Starting a Business in Singapore for Foreign Entrepreneurs

There are several reasons why Singapore is an ideal location for foreign companies looking to expand their operations overseas.

First, Singapore law allows local corporations to be 100 percent foreign-controlled. A parent company setting up a subsidiary incorporated in Singapore can benefit from all the benefits of incorporation in Singapore.

Singapore businessman

Competitive tax rates

Singapore has a flat corporate income tax rate of 17%. However, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from various tax breaks and incentives, such as if your business has fewer than 20 shareholders, you can qualify for an annual tax deduction of up to $125,000 if your business earns less than $200,000 in taxable income during its first 3 years of operation.

In addition, if your business is not eligible for the start-up exemption, you may qualify for a partial tax exemption. It can be up to $10,250 for the first $20,000 of income.

Start a business in Singapore

Singapore offers an excellent opportunity for companies from all over the world. They can choose to form or set up any of these types of companies:

  • Subsidiary company
  • Branch office
  • Representation office

Assistance programs for foreign-owned companies

Singapore actively promotes local and foreign businesses by offering government-sponsored assistance programs. Depending on the requirements of each assistance program, businesses with at least 30% locally owned businesses may be eligible for local grants, including:

  • StartUpSG is an umbrella for a range of government-funded start-up grants and loans.
  • An ASP encourages companies to automate their business processes.
  • Singapore offers tax breaks for foreign companies, including:
  • RISC is a program to encourage companies to develop new technologies.
  • Training grant for the company, which aims to encourage the expansion of employee capabilities in new technologies and skills.
  • Efficiency grants, which create efficiency in energy and labor practices.

Restrictions for foreigners

Singapore encourages foreigners to set up business here, but there are certain requirements to do so. One of them is that the foreigner must be able to run the company locally.

Can foreigners start a business in Singapore if they have certain work permits?

If you are not from Singapore, you must obtain a permit for your stay here. Different licenses allow different things. For example, some permissions allow you to create a company, while others do not.

A foreigner wishing to open a business in Singapore must first obtain information on entrepreneurial opportunities from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Once you have obtained the EOI, you can register your business under the Small Business Scheme (SSES).

If you are convinced and ready to settle in Singapore as a foreigner, here are the basic things you should consider.

Obtain a license. Company details must be registered with the relevant authority to obtain a permit. Once registered, they can request a license from the sources. Licenses vary depending on the industry and type of operation being conducted. For example, you would need to obtain a Food Establishment License (FEL) if you operate within the food sector. In addition, companies must also comply with certain regulations such as health and safety standards. These rules ensure that the safety of workers and customers is maintained.

Businesswomen in Singapore
Photo credit: Paul Lee / Flickr

Living in Singapore as an entrepreneur

Expats living in Singapore often feel at home in a bustling metropolis where the weather is always warm. As a result, Singapore is one of the most popular destinations for expats from around the world. It ranks first on the list of the happiest nations for expats. And it’s no wonder why so many people choose to live there: it offers strong economic stability, good healthcare and excellent educational opportunities.

Despite the current Covid-19 climate, Singapore has seen an upward trend in the number of people moving to Singapore. With the prospect of quarantine, many are choosing to move to Singapore rather than face the uncertain future at home. Property prices in Singapore have increased significantly due to this influx of new residents, meaning those who have already moved to Singapore may consider buying a property. We offer a wide range of protection policies for expats living in Singapore, so if you’re thinking of buying a property, there are some upcoming condo launches for your consideration.

A new condominium project called Dunman Residences is under construction along Dunman Road, District 15. The development includes 1,040 residences of various sizes ranging from studios to four-bedroom penthouses. Set in a serene landscaped setting, residents can enjoy beautiful views of greenery, trees and bodies of water. A short walk from the iconic Dakota MRT Station, the development also boasts a wide range of lifestyle facilities including a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, steam room, jogging track, children’s play areas, parking and community clubhouse.

Official languages ​​in Singapore include Chinese (Mandarin), Tamil, Malay and English. These languages ​​play a culturally symbolic role, but English is widely spoken among the population.


Moving to a new country can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. However, finding ways to get involved in the local community can help you settle in quickly and enjoy your stay.

If you want to live in Singapore permanently, you must obtain appropriate legal residence and employment status. You may be asked to apply for PR or even become a Singapore citizen.

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