S'pore tops Asia-Pacific in ranking for start-ups, 7th in the world

Singapore was also ranked 22nd out of 1,000 cities. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore has overtaken China as the top-ranked ecosystem for start-ups in the Asia-Pacific region, according to StartupBlink's Startup Ecosystem Index 2022.

The Republic ranked seventh out of 100 in the world overall, behind the United States, Britain, Israel, Canada, Sweden and Germany. Singapore was 10th in last year's ranking.

In the index's ranking of cities, Singapore emerged 22nd out of 1,000 cities.

The report singled out the financial technology (fintech) sector as Singapore's "over-performing" industry and also noted the Republic is now within the top 30 cities for other sectors like education tech, e-commerce and retail, software and data, and marketing and sales.

"Singapore is a model for innovation and continues the pattern of a relatively small country massively over-performing and creating regional impact as an open and powerful Asian hub," the report said, adding that Singapore's favourable tax legislation and ease of doing business attract "massive ecosystem investment".

The report cited ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab as an example of how the Republic plays host to the Asian headquarters of leading start-ups.

It also noted the presence of a growing number of start-up accelerators that offer access to financial aid and business loans, including programmes under Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and its Startup SG initiative.

ESG is listed in the report as one of StartupBlink's Asia-Pacific ecosystem partners.

Singapore's universities are also involved in the start-up scene by training the research and development workforce as well as connecting programmes to start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurship on campus, the report added.

While the Republic has a small market and population, it also has the advantage of having a global perspective which helps it position itself as a regional hub, the report said.

Other factors in its favour included its strong rule of law and intellectual property protection, as well as its start-up related visa programme EntrePass, which allows eligible foreign entrepreneurs to start and operate a business in Singapore that is venture-backed or possesses innovative technologies.

"Singapore's public sector is highly supportive of the start-up ecosystem, but the country should be careful not to turn this support into a dependency," the report said.

"Moreover, attracting talent and maintaining competitiveness on a global scale should also be focal points for Singapore."

StartupBlink is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and bills itself as "the world's most comprehensive start-up ecosystem map and research centre".

It has published the index and an accompanying report every year since 2017, with the goal of helping start-up founders decide where to build their businesses.

The index is generated using an algorithm that calculates scores for quantity, quality and business environment based on quantitative data.

The quantity score takes into account how many start-ups, co-working spaces, accelerators and start-up-related meet-ups there are in a given country or city, among other things.

The quality score taps databases from partners like search engine firm Semrush and business information platform Crunchbase. It examines various factors like private sector investment, presence of research and development centres of tech firms, and the number and size of relevant events and conferences.

The business environment score focuses on country-level factors like national infrastructure, policies and legislation.

It also examines the country or city's Internet speed and freedom, availability of various services like payment portals, and the number of patents filed per capita.

Top 10 Startup Ecosystem Index 2022

  1. United States
  2. Britain
  3. Israel
  4. Canada
  5. Sweden
  6. Germany
  7. Singapore
  8. Australia
  9. France
  10. China

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