Singapore enhances EntrePass to attract more global startups to the republic

In a bid to develop a vibrant startup landscape and create job opportunities for Singaporeans, says Dr. Koh Poh Koon, senior minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

By Adrian M. Reodique
Aug. 7, 2017

Singapore landmark
Credit: Graphicstock 

The Singapore government rolled out enhancements to the EntrePass, a scheme which allows foreigners to start and operate new business in the republic, last Thursday (3 August 2017).

The government has expanded the evaluation criteria for startups that want to do business in the country. Previously, startups are only evaluated on four criteria:

  1. Having a fund from a government-recognised venture capital (VC) or business angel,
  2. Holds intellectual property,
  3.  Has a research collaboration with an institute of higher learning (IHL) or research institute in Singapore; and
  4.  An incubatee at a government-recognised incubator/accelerator.

Under the enhanced EntrePass, startups' business network and entrepreneurial track record, achievements in key areas of expertise, and investment track record will also be considered.

In addition, the government has removed the required paid-up capital of at least S$50,000 for applicants.

It has extended the validity period of EntrePass from one to two years, after the first renewal, too. Startups will be first granted a one-year validity EntrePass, which can be extended for another year if the company demonstrates progress at the end of its first year. Thereafter, EntrePass renewals will be valid for two years.

Meanwhile, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) will join SPRING Singapore and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to evaluate the applications of startups in their respective sectors.

"Startups are an important driver of innovation and are becoming increasingly important as Singapore transforms to become an innovative and value creating economy. These enhancements are part of the government's efforts to develop a vibrant startup landscape that is attractive to global startup talent while promoting our local startups to establish and build innovative businesses, thus creating new industry sectors and job opportunities for Singaporeans," said Dr. Koh Poh Koon, senior minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

According to Department of Statistics (DOS), foreign startups have employed more than 19,000 people in Singapore as of 2015. The local employment in foreign startups has also increased by 500 on average from 2013 to 2015.

"Singapore's efforts in grooming startups have resulted in an attractive ecosystem for global entrepreneurs. They will complement our local founders, with their skillsets and understanding of foreign market opportunities, to build stronger and fast-growing startups," said Edwin Chow, group director for Industry & Enterprise and Innovation & Startups of SPRING Singapore.