EntrePass scheme enhanced to attract global start-ups to Singapore

 Singapore skyscapers at Battery Road, with the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles seen at the foreground.
Singapore skyscapers at Battery Road, with the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles seen at the foreground.ST PHOTO: FILE

SINGAPORE - A government scheme aimed at attracting global start-ups has been enhanced to make it even easier for them to set up operations here.

The criteria for start-ups that want to apply for the EntrePass scheme will be broadened from Aug 3, said a joint statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Spring Singapore and Startup SG.

Currently, applicants are assessed on four innovation criteria, such as whether they have funding from a government-recognised venture capital fund or whether they have a collaboration with a Singapore research institute.

The new criteria include entrepreneurial and investment track records, business networks, and key achievements in their areas of expertise.

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The Government has also removed a requirement for the start-up applicants to have a $50,000 paid-up capital.

This is to "recognise the non-monetary contributions of global start-up talent such as expertise and relevance to industries", the agencies said in the statement.

The validity period of each EntrePass will be extended from one to two years after the first renewal to provide more certainty for global entrepreneurs in scaling up their businesses.

These enhancements to the scheme were first announced during MTI's Committee of Supply COS debate in March.

In addition to Spring, the enhanced EntrePass scheme will include two new partner agencies - the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the National Research Foundation, supported by SGInnovate.

These agencies will work with MOM to evaluate the applications in their respective sectors.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said in the statement that start-ups are an important driver of innovation and are becoming increasingly important as Singapore transforms to become an innovative and value-creating economy.

"These enhancements are part of the Government's efforts to develop a vibrant landscape that is attractive to global start-up talent, while promoting our local start-ups to establish and build innovative businesses, thus creating new industry sectors and job opportunities for Singaporeans."

The group director (Industry Development 2, Innovative & Start-Ups, Partnerships for Capability Transformation) at Spring, Mr Edwin Chow, added: "Singapore's efforts in grooming start-ups have resulted in an attractive ecosystem for global entrepreneurs.

"They will complement our local founders with their skillsets and understanding of foreign market opportunities, to build stronger and fast-growing start-ups."