Why Babson Connect Worldwide Is Heading to Singapore in 2024
Milan has fashion. Silicon Valley has tech. London is known for finance, and Boston is highly regarded for education and health care.
Singapore stands out as one of the world’s major hubs known for fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship.
That’s just one of the reasons that Singapore was selected as the host for Babson Connect Worldwide (BCW), the world’s premier entrepreneurial summit powered by Babson College. BCW will be held February 22-24 at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.
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BCW is one of Babson’s signature events for visionary founders, accomplished executives, and emerging stars in the entrepreneurial world. The summit features keynote speeches and panel discussions with prominent leaders, as well as interactive workshops and networking sessions.
First held in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2015, BCW returns to Asia for the first time since 2017, when it was held in Bangkok.
Richie Eu ’09, managing director of mergers and acquisitions at Eu Yan Sang International Ltd., is based in Singapore and knows the importance of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. “A business-friendly ecosystem, forward-thinking regulatory support, and strong talent pool are all factors that can ‘de-risk’ ” a new venture’s launch in the region, Eu said.
Eu, who serves on the BCW Advisory Committee, pinpointed four ways that Singapore helps support and empower entrepreneurs.
1. A Gateway to Growth
With verdant gardens, iconic architecture, and sweeping skylines, Singapore is a cosmopolitan dreamscape and ideal launch point for founders.
“Singapore is a gateway to Asia for entrepreneurs,” Eu said. Businesses can leverage Singapore’s economic advantage to enter Southeast Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.
For one, Singapore continues to lead Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in terms of its startup ecosystem, counting 4,000 tech startups, 400 venture capital managers, and 700 family offices in 2022. In addition, Singapore retains the highest number of unicorn startups in Southeast Asia.
For a country that’s smaller than the state of Rhode Island, it generates a lot of global buzz. In September 2023, Singapore surpassed Hong Kong’s 53-year reign of having the world’s freest economy.
2. Top Venture Capital Funding
Founders who aim to seek venture capital funds will find there are no shortage of VCs in Singapore. In fact, Singapore ranks number one in the world for the most venture capital funding per capita, at $1,060 per person.
“We offer access to strategic capital for a quick start,” Eu said. “Investors here are keen to back serial entrepreneurs and experienced business leaders building ventures from Singapore.”
Some of the top venture capital firms in Singapore include JAFCO Asia, Wavemaker Partners, and Gobi Partners.
“Singapore is a gateway to Asia for entrepreneurs.” Richie Eu, BCW Advisory Board Member
3. Taxes, IP Protection, and Partnerships
Singapore boasts one of the world’s smallest corporate tax rates, which is capped at 17%. “Clear and consistent tax guidelines,” is how Eu describes the tax laws in Singapore. This relatively low rate not only lowers market entry barriers, but it also allows founders to reinvest into their businesses. In other words, a Singaporean dollar goes further when it comes to economic growth.
Eu also emphasizes the strong intellectual property protection laws in Singapore, ranking second in the world, according to the World Trademark Review’s IP Office Innovation 2021 ranking.
Finally, Eu says Singapore’s governance also enables entrepreneurs to leverage strategic partnerships internally and across the region. “In my opinion, Singapore’s trust in the government’s policies have allowed the city-state to flourish,” he said.
Government-to-government agreements with neighbors such as Malaysia and Indonesia mean companies who set up a home base in Singapore can leverage resources next door. For instance, Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Indonesia, offers infrastructure for data centers and houses tech talent.
4. Tech-savvy Talent Abounds
Speaking of tech talent, Singapore’s talent pool is one of the prime reasons companies can build, launch, and scale. And, the Economic Development Board (EDB Singapore) is a fundamental government-funded resource in helping businesses build their dream teams.
Initiatives such as the EDB’s Tech@SG program aim to make it easier for companies to hire qualified talent. Eu notes that a strong foundation in tech, and the abundance of data scientist teams—
Finally, high standards of living make Singapore attractive for talent, from locals and expats, to stay. “Top global talent looking to make an impact and create a better future for the world will find Singapore a welcoming home for themselves and their families,” Eu said.
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