Starting a Business in Singapore

Starting a Business in Singapore

Singapore offers a very conducive environment to do business thanks to government support for entrepreneurship, friendly tax regimes, low crime rate, political stability, and availability of trained and experienced workforce, among other reasons. However, like in other countries, the entrepreneur needs to do certain things before starting a business.

Here are some things to observe when starting a business in Singapore:

Identify your business type

You need to identify the structure of your business and whether it will be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a private limited company. Due to the many advantages of private companies, many people opt for this kind of business.

Select your business name

Your initial step is to choose a business name and let your filing agency find out if it’s valid in the system of Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This is the government agency that registers and supervises businesses. It would be best if you got a name that is different from that of other existing companies and meets other criteria. If the name is valid, then you can register your business.

Put together a team

You need to assemble a team that will help to give form to your business. Some key people include:

  • Shareholders – They can be individuals or companies. For a Singaporean private limited company, the maximum number of shareholders is 50. Foreigners are also eligible to be shareholders.
  • Director – A company may have multiple directors, but one must be a local. Where it is a foreigner forming a company, they can be directors but must appoint a Singaporean permanent resident as a nominee director. This is someone who has no power to make decisions but is only for fulfilling the legal requirement. Later, the foreigner can apply for an entrepreneur pass (entrepass) and become the local director. Those who wish to apply for entrepass can click here for more info and to get in touch with a reliable immigration agent to help them.
  • Company secretary – The law compels every company to have a corporate secretary who monitors changes in the company, does paperwork, and keeps in touch with the government. Although a secretary should be appointed six months after incorporation, you may need one earlier than that.

Get a registered address

All Singaporean companies must have registered addresses, which are registered office mailboxes that they check frequently. Fortunately, some companies rent out mailboxes, receive your correspondences, scan them, and send them to you via email.

Set up a location

Singapore offers plenty of premises where business can get space for an office. It is good to choose a strategic location that will attract and be liked by clients. You could get a space in the middle of the civic district or some luxury apartments in a suburban estate. You can also get a flatted factory. Whatever your choice is, you will get premium infrastructure and amenities.

Incorporate the company

After having gone through all of the processes including registering a name and preparing the papers, you can incorporate the company. But if you are a foreigner, you have to delegate the task to a filing agent who will submit the documents to ACRA. This is because the law doesn’t allow foreigners to do it themselves.

Recruit staff

There are many talented and experienced professionals who the business can find through the numerous online recruitment portals and head-hunting agencies. Bringing foreigners to work for your business has restrictions, but it is still an option if you meet the requirements.


The above are just some of the critical steps that you must go through when starting a business in Singapore. You will also need to seek the necessary permits and licenses from the authorities and mobilize finances from various sources. It is also crucial to do a thorough feasibility study before setting up a firm to be sure that whatever you want to venture into will attract enough customers to make business sense.

Maria Fernsby

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