It is often presumed that entrepreneurs prefer to start a company in a business-conducive environment which will eventually add to their entrepreneurial success. Regarded as one of the most desirable Asian cities to live and work in, Singapore provides tremendous opportunities for citizens across the world to build a rewarding career in the field of business. It is known for having a pro-business environment due to its business-friendly laws, rational tax system, strategic geographical location, robust economy and skilled workforce.
Important reasons to start a business in Singapore are:
1. Ease of Doing Business
For 10 consecutive years, Singapore has topped the ranking in the Ease of Doing Business survey among the 189 countries from the report provided by the World Bank. Unlike many developed countries, it takes less than 3 days for setting up a company in Singapore, the reason being, straightforward procedures and cutting down of unnecessary paperwork. However, in a few cases, it may take 14 days to 2 months if the application needs to be referred by the top authorities for approval or review. Additionally, an online platform is also available for non-residents to start a business. Besides this, Singapore continues to be regarded as a triple-A rated economy and a stable location for starting, expanding and investing in a business.
2. Attractive Tax Rates
Singapore has a very well-structured framework on taxes. The tax regime is the central determinant for investors to establish their operations in Singapore. They follow a territory-based taxation, in simple words; individuals and companies are taxed on income generated in the city-state, and on foreign sourced income remitted in the country. They have signed Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with more than 50 countries so that businesses can avoid paying double taxes. Currently, businesses are taxed at as low as 17% on their chargeable income. This, along with no tax on capital gains and dividends received, makes Singapore a desired destination for incorporating a business.
3. Skilled Workforce
For a business to sustain in the market, an efficient and productive workforce is a primary need. Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world and produces quality talent with each passing year. The liberal immigration policy also benefits the country in bringing global talent. According to the Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI) report of 2014, Singapore enjoys the highest ranking for labour force in terms of worker productivity and overall attitude. Therefore any investor/entrepreneur is more likely to start a business in Singapore due to easy access to the affordable and skilled workforce.
4. Strategic Geographical Location
Due to its close proximity to the emerging markets of India and China, Singapore is the hub for many top industries in the world. Situated in the heart of South-East Asia, it is easier for all the businesses here to have an access to a market of 3 billion people. The port of Singapore is said to be busiest in the world, making the country a premier International Maritime Centre (IMC). Additionally, its Changi International Airport links 300 cities in 70 different countries and caters to nearly 20 million passengers every year providing benefits to leading logistics companies along with passengers.
5. Benefits for Start-Ups
Singapore provides attractive grants and schemes to local start-ups as a source of motivation. Certain criteria are set by the government and the businesses can avail the grants based upon the category they fall into. Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr. Koh Poh Koon in March 2017 initiated the launch of ‘Start-up SG'. The main motto of this scheme is providing entrepreneurs with a launchpad to connect them globally and provide a platform to access local support initiatives. Companies starting in Singapore can also apply for vouchers valued at S$5,000 under Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) scheme for the redemption of professional consultancy services, hardware, and technical solutions.
6. Financial Hub in Asia
As mentioned earlier, due to its strategic location Singapore provides an unparallel access to all businesses in the world making it a leading financial hub in the continent. According to the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) ranking, Singapore stands 3rd after London and New York to be the most dynamic financial center in the world. Its financial institutions are also adopting new technologies like blockchain to innovate existing processes. They have a sound banking sector with easy liquidity of markets, helping them to move forward drastically in the field of finance.
7. Sound Legal System
The World Bank during its Ease of Doing Business survey found Singapore’s regulatory environment as the most business-friendly. Singapore has continually proved itself as an ideal location in setting up a business due to its strong legal system which provides entrepreneurs a sense of security and comfort. Singapore being one of the least corrupt countries in the world, transparency in business is valued highly here. The regulatory framework also provides effective intellectual property protection.
For any businessman, it is important to work in a country which is strong both economically and financially. Singapore has time and again proven to have a competitive advantage in starting and expanding a business amongst its regional peers. Having excellent infrastructure, IT hub, stable political environment, lucrative foreign policies, transparent financial transactions and no corruption, has helped Singapore to reach a pinnacle of success. Due to these and many such other factors, thousands of entrepreneurs make Singapore their new home for starting a business every year.