Whats and Hows of the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass
Are you a foreign national who would like to move to Singapore and start a new business? Or perhaps you are currently on an employment pass working for another company in Singapore but would rather quit and incorporate your own business here?
If the answer to any one of the above is ‘yes’, the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is for you. With Singapore’s desire to become a regional business hub, it plans to attract a good number of entrepreneur minds into the country from overseas. The EntrePass is a type of Singapore Employment Pass that is designed to facilitate the entry and stay of foreign entrepreneurs who are ready to incorporate and launch a business in Singapore. EntrePass was introduced in 2004 and is aimed at attracting foreign entrepreneurs into the country.
Two categories of foreign nationals are eligible for the Singapore Entrepass:
• A foreign national who is an entrepreneur ready to start a company/business and be actively involved in the operation of the company/business in Singapore.
• A foreign national who is an existing shareholder/partner in a Singapore registered company/business and who wishes to become actively involved in the operation of the company/business.
The EntrePass allows global value-creating entrepreneurs and innovators to establish and run their business ventures in Singapore.
You don’t need to have a Ph.D. from top-notch school or have millions in the bank to get started. All you need is a good business plan and some investment to cover your startup expenses and support yourself in the early stages.
Important Facts about EntrePass
• Application for EntrePass should be made prior to incorporating your business in Singapore.
• Along with EntrePass application, you will need to submit a 10 page long business plan. The details of preparing a good business plan are described in the subsequent sections of this document.
• Businesses not of entrepreneurial nature for example, coffee shops / food courts, foot reflexology, massage parlours, karaoke lounges, money changing / remitting, newspaper vending, and tuition services etc will not be considered for an EntrePass.
• The application processing time is usually 2-3 weeks.
• If your application is successful, you will normally be issued an EntrePass that is valid for two years. You do not need to incorporate your business in Singapore until the successful outcome of your EntrePass application.
• Your EntrePass allows you to bring your immediate family members to Singapore to live with you.
• The EntrePass is renewable for as long as the business remains viable. You are also eligible to apply for a permanent residence in Singapore in due course.
Importance of Business Plan for EntrePass Application
Preparing a good business plan for your new Singapore business is one of the most crucial aspects of applying for EntrePass. The Good news is that the business plan is expected to be relatively concise i.e. no more than 10 pages long.
In addition to its importance in applying for EntrePass, another important value lies in the process of researching and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, study and research if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically.
A well thought out business plan will not only improve your chances of getting a Singapore EntrePass, but it will also help you clarify your mind and better prepare for your entrepreneurship journey. The well-known fleas-in-the-box analogy applies to your plan as well; if you put a lid on the box, the fleas will learn to jump to that height only, but if there is no lid, they jump as high as they are capable of doing. Your plan should set that lid higher. At the same time you must be confident that figures in business plan are achievable. You must strike a good balance between optimism and realism.
Make sure business plan EntrePass is impressive in presentation. Your plan must get across to readers what is interesting about your business. Stress your marketing and sales strategy and include a break-even analysis. Be sure to include tax payments, payments to local accountants and other service providers and the fact that your business funds will be kept in a Singapore bank!
How to prepare a good business plan for EntrePass?
So are you ready to prepare your business plan and apply for Singapore EntrePass? The guide below will help you to get a better understanding of the various sections and contents that are expected in the business plan.
1. Executive Summary (Approx. half-page)
Write this section last and keep it to half-page. Provide a brief summary of product(s)/service(s), target customers, owners, and the future for your business and industry in Singapore.
2. Business Concept (Approx. half-page to one page)
In this section you should include brief description of the proposed business and industry, a mission statement, company goals and objectives, business philosophy, strengths and core competencies of the proposed venture, critical success factors, and legal form of ownership. (To find out more about possible legal forms, see Singapore Business Structure Options for Entrepreneurs).
3. Product(s)/Service(s) (Approx. 1 page)
This is the place where you need to describe your product(s) or service(s) in detail. How will you differentiate your product(s)/services(s) from the competition? What will be your competitive edge?
4. Marketing Plan (Approx. 2-3 pages)
No matter how good your product and/or service, your business venture will not succeed without effective marketing. And it begins with careful research and planning upfront. Talk about the size of your market, current demand, and future growth prospects, and opportunities for a business of your size. What barriers will you face with your new venture and how will you overcome them? Write about your targeted customers, their characteristics, and their geographic locations, otherwise known as their demographics. Write about your direct and indirect competition: who, their size, position in the market. How will your offerings compare with your competition? Use a competitive analysis table to compare your new Singapore Company with the two most important competitors. Include factors such as price, quality, selection, service, reliability, technical and management expertise, sales and marketing strength, etc. Make an honest assessment of your company’s strong and weak points again!
st the competition. Outline your marketing strategy. How will you identify potential customers? How will you create awareness of your offerings? How will you advertise? What is your marketing budget (startup and ongoing)? What image do you want to project? What is your plan for creating marketing collateral (logo, website, business cards, brochures, etc.)? How will you retain customers? Write about distribution channels. How do plan to distribute your products/services? What will be your pricing strategy?
5. Operational Plan (Approx. 1-2 pages)
Explain the operations and resource needs of your new Singapore business venture. How and where your product(s)/services(s) will be produced? What equipment do you need? What is your procurement plan? Explain production, delivery, and quality control processes for your product(s)/services(s). Describe your location and space requirements? Who will be your suppliers? What will be the proposed credit, delivery, and quality control policies? What are the legal requirements for your business? Business licenses? Other regulations that apply to your industry? Insurance coverage needs? What are personnel requirements? What type of workforce (skills and experience) do you need? Pay structure? Job descriptions? Duties & Responsibilities? Organizational chart? HR policies? Recruitment plan? What services do you plan to outsource and to whom? What are your inventory needs and how do you plan to manage it? How do you plan to manage your accounts receivables and accounts payables?
6. Financial projections (Approx. 2 pages)
Provide projected sales and net profit before tax for three years, startup expenses, cash flow projections, and breakeven point, key assumptions. The intended startup capital for your new Singapore business must be able to cover your startup expenses and keep you afloat for the first 6-months. Many startup businesses fail because they run into cash flow problems soon after they start. The person who will be evaluating your Singapore EntrePass application will definitely be paying close attention to this.
7. Management Team (Approx. 1 page)
Talk about your past employment and business experience, achievements, key competencies, and roles & responsibilities. Identify weak areas and how you plan to address them.
8. Supporting Documents
Here you can provide any supporting documents that you have to backup the information you provided in your business plan. This might include customer leads, written articles, awards, certifications, etc.
Although it requires some effort and research, preparing a good business plan is not as difficult as you might think. Writing a business plan is just capturing your longer-term goals, objectives, estimates, and forecasts on paper. It typically takes couple of weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and re-thinking your ideas and assumptions. So make time to do the job properly. Those who do, never regret the effort.