Singapore could be the next Silicon Valley

As the US looks to close its borders, foreign startups may troop to a Southeast Asian haven that seeks to attract innovators

Singapore could be the next Silicon Valley

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

As the US under Trump turns to protectionism with the reduction of H-1B visas discouraging foreign start-ups, Singapore is poised to step into the gap, positioning itself as a hub for technology- and innovation-oriented companies, similar to Silicon Valley.
“The rising global protectionist sentiments that emerged in 2016 present us with the opportunity to position Singapore as an attractive start-up location for talent. Foreign entrepreneurs have the capacity to add to the vibrancy of our start-up scene,” Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said in Parliament on Friday.
Koh noted that the number of start-up firms in Singapore has more than doubled in the past 12 years, from 22,000 in 2003 to 48,000 in 2015.

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“They complement local start-ups through the cross-fertilization of ideas, catalyse new partnerships and create good jobs for our people,” he said, referring to foreign start-ups, which employed more than 19,000 individuals as of 2015.
The Singaporean government aims to ease regulations surrounding the EntrePass scheme, which covers foreign entrepreneurs that want to start a business in Singapore. For the scheme, applicants must have SGD50,000 in paid-up capital, hold at least 30% of the company, and comply with one of four innovation criteria. The paid-up capital requirement will be waived, making it easier to enter the market. The validity of EntrePass will also be extended from one year to two years.
Several other changes will be implemented to foster innovation, such as increasing the investment cap for Singapore’s co-investment portion for deep-tech start-ups from SGD2 million to SGD4 million. The government will also establish “Startup SG”, an umbrella branding for all support schemes for start-ups.
“With the unified branding, it will be easier for budding entrepreneurs to identify the relevant schemes for their unique situations and needs,” Koh was quoted by Channel NewsAsia. “Over time, we will work with other stakeholders to further strengthen this Startup SG brand.”

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