Business

Entrepass revision will offer boost


Moves to revise the entry and renewal criteria for the EntrePass work pass scheme later this year will make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses here. One key change includes removing the requirement for applicants to have a paid-up capital of at least $50,000 in their start-ups.

The local tech community has cheered the move. Mr Jamie Camidge, who runs the muru-D accelerator programme, said six out of eight of the start-ups in muru-D's second cohort hail from other parts of South-east Asia.

Although most of the entrepreneurs he has worked with want to stay on in Singapore after they graduate from the accelerator, the requirement to have $50,000 in invested capital had been a barrier for many.

Other revisions involve extending the validity of each EntrePass from one year to two years after the first renewal and "broadening the evaluation criteria for global start-up founders with an established track record".

Spring Singapore, a likely co-administrator of the scheme alongside Manpower Ministry, said the criteria will include "outstanding achievements in key areas of expertise and good track records of investing in, and contributing to, growth of successful businesses".

Some in the community are also anxious to learn how carefully the evaluations will be done. One idea was to deploy private sector resources to do the job, perhaps experienced venture capitalists.

Mr Eugene Wong, founder of Sirius Venture Capital, said: "Because we look at start-ups every day, we can tell... if this entrepreneur is genuine or not. (If he) can make it or not."

And work still needs to be done to ensure foreign entrepreneurs are made aware of the new opportunities here.

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