In Focus
ECONOMY, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore to lure more foreign startups amidst global protectionist sentiments

The government is kicking off the Startup SG branding.

As part of its efforts to attract more foreign entrepreneurs launching their startups in Singapore, the government is launching the Startup SG brand, a new umbrella branding that encapsulates all the efforts to support startup schemes.

Part of this new branding is looking for the right talents, as Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon noted.

"The rising global protectionist sentiments that emerged in 2016 present us with the opportunity to position Singapore as an attractive startup location for global talent. Foreign entrepreneurs have the capacity to add to the vibrancy of our startup scene. They complement our local startups through the cross-fertilisation of ideas, catalyse new partnerships and create good jobs for our people. As at 2015, foreign startups employed more than 19,000 workers in total," Mr Koh explained.

He outlined three key changes that will be implemented using the work pass scheme EntrePass. First of the enhancement is the remoccal of the requirement for applicants to have a paid-up capital of at least $50,000 in their startups, to welcome global entrepreneurs with good ideas to come in at a much earlier stage, and grow their businesses from Singapore.

Mr Koh added, "We will also broaden the evaluation criteria for global startup founders with an established track record to explore the startup scene here. Finally, we will extend the validity of each EntrePass from the current one year to two years, after the first renewal at Year 2. In other words, if the foreign entrepreneur can demonstrate progress at the end of the first year, the EntrePass will be extended for another year. Thereafter, subsequent EntrePass renewals will be valid for two years."

Meanwhile, another key is equity financing. As not all startups have the same funding needs or gestation periods, Singapore will enhance the co-investment support for promising startups in deep-tech areas, such as in medical technology, clean technology and advanced manufacturing, to catalyse private sector investment for this group.

This will be done in two ways. Mr Koh said the the investment cap for the co-investment portion for deep-tech startups will be doubled from $2m to $4m, allowing the government to tier its funding support according to the differing needs.

More so, the proportion of the co-investment funding support for supported investments will be raised from 50% to 70%.

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