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ENTREPRENEURS GUIDE TO PRODUCTIVE PANDEMICS

COVID-19 will structurally change business and spark increased innovation for good! Not only aimed at entrepreneurs but any business leader dealing with crisis; This is to be a positive gyration on current updates and articles on COVID-19. This pandemic is certainly impacting the world greatly and creating crisis globally. The business impact is seen across nearly all industries but as business leaders or entrepreneurs you can chose how you view the business future. Our primary obligation in to keep our staff, our family and our community safe; this means that we need to head the advice of the authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) within these parameters there is still great impact we can make on our business (even from home).

Something that is not being spoken about much is the mental and emotional impact on people being removed from their community and business circles. Something that adds to this, specifically for solopreneurs’ and entrepreneurs’ is the stress of failure and financial hardship.

Admittedly I have widely been referred to as an overly optimistic person so this statement has a bias, however I believe that how positively you come out of this depends on how mentally positive you go into it. This pandemic has slowed down business for many and unfortunately may even be fatal to others. One view could be that there is nothing you can do about a pandemic and if you cannot see clients / develop product / be in a lab / meet my team, then you cannot get your job done. Another way to look at it would be to analyze really what determines success and then find a way to complete a productive milestone towards this success daily. Another look at all the important but not urgent tasks you have put off over the last 6 months because you have been knees deep in business operations.

A few suggestions on how we can work around COVID-19 while keeping our selves and community safe, some may be irrelevant which you may choose to alter. To do this you may want to ask yourselves the below questions:

  • How are my staff handling this time? Are they getting all (empathy, access to tools etc) they need from me at this time?
  • Have I reviewed my strategic vision and plan for the business lately? (Do I have one?)
  • Do I have all of the procedures and processes in place that are required by my best operating business?
  • What does my training and development program look like? What can I do to enhance it.
  • New Market Research; what other jurisdictions and countries will my product / service thrive?
  • Speak to experts, get advice on business in general – yes it might be on the phone but they have as much time to spare as you do?
  • What is my sales and marketing plan looking like, review its success against competitors?
  • What could I do on-line or from home for my community, can I commit time or support in anyway?

The below are four (4) general area’s where we can all submerge ourselves in during this time which will pay off for our businesses in the long run. Some of these may not be relevant as every country is dealing with the pandemic at different stages.

Strategy Development: One area that we often do not have time to focus on is our strategic goals for the business. Many of us are busy working IN the business and don’t have time to work ON the business. If you are like me you are too busy to do a stock take on the achievement and alignment of the business with its strategic vision. This down time away from staff may be just that time! Then you may ask; To meet my mid-term (~1 – 5 years) what actions can I start today? Other questions you may ask to push your creative juices are:

– Is there another way to deliver my product or service during this time?

– Is there another product that the market would now accept that we can supply?

– What is in my technology portfolio to deliver the above?

Human (HR) Resources Support: Be there for your people, this time is hard for everyone and just because you cannot see them does not mean they do not need you. You may have more time now so schedule more one on one chats and spend more time getting to know them and their needs. To the above point, see what they think we can improve or innovate to achieve our strategic goals. Connect with those abroad you do not speak to enough. This goes for family and friends as well. Remember your mental strength can be derived from community and being part of something, so make sure you are connected and committing.

Process Review & Documentation Creation: Maybe it is just me but surely everyone hates doing this? It is usually at the bottom of the pile of chores and seldom gets the attention it probably deserves. This is the time to review and create (not to many procedures) when the world returns to normal then you won’t have time to do this again.

Research: More than 70% of all expanding companies say that they could have done more research on the new market / country that they moved into. Yes I said it, research new markets. I am not saying make the move now but the key to getting through this is optimism and being more prepared than your competition. As per the question above – this is also the time to talk to experts or mentors as they have time on their hands. We for example have had a number of global mobilization projects and working visa’s cancelled by our large MNC clients, so we have more than enough time to speak, consult or advise on any new country entry or company incorporation you are looking at in Asia pacific. Or download a whitepaper if you don’t feel like speaking to us :).

Whatever you choose to do, do it in a safe way but stay optimistic about the future and we will all get through this. Speak to each other and yell out when you are in need of help. If we do choose to go out for meetings (which is still permitted in some countries) we can do it in a safe way using distancing, small groups and even questionnaires like the mail chimp we are using (link if you want a copy). www.agilehumansolutions.com

Written by Leon Farrant

Tracking the Corona COVID-19 Virus for business mobility in Asia Pacific.

Making company and personal travel decisions have now taken on a new dimension with the current Corona Virus situation. We empathise with those that Agile Visa and Agile PEO is helping with Global Mobility and their career move into a new country. Some of which have had their move put on hold.

It is important to know the facts before making decisions that will impact companies and families. The below dashboard provides an up to date snap shot of how the COVID-19 virus is spreading and how the infected are recovering. The below link is one of the few live updated websites to safely track the situation.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

How to make an informed company travel policy for COVID-19

– Check on the country of travel’s current COVID-19 status as per the WHO.

– Check the country of destinations government issued recommendations and
guidelines. For Singapore for example check . https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19.

– Check out other best in class company policies issued.

– Check travel insurance coverage for intended destinations.

– Check airline stoppage and any business disruption statements.

– Have staff read and acknowledge new travel and health and safety policy.

– Agile’s recommendation would be to use government and or World Health
Organisation published data as considerations when making policy and
decisions as there is an abundance of false and exaggerated news out there.

The World Health Organisation (the WHO) has a wealth of amazing information on their website including county risk profiles and educational infomation about how to deal with the disease from a corporate point of view. The website

https://openwho.org/courses

https://openwho.org/courses/COVID-19-IPC-EN

A major consideration should also be the country of travel, and to consider a country specific policy, their reporting and governance of the disease. Singapore for example has been complimented by the World Health Organisation with Dr Tedros commenting that “We are very impressed with the efforts they are making to find every case, follow up with contacts and stop transmission,”. Where as Indonesia currently has not reported any cases and has been identified a possible concern to the WHO in the management of COVID-19.

There are many resources available but if you would like to see some current up to date information on what corporate actions are being taken in the Asia Pacific region, Agile can send you further information.

Stay safe, clean your hands regularly and keep calm.

How to get an Entrepreneur Visa (EntrePass) in Singapore!

I keep on waxing lyrical about the ease on starting a business in Singapore but I have been messaged repeatedly asking for more information. For this reason, I wanted to write a brief guide on the EntrePass (Visa for Entrepreneurs or those building Startups) process in Singapore.

EntrePass in Singapore

Here are some of the key facts about the Visa:

  • An EntrePass is valid for 1 year with renewals allowing the holder to stay for 2 years
  • You must have an incorporated company that is less than 6 months old or plans to incorporate a company
  • You must have a comprehensive business plan as part of your application
  • You must have evidence that you have been sponsored by a well-established Singaporean company or are able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank
  • The application takes around 8 weeks to be processed and is reviewed by three government bodies
  • Entrepreneurs no longer need to have a minimum of S$50,000 of paid-up capital in order to apply for this visa
  • In Year 1 there are no minimum requirements on total annual business spending and employees hired, but you do have minimum requirements from Year 2 onwards (click here to learn more).

The difference between an EntrePass and an Employment Pass

There are several differences between the two visas, for example:

  • Purpose: an Employment Pass is for company staff and executives, while an Entrepass is for founders of the newly set up companies who own at least 30% shareholding
  • Salary requirements: an Employment Pass requires the applicant to have a minimum salary of S$3,600, while there is no specific salary requirement for Entrepass
  • Processing time: for an Employment Pass (EP) application it can be as fast as 3 weeks, while EntrePass can take up to 8 weeks
  • Visa duration: an EP holders can stay up to 2 years in Singapore upon the first issue of the visa, while Entrepass holders are only granted 1 year.

Entrepass Singapore requirements

EntrePass is open to people of all nationalities. You can apply for an EntrePass if you:

  • have a proposed business idea that is innovative, entrepreneurial, and able to create jobs for locals
  • have an entrepreneurial or relevant background
  • plan to register your business as a private limited company in Singapore
  • have not incorporated your company yet, or the company is less than six months old during application
  • plan to hold 30% of the shares in the proposed business
  • are sponsored by a well-established Singaporean company or are able to furnish a Banker’s Guarantee of S$3,000 issued by a Singapore-based bank upon approval of the application.

In addition to all the above-mentioned conditions, you are required to meet the either one of these criteria, which is divided into 3 types – Entrepreneur, Innovator or Investor:

How do I apply for an EntrePass?

If you wish to apply for Entrepass, you do so directly with the Ministry of Manpower. An online application is not available. You will require these documents:

· An EntrePass application form

· Documentary evidence that proves you are an entrepreneur, innovator or investor

· Business plan in the prescribed format (explained below)

· Copy of your company’s latest business profile

· A recent passport-sized photo

· Copy of the particulars page of your passport

· Documentation of your previous employment or business venture

· Copies of your educational certificates

· Any other documents that can solidify your application

Failing this Agile can help you apply for an Entrepass.

The business plan for Entrepass

A business plan is part of the required documentation that you need to submit along with your application. The Ministry of Manpower has required that the business plan conform to the following structure. Note that this means if your business plan does not conform to this format, your application may be rejected.

Profile of applicant

· Professional experience (employment history, role in growing businesses, track record in growing startups)

· Awards or recognitions (Awards by a national body, credible organization or recognized media)

· Special skills or resources (IPs, technology, networks, financial)

· Academic qualifications

· Role in societies or organizations

Business idea

· Product and service offered

· Market analysis

· Supporting documents (licensing agreements, product certifications and endorsements)

Implementation plan

· Market plan

· Operation plan

· Financial projections

· Profiles of management team

How long will the application take?

EntrePass applications usually take between 6 to 8 weeks to process. You can use this link to check your EntrePass application status.

If you are ambitious and have a great business idea we can let you know if you are a candidate for an Entrepass with 12 quick questions, contact us and we will advise on your best approach.

Agile Human Solutions partners with CFC to provide hope

Recently we partnered with Caring For Cambodia (CFC) to further fulfill our corporate social responsibility and put others needs in front of our own. CFC are a great non-for profit charitable organisation that are providing high quality education for over 6,6000 children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Here is what CFC have said about us;

“There are many ways to support Caring for Cambodia, and we are grateful to all those who help us fulfill our mission of educating children and changing the lives of current and future generations of Cambodians.

Singapore-based Agile Human Solutions demonstrates its commitment to CFC by sponsoring the education of one child at our schools in Cambodia with each foreign specialist the company brings to the Asian market for 12 months or more.

“We believe when expanding internationally, we should be mindful of our impact on the local communities. The key to longevity and sustainability is our investment in the education of our youth.”Leon Farrant, founder of Agile Human Solutions.

We agree, and thanks to the corporate social responsibility of Agile we are bringing hope and education to impoverished children in Cambodia. Thank you, Agile Human Solutions, for being heroes to our deserving students. We look forward to seeing Agile staff and partners on a CFC campus soon!”

To find out more about the charity and how you can help if you are able, click the link below.

www.caringforcambodia.org/

Destination Malaysia: A Dynamic Gateway to Business in Asia

It’s not hard to understand Malaysia’s appeal as a popular travel destination. With diverse landscapes ranging from bustling cities, lush rainforests, incredible dive sites, and a melting pot of culture and cuisine, Malaysia has been an easy route into discovering some of the best that Asia offers.

For businesses, the country has consistently provided substantial market entry and growth opportunities in several industries, including oil & gas, manufacturing, telecommunications, tourism and services. Well-connected by air to major cities in Asia, Malaysia is strategically placed at the heart of Southeast Asia next to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the Straits of Malacca, providing access to global supply chain. The diversity of its population has meant that while English is widely-spoken in business, Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin and Tamil are also main languages.

Most businesses – from start-ups and SMEs, to larger organisations and MNCs – will find the lure of establishing operations or expanding into Malaysia hard to resist. The country has become a favourite spot for new business in ASEAN, with a stable economy, flexible banking system, skilled and educated workforce, developed infrastructure and one of the highest living standards in the region. In fact, a recent report from Moody’s has highlighted Malaysia’s strong growth prospects, underpinning its position as a promising investment environment and springboard for regional expansion.

The good news is there are several opportunities in the country’s commercial environment for businesses to leverage; with the right assistance and processes in place, company incorporation or set-up is not as complicated as you may imagine.

Key considerations for business set-up in Malaysia

One of the crucial starting points is to find out if your business is permitted as a foreign investor. Investors from overseas are allowed to register private limited companies or Sendirian Berhad (Sdn Bhd) companies. The Malaysian government also now allows foreigners to establish 100% foreign owned entities, making it even simpler to establish business presence there.

Then comes the process of applying for the right permits and visas to operate. Three different types of work permits are issued in Malaysia:

Professional Visit Pass: Issued to foreigners employed by an overseas company but working with a company in Malaysia (suitable for technical experts, trainees or volunteers on short assignments. This pass is normally valid for between six months to a year.

Temporary Employment Pass: Issued to unskilled or semi-skilled workers in specific industries – manufacturing, agriculture, construction and services. Normally valid for two years with extensions available on a yearly basis.

Employment Pass:  Applicable to those wanting to work in Malaysia and have specific skills. Issued for a minimum period of two years, subject to necessary regulatory approvals.

Establishing your company into the market efficiently can be made simpler with expert PEO solutions and immigration assistance, removing the hassle of setting up a local entity or navigating local laws.

Getting started

If you are looking for an efficient way to expand your business in Asia, Agile Human Solutions can help companies begin trading in Malaysia within 48 hours compliantly and cost effectively, helping you focus on key business tasks. We can help save you time by you enabling you to hire staff immediately without the administrative costs and responsibility of maintaining a legal entity in Malaysia. When coming onboard with Agile, we ensure you will have expert advice to help your business get established for success in a new market.

To get a comprehensive 2020 guide to Employment, Immigration and Incorporation legislation by contacting us at [email protected] or follow and message us here on LinkedIn. You can also Contact Us at website and schedule a video call with one of our specialists.

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