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Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 21 Dec 2015 8:40 pm

If you are planning to set up here, you might have to, else it's just a pipe dream. Check out GIP (Global Investor Program).

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 21 Dec 2015 11:31 pm

Tatsu wrote:I could, but I'm not going to and don't need to.


Before going any farther, permit me to say that you can forget about obtaining an Entrepass... only specific technology/IP businesses that are sponsored or funded by specified agencies can qualify... and you wouldn't want to have to follow the rules if you did get one... they are onerous.

As for your comment, "and don't need to"... you might need to rethink that perspective if you actually want to be living in Singapore.

Since you've posted your query in my Entrepass thread, then you know I am of the opinion that MoM will grant EP's based upon you forming your own company and then applying for your EP, if it believes that you actually know what you are doing and have sufficient cash, and that it perceives that you will be of overall benefit to Singapore if you conduct your business activities in Singapore.

I judge that your best bet would be to retain your existing businesses in Indonesia but transfer your center of operations to Singapore. Health could be amongst the reasons for wanting to transfer, along with... shall we say... "more transparent" government than that found in Indonesia.

You'd make this plan go by having audited books showing past revenues and income, pro formas for the future, and of course, estimates of tax to be paid in Singapore (personal and corporate) as well as the number of Singaporeans you will be hiring, either as employees or as contractors (lawyers, for example). You'd also want to make note of the count and size of the bank accounts you will be keeping in Singapore. All of these are desirable qualities and might get you over the hurdle of proving you are a net asset.

I do understand that this complicates life with your Indonesian businesses... probably held in your wife's name, yes?... but a good tax accountant and skid greaser can probably get this solved.

Your other option is, as you say, to invest in a business. But, the hurdles are higher than you might expect. First of all, Singapore is most interested in attracting technology, finance, and management businesses and individuals. The businesses you have proposed don't qualify, and while I have no direct pipeline into the MoM's email system, my sense is that you'll be hard pressed to get approval for one of those businesses simply because it could potentially open the floodgates for zillions of people to come in and open a 7-11 on every corner.

The second reason these businesses will be hard to get approved is that they are considered "local". While there no longer seems to be an official list of businesses that are not acceptable to start by foreigners, there used to be a list associated with the Entrepass. You could not start a hawker stand, nail parlor, hair dressing, fortune telling, karaoke, or other small biz operations. A question that could rightly be asked is, "Why does Singapore need a foreigner to invest in a warehouse when there are plenty of locals who can do the same?"

The third reason is that $200K is not very much money at all, from several perspectives. One perspective is MoM perception of you. $200K is a drop in the bucket compared to the global investment scheme, and you could either be considered not rich enough, too cheap, or not understanding the cash requirements of getting a business started.

The second perspective is realism. You're not going to start much of any kind of a bricks and mortar business in Singapore with $200K, at least not a business that MoM will sprinkle holy water on. An acquaintance of mine did start a Subway in Singapore, as a PR... think closer to $500K... and very expensive rents. Independent restaurants can be easily that costly, or more... and are high risk ventures.

You need something large enough to that MoM doesn't see you as competing against local Singaporeans but rather sees you as a potential employer. So... you want to start a PC and electronics repair business? It will never get approved because you trip over hundreds of people at Sim Lim all doing the same thing.

However, if you want to start a B to B consultancy, wherein you supply managed services, and would hire Singaporeans to handle onsite work, then your chances of approval might be better... more cash, a more sophisticated business plan, and the potential for adding Singaporean jobs.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 22 Dec 2015 8:35 am

Strong Eagle wrote:Your other option is, as you say, to invest in a business. But, the hurdles are higher than you might expect. First of all, Singapore is most interested in attracting technology, finance, and management businesses and individuals. The businesses you have proposed don't qualify, and while I have no direct pipeline into the MoM's email system, my sense is that you'll be hard pressed to get approval for one of those businesses simply because it could potentially open the floodgates for zillions of people to come in and open a 7-11 on every corner.


Adding on, my 2 cents to OP.

A lot of foreigners get sucked into investing in 711 or such business, not knowing there are a lot of hidden costs, upcoming lease ending with possible doubling of rent, and credit from sundry suppliers, stuff that even a proper due diligence can fail to pick up - you are dealing with bosses who can hide information in plain sight.

And years ago, when the immigration doors were wide open, MOM allowed investors in 7-11, Mac and such to bring in their own crew. Now the investors are finding it hard to get pass for themselves due to the tightening, and MOM wisening up for 'investors of convenience' - investors parking money to employ their friends and family.

And the estimate of 500K etc is more realistic.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Tatsu » Tue, 22 Dec 2015 1:57 pm

Thanks for the heads up everyone.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Tatsu » Fri, 19 Feb 2016 7:53 pm

Wow. After all this time my thread is still here at the top. Anyway, previously, the advice I got here was;

"I judge that your best bet would be to retain your existing businesses in Indonesia but transfer your center of operations to Singapore. Health could be amongst the reasons for wanting to transfer, along with... shall we say... "more transparent" government than that found in Indonesia.

You'd make this plan go by having audited books showing past revenues and income, pro formas for the future, and of course, estimates of tax to be paid in Singapore (personal and corporate) as well as the number of Singaporeans you will be hiring, either as employees or as contractors (lawyers, for example). You'd also want to make note of the count and size of the bank accounts you will be keeping in Singapore. All of these are desirable qualities and might get you over the hurdle of proving you are a net asset.

I do understand that this complicates life with your Indonesian businesses... probably held in your wife's name, yes?... but a good tax accountant and skid greaser can probably get this solved."

Well, people also gave advice that the only practical thing was the global investor program and I imagine the number of people who have taken Singapore up on that offer is nearer to zero than infinity. Soooooo....

I'm wondering about the practicalities of the first idea presented here where I "move my center of operations." I'm not sure it's viable in my case either though because my three businesses weren't exactly blockbusters. We grossed 814US/mo when we still had our little warung/restaurant. Since it closed we only scrape up 370/mo. But I have even more reserves now in a trust than I had before when I spoke to you all last. I dont' know that a "skid greaser" could do a whole lot with my earnings.

I lived VERY simply in Indonesia. We stayed at my wife's traditional home, we rode motorcycles, we didn't buy beer or cigarettes like a lot of people do, we bought food at the Indonesian markets at the Indonesian price not eat out. We didn't even have a refrigerator for ten years because there wasn't enough power to our little brick structure in the 'jungle" away from civilization. Bad reception on cell phones and truly terrible internet reliability and speed. I didn't feel we were missing anything. Everything was fine until our baby was born AND they started ripping out all the trees and digging up all the earth to make cinderblock. Strip mining for as far as the eye can see all night long now, along with the accompanying diesel truck traffic and low paid rude, ignorant Javanese workers instead of cashew orchards. Pollution over the top everywhere we turn. We NEED to get me and my baby out of this f!@#$ing shit hole of brain damaged insanity. If this Singapore idea doesn't work out we're going to bail to America.

Also, I was thinking maybe my wife could get work in Singapore instead of me starting a business because she's getting certification as a fitness trainer, yoga instructor, and massage therapist. I'm wondering if she worked for three or four years in Spore what her chances of getting permanent residency would be and then bring me and my daughter in as dependents.

That's all I got.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Tatsu » Sat, 19 Mar 2016 10:55 pm

I got a message that Wilfred replied here but when I show up, there's nothing after my last post.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 19 Mar 2016 11:53 pm

Tatsu wrote:I got a message that Wilfred replied here but when I show up, there's nothing after my last post.


He was a spammer and his message was removed. Mark this thread 'read' and he will go away... at least not show up as unread.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby Pete J » Fri, 02 Sep 2016 3:57 pm

These days it's not as easy as it used to be a few years ago to get an Entrepass granted due to MOM tightening the criteria. I would strongly recommend, if you want to start your own business in SG, to incorporate a pte Ltd company, get a local nominee director and apply for your own employment pass after 2-3 months from incorporation. Paid up capital is one of the important criteria, best to have more than 50k SGD. A nominee director will cost around 200 SGD/month. You need good uni qualifications, see http://www.mom.gov.sg for the list of approved unis. And solid work experience in the field of your business. Then get a company incorporation agency to process everything for you. There are hundreds of agencies but it's important to find a reputable one, you can checkout sites like [url]I Was Spamming[/url] for a comparison. They need to have experience with such a setup, lots of things to look out for (paid up, nominee director, salary, work experience, contract etc...). Hope that helps!

We don't like spammers whose first post contains unsolicited links to businesses we know nothing about. Your link has been deleted. Put it back and watch your account disappear.

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Re: Starting a Business in Singapore and the Entrepass

Postby AlisaKendrik » Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:39 am

Thanks. A lot of useful information.


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