In recent years, Singapore has consistently topped lists and surveys related to business and innovation. One of the most common reasons cited in these appraisals is the crucial role that the Singaporean government plays in offering entrepreneurs exactly what they need to succeed. This is often in stark contrast to the situation in other countries, where governments are often considered to be an obstructionist force that stifles growth and creativity.
What does the Singaporean government do differently? Here are just some of the government-mandated policies, perks, and business opportunities Singapore-based entrepreneurs enjoy.
Easy-to-follow incorporation laws
Incorporating a business in many parts of the world may take the better part of the month. In Singapore, however, it’s possible to do so in 15 minutes.
Why digital assets hold the key to Singapore’s financial future
The World Bank also consistently names the city-state as having some of the easiest business incorporation laws in the world. What this effectively means is that entrepreneurs can get their ideas off the ground far more quickly in Singapore than they could expect in most other countries.
While this has advantages for virtually any business, this is especially beneficial for today’s digital enterprises that desire and require agility. After all, being able to incorporate and start operations as soon as you’ve hashed out a solid idea can make all the difference in today’s fast-paced business environment.
High investment in human capital
As one of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore has very few natural resources to draw from. Apart from its immense geographic advantage between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, its main resource was—and still is—its people. To stay competitive, the Singaporean government has invested heavily in developing its human capital.
Moreover, unlike other citizens from nations with good human capital, Singaporeans also consistently reinvest their education and skills within the country. Today, the country consistently ranks among the countries with the highest human capital index (HCI) and is currently considered to be the highest in the Asia-Pacific.
This is all very good news for would-be entrepreneurs. Ready access to a highly educated workforce makes it simpler to find individuals that will help a business grow. It also cuts down on employee development costs, as the local education system will have already prepared the labour pool adequately for many available jobs. This is in contrast with many other countries where entrepreneurs may have problems training or finding qualified individuals to fill important positions.
High IP protection standards
Intellectual Property (IP) protection is necessary for entrepreneurs to create value from their ideas. Poor IP protection can reduce a business’s competitiveness, and it also disincentivises further innovation and investment.
Though many Asian countries have developed a reputation for being lax with IP protection, Singapore stands apart as one of the best in the world when it comes to protecting entrepreneurs’ intellectual properties. As a result, both local and international entrepreneurs often choose Singapore, as they can be confident their IPs and future competitiveness will be well-protected.
Conscientiously-designed digital initiatives
To further improve the competitive edge of its workforce, Singapore has enacted several policies to continuously improve its digital infrastructure and the adoption of smart technologies. The Smart Nation Initiative is just one of several such endeavours the Singaporean government has taken to cultivate a tech-savvy workforce. Another is the ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Frameworks Initiative, which looks into improvements and changes in legal frameworks and standards for ecommerce, data management, cybersecurity, and other related areas.
Apart from this, the government has also created “innovation sites” for startups to locate so that they can benefit from the easy cross-pollination of ideas. These locations are situated close to educational and research institutions to allow for better collaboration with the city-state’s top academic minds. The oversight of these digitally-oriented startups is also intentionally unrestrictive, which makes for a much freer creative environment.
An open economy
Singapore is at times described as one of the most open economies in the world, allowing foreign businesses and talent a level playing field when competing with locals. This is in contrast with many other neighbouring economies, which mostly have some protectionist policies in place for local businesses.
Singapore’s open economy spurs entrepreneurial inventiveness by allowing local talents and companies to directly interact with the world’s most innovative businesses. This allows for better knowledge transfers that, in turn, allow both local and foreign businesses to stay on the cutting edge of their markets. It also prevents bureaucratic inertia from slowing down the rate of growth and innovation, which are perennial issues in more restricted economies.
Funding grants for promising entrepreneurs
While the Singaporean government is much more hands-off than most when it comes to business, it also offers a long list of grants, subsidies, and tax deductions for different enterprises it sees as vital for the country’s growth. This assistance is varied, ranging from loans and tax breaks designed to help startups at every phase to more specific services focused on critical areas such as artificial intelligence, intellectual property development.
Should you invest in Singapore?
When it comes to fostering entrepreneurship, it certainly seems that the Singaporean government has come up with a winning combination of policies. If you’re hungry for success and don’t mind competing with and learning from some of the best minds in tech and business, it’s hard to think of any other place that offers the same level of play as Singapore.