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Enhanced EntrePass scheme to help Singapore attract larger pool of global startup talent

Enhanced EntrePass scheme to help Singapore attract larger pool of global startup talent

From August 3, 2017, the EntrePass scheme[1] will be enhanced to facilitate the entry of promising global startup talent who are keen to establish innovative businesses in Singapore.

The evaluation criteria for global startup founders has been broadened to attract more entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors. Applicants will now be assessed on factors beyond the existing four innovation criteria[2] to allow global startup talent to enter Singapore during the business exploration stage. Examples of new criteria include entrepreneurial and investment track record, business network and key achievements in their areas of expertise.

Other key enhancements to the EntrePass scheme, as announced during the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)’s Committee of Supply (COS) debate in March 2017, include the removal of the S$50,000 paid-up capital requirement to recognise the non-monetary contributions of global startup talent such as business network, entrepreneurial and investment track record and achievements in key areas of expertise. Additionally, the validity period of each EntrePass will be extended from one to two years, after the first renewal to provide more certainty for global entrepreneurs in scaling up their businesses. The enhanced EntrePass renewal criteria and Dependant’s Pass (DP) criteria have also been revised.

Startup SG Talent – a key enabler to develop a strong startup ecosystem

Talent is critical to build a strong and thriving startup ecosystem. The EntrePass scheme comes under the Startup SG Talent pillar, one of the five pillars of the Startup SG umbrella branding that consolidates all local startup schemes[3].

Enhancements to the EntrePass scheme will attract a larger pool of skilled global startup talent to complement our local startups by catalysing more innovative businesses and creating good jobs[4] for Singaporeans.

Two new partner agencies on board

In addition to SPRING Singapore, the enhanced EntrePass scheme will see the inclusion of two new partner agencies: the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), supported by SGInnovate.

Together, these agencies will work with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to evaluate the applications in their respective sectors.

Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry Dr. Koh Poh Koon said, “Startups are an important driver of innovation and are becoming increasingly important as Singapore transforms to become an innovative and value creating economy. These enhancements are part of the Government’s efforts to develop a vibrant startup landscape that is attractive to global startup talent while promoting our local startups to establish and build innovative businesses, thus creating new industry sectors and job opportunities for Singaporeans.”

The full Enhanced EntrePass Evaluation Criteria and Enhanced EntrePass Renewal Criteria can be found here

[1] Introduced in 2003, EntrePass is a work visa for foreign entrepreneurs who are keen start a business in Singapore in areas such as deep technology.

[2] Under the existing innovation criteria, applicant has to: (i) have funding/investment from a Governmentrecognised VC or business angel; or (ii) hold intellectual property or (iii); or have a research collaboration with an IHL or research institution in Singapore; or (iv) be an incubatee at a Government-recognised incubator/accelerator.

[3] The other pillars under Startup SG are: Startup SG Founder, Startup SG Tech, Startup SG Equity and Startup SG Accelerator.

[4] As at 2015, foreign startups employed more than 19,000 workers in total. From 2013 to 2015, local employment in foreign startups increased by an average of 500 per year. (Source: DOS)


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