First impressions of Singapore’s entrepreneurship environment

I have been to Singapore for the last 2 weeks and I have to say that the city is impressive. Public transportation is at its best, the city is vibrant and the expat community is here to stay.

In my most recent start-up, People Power Company, I quickly realized that Asian countries are hungry for adopting clean tech innovation. But I wonder how easy it is to get funding for a new start up in Singapore and sell a new product. I’ve talked to a few entrepreneurs in the region and here’s the scoop so far:

1) A friend of mine just started a portfolio management business and was able to incorporate his company and set up his IT infrastructure in 6 hours. All he needed was to have a Singapore resident, himself a Canadian expat, on the board of directors.

2) I met a partner of an INSEAD student who has a TV production company in Germany who’s looking to expand his business in Singapore. Apparently, it is relatively easy to obtain investment from the Singaporean government but it “highly encourages” the hiring of Singaporeans in leadership positions. So much to say about free market labor.

3) The Singaporean government gives $500K to entrepreneurs with a great idea and a positive track record. Some say that you need to show revenues to get funded. In Silicon Valley, investors fund companies purely based on potential. Just think of Facebook, Google and Instagram!

4) I wonder whether Singaporeans have the entrepreneurial mindset to make it work. One only has to go to a Singaporean restaurant and notice how rigid the processes are.

More on that soon!

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