8 Reasons to Launch Your Startup in Singapore (And A Few Not To)

By May 24, 2018Entrepreneurship

These days, Singapore seems to have it all– a strong and stable economy with growth areas in finance and telecoms, Eduardo Saverin, the largest increase in per capita income any independent nation has seen within 50 years. Frequently dubbed the Switzerland of Asia, it’s known to be one of the best places to launch a startup today. The startup scene is thriving and home to many top-tier startups: Grab, Hooq, MyRepublic. The Singapore government seems committed to nurturing and expanding the tech ecosystem. Pair that with a solid political climate, Singapore seems to be the perfect choice for to launch your startup.

But first, why Singapore?

The Singapore startup space is thriving and growing every year, but there are still some pros and cons to consider before making Singapore your base.

Some of the most common reasons people choose Singapore as their startup home:

  • It has an affordable tax rate
  • A vibrant and thriving startup scene provides ample networking opportunities
  • A healthy venture capital industry
  • The government is actively interested in supporting startups
  • Its location is perfect for connecting with the much larger Asian markets all around
  • It famously takes 2 efficient days to register your company in Singapore

Some of the difficulties:

  • If you’re a foreigner, you’ll need a visa
  • There are a lot of startups in Singapore, so you’ll have some competition
  • Singapore is small, you’ll face all the attendant challenges of a small market
  • Higher costs of setting up your business despite all the advantages of doing so in a developed nation

1.  Vibrant Singapore Startup Scene

Having other startups to network with and bounce ideas off of can help your startup to stay abreast of developing trends. Singapore has this in spades. Singapore’s startup ecosystem contains ample opportunities for growth. Singapore is also home to many accelerator programs, within which you can network and grow your business. These include Startupbootcamp Fintech, Fatfish, Rockstart, and Jungle Ventures. These accelerators can help you get your startup off the ground and connect with people who share your vision.

Singapore also has a lot of places to work, whether you’re a one-man show or a budding business. There are many coworking spaces that offer solutions for startups of all sizes. These spaces allow you to have a professional office space while staying connected with other startups in the community.

2. Attractive tax system

Singapore boasts an incredibly attractive tax system for new companies. It includes tax breaks for businesses within their first three years. This can reduce their tax rate to 0% for the first 100k of income, which makes launching a new startup easy. Singapore’s corporate tax rate is also capped at 17%, making it a great choice for businesses concerned about rising tax rates as they scale up. Dividends are also distributed to shareholders tax-free, which makes investors more likely to put their money in startups.

3. Sizable amount of interested investors

Remember when we said the government in Singapore loves startups? They’ve recently introduced an initiative called Spring SEEDs which allows startups and investors to receive investments from the government.

4. Dynamic Workforce from Many Countries

Singapore has a diverse population of smart and savvy potential employees who can help grow your business. Singapore not only boasts of an incredible education system that prepares students well for the fast-paced startup world, it also has liberal immigration policies that allow you to source talent from a diverse international pool. This can result in creating teams that are smart and agile, the perfect people to take your ideas to the next level.

5. Strict Protection for Intellectual Property

Singapore has some of the strictest IP protections in the world. This makes it easy for startups who need to have IP protocols in place to launch their startups in Singapore feeling confident.

6. Enthusiastic and Innovative Government Efforts

The government in Singapore is making great strides to make their country a startup hub. They’ve fostered tons of grant programs and initiatives to make sure that startups can launch and stay successful while in Singapore. We previously mentioned the Spring SEEDs initiative, which allows startups and investors to also receive money from the government.

There is also Startup SG, which offers support for founders, developing tech, and avenues of equity. This initiative supports startups of every step of the process, from launching to protecting their product.

Singapore has also fostered an Angel Investors Tax initiative, which allows angel investors to enjoy a tax break of up to 50%. This initiative makes it easy for investors to confidently invest in early-stage startups.

Singapore also has a number of grants for qualifying startups. These include the Capabilities Development Grant (CDG), which can cover up to 70% of qualifying project costs, the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC), which can offer businesses a 400% tax break or a comparable payout.

7. Strategic Location for Business

Singapore has a strategic location for new startups looking to connect with foreign markets. 49% of Singapore’s residents actually claim citizenship outside of the country, which means it is a great place to spread the message about your startup. The geographic location also allows easy access to Asian and Oceanic markets.

8. Plus, a great place to live too!

Besides being an amazing place to launch your startup, Singapore is an awesome place for anyone to live. The diverse community allows you to meet people of different backgrounds, and the modern city leaves nothing to be desired. Everything from fantastic food to modern architecture, Singapore has everything a modern tech guru like yourself needs.