Enhanced entrepass scheme benefits global startups

Effective as of August 3, 2017, the updated EntrePass Scheme reduces or eliminates the requirements that previously made it difficult for global entrepreneurs in the exploratory phase from qualifying for EntrePass. As noted in a press release by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the scheme enhancements open new opportunities for serial entrepreneurs, high-caliber innovators, and experienced investors to relocate and launch a startup company in Singapore.

Paid-up capital requirements eliminated

Under the Enhanced EntrePass Scheme, global entrepreneurs are no longer required to have at least S$50,000 in paid-up capital. As stated in a speech by the Minister of State for Trade Industry Dr. Koh Poh Koon, the removal of the paid-up capital requirement will, “welcome global entrepreneurs with good ideas to come in at a much earlier stage, and grow their businesses from Singapore”.

For global entrepreneurs, this not only reduces the expense of establishing new companies in Singapore but also offers more freedom to test the viability of their ventures–without the constraint of immediately committing capital.

New evaluation criteria focuses on past experience

In addition to the four previous schemes, the Enhanced EntrePass scheme has implemented three criteria that open Singapore’s startup scene to international talent with impressive track records:

1. Business network and entrepreneurial track record

Global entrepreneurs can now qualify if they have founded and sold a tech company, participated in a world renowned incubator or possess strong industry related business contacts, among other entrepreneurial achievements.

With the new criteria, international early stage startups can take advantage of the government incentive programs, and low tax rates in Singapore even if they have not yet secured funding.

2. Extraordinary innovation achievements in key areas of expertise

Under the new scheme, global entrepreneurs qualify for EntrePass if they have exceptional technical or domain expertise in their industry.

The new criteria open the opportunity to global innovators who want to take advantage of Singapore’s strong intellectual property protection and advanced research community while creating new technology.

3. Investment track record

Investors with a solid record of investing in businesses and who want to invest in new or established businesses can qualify for EntrePass. The new criteria requires investors to make a substantial investment in a local company. In addition, according to the MOM, candidates must have a strong track record of investing in and driving growth of highly-scalable businesses or significant experience as a senior management professional or executive in a large corporation.

Under the new criteria, global investors can now form and profit from Singapore’s startup ecosystem of founders, venture capitals, angel investors and private equity firms.

Extension of EntrePass to more government partners

Under the prior EntrePass scheme, SPRING Singapore processed all EntrePass applications. The new changes now include the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

With these two new additions, startups in new and emerging industries will be eligible for EntrePass. In addition, the extensive sector knowledge of the IMDA and the NRF will allow for the value of new startups to be evaluated more comprehensively than through SPRING Singapore alone.

EntrePass is valid for longer

The new enhanced EntrePass scheme allows global companies to focus on reducing expenses and hiring the best employees while worrying less about meeting renewal requirements. The chart below provides the new renewal requirements issued by the MOM:

Number of years holding an EntrePassNumber of local jobs createdMinimum total business spending (SGD)
1--
23 FTE (Full Time Employees)

Or

1 PME (professional, manager or executive)
100,000
46 FTEs

Or

2 PMEs
200,000
69 FTEs

Or

3 PMEs
300,000
8 or more12 FTEs

Or

4 PMEs
400,000

EntrePass holders can bring dependents to Singapore sooner

EntrePass candidates can now bring certain family members to Singapore within the first year as long as the candidate meets the Year 2 minimum business spending and job creation requirements. Under the previous EntrePass scheme, global entrepreneurs had to wait a year before they could bring dependents to Singapore.

The new renewal criteria allow international entrepreneurs to continue to work on their businesses in Singapore, without having to sacrifice their family lives.

The chart below provides a recap of the new requirements:

Family MembersNumber of local jobs createdMinimum total business spending (SGD)
Spouse

Children
3 FTE (Full Time Employees)

Or

1 PME (professional, manager or executive)
100,000
Parents


6 FTEs200,000

A warm welcome for global startups

Minister of State for Trade Industry Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Singapore recognizes the potential of international startups; he said “[Global] 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”.

With the enhancements to EntrePass scheme, experienced global entrepreneurs can find a home where they can cultivate and establish new businesses in Singapore’s growing startup ecosystem.