Why Singapore fresh grads should consider starting a businessBY JACQUELINE LOW
A recent survey conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Entrepreneurship Centre shows that the majority of students in Singapore’s various universities and polytechnic institutions are interested in starting up their own business.
According to the results of the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students Survey (GUESSS), almost 80% of students in the country have considered founding a business. The data was collected from a poll of 3,133 students in three public universities and five polytechnics.
The survey also found that 37.5 percent of students were ‘intentional founders’, meaning that they have repeatedly thought of, and even made some plans, to start a business.
However, only a meager 1.1 percent of those surveyed were ‘active founders’, which means that they followed through on their plans and are currently running their own start-ups.
Nevertheless, the overall takeaway from the survey is that the entrepreneurial spirit is indeed alive and well in Singapore’s youth. Now, the next step is to convince more of them to follow through with their dreams and take positive action towards their own business.
Here are 5 reasons why today’s fresh graduates (or even undergraduates) should start a business in Singapore:
Singapore’s economy continues to do well amidst the ongoing global financial crisis. While the prevailing sentiment around the world is very cautious, the scene in Singapore has been quite different.
As highlighted in GuideMeSingapore’s business formation report for Q2 2012, the number of new businesses being set up in the country continues to remain strong. Singapore was also praised by the World Trade Organization (WTO) recently for its aggressive response to the global economic slowdown, which was to increase spending on new initiatives that boost productivity and innovation.
Singapore has a business-friendly environment which attracts companies and individuals from all over the world. For anyone looking to start a business in Singapore, there’s no need to wait weeks like in other countries. All it takes is a day or two to incorporate and establish a presence in Asia’s business hub.
Singapore also boasts of a strategic location, just hours away from many major and emerging markets in Asia.
Efficient tax system
The Singapore corporate tax system is also highly efficient and affordable. The corporate tax rate is approximately 8.5% for profits up to S$300,000 and a flat 17% rate for profits above that number.
Singapore’s government provides assistance for local start-ups. In Singapore, start-ups looking for some form of funding assistance can turn to the government, which provides a wide range of financing schemes and grants to encourage the development of the enterprise scene in the country.
The country even has its own government agency, SPRING Singapore, dedicated to fostering the growth of local enterprises. Start-ups can also avail of certain tax incentives. For example, a local start-up which meets certain conditions will be eligible for a corporate tax rate of 0% during its first three years on the first S$100,000 of taxable income.
Better to start early, and start young. Fresh graduates are at an age where they have plenty of energy which they can pour into the many tasks associated with starting up a business.
In addition, they have far more time, fewer commitments, and can take more risks compared to those who are much older and may already have families. Starting a business early can also let them evaluate their career path, and figure out if their long term prospects are better off as an employer or an employee.
Gain a wealth of experience as a business owner. When a fresh graduate starts off on his first job, it is typically an entry-level one involving the same tasks over and over again. Those who pursue start-ups, meanwhile, get experience in many different types of jobs – from accounting, to marketing, to customer service.
One year of running a start-up could probably result in much more knowledge and wisdom compared to many years of employment. Even if the business fails, the individual’s experience would prove valuable should he/she decide to venture into the corporate world.
Foreign students who are graduating from Singapore and wish to start a business venture here can apply for an Entrepreneur Pass which allows them to reside in Singapore and pursue their dream venture. The pass is subject to meeting the qualifying criteria and approval by relevant authorities.