A combination of government policy push, available financing, and education and awareness has spurred the start-up revolution in Singapore in recent years. Starting and growing businesses were once the purview of already established big corporations. But since the early 2000s, the locus of entrepreneurship moved to people who had the desire and determination to start a business, turn profit from their passions, and do good to society by employing people.
Today, Singapore is regarded the incubator of start-up businesses. The Economist gave the city-state the accolade “the world’s tightly packed entrepreneurship ecosystem” for Block 71 at JTC LaunchPad@one-north, which is a block that houses many of the republic’s start-up companies. Currently housing more than 200 start-ups, start-ups in this area is seen to rise to 750 by 2017, with more blocks added to the complex.
Singapore also moved seven notches high to rank 10th for providing start-ups a nurturing ecosystem. The recognition was conferred by Compass, and bench-marking software provider, based on publicly available data.
Enabling government policy frameworks, enshrined within the agency SPRING Singapore which supports start-up initiatives, as well as venture capital flowing into the market are to be credited for Singapore’s ability to help start-ups succeed from mere idea to thriving businesses. The government also enables start-up entrepreneurs to realise their ideas or passions into viable businesses by standardising and streamlining company incorporation processes.
A Quick Company Incorporation Guide For Singapore Start-Ups
What do you need to know about company incorporation in Singapore? First, you need to know that there is one government agency that register businesses in Singapore, and that is the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or ACRA.
ACRA’s BizFile+ is an online platform for registering businesses and retrieving information on registered businesses in Singapore.
Through BizFile+, you can register and submit an online application for company incorporation, and you can also choose and engage the services of a registered filing agent to process the company incorporation for you.
Registered filing agents could either be law firms, company registration professional services firms or corporate secretarial services firm who will process the application for business registration on your behalf.
How much do you need to pay to Incorporate a Company in Singapore?
Costs for incorporating a company in Singapore varies depending on the service provider you will engage to process it for you. A portion of that fee is paid to ACRA for the actual name registration and filing expense. To cover these items, ACRA’s website stated the fees are S$300 is for the registration fee, and S$15 is name approval.
You must take note however, that in certain instances, start-up entrepreneurs who carried on with the company incorporation process themselves ended up paying so much more than if they had engaged a service provider to do it for them. The costs are not only in money terms, but in terms of time and other resources spent in processing the incorporation and the costly mistakes of incorporating a company the wrong way.
How long does Company Incorporation take?
Registering a company in Singapore takes only 30 minutes after the name is registered supposing your business nature does not require endorsing to specific Singapore government agencies for approval. For example, if you are planning to run a private tuition centre, you need to be referred to the Ministry of Education for approval.
This secondary process may take 14 days to 2 months to accomplish.
For the complete information on the government authorities that you will need to secure approval from corresponding to the nature of your business, please see this list. You can also visit the ACRA website.
What are funding support available for start-ups in Singapore?
The Incubator Development Programme under SPRING Singapore gives start-ups access to grant support of up to 70 per cent in programmes that assist them in incubating and nurturing their businesses. The programme covers costs from product development to the market launch, and in terms of accessing further financing to bring the business to scale.
Start-up entrepreneurs who also seek mentoring can also be supported. The IDP programme covers costs for engaging mentors, management programmes, training so help a start-up receive direction for growing its business based on industry benchmarks and proven principles and strategies.
More importantly, the IDP also assists start-up entrepreneurs by covering operating costs, including salaries for the incubation team, and costs for marketing and other promotional events which are necessary when launching the business to the market.
More information on the IDP programme can be obtained here.
How much funding can a start-up entrepreneur receive?
To give you an idea, let’s recap a compilation made by TechinAsia on the Top 15 Most Funded Start-ups in Singapore for 2015. Suffice it to say, the figures are significant and reflect the Singapore government’s direction for supporting business incubation in the country.
Online retail businesses as well as ride-hailing apps grabbed the most funding last year, with Lazada Singapore topping the list at $686 million funding received, and GrabTaxi coming as a close second at $680 million. Lazada operates in Singapore as well as in other Southeast Asian countries Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Meanwhile, ride-hailing App GrabTaxi rides to rank number 2, a new entrant this year.
Other e-commerce shops that received funding included Zalora, Ensogo, and Redmart, while iCarsClub, a peer-to-peer car rental platform sat on the 3rd place in the list at $70.48 million.
A quick clarification, funding for these companies did not solely come from Spring Singapore’s IDP. In fact, the report did not mention where these companies secured funding, but suffice it to say, a business idea can transform into a viable business that merits the backing of financing groups who are willing to risk their money to take a business to scale. There is opportunity to start and grow your business in Singapore with both policy and financial frameworks that are supportive to entrepreneurship.
There you have it, a quick guide on company incorporation in Singapore, an idea on where to get start-up support for incubating businesses, and just how funding for companies look like. This paints a very promising picture for entrepreneurship in Singapore, and all you need to do to take your business from idea to reality is knowing where to go for support.
Company incorporation is one area where you can also access support. There are many professional services firms offering company incorporation services, and if you choose to deal with seasoned ones, then your business will be established firmly from day one.
Remember, cheap company incorporation services do not necessarily reflect a reliable one. You will do well investing money in a professional services firm that not only does company incorporation in a box, but one that would also give sound advice on choosing a business name, and how to register your business in preparation for future growth and scale.
Think strategic! Engage a professional company incorporation firm today and position your business for success!