Cost Guide to Starting Your Own Business in Singapore

Refer to this guide to learn how to be an entrepreneur and the real cost to starting your own business in Singapore.

Priscilla Lee

by Priscilla Lee on Mar 3, 2024

campaign creators having a meeting

Singapore may be a tiny red dot on the world map, but its well-developed infrastructure, robust economy and skilled workforce made it the perfect place for those who are honing their entrepreneurship skills and ready to make their business ideas come to life. Just look at the growing number of SMEs and business owners in Singapore, and it is not hard to figure out how easy it is to set up an enterprise here.

Chart showing number of SMEs in Singapore
Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore

Related: Entrepreneurs’ Guide to SME Grants in Singapore

If starting your own business has always been your dream, this blog may provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to be an entrepreneur and the cost you must be prepared to bear.

campaign creators having a meeting office workers
Source: Unsplash

Step #1: Choose a Business Structure

Whether you are starting a business in Singapore on your own or with partners, you need to choose a structure that best suits your needs. Here are the five types of business structures commonly adopted by SMEs in Singapore:

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure. The business is owned by a single owner and he or she has full control of the management and retains all the profits. However, such a business is not a separate legal entity from its owner, as such, the owner is personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. Creditors can go after the owner’s personal assets if the business is unable to repay the company’s debts.


This is similar to a sole proprietorship, except that it is formed by two or more partners. The number of partners is limited to 20.

Limited Partnership (LP)

Such a structure is a partnership between two or more partners, with at least one general partner who assumes full personal liability for business debts and obligations. and one or more limited partners who invest capital or assets in the business but have limited liability. If you intend to be an investor for a business with limited liability or are seeking to raise additional capital by bringing in new investors, this may be the right business structure for you.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

An LLP is a preferred structure for two or more partners looking to incorporate an entity separate from themselves. Every partner is personally responsible for any liabilities that arise from their own actions and another partner of the LLP cannot be held personally liable for the actions of any other partners. This is a common business structure adopted by law firms and medical practitioners.

Local Company

A company has the right to own property, has perpetual succession and can sue or be sued in its own name. A company is owned by its shareholders who hold shares and are entitled to a share of profits, voting rights, and other rights outlined in the company’s bylaws or operating agreement.

There are four types of companies:

  • Private company limited by shares
  • Exempt private company
  • Public company limited by shares
  • Public company limited by guarantee

office conference room

Source: Unsplash

Step 2: Registering Your Business

An essential step to your entrepreneurship in Singapore lies in registering your business with the proper authorities. Here are two ways to register your business and how much it will cost to start your own business in Singapore:

MethodsBusiness StructureCostHow to Register
Self-registrationSole Proprietorship and Partnership
Local Company


Directly through GoBusiness (Sole Proprietorship/Partnership) or BizFile
Hire a professional services agency or corporate services providerAny typeNot availableAgent to register on behalf of business owner/s


business funding options
Source: Unsplash

Step 3: Raise Your Capital

If your business venture requires more capital than you have saved up for, there are several methods you can use to raise funds.

Government Grants

There are many government assistance schemes in Singapore to promote entrepreneurship. For example, you can tap into the Startup SG Founder grant of S$50,000 available to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. The Enterprise Development Grant is also a popular scheme for companies starting new projects to upgrade their business, explore new growth or expand overseas.

Business Loans

There are many loan products such as business term loans, working capital loans, and equipment financing loans. These loans typically require collateral and have specific terms and interest rates.


Crowdfunding allows you to raise funds to finance a project from a large number of individuals who contribute small amounts. Some Crowdfunding Platforms in Singapore include Funding Societies, FundedHere and Minterest.

Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) Funding

Private equity firms typically buy companies and streamline operations to increase revenues while Venture capital firms invest in startups with high growth potential.

Related: Explaining Government Grants for SMEs

work meeting post it notes

Source: Unsplash

Step 4: Set Up Your Business

Setting up your business will include a myriad of activities to ensure the business can start operation. Whether you intend to have a brick-and-mortar store, work from a co-working space or run a remote online business, there are some key activities that will require your immediate attention before you’ll be ready to generate revenue.

Here are some examples of what you need to set up and essential costs of starting your own business:

Rent office and/ or shop spaceS$3.80 to S$14 per square foot per month depending on location

Note that a refundable security deposit equivalent to three months gross rent required

Renovate the business space to suit business operationS$70 to S$150 per square foot
Co‐working spaceS$3,000 to S$30,000 a year
Apply for business licenses required by authoritiesRefer to Gobusiness Singapore
Recruit employeesRecruitment ads at S$300 to S$1,500 per posting
Buy business insurance to protect against general risks and loss of incomeFrom less than S$200 per year for sum insured up to S$100,000

Related: 6 Ways for SMEs to Adapt to Rising Wages in Singapore

open concept office
Source: Unsplash

Step 5: Manage and Run Your Business

Now that you have set up your business, you will need to drive the business with consistent effort to keep it running. This is where on-going processes like marketing, accounting or manufacturing need to function on a daily basis to ensure you reach your business goals.

Marketing Your Products and Services

A marketing budget typically ranges from 5 to 10% of your company revenue or targeted revenue, depending on company size, stage of growth and the importance of marketing on sales within the company’s industry. It is common for startups to invest this budget into creating an online presence through social media, active advertising and content creation to put their brands out there.

Maintaining Overheads and Employment

This is the mundane effort to fulfil payroll, rentals, utilities and any other overhead costs on a monthly basis. It might seem insignificant but is essential to get the business going. The costs largely depend on the size of your set up and can run from thousands to hundreds of thousands in cost per month.

Managing Finances

At a start you may be tempted to manage your own accounting functions but as your business grows, you can save a lot more time and effort if you hire employees with relevant expertise or work with the right accounting services provider. Investing in an accounting software to automate manual functions such as generating financial statements and managing payroll and expenses can also make your overall operations more effective and efficient.


Don’t get stuck wondering how you can be an entrepreneur in Singapore, sometimes, all you need is a bit of courage and initiative to get you started. If not having sufficient capital is your concern, why not leverage business loans to ease that burden?

There are many loans in the market that will help you to fulfil your enterprising vision. Refer to our best business loans page for more information.

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