For many of us, it is a natural thing to envision what success looks like. For a large group of Singaporeans, this vision may consist of a dream job, living in a dream home in a dream city overseas.
We often look abroad when in search of ‘living the dream’, whether residing in a loft in NYC or even having a Wall Street job. After all, we always think about the ‘what ifs’ and wonder if the grass is truly greener on the other side.
For the budding local entrepreneur, the world is awash with possibilities, but the big question is — where do I begin?
Perhaps, instead of looking beyond, the answer lies right outside their door. For 53 years (and counting), the government has built a strong foundation that has continued to give internationally renowned companies the confidence to set up headquarters and hubs in Singapore.
At the same time, the emphasis on education has created a large pool of talented locals with the necessary skills and knowledge to take on the world.
Our Side of the Story
For ourselves, PolicyPal was founded on local shores initially as PolicyPal Singapore (PPS), a registered direct insurance broker that is regulated under the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Insurance Act.
A year later, its affiliate entity, PolicyPal Network (PPN), was set up to focus on building a decentralised insurance protocol to increase accessibility to insurance for those in emerging markets. PPN is not an insurance broker and therefore not required to be regulated by MAS.
While there has been endless discussion on how to navigate the blockchain space with regulation, it is possible, as CEO and founder Val Yap has previously shared, for regulators and innovators to work hand-in-hand.
“Given the proper circumstances and when properly executed, regulation can actually facilitate innovation,” Val said at the recent Public Sector Transformation Conference, at which she was part of a four-person panel.
5 Reasons to Start Your Business in Singapore
In the spirit of National Day, we explore 5 reasons why we think our home has helped us succeed today as a start-up.
1. Financial grants
Instead of asking if Singapore has grants, the more important question is: which? With a seemingly plethora of available grants for new businesses to apply for, it is perhaps the best problem a start-up can face.
Early in 2017, to make it easier for start-ups to find all relevant information, the government grouped all government schemes into one single portal: Startup SG. These are then broken down into six further sub-categories, titled Start SG Founder, Startup SG Tech, Startup SG Equity, Startup SG Accelerator, Startup SG Talent and Startup SG Loan.
You will be able to find out more about Startup SG on their website: www.startupsg.net.
2. Space for innovation
New companies may be hesitant to launch what can potentially be revolutionary, innovative products on the market. This may be due to trying to navigate regulations or market uncertainty.
To help companies, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox that enables companies to experiment within a well-defined space and duration. They also provide plenty of advice along the way, guiding them to ensure unstifled innovation whilst assisting them with meeting standards and regulatory requirements.
PolicyPal was the first graduate of the MAS sandbox. As of publication, PolicyPal still remains the only graduate thus far.
3. Friendly tax schemes
New start-ups also receive tax exemptions for the first three consecutive Years of Assessment (YA). Companies that meet certain criteria will enjoy full exemption on the first $100,000 of chargeable income. For the next two years, they will enjoy a 50% exemption on the next $200,000 of chargeable income.
This, however, is due to change in 2020. You can find out more details on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (IRAS) website here: www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Businesses/Companies/Learning-the-basics-of-Corporate-Income-Tax/Common-Tax-Reliefs-That-Help-Reduce-The-Tax-Bills/#title1
4. Strategic location
Large companies have set up HQs and hubs here due to its location as the heart of southeast Asia. Major cities like Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong are all a short plane ride away, while Singapore is also in close proximity to markets like India and China. Its first-world infrastructure also makes it easy to connect to the rest of the world.
5. Hotbed for blockchain companies
As if its good location isn’t already enough, Singapore is also a hotbed for blockchain in Asia. According to a report from Funderbeam, Singapore became the third largest ICO launch pad in 2017 in terms of money raised in the world, behind only the United States and Switzerland.
While MAS has acknowledged the risks that come with cryptocurrencies, Singapore’s regulations still remain friendly and favourable to potential ICOs, with incubators and investment funds already set up to focus on developing blockchain technology.
At the end of the day, you as a budding entrepreneur know what’s best for your new company. We certainly can’t be the ones to tell you that Singapore is truly the best place to grow one’s business.
Each system has its flaws, but for us, it’s been a success, and we hope this article sheds some light for those on the fence about taking the leap towards realising one’s business vision.
From all of us here at PolicyPal, we wish all Singaporeans a happy 53rd National Day! If you’re taking advantage of the long holidays, you can find all your travel insurance needs on our PolicyPal Singapore app, which is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store.
About PolicyPal Network
PolicyPal Network is a decentralised insurance protocol that uses data to bridge the gap between consumers and insurance providers by providing a new level of accessibility within the insurance ecosystem. The company also works with insurers to provide CryptoProtect insurance coverage for digital assets and smart contracts. PolicyPal Network is a member of Singapore Fintech Association and ACCESS. PolicyPal Network’s affiliate entity, PolicyPal Singapore, has an active user base of 50,000 for its app, which helps users to manage, buy and optimise their insurance policies.
Currently, PolicyPal Network has partnerships with two insurance companies, FWD and ERGO, to explore potential use cases of PolicyPal Network’s decentralised insurance protocol together. Furthermore, PolicyPal Network has established collaborations with blockchain projects NEM, QTUM, Sentinel Protocol, Digix and traceto.io to offer CryptoProtect and mainstream insurance products for the projects themselves, along with their respective communities.
Learn more about PolicyPal Network:
Telegram (Chinese): https://t.me/PolicyPalNetworkCN
Blog (English): https://medium.com/@policypalnet
Blog (Chinese): https://www.jianshu.com/u/04e398cadb84