Prestigious institutions like the World Bank, The Economist, and CNBC News have at different times recognised Singapore as one of the best places to do business in the world. One thing that factors into Lion City’s economic strength and global business prowess is its government’s active involvement in entrepreneurial and investment activities.
Agencies like the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have taken the lead in spurring a healthy, inclusive, and competitive business environment even in the midst of major obstacles like the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does Singapore do right in terms of government intervention and support for new investors and entrepreneurs?
Here’s a list of successful initiatives that illustrate Singapore’s mettle as one of Asia’s tiger economies—and as one of the best places to set up a business.
It Accords Permanent Resident Status to Promising Global Investors
One way that the Singaporean government draws in fresh talent from other countries is through the EDB’s Global Investor Programme (GIP). Through the GIP, an eligible entrepreneur with a solid business background can apply for status as a Singapore permanent resident.
The EDB extends assistance to these budding global investors by facilitating their immigration processes and by tapping local business networks to help them establish their presence in Singapore. After another two years, these same permanent residents may also be eligible to apply for Singaporean citizenship.
Through initiatives like the GIP, the Singaporean government helps new investors acclimatise to their new lives in Singapore and participate in its growth.
This arrangement benefits both parties: investors get to live in a country that has one of the world’s most forward-thinking economies, and Singapore gets a permanent hold on the talent that comes to the region.
It Empowers Venture-Backed and Venture-Driven Businesses to Succeed in an Exciting New Environment
Singapore is also the ideal playground for so-called “disruptors” whose goal is to transform the way a traditional business is done through innovative new products, business models, and technologies.
The country boasts several government programs to nurture the talents of innovator-entrepreneurs and startup owners.
For example, EDB Investment (EDBI) has the Special Situation Fund for Startups (SSFS), a limited scheme for startup owners whose operations align with Singapore’s national priorities.
The same agency also hosts the Corporate Venture Launchpad, where corporations can link up with partner venture studios and realise brand-new ventures within six months.
There are also special privileges in store for those who successfully apply for the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) EntrePass, which is a special work pass for entrepreneurs, innovators, startup owners, and beneficiaries of venture capital firms. Under this program, the following are eligible to apply:
- Businesses that are backed by government-recognised venture capital firms or have the support of a government-recognised angel investor
- Businesses that are under the tutelage of a government-recognised business incubator
- Innovators who are also holders of intellectual property
- Innovators who are actively involved in research collaboration with Singaporean research institutes
- Investors who have the intention of backing innovative or tech startup companies in Singapore
If these applicants can show promising track records in the business, innovation, or investment activities, they’ll be able to use the EntrePass to jumpstart exciting new activities in the highly modernised and technology-driven city-state.
It Helps Investors Evaluate Their Prospects for Doing Business in Singapore
The Singaporean government is also very supportive in terms of the intelligence it offers its new investors.
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), for example, helps investors learn more about the different Singaporean industries and whether the investor’s company will thrive in the Singapore business ecosystem.
On top of guiding new investors through their survey of the country’s business environment, ACRA also orients them about the various business structures they can implement and the national regulations that they need to follow.
It may be difficult for fledgling investors to set up shop elsewhere, but not Singapore.
The government is a dependable partner for navigating through the red tape and bureaucracy that usually stands in the way, and it will happily guide eligible businesses through the ins and outs of their new markets.
It Offers Several Schemes and Incentives for Doing Excellent Business in Singapore
New investors can also look forward to grants, incentives, and other types of rewards upon doing well in Singapore.
The EDB’s Pioneer Certificate Incentive and Development and Expansion Incentive programmes offer benefits like corporate tax exemptions to qualified companies, and the same agency’s Intellectual Property Development Incentive exists to bolster research and development for intellectual property.
There are other grants and schemes available for businesses that want to branch into aircraft leasing, businesses that want to upskill their treasuries or manpower departments, and more. Suffice to say, those who want to do business in Singapore will find enough motivation to excel and grow their companies through the government’s incentive programmes.
It Helps Investors Navigate the Tricky World of Business after COVID-19
Lastly, Singapore’s public sector is one with its private sector in transitioning to COVID-resilient life. The government oversees the implementation of safe management measures for investments and other business activities while also issuing clear and up-to-date guidelines for business operation after “circuit-breaker” events.
The government has also kicked off various initiatives to ensure healthy cash flow for businesses, like corporate income tax rebates, as well as measures to offset the cost of manpower, like a job growth incentive for increasing companies’ headcounts for local workers.
Agencies like the EDB have also made it easier for companies to invest in their human resources during the pandemic through upskilling efforts, like the Professional Conversion Programme.
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has wrought lasting damage to the global business sphere.
But Singapore’s government is always conceptualising solutions to ensure the safe and sustainable livelihoods of its investors and entrepreneurs.
For that reason, among others, the country is considered a world leader in COVID-19 resiliency.
If one chooses to set up shop in Singapore, they can look forward to funding opportunities for their business-critical activities, guidance on highly technical matters, and support structures for areas like training and immigration processing.
Knowing what might be in store for you, consider your prospects in Singapore and the possibility of launching your career as an entrepreneur or investor.