Chances are, business owners in Singapore – whether they’re a startup, SME, or large corporation – would need to interact with government agencies at some point in their professional journey.
For some of them, it’s on a regular monthly or annual basis. And when they do, they sometimes don’t know which agency to turn to or what the regulatory process is around them.
As such, the Governmental Agency for Technology (GovTech) has worked closely with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) over the past six years to understand the challenges businesses face, especially when it comes to interacting with government.
This is what led to the creation of GoBusiness, a one-stop-shop platform that provides Singapore businesses with integrated, personalized and transparent access to government resources and services.
GoBusiness was first launched in October 2019 as GoBusiness Licensing to simplify license applications for the restaurant industry in Singapore.
To date, it has benefited over 2,800 F&B business owners and a monthly average of around 100 F&B businesses have used the GoBusiness license.
Driven by the success of this F&B initiative, this motivated the team to continue improving the platform to provide better support to all businesses in Singapore; not limited to the F&B sector alone.
In 2020, the platform was expanded to include GoBusiness Government Assistance in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, which helps businesses navigate government support programs.
GoBusiness is part of Smart Nation’s overall vision and reflects the government’s commitment to promoting a favorable business environment in Singapore.
There are three promises that GoBusiness aims to deliver: to help businesses find the information they need in a simpler and faster way, to help them connect that information and services in the form of a guided journey so that ” they know what action to take and what to do after each step, and finally, proactively notify and update businesses with the latest news and information.
Get help every step of the way
The key idea is to help entrepreneurs every step of the way – from starting a business, running a business, growing a business to exiting a business.
When starting a business, especially for newbies, they often don’t realize that beyond the registration process there is often a lot more to do that immediately follows, such as registering a business. brand, opening a Corppass account and license applications.
And for those who run a physical store, they may end up paying for the rental before they can even open a store just because they find they have to go through regulatory processes before they can start a business.
As such, GoBusiness wants to help businesses not only speed up their registration process, but also get off to a good start by providing them with essential information and tools.
When businesses start operating, they have to meet regulatory requirements for financial reporting, tax reporting, workforce management, training, and more.
There is also the exciting but uncertain part of growing, expanding and transforming.
GoBusiness wishes to reduce friction regarding this type of regulatory requirement and increase the accessibility of government support.
Even in some unfortunate instances where some businesses don’t get off the ground, he wants to make it easy for businesses to close out and streamline business obligations like payroll and write-off.
Access to over 300 government business services on a single platform
MTI and SNDGG announced today (November 17) that GoBusiness will be enhanced to create a more seamless experience for businesses, with features to help aspiring entrepreneurs start their businesses, and a guide for existing business owners to apply for the relevant licenses and grants.
Companies will benefit from a personalized dashboard that will support users throughout the professional journey. With the dashboard, businesses will have easy, integrated access to over 300 government-to-business services.
It allows them to register new businesses, apply for licenses and receive recommendations on appropriate government assistance programs.
From January 2022, users can access the dashboard by logging in through Singpass and selecting their company’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) or Business Number.
Once logged in, they will be able to see the information most relevant to them, view their company profile, and see some of the transactions they have made with various government agencies.
At a glance, they can also see what some of the key activities they need to act on immediately, or what activities are still in progress.
Users can have access to a personalized step-by-step guide on how to register their business, as well as complete the incorporation of their business in the same transaction.
Once the company registration is complete, the user will receive suggestions on how to proceed, including applying for relevant licenses and grants.
Businesses can access and apply for over 200 licenses – across different industries – from various government agencies through the dashboard, without having to visit separate portals. In the same space, companies can also modify, renew or cancel existing licenses.
Through the dashboard, companies can also track the status of their license request and be prompted if action is required.
The dashboard is also integrated with a notification system so that companies never miss another opportunity or deadline.
Another cool part of the dashboard is its recommendations feature, which offers a range of personalized recommendations such as relevant grant suggestions.
During their interviews with companies as part of their research process, the team found that companies were often unaware of the existence of an existing government program and often believed that they were not eligible for a certain program. , so they end up not using it.
As such, GoBusiness hopes to solve this problem through its recommendation engine.
Get relevant recommendations from e-advisers
In addition to the dashboard, users can access various e-Advisers available on GoBusiness without logging in. It is something that companies can already start to use.
The e-Advisers will provide new or potential users with relevant recommendations on the structure of the company, starting a business, controls on the use of premises and the organization of events.
By answering a few simple questions, new business owners can receive information that helps them decide on the business structure that best suits their needs.
New businesses can also check the availability of their preferred business name or proposed business names as usernames on social media channels.
They can also learn about the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification Code for their business activities, as well as receive recommendations on the steps to take to register their business in Singapore.
In addition, companies can easily verify the use of premises and change of land user with the e-Adviser. It directs businesses to the appropriate government agency to obtain approval for the use of commercial space.
Businesses can also find out if change-of-use approval is required by entering the addresses of their pre-selected properties and answering a few simple questions.
Meanwhile, companies looking to host events in Singapore can also use the e-Adviser to navigate the regulatory landscape.
By answering a few simple questions, businesses can receive a set of licensing recommendations and safe management measures for their event.
These short questionnaires are necessary for the e-Advisor to generate recommendations, and some fields, such as the company profile, will be pre-filled so that users do not waste time filling in their details several times.
The local business community plays a vital role in the formation of GoBusiness
These improvements on GoBusiness have been developed in close collaboration with the business community in Singapore.
Over 500 business users across multiple industries including foodservice, e-commerce, retail, and events have been accessed over the past two years through research, user testing, and testing. independent studies.
By facilitating regular business feedback, the Pro-Enterprise Panel under the MTI has been instrumental in ensuring that new features introduced on GoBusiness are developed in accordance with business needs.
GoBusiness will continue to enrich its website and gradually deploy new functionalities. As part of their co-creation process, companies are also invited to offer a feature that they would like to see appear in their future dashboard.
Featured Image Credit: Screenshot from GoBusiness website
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