As we move forward into the future so does the technology. History shows that all innovation gains happens only when all factors at a certain point, – society is ready, science accumulated needed knowledge, artefacts in place. Today we present a series of research devoted to key global spots for innovation startups. We’ve collected and analyzed criteria’s for research and are ready to present this material.

My name is Timur Bagautdinov, I am Head of Ventures at Arch Town Labs. Our decision at Arch Town Labs is to look at existing possibilities for founders and go with series of articles for World Innovation Ranking 2024. The purpose is to compare different equations important to setting up a business and compare countries and cities around the Globe. The first city is Singapore

Understanding methodology:

We took Eight factors into account, including: Geography, Investment climate, Human’s capital, Innovation in Universities, Key Events, Accelerators, Technological centers, and Consumer market. They are important to set a business and making decision on where to start one.


Singapore, nestled between Indonesia and Malaysia, is a prime spot in Southeast Asia. Its central location offers easy access to transport and trade links throughout the region, making it an attractive destination for some of the world’s fastest-growing and dynamic markets.

The Port of Singapore, one of the world’s best-connected and busiest ports, links 120 countries and 600-plus ports globally. Additionally, Singapore Changi Airport, one of Asia’s largest transport hubs, handles over 68 million passengers and two million tons of air freight annually.

Singapore’s multicultural society and linguistic ties to ASEAN members give it a strategic advantage. English, the main working language, facilitates effective communication with global investors.

The highly skilled local workforce in Singapore serves as a bridge for investments in Asia, ensuring a smooth market entry for international businesses and optimal profit maximization. This is why Singapore remains a vital business and management hub in Southeast Asia.

Singapore is committed to protecting intellectual property (IP) rights with its transparent legal system. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) oversees this, and the country even has a specialized IP court.

Investment climate

Singapore is renowned for its robust and stable economy, stringent regulatory system, and transparent legal framework, all of which contribute to its high-ranking investment climate. The government encourages foreign investment and has established policies and incentives to attract international businesses and investors.

Moreover, Singapore’s investment climate is characterized by a high level of transparency, a strong rule of law, and a robust anti-corruption regime. The country also has a sound financial sector, described by strong regulatory oversight and high capital adequacy levels.

According to data from U.S. Departement of State Singapore has a diversified economy that attracts substantial foreign investment in manufacturing (petrochemicals, electronics, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and equipment) and services (financial, trade, and business). The government actively promotes the country as a research and development (R&D) and innovation center for businesses by offering tax incentives, research grants, and partnership opportunities with domestic research agencies.

The city-state takes its place among the selected 11 countries worldwide that hold the prestigious “AAA” credit rating, a group that also includes notable economies such as Switzerland, Australia, and Finland. The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the premier agency promoting foreign investment in Singapore. It’s not just about promoting investment but also fostering industry growth. Whether you’re a local or foreign firm, the EDB is there to provide you with the necessary information, help make introductions, and guide you through government incentives for investments.

Human’s capital

Consistently ranked among the world’s most competitive economies, the island city-state boasts a highly educated and skillful workforce. A significant portion of this workforce, more than third, hold a university degree, attesting to the high level of educational attainment in the country. This is further supplemented by another 15 percent of the workforce who have earned a diploma or professional qualification, adding a layer of specialized skills to the talent pool. As per data from Singapore Department of Statistics, Education, Language Spoken and Literacy, the Adult Literacy Rate (among residents aged 15 years & over) is at 97.6%. The human Capital Index is at 0,9, World Bank reports.

27.81% of the Singaporean population is under 25 years of age, according to CIA World Factbook. To further bolster its talent pool, many universities in Singapore have established tie-ups with corporate entities. These partnerships are designed to nurture future talent in areas on the cutting edge of technology and innovation – artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain, data analytics, and robotics. These collaborations not only provide students with valuable industry exposure but also ensure that the Singaporean workforce stays ahead of the curve in the global economy.

Talent attraction: Singapore has a proactive talent attraction policy aimed at drawing in top-tier professionals from across the globe. This policy centered around providing a high quality of life, competitive salaries, and strong professional growth opportunities.

The country offers several visa options for professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors, ensuring a streamlined process for those looking to move to Singapore. Among these are the Employment Pass for foreign professionals, the EntrePass for entrepreneurs, and the Global Investor Program for investors. Moreover, the government actively collaborates with corporations and universities to create attractive job opportunities and internships for international talent. This is particularly prevalent in sectors Singapore is leading the way, such as FinTech, Biotech, and AI.

Employment rate: Human Resources Director reports, that For PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians), the unemployment rate went down to 2.4% in 2023, while long-term unemployment declined to 0.4%. Several programms are run by government in order to transform job market in the country. For example, SkillsFuture programm to improve skills mastery, and one-stop centre for job redesign, which will allow employers to boost productivity by restructuring work tasks and responsibilities.

Universities and innovations

Singapore is home to the two leading universities: National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. The country is on the top 20 QS rankings of the best cities for students. The ranking takes into account the level of universities, percentage of international students, financial accessibility of education, job prospects, as well as the safety and environmental friendliness of the city. The number of international students is 79,300 in Jan

2024, making it significant part of total number of students in Singapore of 422,000 (according to Education Statistic Digest).

National University of Singapore (NUS) is in 8th place in Top global universities 2024 and Nanyang Technological University is in 26th place. In category “Citations per paper” these universities at 13 and 15 place consequently.

These universities hold several programs related to innovation and enterprise fields, including:

NUS Innovation Access Programme for corporate innovations.Innovation and Enterprize program at Nanyang Technological University. The outcome is 330 startups incubated, over 1500 tech disclosures, S$820mln, and more than 800 IP licensed.BLOCK71:  The National University of Singapore (NUS) Enterprise initiative. The technology-focused incubator assists startups in collaborating and establishing a relationship with agencies.

Key events

Hackathons provide the possibility of uncovering talents within a strict timeframe through specific tasks. 10+ hackathons take place in Singapore throughout the year and are related to different fields including but not limited to climate change, fintech, AI, and space technology. Among organizers and co-organizers are IMDA, Gojek, Meta, Google Cloud, NUS, Angelhack, Amazon Web Services, Goldman Sachs, Grab, VISA, TikTok, Huawei. Hence Singapore brings a lot of professionals during the year and investors can find a team to work on their projects. One of the largest is HyperHack, a 3-day global hackathon which is the part of three-phase hackathon-to-accelerator platform HyperX.

Other key events that take place in Singapore are Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) in October and Singapore TECHSPO. The first brings around 15,000 professionals and C-suite from key markets like Japan, Germany or US. In 2024, SWITCH has in plans innovation programs including startup pitching sector finals and grand finals, a sectoral thought leadership stage, market access sessions, industry exhibition showcases and roundtable sessions. TECHSPO’s two-day forum take place in September and mainly focused on Internet, Mobile, AdTech, MarTech & SaaS Technology.

Beside that, Singapore holds a substantial infrastructure for these events including congress centers and EXPO.

Accelerators and incubators

Startup incubators assist in addressing these issues by offering a supportive atmosphere that promotes growth and success. They offer entrepreneurs access to resources such as funding, office space, and mentorship, as well as opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. Accelerators offer specialized experience over a shorter period of three to four months. This includes access to networks, legal advice, funding opportunities, and learning opportunities. Accelerators focus on companies with proven track records and products in hand for quick scaling.

To start a business, over 200 accelerators and incubators, and 420 VC firms and Angel Networks. Biggest accelerators in Singapore are Antler (mostly focused in health tech, fintech, proptech, robotics, and AI) with number of investment 280 and 2 exits, Surge with 110 investments and 1 exit, and LongHash Ventures with 52 investments and 1 exit.

Top incubators located in Singapore are PayPal incubator – which focused on fintech (offering infrastructure and mentorship from domain experts), CRIB (matching and mentorship), Founders Network (networking and peer support).

The Government has its own initiatives to support startups as well, including: Startup SG Founder grants, Venture for Good Grant, Business Improvement Fund. They work with different categories of founders from first-time entrepreneurs needing mentorship to registered businesses, and different sectors of the economy like social projects, and tourism.

Technological centers

Singapore is home to many corporate R&D centers and Singapore Science Park. Singapore Science Park (SSP) is a technology and development center located in the liveliest tech hub in Singapore. As one of the most prestigious Research & Development (R&D) addresses in Southeast Asia, SSP is home to over 350 laboratories, MNCs, as well as global leading tech companies. Main technology sectors for the park are Biotech, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Environment, Food Sciences, ICT & Communications. Cooperating with the National University of Singapore (NUS), the park is developing a Deep Technology Hub to focus on catalyzing industry-academia collaborations in the fields of Connected Devices, Future Health, and Environmental Solutions and develop the Singapore Science Park as the base for corporate innovation. The collaboration also focuses on building deep technology hardware-focused innovations by facilitating prototyping and enabling commercialization.

“Park of the Future” Innovation Programme run by SSP uses open innovation methodologies to discover innovative startups to solve the challenges faced by the real estate industry.

Number of corporates including Volvo, Panasonic, Hitachi, Nestlé among others have their R&D centers in Singapoore. Companies based in the city invested more than S$5,6 billions in R&D centers, with ongoing investment for Sulzer Chemtech R&D center as an example.

Consumer market

In the first place, we do understand that companies based in Singapore operate for the whole region of South East Asia and thats why usually it’s not limited to the country only.

As we have discovered, Singapore’s consumers are educated, well-traveled, and come from various global backgrounds. The buying cycle here is significantly longer than in western countries, and business doesn’t happen instantly. Singaporeans value networking and solid business relationships for decision-making. Startups aiming for market penetration should prioritize building satisfactory relationships.

The UN estimates the July 1, 2024 population of Singapore at 6,052 709 people, with growth rate 0,63. The largest age group is 20-64 y.o., is 2,64 Mio with a tendency to grow.

Among crucial trends the market, are:

Experience over Possession: The younger Singaporeans are becoming more interested in experiences rather than owning physical goods. The trend is reflected in the popularity of travel, dining, and entertainment experiences.Digital Adoption: Many people now prefer digital channels for shopping, banking, entertainment, and other daily activitiesMore accent on Health and Wellness: Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, opting for products and services that support a healthier lifestyle.

According to MasterCard Economic Institute (MEI), Real Consumer spending in 2024 is at level of 2,8% YoY, while Real GDP is at 2,70 % YoY. These numbers show a decrease compared to previous years, yet it is quite possible to recover setbacks in the near future.

In conclusion

During the analysis we discovered that though Singapore is a quite popular destination for entrepreneurs, there are still many factors which may affect the final decision for landing. Those can play negative or positive role, and include:

Strict laws enforced by Singaporean governmentThe difference itself between Singapore and other ASEAN markets (law, consumer behaviour, digitalization)Higher standarts and demands for digital products

On the other hand, Singapore is a global, multicultural, relatively neutral and stable country with huge networking opportunities and long history of successful entrerprizes.