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Why Singapore is a good destination for business

According to Doing Business 2020, Singapore was ranked 2nd, with a score of 86.2. The Doing Business project at the World Bank Group provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

  • Excellent Infrastructure

The CMS Infrastructure Index analyses data across 50 jurisdictions against six key criteria to create a guide to the most attractive destinations for infrastructure investment. According to the 2023 Infrastructure Index, Singapore was ranked 5th, with a weighted score of 73.6. The score averaged across metrics including economic status, tax environment, political stability, sustainability and innovation, ease of doing business and private participation.


  • Lower Tax Rates

Singapore has a lower flat tax rate capped at 22%. In addition, there are many government tax schemes available. The Singapore government has signed over 20 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and over 80 Avoidance of Double Tax Agreements (DTAs), which promote trade by reducing barriers to trade in goods, services and investments. Click here (link to Tax schemes) to find out about the various schemes.

  • Strong Government Support

There are over 100 government schemes to assist and support your business, now all in one place on GoBusiness.


From funding support to references and programs for building capabilities, skills and knowledge, GoBusiness will help you find the government assistance you need.

Business Grants for Start Ups

Startup SG Founder

​Startup SG Founder provides mentorship and startup capital grant of S$50,000 to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. Startups are required to commit S$10,000 as co-matching fund to the grant.


The enhanced Startup SG Founder scheme will comprise of two tracks: The Startup SG Founder “Train” track (a new track), and the Startup SG Founder “Start” track (enhanced from the existing SSGF scheme).



Startup SG Founder “Train” Track

Apply for Startup SG Founder “Train” through an Venture Builder and Accredited Mentor Partner (‘VB-AMP’). Shortlisting and selection of participants into the VB Programmes are subject to the VB-AMPs’ screening criteria, which takes into consideration, but is not limited to, the aptitude, expertise, background and related experience of the applicant. The applicant must also be able to commit to running a startup after the programme.


In addition, individuals must be Singapore Citizens (SC) / Permanent Residents (PR) and must commit to 100% attendance rate to be eligible for this track. This means that individuals who are in full-time or part-time employment will not be eligible unless they tender their resignation before the start of the programme.


Startup SG Founder “Start” Track

Apply for Startup SG Founder “Start” through an Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP). Applicants will need to reach out to an AMP of choice and submit their pitch deck for the AMP’s consideration. AMP will assess applicants based on (but not limited to) the following criteria: 

  • Differentiated business – how novel the idea/product/service/business model/process is compared to what is available in the market

  • Feasibility of the business – whether the revenue model is sustainable

  • Potential market opportunity – how large the size of the target market is, and how the company intends to reach out to its customer segments

  • Management team – whether the founding team demonstrate passion and entrepreneurial spirit, and have the relevant technical and business skills to execute the idea.

If the AMP assesses that the applicant has met the eligibility and evaluation criteria, they will provide a letter of recommendation to the applicant. Applicants must then attach this letter in an online application form to be submitted to Enterprise Singapore within 2 weeks from the receipt of the letter of recommendation. Enterprise Singapore will inform the applicant and AMP on the application status for the grant.

The grant is open to all Singaporeans/Permanent Residents who meet the following conditions at the time of application and throughout the grant period:

  • The team has at least 3 SC/PRs, who are the main applicants of the grant;

  • At least 2 of the 3 main applicants are first-time founders;

  • The main applicants who are first-time founders must hold a minimum of 30% equity* in the company collectively;

  • The main applicants must register/have registered a private limited company in Singapore upon approval;

  • The company must have a minimum 51% SC/PR shareholdings;

  • The company must not be more than 6 months of incorporation at the point of application to the AMP;

  • The business activities run by the company should be conducted wholly or mainly in Singapore.

  • The main applicants must register/have registered a private limited company in Singapore upon approval;

  • The 3 main applicants must contribute meaningfully to the company, and not be engaged in any form of external employment (employment where employers, apart from the entity recipient of the Startup SG Founder grant, contribute CPF for their employees), including full-time National Service;

  • At least 2 of the 3 main applicants, who are first time founders, should be committed full time to the company**, and must be key decision makers of the company;

  • The main applicant(s) must not have received any funding for the proposed business idea from another government organization;

  • Previous Startup SG Founder grant awardees (S$30,000 or S$50,000 grant) are not eligible for subsequent Startup SG Founder grants; 

  • The proposed business idea must not be in the following list: cafes, restaurants, night clubs, lounges, bars, foot reflexology, massage parlours, gambling, prostitution, social escort services, employment agencies (including recruiting foreign work permit holders and workers/support staff, relocation services, and manpower services), and geomancy.

Click here to submit your pitch deck to an AMP.

*All main applicants who are first-time founders are to hold non-zero equity.

**Students who have ongoing academic commitments are not considered full-time committed to the company. 

Startup SG Tech

  • Startup SG Tech

The Startup SG Tech grant fast-tracks the development of proprietary technology solutions and catalyses the growth of startups based on proprietary technology and a scalable business model. Startup SG Tech is a competitive grant that supports Proof-of-Concept (POC) and Proof-of-Value (POV) for commercialisation of innovative technologies. Companies may apply for POC or POV grants depending on the stage of development of the technology/concept.


Through Startup SG Tech, companies may receive early-stage funding for the commercialisation of proprietary technology.



Your solution must:

  • Clearly demonstrate how science/technology is applied;

  • Be of a breakthrough level of innovation (i.e. distinctly different or new technology which either (i) has the potential to disrupt an existing market; or (ii) to replace, or create, a new market/purpose/niche.);

  • Lead to or build on proprietary know-how/IP;

  • Be commercially viable.


Applicants should be:

Startup Companies

  • Registered in Singapore within the past 10 years at time of grant application;

  • At least 30% local shareholdings;

  • Company is not a subsidiary of a corporate entity at point of incorporation;

  • Company’s group annual sales turnover is not more than $100 million or group employment size is not more than 200 workers; and

  • Core R&D activities to be carried out in Singapore


Qualifying Projects

Your project must either be a:

Proof-Of-Concept (POC) Project

Your solution is at the conceptualisation stage, and the technical/scientific viability still needs to be proven.

It will be advised to clearly explain the innovative science or technology concept behind the solution. Individual applicants from public sector research institutes must demonstrate entrepreneurial commitment to continue their technology commercialisation work upon successful completion of the project.

To maintain financial discipline, startups will be required to inject an increase in paid-up capital of 10% of the POC grant. The grant cap for POC will remain at $250,000.


Proof-Of-Value (POV) Project

You already have a technically/scientifically viable concept (POC available), and you wish to carry out further development of a working prototype, to validate the commercial merit of an established concept.

The technology concept you are building on has to be shown, and the commercial merit to be validated. It will also be required to demonstrate proof-of-interest from a potential customer or 3rd party investor, and the necessary business competencies to execute the project.

To maintain financial discipline, startups will be required to inject an increase in paid-up capital of 20% of the POV grant. The grant cap for POV will remain at $500,000.

Your project should fall under one of the following areas:

1. Advanced Manufacturing / Robotics

2. Biomedical Sciences and Healthcare

3. Clean Technology

4. Information & Communications Technologies

5. New Industries

6. Precision Engineering

7. Transport Engineering / Engineering Services

8. Food Science and Technology

9. Agritech 

Business Grants for Start Ups

Adopt Technology to Digitize my Business

  • Operation & Technology Roadmap (OTR)

Development of technology roadmaps to map out priorities that are aligned to businesses’ strategies and developmental plans. Eligible SMEs may receive up to 70% funding support.


  • Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) 

The PSG supports businesses in the adoption of productivity solutions. Businesses can choose from a list of pre-scoped solutions and receive up to 70% funding support for eligible costs.


  • Start Digital

SMEs new to using digital technology can adopt any 2 solutions e.g. Digital Marketing, Digital Collaboration, Accounting, HR/Payroll, Cybersecurity, etc., at no cost for at least 6 months (min. 18 months contract).


  • Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up)

Get access to talents from A*STAR’s Research Institutes and build in-house R&D capabilities.

Business Aid Grants

  • Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)

The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) was announced on 17 Aug 2020 to encourage employers to accelerate their hiring of local workforce by providing wage support, so as to create good and long-term jobs for locals.


  • Multichannel E-commerce Platform (MEP) Programme

This programme connects SMEs to MEP solution providers, which will help to list and sell products on multiple overseas e-marketplaces. Eligible SMEs will receive a one-time support-70% of eligible costs for a year.

  • P-Max

Funding support for SMEs to better recruit, manage and retain newly-hired local PMETs.


  • Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The PSG supports businesses in the adoption of productivity solutions. Businesses can choose from a list of pre-scoped solutions and receive up to 70% funding support for eligible costs.


  • Rental Relief for SME Tenants

No application is required. Cash grant of ~0.8 months of rent for qualifying commercial property, and ~0.64 months of rent for qualifying non-residential property to owners, to be fully passed on to SME tenants.


  • Rental Relief for Tenants in Public Properties

No application is required. Businesses located in Government-owned/managed non-residential premises will qualify for rental waivers. Eligible tenants will be notified by their respective landlords.


  • Senior Employment Credit

No application is required. The Senior Employment Credit provides wage offsets to help employers that employ workers aged 55 and above adjust to the higher Retirement Age and Re-employment Age.


  • SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes (WSPs)

Businesses can groom and hire fresh talent through Work-Study Programmes across Certificate, Diploma, Post-Diploma, and Degree levels. Businesses will jointly design and deliver with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and appointed private providers.


  • Start Digital

SMEs new to using digital technology can adopt any 2 solutions e.g. Digital Marketing, Digital Collaboration, Accounting, HR/Payroll, Cybersecurity, etc., at no cost for at least 6 months (min. 18 months contract).


  • Wage Credit Scheme

No application is required. The government provides co-funding of wage increments for Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $5,000.

Hire, Train and Upskill Employees

  • Career Trial

Allows companies to assess jobseekers’ job fit through a short-term trial, before formal employment. Government will provide training allowance to the jobseekers for the trial period (up to 3 months).


  • Citrep+

Build ICT technical skills for your employees in areas such as cyber security, data analytics, network and infrastructure and software development. Funding support of up to 90%.


  • Company-Led Training (CLT) Programme

CLT accelerates professional development through on-the-job training programme for fresh to mid-level professionals acquiring competencies for jobs in demand by industry, especially the Digital Economy sector.


  • Design Thinking Business Transformation Programme

The programme aims to support companies in their business transformation and innovation capabilities. Companies will be trained in the design thinking process with mentoring sessions over the six-month programme.


  • Employment Support for Ex-Offenders

This programme supports companies to tap on ex-offenders as an alternative pool of trained and skilled workers.


  • Employment Support for Persons with Disabilities

Hire, train and integrate Persons with Disabilities into the workforce. Receive course fee subsidies of up to 90% for SG Enable’s list of curated training courses.


  • Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS)

The ETSS offers higher course fee grant of up to 90% of the course fees and absentee payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary at a higher cap of $7.50 per hour for SMEs signing up for SSG-supported courses.
With effect from 1 Jan 2022, SSG will introduce a fixed absentee payroll rate of $4.50 per hour, capped at $100,000 per organisation annually. 

  • Part-Time Re-employment Grant (PTRG)

Provides funding support to companies that voluntarily commit to providing part-time re-employment to all eligible seniors who request for it.


  • SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes (WSPs)

Businesses can groom and hire fresh talent through Work-Study Programmes across Certificate, Diploma, Post-Diploma, and Degree levels. Businesses will jointly design and deliver with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and appointed private providers.

Improve Financial Management

Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)

The EFS helps Singapore enterprises to access financing more readily. ESG will share the loan default risk in the event of enterprise insolvency with the Participating Financial Institutions.

Types of Loans

1. Green Loan

2. SME Working Capital Loan

3. SME Fixed Assets Loan

4. Venture Debt Loan

5. Trade Loan

6. Project Loan

7. Mergers & Acquisitions Loan


  • Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) 

The TBLP provides access to working capital for business needs, at a maximum loan quantum of S$3 million with 70% Government risk-share on loans for new applications initiated from 1 April 2020 - 30 September 2022.

Business Schemes

Cash Accounting Scheme

The Cash Accounting Scheme is designed to alleviate the cash flow of small businesses. Under the scheme, businesses only have to account for output tax when payment is received.


The Cash Accounting Scheme, which is available to small businesses whose annual sales do not exceed S$1 million, offers the following benefits.

  1. Eases Cashflow

If you are not operating under the Cash Accounting Scheme, you must account for output tax based on the time of supply rules applicable to all GST-registered businesses.
In most cases, you must account for output tax at the earlier of (a) when an invoice is issued or (b) when payment is received.
This may result in you paying and accounting for output tax before receiving payment from your customers.


  1. Eases Compliance

The scheme also has the benefit of easing compliance as businesses on the scheme only need to keep track of when they receive and make payment for their GST reporting.


Qualifying for the Scheme

To apply for the scheme, you must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. You are registered for GST under voluntary basis;

  2. You do not expect the value of your taxable supplies to exceed S$1 million for the 12 months after using the scheme;

  1. You have no GST returns unfiled or tax unpaid; and

  2. In the three years before the date of your application, you have not:

    • Been convicted of an offence nor accepted an offer of composition under the GST Act or the Customs Act;

    • Been assessed to a penalty under Section 48 of the GST Act; and

    • Had the Cash Accounting Scheme withdrawn from you.


  • Discounted Sale Price Scheme

Under the Discounted Sale Price Scheme, you can charge GST on 50% of the selling price when you sell a second-hand / used vehicle. You do not need to seek prior approval from IRAS to use the scheme.

Accounting for and Reporting GST

You must charge GST on 50% of the sale price and report the value of standard-rated supply and output tax in your GST return.


  • Gross Margin Scheme

Second-Hand dealers who purchased goods free of GST may use the Gross Margin Scheme (GMS) to charge and account for GST.

What is Gross Margin Scheme?

A GST-registered person is required to charge GST at the prevailing rate on the full value of the goods he sells.

As GMS is a special scheme that allows you to account GST (i.e. output tax) only on the gross margin. The buyer of your used goods is not allowed to claim any input tax on the goods, even if he is a GST-registered person.

You cannot use the loss from one sales transaction to offset the gross margin on another sales transaction for the purpose of determining the GST (i.e. output tax) to be accounted by you.

  • Hand-Carried Exports Scheme (HCES)

The Hand-Carried Exports Scheme (HCES) is applicable if you wish to zero-rate your supplies to overseas customers for goods hand-carried out of Singapore via Changi International Airport.


  • Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS)

Under IGDS, approved GST-registered businesses pay GST on imports payments when their monthly GST returns are due instead of at the point of importation.

Currently, GST on imported goods (import GST) is payable to Singapore Customs at the point of importation.

IGDS aims to ease the import GST cash flow arising from the time lapse between the payment of import GST and the claiming of import GST for GST-registered businesses.

Major Exporter Scheme(MES)

Under MES, GST on non-dutiable goods is suspended at the point of import and also when the goods are removed from Zero GST warehouses.

Major Exporter Scheme (MES) is designed to ease the cash flow of businesses that import and export goods substantially.


Under normal rules, the businesses have to pay GST upfront on imports and subsequently obtain a refund from IRAS after submission of their GST returns.


This can create cash flow problems for businesses that export goods substantially as no GST is collected from the zero-rated supplies to set-off their initial cash outflow on imports.


Businesses granted the MES are able to import non-dutiable goods with GST suspended. Effective from 1 Jul 2006, such businesses also enjoy GST suspension on goods removed from a Zero GST warehouse.

Tourist Refund Scheme (for retailers)

GST-registered businesses may provide GST refunds to tourists as an independent retailer or by engaging the services of a Central Refund Agency. In either case, they need to do so under the electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS).

Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme (eTRS)

eTRS, which connects multiple Central Refund Agencies and retailers on a single platform, offers tourists a seamless and hassle-free experience when they shop in Singapore and seek refunds for the GST paid before leaving Singapore.

Zero GST (ZG) Warehouse Scheme

The Zero GST (ZG) Warehouse Scheme is administered by Singapore Customs. Under this scheme, import GST on non-dutiable overseas goods is suspended when the goods are moved into a ZG warehouse. GST is payable only when the imported goods leave the warehouse and enter the local market.

When you operate a ZG warehouse under the scheme, you can import non-dutiable overseas goods into the ZG warehouse with GST suspended.

​Productivity & Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme

Under the PIC scheme, businesses (sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies (including registered business trusts), registered branches and subsidiaries of a foreign parent or holding company) can enjoy 400% tax deductions/ allowances for qualifying expenditure incurred in any of the 6 qualifying activities from YAs 2011 to 2018. For YA 2013 to 31 Jul 2016, eligible businesses can also exercise an irrevocable option to convert qualifying expenditure of up to $100,000 for each YA into cash, at a conversion rate of 60%. For qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 Aug 2016, the cash payout conversion rate has been reduced from 60% to 40%.

How the PIC Scheme Benefits You

  • Business & IPC Partnership Scheme

To encourage corporate volunteerism, businesses may claim 250% tax deduction on qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 Jul 2016 to 31 Dec 2023 when they send their employees to volunteer and provide services, including secondments, to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs).

Employee Wage Schemes

​Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS)

The Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) is introduced in Budget 2022 to provide transitional wage support for employers to:

  • Adjust to upcoming mandatory wage increases for lower-wage workers covered by the Progressive Wage and Local Qualifying Salary requirements; and

  • Voluntarily raise wages of lower-wage workers.

The Government will co-fund wage increases of eligible resident employees from 2022 to 2026. Employers do not need to apply for the PWCS and can expect to receive the payout for 2022 by the first quarter of 2023.

Design of PWCS

The PWCS will have the following design:

a) Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident employees are eligible.

b) Support for wage increases up to $2,500 gross monthly wage ceiling will run from 2022 to 2026. The Government will provide support for wage increases at the stipulated co-funding levels from 2022 to 2026 (see Table 1).

c) Support for wage increases above $2,500 gross monthly wage and up to $3,000 ceiling will run from 2022 to 2024. As the economic conditions remain uncertain in the immediate term, the Government will also provide some support for employees’ wage increases above $2,500 and up to $3,000 at the stipulated co-funding levels from 2022 to 2024 (see Table 1).

d) Average gross monthly wage increase must be at least $100 in each qualifying year to be eligible for PWCS.

e) Eligible wage increases in each qualifying year will be co-funded for two years. For example, a 2022 wage increase will be supported in qualifying year 2022, and also in 2023 if sustained.

Wage Credit Scheme (WCS)

Under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) introduced in Budget 2013 and extended in Budget 2015, the Government co-funded 40% of wage increases from 2013-20151 and 20% of wage increases from 2016-2017 given to Singapore Citizen employees who earned a gross monthly wage of up to $4,000. Only employers are eligible for the co-funding.

In Budget 2018, the WCS was extended for three more years, i.e. 2018, 2019 and 2020, to support businesses embarking on transformation efforts and encourage sharing of productivity gains with workers. Government co-funding was maintained at 20% in 2018.

In Budget 2020, the government co-funding ratios for wage increases in 2019 and 2020 were further raised from the current 15% and 10%, to 20% and 15% respectively. The qualifying gross wage ceiling was also raised from $4,000 to $5,000 for both years.

In Budget 2021, the Scheme was further extended by one year with the government co-funding ratio remaining at 15% for wage increases given in 2021, and the qualifying gross wage ceiling maintained at $5,000.

All other qualifying conditions are unchanged.

1 As announced on 11 Sep 2018, requests made after 30 Nov 2018 for the review of wage credit payouts relating to Qualifying Years 2013-2015 are no longer considered.


Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

The JSS provides wage support to employers to help them retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) during this period of economic uncertainty. JSS payouts are intended to offset local employees' wages and help protect their jobs. Employers must act responsibly and fairly in using the payouts, taking reference from the tripartite advisory on salary and leave arrangements. Where there is evidence of irresponsible and unfair treatment, employers may be denied employment support (including JSS) and have their work pass privileges curtailed. Please refer to MOM's advisory on Salary and Leave Arrangements

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and capabilities of their employees. Eligible employers will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on qualifying costs for supportable initiatives, over and above the support levels of existing schemes.

Rental Support Scheme

​As announced by the Ministry of Finance, to support businesses with rental costs during the two Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) (“P2(HA)”) periods and the Stabilisation Phase (including its extension to 21 November 2021), the Government will provide rental support to Small and Medium Enterprises (“SMEs”) and eligible Non-Profit Organisations (“NPOs”) with an annual revenue not exceeding $100 million, who are tenant-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties.

For privately-owned commercial properties, some landlords have given rental waivers or rebates to support their tenants during the P2(HA) periods. To provide additional support, IRAS will disburse rental support cash payouts directly to qualifying tenants and owner-occupiers under the Rental Support Scheme (RSS). Please refer to the link below for the details and qualifying criteria for the three rental support cash payouts.

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