Do you want to start a business in Singapore as a foreigner? If YES, here are 50 small business ideas and investment opportunities in Singapore. Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth.
This excludes property, businesses, and luxury goods, which if included would increase the number of millionaires, especially as property in Singapore is among the world’s most expensive. Singapore does not have a minimum wage, believing that it would lower its competitiveness. It also has one of the highest income inequalities among developed countries.
- Singapore has strong international trading links, as its port is one of the world’s busiest regarding tonnage handled.
- Singapore is a global commerce, finance, and transport hub.
- For ten consecutive years, it was regarded as the easiest place to do business by the World Bank.
- The World Economic Forum (WEF) also considered the country as the most technology ready country.
- The WEF also viewed it as the 2nd most competitive country in the world.
- It is also the 3rd-largest foreign exchange center.
- Singapore is the 3rd-largest financial center in the world.
- The country possesses the 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center.
- It also has one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s.
- For the past decade, it has been the only Asian country with the top AAA sovereign rating from all the leading credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody’s and Fitch.
- Singapore is Asia’s most influential city and 4th in the world by Forbes.
50 Best Small Business ideas & Opportunities in Singapore for Foreigners
Although Singapore has very limited arable land, the country has relied heavily on agro-technology for agricultural production and consumption. But the demand for food and other agricultural products seem to be outweighing the supply with each passing day because there are very few players in the agriculture sector. You are very likely to make huge profits from agriculture in Singapore provided you’re ready to bear the costs of the technology required for boosting production.
Singapore is aggressively promoting and developing its biotechnology industry. The government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure, fund research, development, and recruitment of top international scientists. In addition, leading drug makers like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have set up plants in Singapore. So, there are huge opportunities for investors in the biotechnology sector. However, breaking into this industry requires solid background knowledge and a huge capital.
Fast foods and snacks sell very well in Singapore. This means investors can really make lots of profit from businesses that sell snacks such as barbecue, pizza, and so on. This business requires little capital and no formal academic certifications. So, it’s one you can easy break into.
Transportation is one of the necessities that are almost indispensable in every economy, and this is why the demand for transport services is high almost everywhere. As a foreign investor in Singapore, you can start a transport business, the scope of which hinges on your capital. If you have little capital, start a taxi service that transports people within local routes. With bigger capital, you can start an inter-city or inter-state transport service.
Food business is probably the best business to start not just in Singapore, but all over the world. This is because there is a universal need for food, and it is the most important basic need of man. The Lion City is hailed as a food paradise.
It is one destination in Southeast Asia teeming with outdoor food courts and hawker centers that appeal to locals and visitors from all walks of life. So if you are thinking about venturing into the top 10 small business opportunities in Singapore, notably food; then you are in for tough competition.
- Electronics Manufacturing and Retailing
The electronics industry is the largest in Singapore’s manufacturing sector, accounting for a whopping 48% of the total industrial output. This high production rate notwithstanding, there are huge opportunities for businesses that sell electronic products to consumers. With a little capital, you can focus on a narrow range of electronics, but this could be wider depending on your capital.
With increasing need by businesses to attract customers and sell their offers via the internet comes the booming demand for professionals and businesses that offer online marketing services. These services range from copywriting to search engine optimization. If you are a seasoned copywriter, or a website designer and developer, or a search engine optimization specialist, or a social media marketing expert, then huge opportunities are awaiting you in Singapore.
With the increase in number of individuals and businesses that have adopted blogging as a way of making money online comes the escalating demand for creative ghostwriters. Blogging as a business thrives only when quality content is published consistently, a condition that many bloggers would never meet on their own. So, if you are very good with words and are a stickler for perfect grammar, you can make lots of money working as a ghostwriter for bloggers as well as handling other writing assignments.
Most Singaporeans are just too busy to handle their laundry themselves. So, they would rather pay to get this done for them. If you are looking to start a small-scale business in Singapore, consider this option. To start a laundry business, you need no more than a washing machine and a few other equipment such as pressing irons, dryers, and so on.
Because there are many businesses, both indigenous and foreign in Singapore, there is high demand for individuals that offer professional financial services such as accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping. If you have a solid background in any of these services, you can make a lot of money in Singapore by helping other businesses with your skills.
- Auto Spare Part sales
Cars and other automobiles sell very well in Singapore. And foreigners can easily break into the business. But capital remains the main issue, as the business requires huge capital. However, if you are having little capital, you can start a business that sells auto spare parts instead. They sell well, too.
Individuals who need to have their appliances or furniture repaired can save costs. Hence, a repair service business can be a good business option. In any economy, whether good or bad, people will always have things to fix as fixing an item cost less than buying a brand new one.
Running a small business that provides residential upkeep can be a good business. Commercial establishments that need to keep their premises clean can also be regular clients. You can provide housecleaning services, office cleaning services, foreclosure housecleaning, roof cleaning, etc.
- Home Tutoring-: Heads of families in Singapore tend to arrange for home tutoring for their kids, making it a good business option. You can even choose to teach English language or accounting, as these two subjects are highly in demand.
- Elder Care Business
In Singapore, there is a law that mandates children to take care of their elderly parents and indirectly, this law has created a demand for elderly home health care services. Providing quality care for seniors, like preparing meals, running errands or housekeeping, can be lucrative business, especially in households with busy working professionals. After all, no one would like to spend time in jail for neglecting their elderly ones.
More and more people are realizing the importance of having a fit body. A fitness trainer can get his share of clients. Products that enhance health may likewise have huge demand. You will need to first of all learn the skills by being fit yourself.
- Eco Friendly Product retailing-: Distributing eco-friendly products online such as light bulbs and recycled items may be a great business move. Just be sure to keep your site navigation-friendly and updated with fresh articles. This is a good way to make good money.
- Telecommunication business
Singapore is also known to be one of the major telecom hubs in the Southeast Asian region. Be it mobile phone connections or providing internet services, there is a whole market that has been left untapped by existing telecommunications players.
Although the existence of private players is very prominent, facilities such as radio and television stations are all government-owned bodies. The print media is dominated by Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp. This is a good time to think about investing in this sector and tap the market that is waiting to be catered to.
Singaporeans are a very fashionable bunch of people. They love keeping up with the latest trends and looking their best at all times. International high street fashion brands such as H&M, Aldo, Levis, Zara and the ilk are already making their chunk of profits here.
Tourists coming from all over the world shop in Singapore and stock up on these brands, the products of which are available at reasonable prices. As the fashion retail industry in Singapore is bound to flourish, you could open a retail outlet/franchisee and make your pile of profits too.
- Professional Course Training
This is an up-and-coming industry in the world of business in Singapore. It offers a lot of scope to businessmen as there are very few institutes within Southeast Asia that provide quality education. Not only do Singaporean institutes provide good quality education but their courses are also in high demand.
This is turning out to be a preferred destination especially for Southeast Asian students who want to go for higher studies but without venturing far away from home. You could consider setting up business in this sector that provides accredited courses in travel and tourism, hospitality, fashion designing, business administration, science and research and so on.
Many globally-renowned IT firms have already set up businesses in Singapore owing to the growing potential and skilled labor available in this arena. The infrastructure in Singapore has also been established keeping in mind the support that IT businesses would require in the years to come.
You could set up a business that provides a variety of IT services such as wireless networks, or web development, social networking, website designing or other businesses depending on your interest. Cyber laws here are well-equipped to regulate the internet and are updated on a regular basis.
- Hospitality Business
Any destination that has a booming tourism industry will most definitely have a growing hospitality industry. This includes small-time bars and cafes to large multinational chains of hotels and resorts to the food and beverage industry here.
As Singapore is a major tourist destination, boutiques as well as major luxury hotels have great scope for business – not only from the business perspective but also from the employee perspective. Maybe you too should make hay while the sun shines and invest in this sector.
The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest contributors to the Singapore economy. The country’s natural beauty, flora and fauna as well as heritage structures are pleasant to the eyes. Singapore is known to be a safe tourist haven bundled with pocket-friendly shopping options.
If the 2012 statistics provided by the Singapore Tourism Board are to be believed, then Singapore tourism receipts registered a staggering S$23 billion, with International Visitor Arrivals alone at around 14.4 million.
Want to help and inspire people for a living? Starting a career coaching practice could be the key to doing what you love and making a difference. Through career coaching you can work with clients of all ages, from young people who don’t know what career path to pursue or how to land their dream job, to older people looking for a career change. Help prep clients for interviews, improve their résumés and find their passions.
- Online Retail Consultant
If you’re knowledgeable about popular selling platforms like Etsy and eBay, you can help other people turn their online businesses into successes. Help sellers set up and improve their stores, advise them on product photo best practices and how to write better product descriptions. You can also show clients how to use social media to promote their shops and how to get their products featured in publications to help them boost sales.
- Up cycling Services
You’ve heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but have you ever thought of turning it into an actual business? If you’re an artist or just have a knack for crafts, try turning items that would otherwise be thrown out into useful products and selling them at craft fairs or on a website like Etsy. You can also offer to turn other people’s unwanted items into up cycled projects, like refreshing outdated clothes to make them more stylish or turning old T-shirts into quilts, for example.
You don’t have to be a big-box retailer to start an online store. Whether you sell directly to consumers or use a drop-shipping service, all you need is a website and the right e-commerce software to get started. You can sell your own products or items from niche suppliers. Alternatively, if you’re crafty, you can also sell your own handcrafted creations on online marketplaces.
- Event Planner
Do you love throwing parties and organizing meetings? Start an event planning business and turn your passion into a profitable small business. Everyone needs event planners, from individuals to organizations and corporations — and with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting 44 percent growth in the meeting, convention and event-planning industry between 2010 and 2020, there will certainly be no shortage in demand for your services. As an event planner, you will need to be resourceful and have a keen eye for detail.
If baking or cooking is in your DNA, consider launching a home-based bakery, personal chef or catering business. You can whip up your concoctions for individuals, events, and local businesses and organizations. Not only is it a rewarding opportunity to make money doing what you love, but it’s also a great way to test your culinary chops before investing in a full-fledged brick-and-mortar establishment. Keep in mind that home-based food businesses are heavily regulated, so start by figuring out the rules and regulations in your area.
In most places in Singapore, you don’t need a license to run a babysitting service from home if you keep your child headcount below a certain number. With more parents needing to work, offering a home-based child care situation can be a great way to start a business and stay home with your own kids, too.
- Errand Services
In some ways, the recession has made people busier than ever. Between working long hours, cooking more at home and juggling responsibilities, there’s a lot that gets left undone. A service that runs errands (including dropping off dry cleaning, paying bills, etc.) requires just a car and cell phone. Start small, do a good job and word of mouth will spread quickly.
G2t a tech background? With the proliferation of tablets, smartphones and laptops for every member of the family, there are lots of opportunities to provide private computer services such as anti-virus software installation, desktop cleanups, software downloads and printer hookups.
- Energy Efficiency Consultant
Homeowners and businesses all over Singapore are looking for any way they can to cut costs, but figuring out how to lower energy expenses isn’t as easy as you might think. Anyone who has a background in utilities or construction and can advise homeowners or businesses on how to better insulate, install smart meters, reduce water usage, etc., has a valuable service to offer.
Your laptop could be a gold mine. Steel, copper and computer components are all worth more than ever. But, your average homeowner doesn’t always know where or how to recycle the stuff they’ve got. A good local advertising campaign and a pickup truck are all you’d need to start buying or simply offering to remove scrap metal, old computers, electronics, ink cartridges and other recyclable materials. You’ll be making a profit and doing the Earth a favor, too.
If there’s one thing to be learned from the glut of reality shows dealing with hoarding, it’s that Americans have too much stuff. And, many junk collectors don’t have the time or skills required to organize it all. If you like to organize and create order out of chaos, then starting an organizing business could be for you.
Virtual assistants are all the rage. All you need to get started is a laptop and a good website. A social media presence doesn’t hurt, either. If you’ve got a background in administrative work but want to work for yourself, this might be a perfect opportunity for you.
Virtual assistants work remotely and do all the things a business owner or manager doesn’t have time to do, such as open and answer emails, follow up with customers, invoice customers or pay bills. All of these tasks and more can all be done from your own home via the cloud.
- Remote Bookkeeper
During the recession, many companies cut their employee headcount to the bare minimum. Very few businesses, however, can live without a bookkeeper. But, that doesn’t mean they have to have one on staff. If you’ve got a background in accounting or bookkeeping, you can offer remote bookkeeping services and, in many cases, do most of the work from home.
Most businesses can’t afford to keep a translator on staff, even though they may need one from time to time. Singapore is a multilingual society, everyone from doctors to insurance companies find themselves in need of foreign language speakers to help interact with their customers. If you can speak a foreign language, are organized and can come up with a good marketing plan, you may find you have more work than you can handle.
- Cost cutter
Ever notice how your phone bill seems to creep up ever so slowly and before you know it, you’re paying 500 SGD more a month than you agreed to? So does everyone else. The problem is that few people have time to go over their bills with a fine-tooth comb and call and argue with the provider. A cost cutter does this for businesses and can help them save thousands. Cost cutters need an eye for detail and a good sales pitch. Once you’ve proven your worth to a client, word of mouth will spread quickly.
- Social Media Consultant
If you’re one of those Gen Y types to whom using social media comes as naturally as breathing, you may have a career as a social media consultant. There’s no doubt that social media presents an unprecedented marketing opportunity for businesses, but only if they know how to use it. If you can help existing businesses integrate social media into their other marketing campaigns, you should have no trouble making a go of it.
Anyone with a website will tell you they have one constant need: new content. Search engines favor websites with new, relevant and constantly updated content and most businesses don’t have time to devote to generating copy all day. If you’ve got a background in writing, English or journalism, you might find there’s a lot of demand for your services. Between Web content, blog entries and press releases, there’s lots of writing to be done.
- Health Insurance Consultant
The problem is that many companies can’t afford a full- time human resources person, and dealing with the complicated nuances of health insurance is more than most administrative assistants have time to deal with. That’s why more and more companies will be looking for outside services to help them wade through the minutia of health plans and premiums. If you have a background in human resources or insurance, healthcare reform could present big opportunities for you.
- Handmade Jewelry Maker
Can you string pretty beads and retail them? Then you can start a jewelry making business from home if you have the skill and passion for it. Single ladies in Singapore have a high taste for these items and you can make a fortune out of it.
- Thrift and Vintage Store
Singapore has lots of clothing stores, but your very own thrift shop or vintage clothing and accessories store can possibly stand out in one of the bustling neighborhoods. You can take advantage of this business and earn some good money for yourself.
Do you have the passion for taking great pictures? If you do, then you can probably put up your home studio and offer photography services to people around you and even those from afar. If you could offer the most affordable and better pictures than those commercialized photo studios, people will come to you whether you are just a stay-at-home.
- Meal Delivery Services
Capitalize on people too busy or too lazy to cook by offering to deliver delicious dishes of their liking, home-cooked by you. There are a whole lot of people who prefer to eat out that eat homemade food. You can leverage on that fact and build a meal delivery business.
- Consignment Cloth Stall-: Get yourself down to a retro clothes market in a university town, armed with piles of 70s, 80s and 90s clothes from charity shops, and you’ll find you can charge anything from 50 SGD to 100 SGD an item.
- CV Consultant and Resume writer-: If you’ve made it through the rat race and come out the other side older and wiser, you can help newbies tidy up their CV’s.
Got green fingers? Put them to use by offering your services to people in your area. Show them sketches of how you think the garden could be improved and you become a landscape gardener to boot (though you’ll need to do careful research on what grows well in which places and at what times of year).
Invest in a good cookery courses, and then start offering your services to friends of friends in need of dinner party assistance. This is a good way to make your business offerings known to people who might be in dire need of your services.
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