Singapore has broadened the evaluation criteria for its EntrePass scheme with the aim to attract startup founders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors to the city-state and building itself up as an entrepreneurial hub in the Indo-Asia Pacific.
This shift will see applicants assessed on factors beyond the existing four innovation criteria to allow global startup talent to enter Singapore during the business exploration stage.
Under the existing innovation criteria, applicants are required to (i) have funding/investment from a Government- recognised 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.
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 by 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 expertise and relevance to industries.
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.
Enhancements to the scheme will take effect on 3 August 2017 and will permit promising global startup talent keen to establish innovative businesses to use Singapore as a base. This enhanced scheme is aimed at strengthening and adding a greater base and depth of talent to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Given the centrality of talent in its ambitions to develop itself as a globally competitive startup ecosystem, this latest shift sees the EntrePass scheme come under the Startup SG talent pillar.
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. These agencies will work with the Ministry of Manpower to evaluate the applications in their respective sectors.
The Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade & 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.”