Singapore has in recent years been crowned one of the leading global hotspots for ambitious entrepreneurs—in fact, the country’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem has lured some of the world’s most prominent business leaders to the island nation, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, among others.
With its prime geographic location, excellent technological infrastructure, sound rule of law, and easy access to major markets, Singapore could very much be the next Silicon Valley. The following are the top 9 reasons why Singapore is the ideal location for starting a tech venture
1. A talented and dynamic workforce.
Singapore boasts a highly competent workforce, attracting top professionals from all over the world while managing to retain its population of skilled locals. With the abundance of talent available, Singapore startups have plenty of options for finding candidates with the required skills.
2. Singapore’s tax system is a big attraction for new startups.
The maximum corporate tax rate in Singapore is 17%, a boon when compared with other countries—for example, business revenue in the United States can be taxed up to 35%. More importantly for startups, there are no capital gains or dividend taxes imposed on Singaporean businesses. Additionally, the government offers various tax incentives for companies that invest in innovation.
3. The process for starting and running a business in Singapore is highly streamlined.
An entrepreneur only needs $1 to register a company in Singapore in 1-2 working days—in California, this process can take weeks. Local business processes such as incorporation and compliance are designed to be streamlined and transparent.
4. Lack of corruption creates a fair operating environment for new startups and business ventures.
Since bribery and corruption are virtually non-existent in Singapore, entrepreneurs are free from dealing with red tape or corrupted authorities. In fact, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
5. The Singaporean government is focused on supporting startups and tech innovation.
Singapore’s government is actively creating and supporting initiatives to support local entrepreneurs—for example, its Early Stage Venture Fund has pumped over S$100 million into new companies since its creation in 2008. Other notable programs include the Technology Incubation Scheme and Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE). The active role the government plays in local entrepreneurship is one of main features of the startup ecosystem in Singapore.
6. Singapore has flexible visa options for foreign entrepreneurs.
Singapore’s immigration policy in regards to foreign talent is one of the least restrictive in the world. Foreigners are welcomed with a number of options for them to legally stay in the country and set up shop.
7. Singapore’s close proximity to other countries in Southeast Asia makes it an ideal hub to launch a startup.
Many local ventures have started up in Singapore, only to expand to global markets in a short amount of time. For example, Carousell—a successful buying/selling platform—initially launched in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan before making the jump to the U.S. market.
8. The large pool of investors ready to invest in new startups.
Singapore’s political stability, wealth, and rapid development of its startup ecosystem continue to lure more and more investors to its shores. Since 2009, over 14 tech incubators have been created in Singapore to offer financial assistance and guide/mentor local startups
9. Singapore is a great place to live.
From its world-class healthcare system, vibrant and multicultural social scene, and high quality of life, it is no wonder Singapore has become an attractive destination for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.
Last year, New Zealand and Singapore topped the World Bank Index for ease of doing business, with the latter taking the top slot in previous years. Be sure to keep S’pore’s startup ecosystem on your radar in the coming months and years—for all the reasons above and more, the island could be well on its way to grooming the tech industry’s next billion-dollar baby.