By Draper Startup House

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

ABOUT SINGAPORE

Singapore – known as the Lion City. A city of multi identities – a beautiful blend of Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures. Not only is it vibrant, but it is also recognised as the world’s third richest country, according to the IMF and the World Bank. It may be geographically small, but it is economically giant and beautiful to support both the quality of life and the business world together.

If you are thinking about doing business in Singapore, our travel guide provides all the up-to-date and credible information to help you guide the right direction for your business. Use this to write your own success story in unique singapura-style!

WHY CHOOSE SINGAPORE

Without a doubt, Singapore is a healthy entrepreneur-friendly economy, strong trade and investment makes it the most competitive “Asian” country and the world’s “easiest” place to do business. The reason for 10 consecutive years of ranking as the best country in the world for doing business by the World Bank. We also asked entrepreneurs travelling near and far why Singapore is an attractive place to start, and here are some reasons why;

  1. A wide network of trade agreements
  2. An attractive tax system
  3. A capable workforce
  4. The highest quality of infrastructure
  5. Most importantly, an efficient government

Given these statistics and insights, it is not surprising that your business can take advantage of all its core strengths to quickly grow and prosper.

EYES ON TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Make sure you check for relevant updates on Singapore’s Government sites before planning to fly in: in light of covid-19, there are directives and information about notices to serve during this period.

We always check the website Flatten the Curve for information on travel restrictions in Singapore. Stay informed, and buy a plan such as travel insurance, treatment, and testing, i.e, through Safetywing Nomad insurance and Safetywing Remote health insurance. Otherwise, insurance —if you have a valid work pass/permit in Singapore, you may be eligible for local insurance* which are more affordable.

FUNDAMENTALS OF SETTING A BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE

For enthusiastic and ambitious entrepreneurs who are just starting out, it is important to know the basics right as they are your foundation to bigger opportunities.

<strongLanguage: The Singapore government recognises four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.

Currency: The currency in Singapore is the SGD (SG$) and here are the 5 best physical Money Changers in Singapore. However, as Singapore has become the most tech savvy in the world for a third time in a row, people usually use Transferwise to spend or receive money using crypto currencies. And if you are looking to buy Crypto, then the most popular in Singapore are: Binance, Huobi, and OKEx.

Cards + Cash: Credit cards are widely accepted, therefore, the most popular payment gateways are; Mastercard, and Visa. You can also use PayNow/PayLah if you have a local bank account and download GrabPay as it is increasingly getting accepted in places like Hawker centers. However, you should still carry small cash — while most places are going towards cashless transactions, there are others that strictly accept cash-only e.g. food stalls, small coffee shops, and some bars.

Climate: Singapore is situated just above the equator and has a tropical climate. The humidity level is also high; the country sees an average of 167 days of rain per year, so carry an umbrella everytime you go out!

Banks: We suggest following the national banks here; OCBC, DBS, HSBC, and CIMB.

Tax and legal partners: Often it takes time to find the right legal partners who can best provide credible information for your business. Check out some of the country’s trusted organizations to help you with your legal concerns and tax filings: Lionsworld Corporation, Sleek and Zegal.

Proud Singaporeans waving the national flag
The Mass rapid Transit (MRT) in Singapore

TRAVELING SMART AND CHEAP IN SINGAPORE

MRT: The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an easy and inexpensive way to get around Singapore from public transit. The price of tickets range from SG$1 to SG$2.50. If you are staying for an extended period, then consider purchasing an EZ-Link rechargeable card for SG$12 (about $9) or visit SMRT Subway, EZ-Link and the Singapore Tourist Pass for great deals and unlimited travel packages.

Buses: There are numerous bus routes that can take you everywhere in Singapore. Visit SMRT Buses for more information.

Taxis & Private Hires: In Singapore, options are plenty: you have the choice to hail a cab in a hurry, or to book a Grab, Angkas or Gojek.

Traditional Taxi: The meter start rate is between SG$3 to SG$5 (about $2.24 to $3.75) and in addition to that, it cost around SG$0.22 (about $0.16) per kilometer. Check out SMRT Taxis for more details.

Private Hires: Akin to the Uber of Southeast Asia, Grab/Gojek are ride-hailing apps that are reliable and easy to use. Download Grab, or Gojek. Also be mindful that the charges differ after 6pm.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUILDING A STARTUP

Asking Us? Choose Singapore

Whether it comes to opening a bank, investment decisions, immigration policies, or tax system, Singapore works like a charm. Learn in the following section why entrepreneurs are choosing Singapore to launch their startups and use these opportunities to your advantage.

Geographic Location: it is strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asia making it an ideal spot for traveling entrepreneurs and trading opportunities. Singapore’s Changi Airport for example serves over 15 million passengers annually providing businesses with easy access to all major Asian markets. Likewise, Singapore’s cargo ports are one of the busiest in the world, which is also an indication of high ease of global expansion, the reason it is rated #1 as the country most open to trade.

Corruption-freeBureaucracy: The stable political and macroeconomic climate are the significant reasons that enable Singapore to quickly foster a culture of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. With easy-to-follow regulations and policies, on an average, more than 50,000 new businesses are formed every year in Singapore. The well-functioning government allows 100% foreign ownership of a Singapore incorporated company, without the need to have local partners or shareholders. This enables startups to operate with freedom as there are also no restrictions on the repatriation of profits.

Tax System: Here is why Singapore’s tax system is very attractive to businesses:

  • Corporate tax rates are capped at a flat 17% on chargeable income
  • The effective tax rate for chargeable profits of less than S$300,000 is only 8.5%
  • Singapore’s has a standard “Goods & Services Tax (GST) rate of 7% on consumption of all goods and services. There are also flexible policies around GST depending on the nature of your business on registration and/or exemptions.
  • There are no dividend or capital gains taxes in Singapore
  • There is no estate/death/inheritance tax in Singapore
  • Personal tax rates start at 0% and max out at 22% above S$320K

You can try this tool to calculate your tax in Singapore.

Immigration Policies: Singapore has a flexible immigration policy that is convenient for foreigners to set up a business either with an appropriate Singapore work visa or to gain Singapore Permanent Residence (PR) status.

Shoppers on a busy street in Singapore

Company Registration: The requirements for registering a company in Singapore is here where you can find all the up-to-date and reliable information you will need for a smooth registration process.

Skilled Workforce: Singapore has a highly educated and productive workforce that makes it easier for any entrepreneurs to work with them, to share their extensive knowledge or business expertise. With its attractive work-smart culture, technical proficiency is also highly valued and contributes to both the success and challenges of the 21st-century work environment.

Cost of Living: The average cost of living in Singapore is relatively high. For example, the average expenses without rent for individuals in Singapore are around 800 SGD (575 USD) per month. Check out Budget Direct where you can compare between two countries for the overall cost of living including rent. The InterNationsGo is also offering essential services such as housing, healthcare, work permit, community of expats and much more for expats to live abroad cost-effectively and easily.

Venture Capitals: The following famous venture capitals will help you convert your creative ideas into viable projects and startups.

  1. DHS Ventures is a global syndicate created for the sole purpose of helping entrepreneurs receive better access to funding, while helping to cultivate a network of entrepreneurial growth.
  2. Reapra helps in transforming business fields and creating new industries that expertise in research and development practices.
  3. Golden Gate Ventures is a venture capital firm investing across Southeast Asia.
  4. Rakuten Ventures invests in a UI/UX analytics and consulting company.
  5. Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm that helps in building legendary companies from idea to IPO and beyond.
  6. Space Ventures focuses on early-stage investments (Seed and Series A) in bold companies across a broad range of innovation led start-ups.
  7. Monk’s Hill Ventures is a portfolio company that provides data-driven financing solutions for small businesses.

Famous Startups of Singapore:

Some of the local popular startups to learn from are:

  1. Staffany offers a workforce management solution for companies with hourly workers.
  2. Grab is a multinational ride-hailing company based in Singapore.
  3. Lazada is an international e-commerce company.
  4. Redmart is a Singapore’s leading online supermarket site.
  5. Ninjavan is Southeast Asia’s leading logistics provider, with the highest service coverage over 6 countries in the region.
  6. Newcampus is a modern leadership school for critical thinkers and infinite learners to take on the challenges of the era of unprecedented global change ahead.

Startup Training Providers:

Here are some training providers you can seek help from.

  1. Antler helps in building your startup in the dynamic region of Southeast Asia.
  2. Entrepreneur First is an international Talent Investor, which supports individuals to build technology companies.
  3. Cylon is a world-leading accelerator programme run twice a year.
  4. Tribe Accelerator is a blockchain accelerator that works closely with the Singapore Government, championing to be a neutral platform in driving collaboration and growth of the blockchain ecosystem.

Co-working spaces:

Draper Startup House Singapore is our shared coworking space, providing a perfect environment for entrepreneurs to learn, connect, and of course, get work done.

Other spaces that are considered the best and largest in Singapore are WeWork and The Work Project.

Or you can check these ones:

Events & Communities:

Draper Startup House in Singapore are hosting events regularly such as webinars, online workshops like fun quizzes, live events, and much more. Always check out the DSH Singapore socials here Facebook and Instagram for upcoming events.

Other events such as Innovfest unbound, the anchor event of Singapore’s Smart Nation Innovations Week, is the perfect opportunity to update yourself on the projects currently developed by the Smart Nation, in collaboration with universities, startups and the private sector. Also check out Maker Faire Singapore which is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone who attends and connects people and projects in their local community.

Street scene in Singapore

EXPLORE SINGAPORE

Singapore offers more than just business opportunities! There is also a vibrant history and diverse ethnic quarters to discover, along with many eye-catching attractions and lovely garden and green spaces that make visiting this futuristic city worthwhile.

  1. Gardens by the Bay
  2. Marina Bay Sands
  3. “Historical” Quarters — Chinatown, Little India, Kampung Glam/Bugis Area
  4. Singapore Botanic Gardens — living up to the identity of garden city
  5. National Gallery Singapore
  6. Singapore Zoo & Night Safari are the world’s first nocturnal zoo and was voted by TripAdvisor users as the 5th best zoo in the world. Buy your tickets here or through Klook for discounts.
  7. Orchard Road is a must visit retail heart of Singapore.
  8. Universal Studios & Sentosa Island: It is a popular theme park, and an entire island dedicated to fun. As for Universal Studio, you can buy tickets online or for discounts, purchase them in advance through Klook or KKday. As for Sentosa Island, check out all the information you need here.

Food: Singapore is a food paradise and here is why:

Nightlife: In light of covid-19, nightlife ends around 10-10.30pm but if you are still up for a good party or for future parties, here are the list of the top 7 best nightclubs in Singapore.

Other Entertainments: Singapore is surely the entertainment capital of the world. The city has some of the best casinos mainly Marina Bay Sands Casino and is the Mecca for gaming enthusiasts. It is also a one-stop destination for shopping, fine-dining and gambling, making it a very popular entertainment hub. Check out all the fun stuff you can do in Singapore here.

THE HOME FOR ENTREPRENEURS

DRAPER STARTUP HOUSE in Singapore provides you with the best opportunity to explore, engage, and connect with people who are creating the future, including yourself! Stay in the heart of Singapore and be connected to a network of entrepreneurs sparking innovation and energy throughout the city. Our living spaces and shared co-workspaces provide the perfect environment for entrepreneurs and independent minds to be inspired, to learn from each other and get work done.

When you are ready – Come stay with us to join the network of the larger entrepreneurial community—-let’s GO BIG, pay it forward, and drive progress!

The only all-in-one accommodation for resource-building through learning, co-working, funding, and much more.

Draper Startup House Singapore

The only all-in-one accommodation for resource-building through learning, co-working, funding, and much more.


WHY CHOOSE US

What Draper Startup House means to you:

  1. Access to opportunity
  2. Involvement in community + support quickly — Draper Startup House Singapore has everything to take care of your needs: from meetups and networking sessions, to pointing you to the best food in the heart of the city, or connecting you to the relevant business partners, and much more.
  3. Meeting your capital requirements
  4. Efficiency in paperwork approvals (while some places take months for processing, Singapore’s efficiency is up to speed here where incorporating a company can be as quickly done so in a day
  5. Govt. stability + transparency → gateway to SEA

If you have any questions feel free to reach out at contact@draperstartuphouse.com.

Young Entrepreneurs at Draper Startup Singapore

START NOW, WITH US!

We hope you find this blog post insightful, and if you do, please share it with anyone who you think might be interested and useful for their goals! Our blog post is created to educate and improve business opportunities for many entrepreneurs like yourself who want to make use of their best time in one of the booming startup cities like Singapore.

Let’s GO BIG, pay it forward, and drive progress— 💪

Join our entrepreneur network for free and experience the best startup ecosystem with us!

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THE FUTURE OF CONNECTING IS HERE 💥

Check out the monster post by our own Ming XIA Ho on how you can give and take from the ever-growing, young, startup community in Singapore.

CHECK IT OUT

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