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Business Advice


After you have decided to run your own setup, the next step – registering your own business – is a lot easier than you think!
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It’s all in the name
Firstly, think of a suitable name for your business – it should be something easy to remember, original and perhaps even witty (depending on the nature of your venture and how creative you are). Don’t follow another business’s name too closely either, as you might end up being sued! Of course, it would be ideal if the name of your setup could provide a hint of what your business is about. 

Before registration
There are a few things you need to do before getting your business registered. After checking the availability of your business name (including website or domain names), you need to find the SSIC (Singapore Standard Industry Classification) code for your business, which is compulsory when you register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), which is in charge of administering the registration of businesses in Singapore. Next, choose a place of business, or a business premise approved by the relevant authorities. 

All self-employed persons (Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents only) also need to top up their Medisave account with the CPF Board before they do any of these three things – register a sole-proprietorship or partnership, join an existing sole-proprietorship or partnership, or renew their business registration. Lastly, applicable licenses and permits must be obtained before registration. 

Getting registered 
Next, register with ACRA. To register for a sole-proprietorship or partnership, submit your application online via BizFile – ACRA’s electronic filing and information retrieval system. If you are the person starting the business, and wish to register a sole-proprietorship or partnership, you could either log onto BizFile using your identification card number and SingPass to submit your transaction online. Otherwise, engage the services of a professional firm or a service bureau to submit the application on your behalf. Fees are applicable – the name approval free is $15, while the business registration fee varies for locals and foreigners. 

How long it takes

A sole-proprietorship or partnership is usually registered within 15 minutes after payment of the registration fee. However, should your application need to be referred to other authorities for their review, it can take between two weeks and two months to be approved. For instanceyou’re your sole-proprietorship or partnership engages in activities involving the setting up a private school, your application will be referred to the Ministry of Education. 

However, if no referral is required, the registration of your sole-proprietorship will be valid after the payment of relevant fees. Partnerships will only be registered if all the partners have endorsed (or agreed to) the submission of the online transaction, and after the registration fee has been paid.