Have a business idea and looking for a place to start up?
Recognised globally as one of the most competitive economies and boasting a world-class infrastructure, Singapore is a popular port of call for both aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced business owners. If you are thinking about becoming your own boss, here are some reasons why Singapore might just be the place for you:
Singapore is recognised globally for her strong business potential and dominates several rankings, including coming in second for competitiveness in the Global Report 2015 – 2016 by the World Economic Forum. Aside from a host of attractive tax schemes and incentives, businesses in Singapore also enjoy a corporate tax rate of as low as 17 per cent.
For first-time business owners, the administrative ease of setting up a business here minimises the barrier to entry. Business registration can be completed fully-online with the Bizfile portal. If you are a foreigner looking to start up in Singapore, you may refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s website for your eligibility to apply for work passes, such as the EntrePass. The SME Portal is your all-in-one guide for the essentials of running your business.
Another key advantage for setting up in Singapore is the availability of an educated, diverse, and multi-cultural talent pool. Singapore is home to a largely bilingual workforce and has been ranked the second most talent-competitive country by the Global Talent Competitive Index for three years in a row.
If you are a tech startup, you’ll be pleased to hear that Singapore has been likened to being the Silicon Valley of Asia. The startup community here is active, vibrant, and close-knit.
Co-working spaces such as The Working Capitol and The Hub and provide flexible and affordable space options for startups and small teams. A hot desk seat in one of these spaces will place you in a community right away and let you network with and learn from fellow entrepreneurs. Still can’t afford it? Look up Technopreneur Circle – completely, 100 per cent, free!
The Singapore government plays a key role in adding to this vibrance, with programmes such as the SG-Innovate that make it easier for entrepreneurs to access mentors and venture capitalists.
This March, Singapore announced the launch of several key initiatives as part of Budget 2016. This included the Industry Transformation Programme and SME Working Capital Loan scheme that helps SMEs ease their cash flow concerns.
The SkillsFuture scheme was also a result of the government’s commitment to continuous education and lifelong learning:
Also at announced at Singapore’s Budget 2016 was the extension of the popular Production and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme. First introduced in 2011, the PIC scheme aims to drive innovation within SMEs to help boost productivity:
(Cash payout rate will be reduced to 40% from 1 August 2016)
With a reliable and non-corrupt legal system, as well as strong dispute resolution mechanisms in place, Singapore is a safe bet for business looking for a solid Asian base to pave the way for regional expansion.
Aside from political stability, business owners in Singapore also enjoy enhanced protection in her business-friendly environment. For example, Singapore was ranked top in Asia and second in the world for protection of intellectual property (IP) rights according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2014 – 2015.
Courts in Singapore offer maximum judicial support of arbitration with minimum intervention, granting parties full and consistent support in the conduct of international arbitration. There is no restriction on foreign law firms engaging in and advising on arbitration in Singapore, which claims lower costs than in almost any other major centre of arbitration.
It comes without doubt that you must consider the standard of living in your host country. Singapore, in contrast with her Southeast Asian neighbours, has experienced rapid economic growth in the fifty years since her independence. Singapore is most known for her quality healthcare and education system, and excellent infrastructure and public transport network. Widely loved is the extensive Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train network that is planned for continuous development up to 2030, despite being the second-oldest metro system in Southeast Asia reaches.
While many have expressed concern about the high cost of living in Singapore, this can be easily overcome if you are willing to make little sacrifices in your lifestyle choices. A reliable public transport system in a small city like Singapore means daily commute will never be too inconvenient even if you choose to live outside of the city. There are also plenty of third-party service providers that can provide you with a professional serviced office address for incorporation, while you work from home and save on rental costs. Hawker centres and coffee shops serve delicious and affordable local fare, and are usually just a stone’s throw away. “Bluntly speaking, if you expect a high salary, perhaps a startup isn’t the right place for you.”
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