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Startup SG Talent:Enhanced EntrePass to attract global startup talent to build innovative businesses in Singapore

  • Enhancements to scheme will take effect on 3 August 2017
  1. From 3 August 2017, the EntrePass scheme1 will be enhanced to facilitate the entry and stay of promising foreign startup talent who are keen to establish innovative businesses in Singapore. This enhanced scheme will strengthen and add vibrancy to our tech startup ecosystem to position Singapore as a leading startup location.
  2. The evaluation criteria for global startup founders has been broadened to attract more promising foreign startup talent. Applicants will now be assessed on factors beyond the existing four innovation criteria2 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.   
  3. 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 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.

    Startup SG Talent – a key enabler to develop a strong startup ecosystem
  4. Talent is critical to build a strong and thriving startup ecosystem. The EntrePass scheme falls under the Startup SG Talent pillar, one of the five pillars under the Startup SG umbrella branding that consolidates all local startup schemes3.
  5. Enhancements to the EntrePass scheme will attract a larger pool of skilled global startup talent at an early stage of idea exploration. They complement our local startups by catalysing more innovative businesses and creating good jobs4 for Singaporeans.   

    Two new partner agencies on board
  6. In addition to SPRING Singapore, the enhanced EntrePass scheme will see the inclusion of two new partner agencies: the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the National Research Foundation, supported by SGInnovate. Together, these agencies will work with the Ministry of Manpower to evaluate the applications in their respective sectors.
  7. 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.”
  8. Group Director for Industry & Enterprise and Innovation & Startups of SPRING Singapore, Mr Edwin Chow said, “Singapore’s efforts in grooming startups have resulted in an attractive ecosystem for global entrepreneurs. They will complement our local founders, with their skillsets and understanding of foreign market opportunities, to build stronger and fast-growing startups that create good jobs.”
  9. Entrepreneurs who are interested in the EntrePass Scheme may visit for more information.


  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 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.
  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)