Singapore has always been considered as one the best places to do business, alongside the U.S., and the easiest to start one.
So, it came as no surprise to me when I read in The Straits Times this morning that Singapore leads the Asian charge in higher education, mobility, science, broadband and technology platform indices, overtaking Hong Kong, Japan, Seoul and Australia.
Wholesome View: This finding is based on a study of 200 indices globally, as captured in a report from real estate firm JLL and The Business of Cities, a London-based intelligence and strategy group. In effect, it is an aggregation of the various indices, highlighting the essence, to present a wholesome view of where cities stand to help businesses identify the places they want to do business in.
As Rosemary Feenan, JLL Head of Global Research Programmes, says in her Foreword to the report, “cities have nowhere to hide as every perimeter and parameter of a city is now captured, measured, compared, and displayed.”
Just in October 2014, Singapore was named as the world’s number-one city for business friendliness for the ninth consecutive year in an annual World Bank survey.
Positive Personal Experience: My own recent experience when I set about to register my company, Smart Nation, (www.smartisland.com), was positive, making it clear that the government goes all out to fostering an entrepreneurial culture in the country. Its efforts include simplifying the registration process and keeping the red tape as minimal as possible.
That was my experience when I launched my first venture, e-edit, about 15 years ago. When I registered my new Smart Nation sole proprietorship initiative last week I found it easier than before. This time I was able to do it online.
ACRA Registration: All businesses, with some exceptions, must be registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). I was able to do through ACRA’s one-stop businesses services portal, Bizfile, at https://www.psi.gov.sg/NASApp/tmf/TMFServlet?app=RCB-BIZFILE-LOGIN-1B
I had to log in using my SingPass particulars. That is ideal as it helps identify whether the business owner has any outstanding MediSave contributions. MediSave must be up-to-date for locals, but not for foreigners.
A 15-minute Effort: It took just about 15 minutes for me to complete filling the registration form.
Getting the business name is the most critical of the tasks. I was surprised to find that the name, Smart Nation, was still available. With the country’s focus on making Singapore the world’s first Smart Nation, I had assumed the name would have been taken and had an alternative in mind, Smart Nation Plus. I did not have to use the latter.
Choosing a place of business was the next step. Using HDB premises will require approval to be followed up on after the ACRA registration.
Checklist and Steps: Roughly, the registration process for sole proprietorship involves the following steps:
- Choosing a business structure
- Meet The Eligibility Requirements
- Check Availability of Business Name
- Availability of domain names can be checked at http://www.sgnic.sg/
- Find the SSIC (Singapore Standard Industry Classification) Code for your Business
- Choose a Place of Business
- Check your Outstanding Medisave Liabilities
A checklist for other types of business is available at https://www.enterpriseone.gov.sg/en/Business%20Stages/Start/Choosing%20A%20Business%20Structure.aspx
A step-by-step guide is available at the EnterpriseOne site at https://www.enterpriseone.gov.sg/Business%20Stages/Start.aspx
G Joslin Vethakumar