Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business in Singapore 2020

May 12, 2020

Written by

Multiply Team

Embarking on a new business venture can be scary, but also incredibly rewarding. If you’re looking to take the jump and kick-start a new business, here are some key points to consider.

Business Ideas & Business Plan

Before anything else, you would have to decide on the type of business structure that is most appropriate for you and the nature of your business. After figuring out the type of business you would like to run and the industry you would be in, you may then proceed onto registering your business in Singapore.

The various business structures are listed below.

Business Structure

Limited liability Company

The liabilities of the owners of an LLC are limited to the companies assets, while their personal assets are protected from business liabilities.

In essence, a Limited Liability Company is an enterprise that is limited by shares, for their liabilities are limited to the amount of its share capital.

The three kinds of LLC are Private Limited Company, Public Limited Company, and Public Company Limited by Guarantee.

Sole Proprietorship

A Sole Proprietorship is a business built and run by one person. The owner of the business owns all the assets and plays all roles in the business. In this, there is zero protection of personal assets in the case of business risks. If the business is unable to meet obligations, creditors are entitled to procure the assets that have been agreed upon.

While a sole proprietorship may seem enticing and the easiest way to get your business off the ground, it is important to note that it is essentially a one-man show, where you will have to wear many hats and carry out many different tasks. In terms of risk, it is considerably high as the owner of the business is liable for all the liabilities and risks incurred by their business. Selling of personal assets to settle losses and debts of their businesses is a possibility.


Partnerships involve two or more people forming a joint business. The three business structures are General partnership, Limited partnership, and Limited Liability partnership.

Company Registration

Prior to hiring employees or starting operations, you are required to register your business. To register your business, you would need to prepare the details of all aspects of your business; from the company name to the details of leadership. Registration can be done with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore, ACRA.

If registration is successful, you will receive a confirmation email with the business registration number enclosed. The email and e-certification are eligible for use in Singapore.

The original email regarding the successful application and the registered business profile are two vital documents that you will need when applying for anything related to your business.

Once you have registered your business, you may proceed to apply for the necessary permits to start your it.

Registration Procedure & Necessary Documents

After deciding which structure is most appropriate for you, it is best to conduct research on the permits you are required to obtain with relevance to your business.

GoBusiness Licensing, a government initiative, has a full list of resources for enterprising individuals. You may refer to their website for the exhaustive list of permits, as well as apply for them here.

Hiring Employees

Businesses can tap into the resources provided by the government to ease the hiring process. The Workforce Development Agency, WDA, has initiated a jobs bank so that start-up businesses can access a pool of talented potential employees.

It is also beneficial for you to read up on the responsibilities of an employer. For instance, the Employment Act mandates that employers pay their employees within a week after their stated salary period. Employees are also entitled to rest days and medical leaves. Taking note of the duties of an employer is vital in ensuring your business runs smoothly by happy employees.

Filing Taxes

A tax-resident company in Singapore is one if it has been operating in Singapore for the preceding Year of Assessment; a 12-month period in which the company will be evaluated.

A Singapore tax-resident company enjoys benefits such as being able to avoid double taxation of certain incomes in countries which Singapore has signed an agreement with.

Apart from not being taxed twice in foreign deals, for the first 3 Year of Assessments, start-ups can enjoy 75% tax exemption for the first S$100,000 of chargeable income.

More information on corporate taxes can be found here.

Bank Account

For the application of a bank account, a rough gauge of the necessary documents would be the account application, a copy of the owner’s NRIC, latest print out of the business profile, a minimum deposit, and other documents per the banks request.

Most banks offer quick, digital account applications so we do not expect this to be an issue for most, provided all required documents are furnished.

With the booming of fintech, There are also some digibanks or neobanks providing fully online digital banking experiences. We will cover them in another article.

If your new business needs financing, do contact our sales team to have a chat!

Multiply Team

Multiply brings a fresh perspective to financial services. We offer simple and flexible financing for smaller businesses.

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