You’re a start-up executive and have opened your company in the heart of a strong start-up community. You want to network with other executives, and for your team to do likewise. You’re keen to track what is going on, to uncover opportunities to collaborate, and – yes – to enjoy the gossip. And, right now you have a little spare space in your office.
So maybe you could take inspiration from Harry Dewhirst at BlisMedia. I dropped into his office when in Singapore before Christmas, and was surprised to find that the entrance hallway was a private bar and hangout area. After work, people in other start-up companies – particularly partners and customers of BlisMedia – in the Ann Siang district are welcome to drop in, and socialise with Harry and his team. BlisMedia has thus become a focal hangout in the area, and Harry and his team have even better personal networks as a result. You can get a sense from the twitter hashtag #Blisbar – including the 2015 'Golden Shaker' awards for the best new cocktail at BlisBar!
Singapore’s population is about 5.4 million, slightly higher than ours. Its landmass is only about 1 per cent of Ireland’s. Gross domestic product per capita in 2013 was $55,000, ahead of our $50,000.
In its ranking of health systems worldwide, the World Health Organisation placed Singapore in sixth place, with Ireland 19th. As a city state, its public transport system is extensive. The international airport at Changdi is one of the world’s busiest, and is rated the best in the world (2015 Skytrax ranking).
Corporation tax is 17 per cent, ahead of our own at 12.5 per cent. Corporate tax contributes over 30 per cent of the total tax income to the state, as compared to less than 10 per cent here. The highest applicable personal income tax rate is 20 per cent. The goods and services tax – equivalent to VAT – is a maximum of 7 per cent.
The government of Singapore strongly promotes the city state as the start-up hub of southeast Asia. Singapore is first in the World Bank’s annual “Ease of Doing Business” rankings for 2015 – Ireland is in 13th place. Singapore is seventh in Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’ for 2014 – Ireland is in 17th place. Singapore is ranked seventh in the 2015 Global Innovation Index, immediately ahead of Ireland.