Advice and Tips for starting a Small Business in Singapore

Undoubtedly, Singapore is one of the best places to start a business. Do you know why?

1. Singapore ranks high for holding a competitive environment and high-end infrastructure to start a trade.

2. Not only in Asia but also when compared globally, Singapore has many talented workforces.

3. This place is considered to be a highly stable environment to handle the business with ease.

4. Lining up after London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore takes fourth place for having the best foreign exchange, globally.

Not limiting to these, there are a lot of reasons to start a trade-in Singapore. Well, if you are planning to start a small business here, then read further. In this article, you can get tips and advice through which you can start and run a successful small business in Singapore.

It will be pleasant to hear the success stories of businesses. But on the other hand, frankly speaking, it is not that easy to start a business. In any part of the world, doing a business needs research, capital money, market analysis data and innovative ideas to perform the trade.

Here is a quick look at the steps to put your foothold in small business in Singapore.

  • After planning the business type, register it in Singapore.
  • Get the capital money & invest to set-up and develop your trade.
  • Enhance your business networking
  • File for the taxes that are relevant for your trade.
Small Business Owner Analyzing and Strategizing his business ideas

Before getting into the topic, here is some general advice to become an entrepreneur in Singapore.

1.     You must check the market trend for promoting your business ideas. According to the 2018 report, there are lists of businesses that are in-demand in Singapore. The list holds digital marketing, care services for older people, courier services, agriculture etc. Thus, ensure the business idea you choose is unique and whether or not it will become a market trend. Adding to this, I would like to say, if you are opting the same old business trend then there are chances for it to get toppled (not for all the cases). The business must be catchy and serve the people to the core.

2.     Preparing a business plan is the second step. Though it is a daunting task, it will give you and your customers a clear picture of your trade. Furthermore, you can set the target customers, the demographic location where they are present and also ideas to focus on trade in that location.

3.     After registering your trade-in Singapore, you can avail for grants available for entrepreneurs. To encourage startups and SMEs, the Singapore government have allocated several grants. To name few of it – Startup SG Founder, Startup SG Tech, Startup SG equity, FSTI (Financial Sector Technology & Innovation), Capabilities development grant (CDG), Business improvement fund, DTDi (Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization), MRA grant.

4.     By reaching the grant knowledge centre, you can get to know about the different types of grant available in Singapore. All the grants have the set of eligibility criteria. Check whether your business profile matches those criteria for the grant you prefer. If so, then proceed to apply for it.

5.     Finally, when your grant is approved, then start working to begin your small business in Singapore. You must also be aware of tax obligations. The single-tier tax system is followed in Singapore for running a business. That means, if you are running a small business, then you must pay tax based on the profits and not depending on revenue. After the payment of tax, the profit is given to shareholders without tax (tax-free). Thus, get legal advice on the tax system in Singapore so that you can follow the same without violating the law.

6.     Are you not interested in making a digital presence for your business? Then I would say that you are losing a lot more target audience. Online is the place where any business can reach the audience and market their product or services. Therefore, never neglect it while starting a business.

Now diving deep into the topic, let us see the tips for entrepreneurs to kick-start their Singapore trade.

Corporate registration is a must for local businesses and also for foreign traders. ACRA (Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority) is solely controlling corporate registration in Singapore. Beforehand, you must submit the proper documents as said per Companies Act. If you are the foreigner willing to start a small business in Singapore, then the registration must be done only via a registration provider available domestically.

In order to register your trade, you must have the details about the following:

  • Name of the company
  • Director who will be in-charge for the trade happenings. The director can be a citizen of Singapore, or permanent Singapore resident or an EntrePass holder. The Entrepass (or the entrepreneur pass) is one of the best schemes in Singapore which are launched to assist the startup entrepreneurs.
  • For registration of the company, shareholders are a must. The number of shareholders may vary between 1 to 50.
  • S$1 (Minimum paid-up capital) must be done.

Now what are the documents required for registration? If you are not aware of it, need not worry. You must ensure that you have the following documents handy.

  • As said previously, the name of the company that is ACRA registered.
  • Clear idea about the trade activities that you are going to perform. This is one of the essential documents since the registrar will check whether the trade activities are legal and within the lawsuit.
  • Singapore address where the company name is registered.
  • Documents about the director and shareholders. (Specifically, their address, ID proof etc.)
  • While registration, you must appoint at least one secretary to look after the works. It is necessary to give the particulars of the appointed secretary.
  • Foreign traders must give identity proof in Singapore.

These are necessary documents for registering for small business in Singapore.

For registering the company, you must choose the company name. Remember that in Singapore, the company names must be different from one another. Usually, the company name comes along with the business type name—for example, XYZ Pte Ltd or XYZ Limited or XYZ corporation. Therefore, search to find the unique company name. Here is one additional information, if you want your company name to get approved quickly, avoid including the business types like media, school or bank in the company name. These are business types which don’t come under ACRA control.

Two Creative Small Business Owners Planning their business moves

Here is the list of company types that are common in Singapore.

 – Private limited company: This is one of the popular business type choices in Singapore. It is because the tax exemptions are good and the government allows the company to have upto 50 shareholders.

 – LLP (Limited Liability Company): Though the businesses own a legal identity for each of them separately, they can have a partnership in business deals.

 – The other sorts of business types are a subsidiary company, sole proprietorship, branch office, representative office and variable capital company. You can research and choose one among these while registering the company.

SSIC code is mandatory to start a small business in Singapore. The SSIC code represents the business which your company performs. Via SSIC code, the ACRA will recognize it. Well, can you guess what would be the next step in starting a trade? Yes, it is getting shareholders, directors and the corporate secretary. As mentioned before, for registering the company, you must have proper documents of these members. In Singapore, the maximum limit of shareholders is 50. And foreign citizens can also be the shareholders.

Similarly, directors of the company can also be a foreign citizen. However, ensure that at least one of the directors is residing in Singapore. You can also prefer choosing a nominee director that is one of the standard practices there. Finally, the prominent role of the company’s secretary is to collect the necessary documents about the company and submit it to the Singapore government. According to the law, the company must appoint the corporate secretary as soon as possible (that is within 6 months of time).

Final words: After registration for your business, check for the appropriate grant given by the Singapore government. The best part of the grants is, you need not repay the grant amount (unlike loans). Research and get to know how the grants work for small businesses in Singapore. The grant is given for various reasons – to develop the small entrepreneurs’ community in the country or to know about the specific business industry (The grant would be a reward for your research data). However, after receiving the grant, you must periodically report about the business status to the concerned department. Now, you have received the grant, and the next step is developing your trade.

These are some tips and advice through which you can start a small business in Singapore. Though it is not an easy deal, you can become an entrepreneur via consistent hard work. Hope, you will follow these and strive to dig a deep business root in Singapore.

Various Business Grants Provided by Government of Singapore

If you think about Singapore, it is one of the beautiful places for tourism. It is estimated that nearly 18 million tourists visited Singapore in 2018. Additionally, there is one more specialty of Singapore.

YES! Starting a business in Singapore. Singapore stands second (after New Zealand) best country to start the business. Apart from this there are also various Business grants available in Singapore to help businesses.

Various Business Grants Provided by Government of Singapore

Here are the reasons for it

1. Business-Friendly Place for Startups: We all know that Singapore is located in South-East Asia. The country is located close to India and China trade markets that pave the way for traders to start a company in this location. The second significant reason for businesses to start their business in Singapore would be the Changi Airport. YES, this International airport is connected with nearly 300 cities. This will undoubtedly assist the traders in developing their trade in many locations.

2.  Supporting Legal System: Singapore has strong and stable corporate laws that support the business in the country. The Singapore Companies Act is strongly regulating the company’s formation, shareholder policies, rights and also the company’s structure. Companies can rely on these corporate laws that incorporate the employment act; data protect act, and competition act.

3. Grants Available in Singapore: This is considered as one of the niche benefits for businesses to start a trade in the country. Seeing this point in detail will help the budding companies to handle their trade in Singapore. Read further to know about the bunch of grants that are available in Singapore. And how the business can get benefited via the same.

Grants Available in Singapore

Some of the Start-up Grants in Singapore:

Before getting into the details, one must know that all the startup grants in Singapore are covered under one roof named “Startup SG.” Now we can look into those schemes one after the other.

Startup SG Founder: If the business owner comes with a really creative and unique business idea, then they can benefit from this grant. If the trade idea has the potential to withstand the market competition, then mentorship costs and the capital amount will be provided to the entrepreneurs. The startup SG fund will be given in two settlements within one year of the business. Moreover, mentorship assistance and networking support is also provided during that period for the business to reach the milestone. However, one must carefully check the eligibility criteria to apply for getting this startup SG fund in Singapore. The candidate applying for this fund must be a Singapore citizen or must have the residential address in Singapore. Secondly, the applicant must not have applied for any other fund from any other government. The predominant functional operations of the startup company must be held in Singapore.

Startup SG Tech: As per the name, the main aim of this scheme is to develop the technology-based business. The grant offered for SG tech is to bring technologies into business modules. Here, the scheme is divided into two segments, namely – POC (Proof of Concept) and POV (Proof of Value). In the first stage (POC), the entrepreneurs must develop innovative technology to develop a strong business. One cannot apply for this scheme only with baseless ideas or fundamental research. The technical idea must be in-depth and also the details about how the innovative technology is going to help the business. In the second phase (POV), the technical protocol must be developed for the working environment.

Startup SG Equity: This is one of the co-investment schemes launched by the Singapore government for the startup companies. There are different eligibility criteria for startups and investors to apply for startup SG equity grants in Singapore. The startup must not be under joint venture or any subsidiary to apply for this grant. Secondly, the business must not get involved in law violations. That is, the investors must not involve anything that troubles the public interest (like gambling etc.).

Startup SG Talent: Technically talented people must be involved in business for betterment. Right? And this grant insists on the same. If you are skilful and have talent, and are trying to start a business in Singapore, you can apply for a startup SG talent grant in Singapore. The three pillars of this grant are EntrePass, T-Up and STP (SME Talent Programme). The first pillar that is EntrePass supports the talents you are awaiting to start a trade-in in Singapore. The second pillar (T-UP) can be utilized to handle research and development for business projects. The time duration is for two years. The grant includes several business areas to explore, including microelectronics, data storage, info-communications, medical technology etc. The STP stage of the grant involves the young generation to get internships with the startups.

Startup SG Loan: The government offers loans to start the business, the capital amount required for buying the equipment and also for running the trade. There are two pillars, which include SME Microloan and SME Venture loans. The company must have less than 10 employees. And the company must be operating in Singapore. The businesses must repay the amount within 4 years of time.

Recently many small & medium enterprises are emerging in Singapore. Below given are some of the grants available in Singapore for SMEs.

Enterprise Development Grant:

Government Grants in Singapore

Every business has goals to expand their trade overseas by developing multiple branches across the globe. For this, the traders must understand the market, tips to build their trade according to the market trend and in-depth knowledge about the technologies. The EDG (Enterprise Development Grant) supports the traders in multiple ways. Companies in Singapore can utilize the EDG and grow effortlessly.

There are three EDG pillars that assist in expanding your trade – market access, creativeness & development and the core strength. If you are planning to expand the business roots overseas, then you can tap the help from EDG market access. Secondly, via innovation, the companies in Singapore can gain knowledge about the specific areas of business development. And also, best possible ways to increase the production drastically. Finally, apart from basic business functionalities, the trade must improve its core ability. By improvising the core capabilities via the EDG grants available in Singapore, the business can excel in various aspects.

PSG (Productivity Solutions Grant):

Technology plays a vital role in developing trade. It drives the business on the right path and also paves the way for success. The productivity solutions grant of Singapore is one such miracle that supports the businesses to expand their technical knowledge and lead them to production enhancement. PSG in Singapore is available for various sectors that include construction, food, retail industry etc. And looking into the industry-specific PSG – it is available in multiple streamlines like data and financial management, customer support solutions, inventory etc.

The productivity solutions grant of Singapore is controlled by the government companies, including NEA (National Environmental Agency), STB (Singapore Tourism Board) and Enterprise Singapore. Below are the eligibility criteria for adopting the PSG, given by Enterprise Singapore.

– If you have registered your trade in Singapore.

– You must hold a minimum of 30% shares in Singapore.

– Companies turnover and the number of employees working in the company is also given in the eligibility criteria. The total number of employees must be within 200. And the yearly turnover must not exceed S$100 million.

Here we have mentioned how to apply PSG in Singapore.

MRA Grant in Singapore:

If you are looking for opportunities to expand your SME overseas, then this MRA grant is the right choice. Similar to other grants, MRA also has a set of eligibility criteria. The business must be registered, or it must be incorporated in Singapore. The rest of the criteria are similar to other grants of Singapore. Additionally, the business must be new to develop its trade globally.

Now you may have a query whether your trade matches the qualities for overseas trade development. Let us look into that. If your trade has an annual turnover of S$100,000 (or below) for the past three years, then your business is eligible for a market readiness assistance grant in Singapore.

LPG (Land Productivity Grant in Singapore):

The land productivity grant is specifically for trades that want relocation domestically. Via this grant, the company can get upto 70% of the money support that is required for relocating the business. The LPG grant supports the traders by giving the costs that are required to shift the equipment or the machinery to the new location. However, this does NOT include the taxes and the land buying costs. The LPG grant also covers the costs for market and location study.

There are many other grants in Singapore that support the business growth of social enterprises, like the VFG (Venture for Good) grant. And BIF (Business Improvement Fund) for developing the trade related to tourism.

As bottom-line, if you are applying for any of the grants in Singapore, know about the eligibility criteria. If your trade matches those criteria, then proceed further. Moreover, you must have the appropriate documents required for submitting for grant approval. After the approval, the company must take initiatives to develop the trade as per the grant terms. Getting legal consultation from lawyers will also help you to start a firm that abides by the lawsuit.

Restaurant POS system for Small Businesses

The Restaurant POS system is a tool for helping the restaurant business in Singapore with billing, inventory management, CRM, reporting, etc. The restaurant business is an evolving business so if not kept in the pace you will not survive in the industry.

With the introduction of cloud technology, the restaurant industry has undergone many changes. Cloud based Restaurant POS system automate and optimize restaurant operations effectively.

Reasons why you should have a Restaurant Point of Sale

1. Data safety as everything is on the cloud. Even if the machine is damaged the data remains secure

2. The POS system for F& B can function both online and offline

3. Restaurant operations are simplified

4. The restaurant owner can monitor his business from anywhere

5. Easy integration with third party modules

6. Cost is reduced

The benefits of using a POS system for F&B are;

1.The POS system help in getting accurate reports of the business be it financial or otherwise.

2.Saves time and money

3.Customer relationships are made better  as the customer can pick his payment option, order online, this reduces his wait time and he is satisfied.

4.The Restaurant POS system can be used to store customer data, redeem loyalty points and add discounts

5.Inventory can be easily tracked

6.The reports generated are very analytical and helps in important decision making

7.Customisations can be done based on requirement

8.Data is secure.

9.Errors are minimized.

The Top POS systems for F& B are;

1. Moiboo software

Moiboo Restaurant POS System in Singapore
PriceSGD 5400 with Up to 80% PSG Grant
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web

2. TouchBistro POS

Touchbistro POS
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web

3. Revel Systems

Revel Systems POS
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web

4. Epos Now

EPOS now
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web

5. SlickPOS

Slick POS Software
PriceUS$ 19/month
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web

6. Qashier

Qashier POS Software
Price$5000 – $12000
SupportOnline – 24/7
DeploymentCloud, Saas, Web


A good point of sale helps in handling payments and recording sales. It also helps the owner to manage inventory, to know what is coming in and what is going out.  The profitability by showing which product is selling at the highest.


While choosing the POS system it is important to check if it is a cloud-based system, the system should be easy to use. The system should have all the features that are required by the business and finally, the system should be able to work both online and offline.