Incorporating Your Startup in Singapore

A startup is a term commonly used to define a young company in its developing phase. Such companies are usually small and initially financed and operated by a single or handful of founders. A startup would offer products or services that are not currently being offered elsewhere within the market or that the founder(s) believes could be offered much better.

How do you incorporate your startup in Singapore?

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First have your company’s business name approved.

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Decide on which type of company to incorporate. It can either be private or public. Most startup would fall within the category of private (Private company <50 shareholders).

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Should your company have 20 or less shareholders who are not corporations, you may choose to set up an Exempt Private Company (Certain Exempt Private Companies need not lodge their financial accounts with ACRA).

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Acquire headcount to fill certain positions (One director >18 years old.)

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Most commonly the director would be a Singapore resident but there are other times, an E-pass holder could also become a director, subjected to the Ministry of Manpower’s Laws.

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<6 months of incorporation, the company is required to appoint a company secretory who is residing in Singapore, not the sole director of the company and meets the minimum qualification according to ACRA.

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Appoint an auditor <3 months of incorporation unless your company meets the requirements for exemption from statutory audit.

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If you are a foreigner in Singapore, you are required to appoint a local director and also engage the services of a registered filing agent to submit the online application on your behalf.

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All companies in Singapore are required to submit their Company Constitution to ACRA which lists:

  • Key characteristics of the company
  • Rules and regulations of how it is to be internally governed
  • How operations are carried out
  • Stipulates rights and obligations of its participants including shareholders, directors, and company secretaries.
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Once your company has all of the information ready, log on to Bizfile to submit an application to incorporate the company.

  • The fees involved in incorporating a company are:
    • Registration Fee: SGD$300
    • Business Name Application: SGD$15
    • All shareholders, directors, and company secretaries cited in your application must endorse their application online within 120 days of your application.

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Victor Lai

Regional Managing Director, Boardroom Corporate & Advisory Services