I get asked a lot why we incorporated Catalyst Esports Solutions in Singapore, and – while I’ve already lived here nearly 5 years – there were other, more practical reasons to set up here. I want to share some of those reasons with other aspiring entrepreneurs out there to shed some light on the system in the hope it might be of some use, and a little background for others on Singapore as a country. A little context though, first.

Given that Singapore has only been an independent state since 1965, and with no natural resources of its own to export, it has had to be heavily reliant on the investment of foreign businesses; in doing so, it has become one of the financial centers of the world. Interesting, too, that Singapore has served as a major global transshipment port (one of the top 2 busiest container ports in the world) – a fact not difficult to imagine when you see the dense band of ships anchored around the country’s shores as they wait to dock.

Boats on the water in Singapore.

It’s funny that when moving to Singapore, I’d half expected a very traditional Asian country (and in many ways it is), but – being a former British colony, and remaining a member of the Commonwealth, I was surprised at just how similar it was to home. The legal system here is based largely on British common law; the schooling system is very similar; even the power sockets are the same, and they drive on the left here too (the right side!).

Singapore is ranked #1 globally by the World Bank for ease of doing business. It’s also known as one of the freest, most innovative, most competitive, most dynamic, and most business-friendly economies in the world. It’s also ranked one of the least corrupt economies in the world.

It’s unsurprising that it’s now the 10th best startup ecosystem in the world (https://www.techinasia.com/compass-startup-ecosystem-ranking-report-2015-singapore). Singapore is great for startup experience, with plenty of funding and grants available (especially to residents and residents), and opportunities market reach too. There’s also a partial tax exemption system for startup companies, with the first $100,000 in profit being exempt.

For a new entrepreneurial operation like Catalyst, setting up was an easy, efficient process. Everything is streamlined, well-coordinated, and timely. Singapore easily allows non-residents to incorporate here, making the process much easier for us, though living here in Singapore under an Employment Pass for the 4 years prior certainly would’ve helped my particular situation.

We worked with local incorporation specialist and accountants Rikvin, who were incredibly helpful in easing us through the entire process from start to finish, from naming and setting up a corporate bank account to securing our local work visas. At first I was hesitant about re-securing my work visa here under a brand new company, but given it was in the same field as that I’d originally been hired here by Razer for, there were no issues there.

Securing a work visa here can be relatively straightforward, and like most countries you’ll fill out an application form asking the nature of the company you’re being hired by, information on your education and highest qualifications, work experience, and so forth – nothing out of the ordinary there. Worth noting that professionals need to earn at least $3,300 to apply for an Employment Pass – there are other categories for skilled workers and entrepreneurs.

All in all I’m very happy that we set up here in sunny Singapore – and the future is bright indeed. Esports is on the cusp of exploding in the developing countries of Southeast Asia, and Catalyst Esports Solutions is well positioned, professionally and geographically, to help usher in the new teams, investors, and brands that we expect to see here in the years to come.

For now, I leave you with some other interesting facts about Singapore:

  • The national dish of Singapore is Chicken Rice. Literally just chicken and rice. Chili crab is also famous here.
  • It’s illegal to sell chewing gum in Singapore! A good thing too, for those who are familiar with the gum-spotted streets of the UK.
  • Being a tropical rainforest climate, Singapore’s daily mean temperature is around 27°C (80°F) with an average relative humidity of around 82%
  • Foreigners make up 42% of the population here
  • Singapore imposes a mandatory death sentence for certain serious drug-trafficking offences

Original article published Feb 19, 2016 by Drew Holt-Kentwell and can be found here.