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Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Retail Business in Singapore

Starting a Retail Business in SingaporeIf you are thinking of starting a retail business in Singapore, you have the right idea. In fact, you couldn’t have chosen a better place in Asia to launch such a business. As Asia’s most vibrant lifestyle and business hub, Singapore’s retail sector is thriving, fueled by magnificent growth in tourism.

In Singapore, we define retail outlets as shops or stores where business owners hawk their wares directly to the public. The retail market has several niches. Your business could focus on speciality retail, work, home, lifestyle, entertainment, communications, food and beverage, supermarkets, bookshops, and more.

Starting a retail business in Singapore requires you to go through the registration process and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. To do it yourself, you must be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident. As a company, you must first be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).


What the Retail Business Involves

A retail business is simply described as a business where you sell your products or services directly to the customer. The retail industry contributes to a significant portion of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

For example, if you had a passion for food, then you could open a food and beverage retail business. If you had a retail telecommunications business, you would sell telecommunications equipment directly to your customer. As long as you are selling some sort of goods or services directly to your consumers, you are the owner of a retail business.

The nature of your business will determine the licenses, permits, and approvals you need from the various authorities. It sounds complicated, but you can rest assured that it’s easier than you think. 3E Accounting’s guide to company registration will show you just how easy it is to start a retail business in Singapore.


The Business Registration Process in Singapore

Setting up a retail business is a straightforward process. 3E Accounting can help you start your Singapore company incorporation by helping you gather your documents to register your business with ACRA as the first step. Using your SingPass ID, you can go online and login to BizFile and fill in the necessary details. You can usually complete the process within 24 hours with us guiding you.

3E Accounting can help you draft and notarise your company’s Articles of Association. We will also be able to help you file them with ACRA. Additionally, we help to prepare the details and particulars of the directors and shareholders of the company. If you are a foreign entrepreneur, you will need to submit a copy of your passport and your address as proof of residence. You will also need to apply for a Singapore work pass to oversee your business dealings.

As part of the business registration process, your retail business must get approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). You will also need to satisfy fire safety requirements and get a Fire Safety Certificate from the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF).


Required Licenses and Permits

The licenses and permits you need for your business depend on what you sell. This is especially important if your business has something to do with health and safety. For example, if you want to start a supermarket business, you will need a Supermarket License as specified by the Environmental Public Health Act. You will also have to abide by the guidelines for cleanliness and food safety and to prevent food-related diseases.

If you want to sell medicines, you will need a Certificate of Registration of a Pharmacy from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). Starting a telecommunications business means you need a Telecommunications Dealer’s License and a Dealer’s Class License. Then, you’ll need to inform the Infocommunications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) regarding the phone number and address of each location from which you’ll be selling. You can only sell approved telecommunications equipment as described in the First Schedule of the Regulations.

Starting a liquor retail business definitely needs a Liquor License from the Liquors Licensing Board. Another example of a business is the cosmetics business in Singapore. For the cosmetics business, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) must be notified via its PRISM website before putting any new product on the market. However, you are exempted from getting a license to sell and import cosmetics products in Singapore by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

Other types of licenses in Singapore that you might need for your business include a copyright license, a wide-area private network license, and a non-residential TV license. The non-residential TV license is applicable if your retail outlet is going to have a TV in it. 3E Accounting can offer further information on licensing requirements as your dedicated corporate service provider.


Need a Hand Getting Started?

Starting a retail business in Singapore is easy. The tricky part many entrepreneurs struggle with is identifying the types of licenses and permits you need. But that is what the 3E Accounting team is here for.

Let us help you navigate the ropes and launch your business in no time. For more information about our company incorporation and set up services, contact 3E Accounting today.

Starting a Retail Business in Singapore