How to Start a Business in Singapore: A DHL Guide

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For entrepreneurs looking to launch a new venture or expand their existing company, Singapore may be the right place to start a small business. With its strategic location and excellent infrastructure, it is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to bring ideas to life.

There are also government incentives available that give entrepreneurs and startups access to funding and grants, offering support for those passionate in setting up a company in Singapore. Before you start doing business, bear in mind that you will need to first incorporate your company before kickstarting operations:

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How to start a business in Singapore

1. Decide on a business structure

For starters, you will need to choose any one of the following business structures under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore:

  • Private Limited Company: As the most common type of business entity, a private limited company should have no more than 50 shareholders - as stated under the Singapore Companies Act. Should there be any debts or losses incurred, the liability of the shareholders to creditors will be limited to the share capital they had originally invested in the company. 

  • Sole Proprietorship: While sole proprietorships are the easiest and most affordable to set up, do note that you will have unlimited liability on your business. This means that as its sole owner, creditors are able to sue you for any debts and losses. 

  • Limited Partnership (LP): An LP comprises a minimum of two partners - one general partner and one limited partner. This structure does not have a separate legal entity from its partners, meaning it cannot sue or be sued. An LP is also unable to own property in its name. While a limited partner will not be liable for debts and obligations of the business, it will be expected of the general partner. 

  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Under this structure, you can enjoy the flexibility of operating as a partnership while enjoying the benefits of a private limited company. Should the LLP be subjected to any business debts, both partners will not be held personally liable. That being said, a partner may be personally liable for claims from losses he caused by his own wrongful act or omission.

Your choice of business structure will ultimately depend on a number of factors. This includes your capital budget, number of business owners and the responsibilities required of them as well as the risks involved in your operations.   

2. Register your company with ACRA

Once you have decided on your company structure, you can proceed to register your business under ACRA. Be sure to have the below compliance requirements confirmed on your end: 

  1. Company name application - A name approved by ACRA  

  2. At least one shareholder

  3. Qualified company secretary 

  4. At least one Singapore-based director

  5. Registered office address in Singapore

You will also need to set aside at least $315 for the incorporation process. This is roughly how much it will cost to register and start your business. You will receive a Certificate of Incorporation if you have successfully completed your company registration with ACRA.

3. Set up a bank account

Finally, make sure to keep your personal and company finances separate by creating a corporate bank account for business purposes. To establish your small business and start taking in orders, you can manage your expenses through either a local or international bank.  

Get your venture off the ground

To truly achieve success in Singapore, every type of startup – offline and online – can benefit from having a reputable logistics company to provide a variety of solutions ranging from order supplies to delivery services. With your time, money and energy on the line, it can pay off having a reliable partner to depend on for anything related to order fulfillment. 

Alongside DHL Express, you can get closer to your business idea and set the stage for success. In fact, DHL Express has helped local brands like Maison 21G reach out to a global audience with the assurance of smooth and quick delivery. This has allowed Maison 21G to build lasting connections with customers who are now fans of theirs around the world. Get more tips from us to guide you through the process of starting and growing your business.