In 2014, Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI), a research institute based in the United States, ranked Singapore as the number one investment destination in the world in the BERI Report 2014-I (April 2014) report.
There are many reasons why many people – locals and foreigners – invest mightily in Singapore. Entrepreneurs take advantage of the simplicity of starting a business in Singapore. In World Bank’s 2014 and 2015 Doing Business Reports, Singapore once again beat the rest of the world and earned top rank as the easiest place to do business. The country’s straightforward company incorporation process and low corporate tax rate make it the best place to launch a new business venture.
This ease of doing business brings many foreign entrepreneurs to Singapore. Let’s take a look at the many reasons why the country continues to see a rise in expat entrepreneurs.
Best Place to Earn a Living
Singapore is, simply, the best country to work in Asia. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011 – 2012 listed Singapore as the third best country to work in the world and the first in Asia. The professionals in Singapore can bank on the country’s efficient labor policies. With empowered professionals around the country, an entrepreneurial mindset can kick in and extend towards new goals.
Business Registration Is Easy
Hong Kong also has low corporate tax but no country in the world comes close to Singapore when it comes to the ease of business registration. Setting up a business in Singapore requires relatively less paperwork, which normally presents a nightmare for both rookie and seasoned entrepreneurs.
Singapore has a line-up of business structures you can choose from when setting roots in the country. You can set up a business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited company, subsidiary company, representative office, or branch office. The process only takes a few days and you’re ready to roll.
Easiest Way to File Your Taxes
The process of filing taxes has haunted entrepreneurs for years. Many mid-sized businesses encounter unintended penalties and lawsuits for failing to comply with tax policies or meet tax deadlines.
Singapore’s automated tax filing system adds much to the appeal of setting up a business in this part of the world. Solving tax problems can take as little as 82 hours annually, compared to the United States’ estimated 170 hours. Outsourcing tax responsibilities is also a trend among Singaporean businessmen and foreign entrepreneurs.
Singapore’s Expat Entrepreneurs
In a 2011 survey conducted by the Brookfield Global Relocation Services, researchers found that almost 58 percent of a multinational company’s revenue is generated abroad by expatriates or expats. These expats are often sent abroad to work at their company’s offshore headquarters.
Singapore is a hub for foreign talents in the multinational arena. In recent years, we have seen the rise of a different kind of expat, the business-minded type. Let’s take a look at some of Singapore’s expat entrepreneurs and learn the reasons why they set up business roots here.
Dr. Julie Goldstein, Mothernist.com Founder
Mothernist.com offers an online platform for the modern woman to explore her ‘multiplicity’ and the numerous, complex roles she plays in the society. The site contains ‘online psychology tools’ in the form of videos, articles and TV series to help a woman tap into her inner powers.
Its founder, Dr. Julie Goldstein moved her family and her business from London to Singapore when she and her husband realized that their mother country is not suitable for their long-term goals. Goldstein currently holds a psychology practice in Singapore.
“Singapore being the gateway to Southeast Asia was quite an easy sell for the project I’d already started, so I just changed the business plan, and, in any case, was planning to be more mobile so it made sense to move,” she said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
PJ Alicaya, Kainaman Co-Founder
Singapore is one of the world’s best dining arenas and many expat entrepreneurs take advantage of this. Like New York City, Singapore is always on the lookout for the next big thing in the culinary arena.
PJ Alicaya is a Filipino IT engineer based in Singapore. He and his partners are always on the hunt for business opportunities in The Lion City. “One thing in common is the love for food,” he said. “We always laugh about the phrase ‘food will always be IN’. This is our motivation.”
In July 2015, PJ and his partners opened Kainaman along Chai Chee Road, offering authentic Filipino cuisine to Singapore’s locals and expats combined.
When asked about his tips for startup food entrepreneurs in Singapore, he shared, “To survive food business, identity is the key. You’ve got to have something you can be well-known for. Something that is worth traveling long distances for.”
Snehal Patel, MyDoc.com Co-Founder
Expat Snehal Patel partnered with Singaporean local Vas Metupalle to create an online platform where patients can ‘consult’ doctors online. The founders aim to lower healthcare costs for their clients with a tech startup called ‘MyDoc.com’.
Patel said his personal experience as an expat enabled him to look for business opportunities in the new country. His outsider’s point-of-view helps him spot breaks where he can grow as an entrepreneur.
“[It] helps to lighten healthcare providers’ workloads and save transportation time and costs for patients,” said Patel in an interview with Tech in Asia.
Annette Lang, Expat Kitchen Founder
Annette Lang’s passion for food and personal experience in the expat community paved the way for her business to grow. In the course of her travels, she realized that there is an opportunity to teach and train household helpers in food management. In 2002, she moved to Singapore where she decided to pursue a business venture in food management.
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Singapore has always been a magnet for foreign talent. Whether you’re an expat or a foreigner who has yet to relocate, let us help you in bringing your business to Singapore’s dynamic arena.