCMC”) has made available the Innovation Hub and Regulatory Sandbox to any market player for professional support and consultancy services in relation to existing and upcoming regulation.16A good example of highlighting the FCMC’s readiness and competence to supervise the financial services industry is in relation to the upcoming EU crowdfunding rules. The European Parliament has recently adopted the Regulation on European Crowdfunding Service Providers (“ECSP”) for businesses.17 The ECSP is already in force and is applicable from 10 November 2021. The ECSP is binding in its entirety across the EU and will provide a new and comprehensive set-up for crowdfunding platforms to operate under. In Latvia, the FCMC has already begun working and consulting with companies establishing or established to correspond with the upcoming rules in the ECSP.Several of the largest European peer-to-peer marketplace platforms have originated in Latvia, such as Mintos and Twino, which are currently adapting to the recently adopted regulatorychanges, by either acquiring an investment firm license and/or electronic money institutions license.18E-money and payment licensesIn order to obtain a license to operate an electronic money institution or for the operation of a payment institution, the company must submit a complete application to the FCMC.Depending on the licensed activities, the minimum capital requirement for an EMI is EUR 350,000 and for PIs starting from around EUR 20,000 up to EUR 125,000.The FCMC shall take a decision on the issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license and inform the applicant within three months after receipt of all the necessary documents, as well as detailing the reasons in the event of a refusal. If all relevant documents are not submitted or submitted incomplete, the FCMC can prolong the duration for an additional three months, and therefore the licensing process can take up to 6 months (and as we have seen in practice, sometimes even longer).In the event, a FinTech company already holds the respective documentation for a UK-issued EMI or PI license, it could save time in adapting the documents and reduce the assessment period before the FCMC.For FinTechs who intend to provide innovative payment services, FCF reduces state fees for the examination of documents submitted for the respectively chosen license of either electronic money institutions or payment institutions. Following the registration or authorization, the annual charge is also set lower than average for the first three years.19 In other words, these instruments assist with limiting the financial burden (i.e., licensing and maintenance costs) at the early stage.Attractive employee stock optionsThe main demand for employee stock options originates from FinTechs and other start-ups, which attract strong and high-level candidates for skyrocketing their ideas into a profitable company with promising equity.Employee stock options, if developed thoughtfully, can attract employees for the long-term and set the ownerships’ mindset. Especially within the startup community, stock options are also used in cases when a company is not able to afford the increases in employees’ salaries at the time.At the beginning of 2021, the Latvian Personal Income Tax Law and Commercial Law brought about favorable changes. These changes expanded the possibilities to grant stock options not only to joint-stock companies but also to limited liability companies’ employees, board and supervisory board members, and other related companies’ employees.The minimum holding period has been reduced from 36 months to 12 months and in addition, it is possible to exercise the option within 6 months after employment is terminated without losing the tax exemption.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingThe FCMC has undertaken (until 31 December 2021) to create a development and support model enabling enterprises to prepare for their participation in the capital market in case of the issuance of shares and/or bonds.20Similar to Lithuania, Latvian SMEs can apply to reimburse the costs incurred by acquiring third-party advisory services necessary exclusively for the listing of shares and/or bonds.  Expanding into Latvia or any other Baltic country can be a challenging process, but we have the technology to make it a streamlined and much simpler journey.Explore Centuro Connect, a FREE business expansion platform tailored to businesses and industries of all types, with a bank of valuable information and guidance all on expanding your business to a choice of 100+ countries. There’s no risk, no hidden costs, and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of information and like-minded experts to help you throughout your international business expansion. Sign up today by clicking HERE.

Apr 27, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
SIMPLIFY YOUR GLOBAL BUSINESS EXPANSION WITH CENTURO CONNECT

When we think of business expansion, we often associate this type of growth with employing more staff or upgrading to a larger office space. For some, true growth comes from testing your business in new cities, countries, and continents. But how easy is it to expand your business abroad, and where do you even start?Fortunately, Centuro Global has engineered a brand-new and unique platform designed specifically for those looking to expand internationally. It acts as a centralised online resource where you can research, plan and learn more about your expansion journey. It’s a simple setup process, and it's very user-friendly!Here are just a few of the benefits the Centuro Connect platform provides businesses:- A tailored approach to your business expansion needs;- A detailed bank of key facts and statistics for 100+ countries around the world;- Business and industry insights that are location-specific;- Insights into the economy, legal, banking, property, immigration, and more;- A timeline feature that details and tracks each step of your business expansion;- Professional support and industry specialists on hand to aid your journey.WHAT IS CENTURO CONNECT?As with any business that’s scaling up, taking your company abroad isn’t without its challenges. Being able to streamline and visualise the process is invaluable when taking on such a task. Below, we’ve detailed the key areas in which our Centuro Connect platform is designed to make your business expansion journey as simple, streamlined, and stress-free as possible.Bespoke & Tailored To Your BusinessNo matter your business size, type, or industry, the Centuro Connect platform facilitates global expansion to a wealth of countries.When setting up your free login with Centuro Connect, the process begins with answering several easy questions about your company. You don’t need any specific documentation to complete this process, just a good idea of where your company is at currently and what direction you’re looking to take next.With this information, we’re then able to quickly suggest the best course of action. It may be that you’re at a point where one of our expert team members can reach out to you straight away and start discussing your options. If you’re a little earlier on in your global expansion journey, then it will be beneficial to gain some further insight from our online resources.Expanding your business abroad is never a ‘one size fits all' solution. Because of this, we’re always sure to tailor your ongoing plan in a way that suits you. If your circumstances change at any point, you can easily go back and resubmit your information for a more accurate experience.Extensive Country-Specific InsightsThe Centuro Connect platform allows you to choose from over 100 countries. If you already have an idea of what region or specific country you want to relocate or expand to, you can easily choose one from our interactive world map. If you want to browse your options, you can do so in the same way. Simply hover over and select the countries that appeal to you the most to find out more. If you change your mind, simply go back to the map and choose another option.For every country that’s applicable, comes a wealth of information. This ranges from general facts about the location you’ve selected, as far as legal requirements and office solutions. All of this information is accessible on an easy-to-use webpage, with each option coming with a dropdown option, making it extremely easy to navigate.Accurate Time FramingExpanding your business overseas is far from an overnight process. With every detail that goes into successfully setting up abroad, it can be daunting, and even off-putting, when it comes to defining a timescale.Centuro Connect’s extensive insights mean that we can provide you with an estimated timeline for each aspect of your global expansion. In visualising your expansion journey, you can better understand the process from start to finish. You can also define internal deadlines for specific processes and plan your businesses’ future with a much higher degree of certainty.A time frame will appear in a timeline format, which is broken down into months. Each aspect of your businesses’ global expansion will have its own place on the timeline, showing at which stage of your journey it should be completed.Expert SupportGlobal expansion shouldn’t be a lonely process. When working with the Centuro Connect platform, you’re actually working alongside a big team of experts that are contactable at the click of a button.Each country has its own bank of local experts with its own relevant specialisms. These industry specialists have been handpicked and can help you on your journey. You can access the profiles of these experts and contact them easily when you need a helping hand. Specialist areas include immigration, tax, market entry points, HR, and marketing support, just to name a few.The level of depth that the platform goes into means that users have virtually everything they need to know on one page. If you’re looking for an opinion or advice, however, this might be the time to contact a specialist.CONCLUSIONInternational expansion is a challenging process, but we have the technology to make it a streamlined and much simpler journey. You can sign up for the Centuro Connect platform today! There’s no risk and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of information and like-minded experts to help you throughout your international business expansion.

Jul 01, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Tech Visa In Portugal: Here’s What You Need To Know

The technological and innovative sector has been experiencing rapid growth in Portugal. In response to this growth, and in consideration of the need for hiring new and qualified workers, oftentimes nationals of third countries, the Portuguese Government has taken steps to allow greater agility in the granting of residency / authorised residence permit visas for these professionals. These measures have been put in place within the scope of the Tech Visa Programme. Tech Visa has also been adopted in different countries such as France, Greece, Chile, and the United Kingdom. The Tech visa programme, in place since January 1st, 2019, is aimed at companies present in the global market, which have their head office or permanent establishment in Portuguese territory, and who wish to attract professionals to Portugal, from non-EU countries, highly qualified to work in Portugal, through granting, in a more simplified way, visas and residence permits. These professionals are recruited by companies that develop activity in the area of technology and innovation. An important requirement to access this incentive is that these companies are properly certified so that interested parties can obtain the Tech visa. The Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) has certified 332 1 companies since the beginning of Tech Visa, a programme integrated into the National Entrepreneurship Strategy — StartUP Portugal. Among the more than 300 certified companies, a few names stand out, such as Bosch Car Multimedia Portugal SA; Huawei Tech. Portugal; Mercedes-Benz.IO Portugal; Nestlé Portugal and Siemens, S.A. According to data released by IAPMEI in 2020, certified companies had already issued 1 265 terms of responsibility for highly skilled workers, of which 93% were trained in computer science. These workers, with an average age of 31 years, come mainly from Brazil (1 027), India (86), and, to a lesser degree, from the United States (19). As for geographical distribution, certified companies are concentrated with greater expression in the Lisbon region (158), followed by the North (71) and Centre (25) regions. How to be a certified company To obtain certification, the following requirements must be met:• Be legally incorporated,• Have a head office or permanent establishment in the Portuguese territory,• Have no debts to the Tax Administration or the Social Security,• Have no overdue wages,• Not be a restructuring company,• If the company is more than three years old, own a positive equity,• Develop international tradeable goods or services activity,• Have a positive assessment in respect of business potential,• Be orientated towards foreign markets,• Have identified the technical qualifications in need. For which professionals is it intended? Regarding the target audience of this measure, all professionals who meet the following mandatory requirements for inclusion in the programme are covered:• Be a third-country national and not residing in the EU,• Be fully up to date with fiscal and social obligations (if applicable),• Have no criminal record,• Be 18 years of age or older,• Be proficient in Portuguese, English, French, or Spanish according to the job specifications,• Engage in highly qualified activity demonstrated by meeting one of the following requirements:• Have a minimum level 6 qualification (university degree) according to the ISCED2 — 2011, or• Have the qualification level 5 (technical course) according to ISCED – 2011, plus five years of experience.• Employment contract or promise with a minimum duration of 12 months,• Have a minimum monthly wage equivalent to 2,5 times the social support index3. The process is straightforward. Companies register on the Tech visa platform and submit their application. A decision on the application is communicated within 20 working days. If favourable, they will be included in the list of certified companies available for consultation. This certification is valid for a period of two years and maybe renewed if the company so wishes. Certified companies may then issue electronic terms of responsibility valid for six months. This whole process is done online at the www.iapmei.pt/techvisa. Upon receiving the term of responsibility issued by the company, the workers present it to the consular services or the foreign and borders service to facilitate and speed up the process of obtaining the visa or residence permit. Should you require more information or need help with applications for the Tech Visa, don’t hesitate and send us an e-mail. We can help you Incorporate, Move and Fund your business in Portugal!1 Data released by IAPMEI on 04/12/2021 2 ISCED - International Standard Classification of Education 3 Social support index in 2021 = 438.81€Minimum monthly salary in 2021 = 438.81 * 2.5 = 1,097€

Jun 28, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
The European Union Wishes To Attract Foreign Talent With The EU Blue Card Directive

Most countries wish to attract highly qualified workers able to satisfy the demands of companies within their borders. The European Union is not an exception to this rule and wishes to appeal to workers from third-party countries (including the United Kingdom) by creating the EU Blue Card permit.Moreover, travel restrictions due to the COVID pandemic do not seem to affect this type of visa holder from entering the EU, as long as the sanitary measures have been respected.Requirements for the EU Blue CardThe European Council Directive of 25 May 2009, aimed to facilitate the rights of highly qualified migrants to entry, stay, and employment lists the following requirements:Proof that the employee has a high level of education or professional qualifications, either            in the form of a university degree or pertinent professional experience;  Benefits from an employment contract for one year or more with the host            country, member of the European Union; andBenefits from a minimum annual gross salary stipulated by the host country.This type of permit is designed to “simplify” immigration processes, for both the professionals and their family members (the spouse is usually also permitted to be employed in the host country). Although this permit is mostly adapted to stable employment over a long-term, workers may change companies if the above requirements are still met. Long stay or even permanent employment is possible for EU Blue Card permit holders.Mobility implications for EU Blue Card Holders It should be noted that certain European countries have not transposed this permit into their internal legal systems, Britain being one of them before leaving the EU.Mobility between EU member states for holders of the EU Blue CardThe aforementioned European Blue Card Directive provides that holders of the EU Blue Card and their families can transfer to other member states to take up employment of a similarly high-skilled position, but only after having worked for 18 months in their initial host country. The Blue Card Directive decree states that workers should apply for a new European Blue Card in their new host country within one month of arrival. This has the advantage that no new visa application is most of the time necessary to enter the new host country.As the EU is not one nation, EU  member states are free to stipulate certain criteria, in particular the salary threshold for obtaining an EU Blue Card.The discrepancies between countries are great (i.e. 71 946 Euro in Luxembourg,  53 836 Euro in France, 53600 Euro in Germany, 33 808 Euro in Spain, 24 789 Euro in Italy, etc.).Sources: European Commission and VisaGuide.world. Issues that may arise from EU Blue Card eligibilityEven when the salary amounts are respected, other difficulties may arise when an EU Blue Card holder transfers to a new host country within the European Union. For example, they may only have temporary accommodation during their first month, which may not be accepted by the authorities delivering the new EU Blue Card or the blue card application may take several months to produce, during which the applicants have no documentation authorising them to work in the new country, which is incompatible with judicial security.ConclusionIt is clear that some effort is still needed to streamline inter-member state mobility for EU Blue Card holders within the EU. Companies have a role to play in lobbying for more flexibility in the field so that the idea behind the EU Blue Card Directive becomes easier to apply.For more information on the EU Blue Card and all types of work permits and visas, contact us to speak to a member of our immigration team directly.

Jun 23, 2021
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Start A Company, Hr +2
Germany: Options For British Nationals Post-Brexit

What are the options for British nationals post-Brexit in Germany? As per the Withdrawal Agreement aka Brexit Deal, all British citizens after January 1st, 2021 who are not in possession of a Residence Permit in Germany can enter Germany only for a maximum of 90 days within the 180-day period. These short stays are meant only for a purpose of travel or business trips. No other economic activities are permitted. If however British citizens are willing to relocate to Germany for work purposes or residency, they are in need of a residence permit that might be applied for directly from Germany or through a German consulate abroad. In case the latter option is preferred, a D-type visa for long-term residency is required. Demand for entry visas is high post-Brexit and pre-approval must usually be obtained from the Employment Agency in Germany prior to applying for the entry visa at the Embassy. Candidates must meet various criteria and provide substantiating documents. The rules outlined by the Federal Republic of Germany state that acceptance for foreign nationals in general employment depends on Germany’s economic needs. Both a vocational qualification and a detailed offer of employment are required. British citizens can also make the most of the Skilled Immigration Act, which came into force in March 2020 and simplifies the immigration procedure for specialists that are in short supply in Germany. These include mathematicians, scientists, engineers, doctors, as well as many other vocations where demand exceeds supply. Are there any compliance risks that companies need to consider? It is of key importance that companies are well informed of various compliance issues and keep them in mind at all times. One common issue results from the fact that UK and US citizens amongst several other nationalities that are considered best friends to Germany are allowed to enter Germany and then apply for a residence or work permit from within Germany. While this is the case, these citizens are not permitted to commence work until the permit has been issued. Some companies may not be aware that it is not permissible to start work immediately after application. The employer has to wait until the employee actually receives their respective permit or visa before starting work. Intra-company transfers can also present compliance risks for companies. For one thing, it is critical that the visa is applied for before the transferee moves to Germany. This even applies to those countries that are usually given preferential treatment, such as the UK and the US amongst others. For intra-company transfers, it is also important that the branch in Germany belongs to the same company or group of companies as the branch where the employee is coming from. Additionally, the employee needs to be employed by the entity abroad at least six months prior to the assignment to Germany. Are you aware of any legal changes to immigration rules and policies that might benefit people? On March 1st, 2020, a new immigration law came into force in Germany, simplifying the procedure for people coming from outside the EU to work in Germany. This Skilled Immigration Act evolved as a result of a lack of qualified candidates such as engineers and nurses, and opened the labour market, meaning that visas that were previously reserved for EU members are now available for employees from outside the EU with recognised vocational training. It has also made searching for employment easier, as potential applicants can live in Germany for up to six months while searching, as long as they have the necessary professional qualifications, basic knowledge of German, and a secure livelihood.  The visa procedure has also been simplified, with easy communication between local immigration authorities and employers, considerably speeding up the entire process. This new immigration law ensures that persons who have obtained a German university degree or vocational training in Germany have the possibility of permanent residence after two years as well as the possibility of residence after four years for qualified workers with a foreign degree. Furthermore, there are some special deals for British citizens. For one, there are special arrangements that make it easier for British citizens to live in Germany post Brexit. The United Kingdom is also given special privileges along with some other countries including the United States, Israel, South Korea, Canada, and Japan. These privileges include the option of moving to Germany for residence purposes without having to obtain an entry immigrant visa. Citizens from these countries also profit from the fact that priority is no longer given to EU member countries when it comes to approving positions. Each of these rules can benefit people in the immigration process. How does the EU card benefit people - can they work in other countries if they have a German EU card? “Labour migration into Europe boosts our competitiveness and therefore our economic growth. It also helps tackle demographic problems resulting from our aging population.” José Manuel Barroso, who served as European Commission President between 2004 and 2014, explains the motivation behind the EU Blue Card scheme. The EU Blue Card enables highly qualified residents of non-EU countries to work in Germany. It must be applied for before entering Germany and requires both a high level of education or professional experience and an employment contract or a binding offer of employment. There is a minimum earning threshold, which is lowered for jobs for which there is a shortage of workers, such as doctors, scientists, and mathematicians. The EU Blue Card not only provides a path towards permanent residence and EU citizenship, its benefits also include working and salary conditions equal to nationals, access to certain rights such as unemployment benefits, good prospects for family reunifications, and free movement within the Schengen area (unless issued in Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus or Croatia). Those who hold an EU Blue Card have the right to move to another EU country after having lived in Germany for 18 months. This is almost always possible without having to apply for an additional visa. However, in order to be able to work, you still need to apply for a work permit in this country. The difference is that this can be applied directly from the new country rather than through an embassy or a consulate. In some cases, the path to the work permit is also easier, but it is still necessary to get this permit!For more information on incorporating into Germany, we have launched a new platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into blueprint specifics helping you do your research all in one place! It is completely FREE - no hidden costs - just the ultimate tool for understanding market entry options, HR, Immigration, Legal Requirements, Tax & Accounting, and much more.Take a look at the platform here! 

Jun 07, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
When Is The Right Time To Globally Expand Your Business?

The generally accepted wisdom for founders with big home markets was to win your domestic market first before thinking about going international after that. However, the most aggressive founders are now thinking about growing sales globally from day one.Judging the right moment to go international is going to be a big moment for a leader and a daunting decision to make. You have to take all the different elements of your company into consideration but there are some general rules we can look to start that might help tell you, you are on track.The 25% RuleThis one is fairly straightforward. When 25 percent or more of your business is coming from international markets, it’s time to scale outside your home country.The Scale RuleThe Scale Rule can help founders to decide if they are ready or too early to scale by defining it. For this, we turn to Steven Carpenter, former Global Sales & Operations at Dropbox and exec at Accel.“I define scale as when your company has reached “product/market fit” in tandem with “business model fit.” It’s the moment when your customer acquisition growth rate is increasing while your acquisition costs are decreasing, AND the unit economics of the business are moving in your favour. You aren’t yet profitable but you understand your cost levers.”The Go-Fast RuleThe founders that follow the Go-fast rule know that they can sell internationally with minimal incremental cost and that if they were successful, they would increase their growth rate and demonstrate that their addressable market extends beyond their home country, the goal being to drive valuation.If your business can use its existing logistics or pass along new delivery costs to the customer to service in the new market then it can generally be a no-brainer to run an AdWords or Facebook campaign in your new market very early on and see what takes. You shouldn’t even need to localise your offering for these tests. If the proposition is going to fly internationally then some customers will convert even when the pricing isn’t a local currency. If you are in a position where you are going to need people on the ground to sell and deliver your product then you need to consider the scale rule.There is also an argument for expanding early that you can pre-empt copycats, American investors looking for ideas from European or Asian markets, etc., and vice versa.Thinking of going global? Here are some reasons why you definitely should!The model is working well enough ruleThere’s often no clear moment when your business model is ‘working’. So, you can ask yourself does it if feel like the management team has moved its focus from continually fighting fires to optimisation? If you are still fighting fires it might be too early but if you aren’t then your business model is probably working well enough that you can handle the fires of an international office.Some considerations:Start-ups from countries with a population of less than 50 million go international twice as fast as start-ups from countries with a population of more than 50 million: 1.4 years as opposed to 2.8 years.Smaller countries need to think internationally from an early stage. A founder in the U.S. or China can focus 100 percent on their home market and comfortably build a $billion business. That’s the upside for bigger countries. The downside is that they may only think about the international market at a late stage and may struggle to adapt their business accordingly. Whereas a founder in Sweden or Ireland knows from day one that their business needs to be international, if it is ever going to get really big, and builds accordingly.As a general rule, the return on investment (ROI) of expanding internationally is usually less than the ROI of expanding domestically. Typically, with a business that is going well in its home market, €1 invested in local growth will increase user and revenues more than €1 invested abroad. Eventually, though, a company will reach saturation point in its home market and need to expand elsewhere, at which point this equation might switch around. But usually, it is cheaper to expand at home than abroad.While the advice may be to go international as early as you can - If possible, start by selling internationally from your home base.CENTURO GLOBALExpanding a business to a new international market is a big challenge to tackle for any company. Depending on which market your start-up wants to enter, you will not only face new business challenges but also cultural differences that can lead to further hurdles. The endeavor requires a lot of commitment and many dedicated resources. The good news is, that you’re not the first one starting this undertakingAt Centuro Global, we strive to assist companies of all sizes at every stage of their journey and growth. We simplify the scaling process for businesses by offering a clear strategy and roadmap for new market entry and business growth. We then connect clients with the right local resources and experts furthering efficiency in scale, within the strategy.DOWNLOAD OUR FREE BUSINESS EXPANSION GUIDEOur FREE business expansion guide will help you:- Define your reasons for international expansion- Determine an expansion strategy- Confidently navigate foreign laws- Understand your expansion funding options- Discover the free resources readily availableDownload your guide below and start your international expansion journey, one simple step at a time! 

May 11, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
How To Get Started Expanding Your Business Abroad

So you’re ready to expand your business abroad. You’ve done your due diligence and carefully selected your country of choice, you’ve identified an opportunity and a favourable environment to expand your business to. So now what? How do you get the ball rolling?A recent survey found that nearly six out of ten UK SMEs are considering establishing their business overseas to drive growth, so you're not alone! To help you on your journey here are 6 areas to get right when you expand your business abroad, whatever country that might be.Define your goals and develop a strategy for your global expansion Like any big, overwhelming goal it's always best to break it down and set clear objectives. First of all, what are you trying to achieve with this expansion - access to better infrastructure or business environment? Increasing your customer base? Diversifying your risk? - There are many reasons to expand internationally, having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve will help you make better decisions along the way regarding your strategy. Second of all, review the assets you have in-house and identify what’s missing. Where do you lack in-house expertise? Can you find a mentor or a partner to help with this? How are you going to finance the expansion - do you need to go out and seek funds? And finally, information - what do you know and what do you need to find out about to embark on this expansion. A simple way to approach this is to start with a list of questions, some you have the answer to, some you will need to research.Tip: Download our global expansion checklist here to give yourself a structure to your global expansion and pose questions you may not have thought about. Get to know the legal systemIn a recent survey, legal advice was identified as the most useful form of guidance when it comes to setting up overseas by 46% of respondents. This comes as no surprise as the impact of getting this wrong can come with terrible repercussions. There are normally 3 main considerations - company and employment law, intellectual property, and data protection. Understanding these three areas will help you identify the disparities from your current location and will affect decisions such as who or how many people you employ, what company set-up you choose, what intellectual property protection you will need in place, and how to set up your data handling systems. Tip: Do your desk research first to flag any imminent obstacles that will affect your entrance strategy - it will give you a basis when you seek specific legal help further through your journey.Decide what method of global expansion is the best fit for your businessConsider your market entry options, you may want to set up an overseas office, franchise, direct export, license, or even buy a local company. This is where knowing your business's expansion goal is key and understanding the local environment is crucial to see what the implications of this decision might be.You will also need to decide what entity you want to set up in the new country, what company set-ups are available to foreigners - and what the tax or legal implications are of those company structures might be. This is country by country-specific.Tip:  Specific details on company set-ups for each country can be found on our Global Expansion platform - Centuro Connect, with detailed information on over 100 countries. Explore here! Get your business finances global expansion readyWith a new country comes new requirements for tax & accounting, as many companies already do in the UK, outsourcing taxation, payroll, and business accounting is a smart move. However with something as delicate as your finances you want partners you can trust. It is also wise to see what financial incentives may be available to companies looking to set up in the new territory. Some countries offer incentives to encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to expand to their region. With the total cost of expansion often unclear, it is important not to miss out on extra funding if available! Tip: International global expansion often costs more than expected. Make sure you have a contingency fund to ensure you can complete the expansion. Establish a team - global expansion HRDepending on the market entry method you have decided to pursue you will have to create an employee strategy. Local employees come with an invaluable understanding of the local culture, methods of doing business, and potential connections in the industry. However, with this comes the challenge of employing the right people, staying on the right side of local employment law, and trying to ensure the new venture is carried out in line with your existing businesses strategy. Which if you aim to disrupt may be highly important. Using existing employees involves managing the visa process to ensure that they can legally work in the country you are expanding to whether that's temporary or long-term. Plus ensuring they have applicable skills to succeed in the new country. Tip: Whatever your employment strategy, make sure you have a clear idea of what decisions or actions need to be made locally and what decisions will be made centrally - then make sure you have the right people in the right locations to facilitate success. Gather detailed information for your global expansion This is just an initial look at some of the considerations when expanding your company abroad! To help with this mammoth task we have launched a new platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into specifics for each country helping you do your research all in one place.Download our free guide, packed full practical tips from the experts here at Centuro Global, as well as other leaders in our market, on the steps you can take to increase your business’ resilience on your global expansion journey. DOWNLOAD FREE GUIDE! 

May 04, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Expanding Your Business From The UK To Germany

Expanding your business in any capacity is a challenge that takes knowledge, willing and time. Successful global expansion will provide you with a new economy to work within, a wealth of industry resources that may not be available to you in the UK, and other new profitable opportunities.Germany’s economy is currently ranked as the 4th healthiest country in the world. The UK is currently ranked 1 place behind in 5th. Because of its steadily growing and healthy economy, Germany is a fantastic option for those looking to expand their own business overseas. Whilst all the signs point towards Germany being a great place to expand your business, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple process. There is time, planning, and red tape to overcome before this dream becomes reality. That is why we created Centuro Connect to help streamline the entire global expansion process.Explore Centuro Connect, a FREE platform tailored to businesses and industries of all types, with a bank of valuable information and guidance all on expanding your business to a choice of 100+ countries.Below, we’ve detailed some of the key factors and reasons why setting up a company in Germany is a fantastic idea. All of the country-specific data and information used in this blog comes from the Centuro Connect platform, giving you an idea of just how in-depth this resource really is. Life in GermanyBusiness aside, relocating yourself and/or your assets to another country can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to understand from the beginning whether or not Germany suits you personally, and not just your company.There is considered to be a much more compartmentalised approach to life in Germany than we’re used to in the UK. There are stricter rules on hours worked, with the official limit being set at 40 hours a week - five days a week. In the UK the limit is 48 hours, but employees can opt to work more than that.This ‘hours per week limit’ means more leisure time for those living in Germany, with a general attitude that distances socialising hours from working life. Living in central Europe means that, naturally, you’re central to many other countries. Whilst very beneficial from a commercial point of view, this is also a personal benefit to many that would otherwise not experience this in the UK. There’s the option for plenty of traveling in your additional leisure time!Germany is also considered a particularly metropolitan country. If you don’t quite have the dialect fine-tuned yet, know that over 70% of the population also speak an additional language as well as German!Notable Benefits of Expanding to GermanyThis is the part that is perhaps most crucial in determining the next steps for your business. You want to ensure that expanding makes financial sense first and foremost and that Germany is providing you with something different from the UK.We’ve already touched upon the economic strength in Germany, but what else is there to know? The 4 focus industries in the country are Automotive, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical, and Electrical. The governmental support for SMEs is much higher than other countries in the EU. Benefits include;Low-interest business loans of up to 10 million eurosRecruitment and training supportWage subsidies for entrepreneurs that register a German company.Doing business in Germany requires less backing than many other locations. Only one director and one shareholder (from anywhere in the world) are required to set up a company in the country. In terms of the marketability of your services or products, Germany has a population of 82 million people. This makes it the biggest market in all of Eastern Europe, with only Russia having a higher population on the continent. This continues to be one of the key drawing points for those looking to expand their company from the UK, where the market is a much lesser 68 million residents. Germany also has a highly educated population, with 81% having a recognised professional qualification or entitled to register at university. With a highly educated population comes a highly educated workforce.How to Get the International Expansion Ball RollingCreating a German startup is actually much simpler than many realise. Expanding internationally is a challenge, but when done correctly, it can be a streamlined process that enhances your business hugely. Want to learn more about how to expand your business to Germany? You can sign up for the FREE Centuro Connect platform today and start your global expansion journey to Germany. If you would like to learn more about expanding your business to Germany, or 100+ other countries the Centuro Connect platform has details on tax, immigration, market entry points, HR, marketing, and real estate - plus contactable reliable experts to help you ace your expansion. This means that no matter what stage of the expansion journey you’re at, support is there if you face a challenge. There’s no risk, no hidden costs, and no endless documentation to fill out. Just a wealth of guidance and support, here to aid you and your business throughout your international business expansion.Sign up today by clicking here. 

Apr 30, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Expanding Into Lithuania For Developing FinTech Companies

1. Lithuania’s regulatory adaptation and transparencySince early 2017, the Bank of Lithuania has instigated the rapid development of a FinTech-conducive regulatory and supervisory ecosystem, which continually fosters innovation in the financial sector. The two most notable events were:first, by opening a regulatory sandbox in late 2018 to allow startups and FinTechs to test their innovative products in a live environment under the guidance and supervision of the Bank of Lithuania.5Second, as a result of the UK’s EEA departure and in the absence of an agreement on financial services cooperation between the EU and the UK, some UK companies with licensed activities subsequently passported into the EEA not wanting to be locked into only one single market. Lithuania has led by example, by inviting financial service institutions under their roof with an appealing and easily understood regulatory regime, attractive marketing plan, convincing regulatory supervision, as well as rapidly adapting national regulations for FinTechs, InsurTechs, RegTech, and other startups.One of the most recent examples is Revolut, which transferred its EU customers from its UK-based company to a Lithuanian company. After setting up a Lithuanian company and acquiring a license for its activities, Revolut’s Lithuanian company has passported its licensed activities based on the provision of services without a branch in the other 29 EEA Member States, providing clients uninterrupted services. Revolut went even further by establishing and acquiring a Special Purpose Bank (“SPB”) license. The latter license permits Revolut to receive deposits and other repayable funds from its clients (Revolut currently provides this service in a total of 13 Member States).In terms of numbers, Lithuania edges ever closer each year to the level of the UK within The World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. While Lithuania continues to improve its regulatory regime, in some areas (ahead of the EU), the existing transparent regulator and ‘easy on the eye’ regulations, Lithuania is leaning towards becoming the dominant “Fintech Hub” in the EU.The most popular licenses in LithuaniaAlmost half of the FinTech companies in Lithuania hold an Electronic Money Institution (“EMI”), Payment Institution (“PI”), or SPB license. A majority of these companies can alsoissue prepaid cards and digital wallets for the benefit of their clients, in addition to making money transfers.E-money and payment licensesThe respective provisions of the Lithuanian Law on Electronic Money Institutions defines “electronic money” as a monetary value as represented by a claim on the issuer which is issued on receipt of monetary funds by the electronic money issuer from a natural or legal person and has the following characteristics: (i) stored electronically (incl. magnetically); (ii) is issued for the purpose of making payment transactions; and (iii) is received by persons other than electronic money issuers.For any FinTech company to be able to accept money from clients in the ‘electronic domain’ and to hold it in payment accounts for a relatively long time, issuing electronic money and then redeeming it, prior to being able to do, it is first necessary to become an electronic money issuer.The Bank of Lithuania supervises and authorizes electronic money and payment institutions within Lithuania. The authorization process usually includes: (i) submitting an application for an EMI license to the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania; (ii) an assessment of the application for a license of an EMI and attached documents; and (iii) issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license.The entire authorization process, depending on the completeness of the documents submitted, usually takes around 6 to 12 months.If, however, a FinTech company already holds an EMI license and respective documentation in the UK it is considered to be an advantage in producing the necessary documents, as well as saving time during the authorization process.An SPB licenseA key feature of an SPB is the minimum capital requirement of EUR 1 million, while for traditional banks, it is EUR 5 million.In terms of timing, it is possible to acquire an SPB license within 9 to 12 months.An SPB differs from a traditional bank and comes with a number of restrictions attached to the services which an SPB can provide. An SPB is subject to limitations in investment and other financial services of a similar nature. The respective services an SPB can provide are the following:1) acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds;2) lending (including mortgage loans);3) financial lease (leasing);4) payment services;5) issuance and administration of travelers' checks, bills of exchange, and other means of payment, if these activities do not include payment services;6) provision of financial sureties and financial guarantees;7) financial intermediation (agent activities);8) money management;9) creditworthiness assessment services;10) rental of safe deposit boxes;11) currency exchange (in cash); and12) issuance of electronic money.One of the notable benefits of holding an SPB license is the deposits of any one individual may reach up to EUR 100,000 and are insured under the deposit insurance scheme. SPBs are participants of the deposit insurance system and are obligated to make regular (ex-ante) and special (ex-post) deposit insurance contributions to the Deposit Insurance Fund of Lithuania.Importantly, an SPB license is valid across the EEA and activities can be passported to the other Member States enabling access to the EEA financial services market. As previously mentioned, a good example is Revolut.CENTROlinkThe Bank of Lithuania operates a CENTROlink system designated for processing and executing payment orders between Single Euro Payments Area (“SEPA”) participants.The Bank of Lithuania provides technical access to SEPA schemes (credit transfers (“SCT”), direct debit (“SDD”) and instant payments (“SCT”)) for all types of payment service providers – banks, credit unions, e-money, or payment institutions – licensed in the EEA.Any EEA licensed payment service provider has an option to access CENTROlink, given there is no mandatory requirement to establish an entity in Lithuania to access CENTROlink.A recent example of a financial service institution accessing CENTROlink is TBI Bank EAD. The latter is registered in Bulgaria and has passported its activity to Lithuania and the Bank of Lithuania has approved its access to CENTROlink system.Employee Stock OptionsOn 1 February 2020, new tax-favorable legislation for the treatment of employee stock options came into effect in Lithuania.Employee stock options can be exercised at no cost or for lower than their fair market value price, but no earlier than three years of holding stock options, from the date they were granted, are treated as non-taxable income for personal income tax purposes.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingTo encourage the development of capital markets in Lithuania, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) can reimburse the costs incurred in acquiring third-party advisory services necessary exclusively for the listing of shares and/or bonds.In such a way, SMEs can access alternative sources of financing with initially lower cost, for example, by receiving advisory services on setting set up a compliant and viable structure and on the respective financial instruments to be provided in the marketplace.In recent years, the government has paid a lot of attention to the development of capital markets. Legislation has been adopted to develop alternative sources of financing: (i) a legal framework for crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending has been established; and (ii) private limited companies have been allowed to issue bonds publicly. Gather detailed information for your business expansion into LithuaniaThis is just an initial look at some of the considerations when expanding your company into Lithuania. To help with this mammoth task we have launched a new completely free platform - Centuro Connect, that dives into specifics for each country helping you do your research all in one place!It is completely FREE - no hidden costs - just the ultimate tool for understanding market entry options, HR, Immigration, Legal Requirements, Tax & Accounting, access to our global business network, and much more …. with 100 + countries (including Lithuania) it has the specific information you need from our team of business expansion consultants.Take a look at the platform here! 

Apr 27, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
ESTONIA: A Global Expansion Hotspot For Developing Fintech Companies

Estonia’s e-government and embrace on digital platformsIn 2014, Estonia became the first country in the world to offer electronic residency to individuals from outside the country. The E-residency program equips e-residents with a digital identity and the status provides individuals access to Estonia’s transparent digital business environment.With the e-residency kit, an e-resident can sign documents and can establish a company online from anywhere in the world, access banking, payment processing, as well as settle tax-related obligations.21A great benefit that comes with e-residency is the network of already existing e-residency entrepreneurs ready to share their experiences with outside companies who are interested in joining the community.E-money and payment licensesIn order to obtain a license to operate an EMI or for the operation of a PI, the company must submit a relevant application to the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (“EFSA”).Depending on the licensed activities, the minimum capital requirement for an EMI is EUR 350,000 and for PIs starting from EUR 20,000 to EUR 125,000.The EFSA shall take a decision on the issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license and inform the applicant within three months after receipt of all the necessary documents, as well as detailing the reasons in the event of a refusal, but not later than within six months after receipt of the application.The seat and the principal place of business of a PI or EMI entered in the commercial register shall be located in Estonia.22Start-up status and visaOnce a startup has decided to relocate its founders and/or employees to Estonia, the first step would be to apply for the ‘Startup Status’.Once the startup holds the Startup Status, the company can hire global talent with ease and the founder can apply for a visa or a temporary resident permit.23Estonians are open to attract non-EU founders via the startup visa, which is also designed for start-ups to ease the process to hire non-EU talents.To be eligible for the startup visa a founder must have a technology-based, innovative and scalable business in mind, at least EUR 160 per month available for day-to-day needs and to receive approval from the Startup Committee.In light of recent amendments, if approved, as of 19 February 2021 the same visa will be granted to family members – spouses and children.24Stock optionsCurrently, Estonia does not hold any specific incentive scheme for start-ups, and issuance of employee share options is provided based on existing general regulations.Rules regarding the offerings of transferrable securities are used to facilitate the need and together with the tax regime currently in force (applicable to all private companies), there are favourable options.Tax exemptions for share options can be applied if an employee holds stock options for at least three years. Most of the terms and conditions attached to stock options are established within a stock option agreement between the company and the option holder.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingWhile the issuance of bonds and/or shares is a regulated market in Estonia (similarly as in Latvia and Lithuania), Estonians have taken a big leap and in late 2017 passed legislation with the aim to regulate cryptocurrency trading. The latter gained popularity in the amounts of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and token generation events (“TGEs”).25The structures of ICOs and TGEs vary and may be used to raise capital for different kinds of projects, for example, creating new coin, app or service launches. These structures provide for an alternative source of financing and are more frequently used for seed/early-stage financing, instead of the ‘traditional’ initial public offering (“IPO”) where the financing is company-based and usually is used as an exit after venture capital funding.Any ICO or TGE should be assessed on its substance to define whether they should be treated as an issuance of a security instrument or not and which corresponding regulation should be applied.26Where to go…?Well, it depends. There is no right or wrong answer.With certain limitations now visible for certain UK-based FinTech businesses trying to reach EU customers, detailed and clear thought needs to be given as to how to potentially widen the options in a fast-growing and developing industry.In the event the EU holds UK rules as equivalent to EU rules, as a result of further discussions, passporting considerations may not be necessary.Without access to the EU marketplace, it significantly reduces the actual or potential customer headcount and therefore limiting prospective growth opportunities.The Baltic States are leaning towards providing somewhat of a City ‘complement’ for FinTech businesses who wish to serve customers throughout the EEA.Regardless of the vision taken, it is important to carry out the necessary due diligence and preparations before engaging any of the regulators in either of the Baltic States.Right from pre-launch planning to initial setup and registration; Centuro Global will work with you, offering end-to-end assistance in navigating complexities by activating the local business ecosystem and offering a coherent roadmap of actionable solutions. Start on your global expansion journey with us today! Enquire today or feel free to send us an email. 

Apr 27, 2021
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Are The Baltics The Ideal Marketplace For Developing FinTech Companies?

As a result of the United Kingdom (“UK”) exiting the European Union (“EU”) on 1 January 2021, a number of financial institutions in the UK lost their “exclusive” right of access to utilize the European Economic Area (“EEA”) passporting rules. These changes have also been felt by financial institutions based in Gibraltar.Back in 2016, it was reported around 5,500 UK companies with licensed activities which have passported their authorization (i.e., a licensed activity) into the EEA are impacted as a result of the UK exiting the EEA bloc.While the UK certainly has a more favorable corporate tax regime when compared to the other Member States, wider access to a larger marketplace seems to be the more favorable option in the long run for most companies. It is also without a word of doubt, the UK’s focus on retaining its presence as a financial services leader is ever strong, for example, the recent relaxation of some of the eligibility requirements for companies seeking to IPO.3Following the recent memorandum of understanding agreed between the EU-UK, concerning financial services cooperation, no visible guarantee was given to hold UK rules as equivalent to EU rules.4 While this mist of uncertainty hovers above the UK financial services industry, institutions are gearing up for plans B and C.Seeking the necessary permissions and compliance via each individual Member State’s national regimes adds complexity and substantial costs for FinTech companies based in the UK. This is something that all FinTech companies would ideally like to avoid or circumvent. WATCH OUR WEBINAR ON DOING BUSINESS IN A POST-BREXIT EUROPE.In the last couple of years, the Baltic states (i.e., Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) have geared up and responded by implementing favorable regulatory frameworks for all FinTech institutions. With this FinTech focus and benefits stemming from the passporting rules, the Baltic states are slowly driving the industry and attracting all the major market players, including Revolut.In this series of articles, we outline the important practical considerations one needs to consider for each of the Baltic states; their regulatory advancements, licensing benefits, stock options, capital markets, and alternative financing mechanisms. These tools provide a beneficial and attractive environment for financial service institutions to either start out in life or continue growing their business.LATVIALatvia’s regulatory regime supporting FinTechsIn terms of numbers, one in five new Latvian startups belong to the Financial Technology sector.15The Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (“FCMC”) has made available the Innovation Hub and Regulatory Sandbox to any market player for professional support and consultancy services in relation to existing and upcoming regulation.16A good example of highlighting the FCMC’s readiness and competence to supervise the financial services industry is in relation to the upcoming EU crowdfunding rules. The European Parliament has recently adopted the Regulation on European Crowdfunding Service Providers (“ECSP”) for businesses.17 The ECSP is already in force and is applicable from 10 November 2021. The ECSP is binding in its entirety across the EU and will provide a new and comprehensive set-up for crowdfunding platforms to operate under. In Latvia, the FCMC has already begun working and consulting with companies establishing or established to correspond with the upcoming rules in the ECSP.Several of the largest European peer-to-peer marketplace platforms have originated in Latvia, such as Mintos and Twino, which are currently adapting to the recently adopted regulatorychanges, by either acquiring an investment firm license and/or electronic money institutions license.18E-money and payment licensesIn order to obtain a license to operate an electronic money institution or for the operation of a payment institution, the company must submit a complete application to the FCMC.Depending on the licensed activities, the minimum capital requirement for an EMI is EUR 350,000 and for PIs starting from around EUR 20,000 up to EUR 125,000.The FCMC shall take a decision on the issuance of a license or refusal to issue a license and inform the applicant within three months after receipt of all the necessary documents, as well as detailing the reasons in the event of a refusal. If all relevant documents are not submitted or submitted incomplete, the FCMC can prolong the duration for an additional three months, and therefore the licensing process can take up to 6 months (and as we have seen in practice, sometimes even longer).In the event, a FinTech company already holds the respective documentation for a UK-issued EMI or PI license, it could save time in adapting the documents and reduce the assessment period before the FCMC.For FinTechs who intend to provide innovative payment services, FCF reduces state fees for the examination of documents submitted for the respectively chosen license of either electronic money institutions or payment institutions. Following the registration or authorization, the annual charge is also set lower than average for the first three years.19 In other words, these instruments assist with limiting the financial burden (i.e., licensing and maintenance costs) at the early stage.Attractive employee stock optionsThe main demand for employee stock options originates from FinTechs and other start-ups, which attract strong and high-level candidates for skyrocketing their ideas into a profitable company with promising equity.Employee stock options, if developed thoughtfully, can attract employees for the long-term and set the ownerships’ mindset. Especially within the startup community, stock options are also used in cases when a company is not able to afford the increases in employees’ salaries at the time.At the beginning of 2021, the Latvian Personal Income Tax Law and Commercial Law brought about favorable changes. These changes expanded the possibilities to grant stock options not only to joint-stock companies but also to limited liability companies’ employees, board and supervisory board members, and other related companies’ employees.The minimum holding period has been reduced from 36 months to 12 months and in addition, it is possible to exercise the option within 6 months after employment is terminated without losing the tax exemption.Access to capital markets and alternative sources of financingThe FCMC has undertaken (until 31 December 2021) to create a development and support model enabling enterprises to prepare for their participation in the capital market in case of the issuance of shares and/or bonds.20Similar to Lithuania, Latvian SMEs can apply to reimburse the costs incurred by acquiring third-party advisory services necessary exclusively for the listing of shares and/or bonds.  Expanding into Latvia or any other Baltic country can be a challenging process, but we have the technology to make it a streamlined and much simpler journey.Explore Centuro Connect, a FREE business expansion platform tailored to businesses and industries of all types, with a bank of valuable information and guidance all on expanding your business to a choice of 100+ countries. 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Apr 27, 2021