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Beginner’s Guide on Starting an Event Management Business in Singapore

No venue in Asia is more sought after than Singapore. As the quintessential global business city, Singapore upholds its image as a top city for conventions, exhibitions and international meetings. The spectacular launch of Singapore’s Integrated Resorts puts the city on par with Las Vegas as a vacation and convention centre. Thus, if you are thinking of starting an event management business in Singapore, you’ve got an excellent idea.


What is an Event Management Business?

Events are held year in and year out. Come rain or shine; there is always an event that is taking place nearly every day somewhere in the world. Singapore is no different. As an entrepreneur who is starting an event management business, your role will be to plan and organise events.

Your business will be in charge of helping your clients organise their events from start to finish. Your responsibility is to ensure every event is a memorable success. There are three major event classes that interest event management companies:

  • MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions).
  • Performing arts events, including plays, music, dance, puppets, etc.
  • Leisure and lifestyle events, including sports, recreation, fashion, adventure, social and community events.


The Business Registration Process for Starting an Event Management Business

Before you can get your business going, you need to register it. To do this, you’ll need to file an application and submit your documents to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You can do this quickly and easily by logging on to ACRA’s BizFile portal using your SingPass ID.

You will need this step to complete your Singapore company registration process. If you don’t have a SingPass ID, 3E Accounting can help with that.


The Licenses and Permits You Need

Once your business has been successfully registered in Singapore, the next step is to acquire your licenses and permits. These normally are short-term licenses that are specific to individual events. As your corporate service provider, 3E Accounting can easily assist with this part of the process too. Here are some of the licenses and permits that you will need to operate your event business:


Permit/License Purpose
Arts Entertainment License You will need this license for plays, musical performances, dance performances, art exhibitions, variety shows and pop/rock concerts.

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) issues the Arts Entertainment License. You’ll need one to organise any sort of public arts entertainment event, indoors or out.

You must notify the police at least seven days in advance of exempted events.

You can be an organisation or an individual to apply for an Arts Entertainment License. If you are an individual, you must be a Singapore citizen, Singapore permanent resident, or holder of a valid employment pass holder.

Copyright Permit You will need this permit for playing or reproducing copyrighted music or videos at any event.

Funfairs, carnivals, roadshows, exhibitions and concerts might require this kind of license. You’ll have to secure permission from the copyright owners, who are frequently represented by:

  • Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS): Represents composers and lyricists.
  • Horizon Music Entertainment Pte Ltd: Represents a specific group of record labels.
  • Inform Entertainment Pte Ltd: Represents major record labels.
  • Recording Industry Performance Pte Ltd (RIPS): Represents major record labels.
  • Other collective management organizations, or CMOs.

It normally takes two to three weeks to get the permit, which is valid only on the event dates.

Public Entertainment License You will need this license for entertainment events (excluding arts entertainment events) to which the public has access.

The Public Entertainments & Meetings Act empowers the Singapore Police Force to issue a Public Entertainment License for ad-hoc public entertainment, whether the entry is free or paid.

You must notify the Police at least seven days before exempted events.

Trade Fair Permit You will need this permit for trade fairs. The National Environment Agency will issue this license if you’re organising a trade fair. This is any activity that requires makeshift stalls to sell food, merchandise or entertainment.

You can be an organisation or an individual to apply for an Arts Entertainment License. If you are an individual, you must be a Singapore citizen, Singapore permanent resident, or holder of a valid employment pass.


Animal Exhibition License You will need this license for events where animals will be exploited or be involved in performances. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) must first issue a license before you can feature live animals at your event, whether through exhibit or performance.
Advertisement License If you’re going to publicise your event with outdoor advertisement signs, such as sky signs and electronic billboards, you’ll need an Advertisement License from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.
No Objection Letter for Selling Food and Beverage If you are serving food or beverages at your event, get a ‘No Objection Letter’ from the National Environment Agency.
Fireworks Display License The Singapore Police Force must issue you this license if you want to display indoor or outdoor fireworks at your event.
Notification to Conduct Lotteries Your event can’t have lotteries, lucky draws or door prizes unless you notify the Singapore Police Force at least one month in advance.
Newspaper Permit You cannot distribute an offshore newspaper at your event without first getting a Newspaper Permit from the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
Non-Residential TV License If you have on your event premises any broadcasting equipment that can receive broadcasts, such as TV sets or PCs that can receive TV programs, get a Non-Residential TV License from the Media Development Authority.
Approval for Fire Safety Work on Premises If you anticipate carrying out any fire safety work at the event premises, get approval from the Fire Safety and Shelter Department of Singapore.
Approval to Use Certain Types of Premises and Public Spaces You might need one or more of the following:

  • Approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority for certain types of venues (such as conservation sites)
  • National Parks Board’s Approval for using parks as event premises
  • Approval from the Singapore Police Force and Land Transport Authority for using a road segment for an event.
  • Approval from the Singapore Tourism Board for an event along Orchard Road.
  •  Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Approval to use parking lots for non-parking purposes.
  • Temporary Occupation License from the Singapore Land Authority to temporarily occupy state land for events such as carnivals, tee-shirt contests, trade fairs, expositions


Start Your Event Management Business with 3E Accounting

It does sound like a lot of work, but there is nothing you need to worry about with the right Singapore company incorporation specialists. Let us do all the legwork so you can focus on what truly matters to you: Launching the business of your dreams.

For more information about starting an event management business and about our incorporation services, contact us today or visit our website for more.