Starting a Business in Singapore

High on the list of locations entrepreneurs are looking to expand their businesses to is Singapore. Known as the 4th-largest financial center in the world, Singapore is the perfect destination to start a successful venture. It is a highly-urbanized country that is home to a number of prominent industries. Thanks to these factors, Singapore has the 3rd-highest per-capita income in the world. And, for those that may be leery to jump into a country without knowing its stability, Singapore is renowned for being relatively corruption-free and a safe bet to do business in — as recognized by the World Bank as #2 (behind New Zealand).

With all of this in mind, you may be looking to start a business in Singapore the traditional way. The steps generally follow this procession:

  1. Apply for an Employment Pass (known as an EntrePass) from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  2. Companies must register as a “private limited company,” which requires that they must not be registered for 6 months prior to application, have SGD$50,000 in paid-up capital, and applicants must hold at least 30% of shares in the potential business. (It should be noted that many business types are not permitted, including massage parlors, food courts, and employment/ temp agencies).
  3. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to be a director of a company.
  4. For applicants that are looking to merge a business and they don’t have a SingPass, a lawyer or accountant (or other professional) can help submit your online application on your behalf. Additionally, non-holders of a SingPass can continue to submit other parts of the application process (i.e. endorsements and transactions) via BizFile, the online portion of ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Authority).


Depending on your business model and industry, you may be required to fill out additional forms and apply for various licenses in order to create a business presence in Singapore.

All of this can be a substantial amount of work and may be a barrier-to-entry for many small businesses, cash-strapped entrepreneurs, and bootstrapped startups with limited investment capital. And, until your business has been approved, your business won’t be able to earn a single profit in Singapore. This alone can scare off many (rightfully) risk-averse entrepreneurs, but there is a better way to establish a presence: virtual phone numbers.

Let’s take a look at how virtual phone numbers can circumvent the complicated process of starting a business in Singapore the traditional way.

Starting a Business in Singapore with Virtual Phone Numbers

As you can probably imagine, starting a business as a foreign national in Singapore can pose more than a few challenges, some of which may be out of reach for new businesses. However, if your business is primarily Internet-based or if you’ve embraced implementing “virtual offices/ locations,” you can use Singapore virtual phone numbers to get into contact with businesses and customers in Singapore. Even if your business is located in another part of the world, you can call and receive calls just as if your business was located within the country’s borders.

If you’re looking to go further in your Singapore localization efforts, using Singapore toll free numbers not only enables callers to reach your business free of charge (you, the subscriber, pick up the tab), but it can also give your business a professional sheen and enhanced brand awareness.

Last, virtual phone numbers are an extremely cost-effective alternative to going through the steps to setting up a brick and mortar presence in Singapore. The truth is that the traditional method of setting up a business presence in Singapore, as outlined above, is only one portion of the costs associated with your business venture — there’s also the hiring of staff, leasing property, following local guidelines, and many other concerns to be handled before making a return on your investment.

On the contrary, with virtual phone numbers from a trusted service provider, like Global Call Forwarding, your business can benefit from getting in contact as soon as you subscribe to a virtual phone number of your choice. There is no paperwork or any upfront fees required, and you can even use a free trial to see how virtual phone numbers impact your business. With virtual phone numbers, you can start a business in Singapore without having to be “in” Singapore.

Author: Tom Senkus

Tom Senkus is an international entrepreneur that shares his knowledge of expanding business presences in new locations, particularly focused on startups and small businesses. For more info on his list of writing services and published work, visit

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