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Best Place in the World for Social Entrepreneurs. Singapore lah ?. James Norris Where is the best place in the world for a social entrepreneur to live and build a social enterprise?. Global Cities Index. New York City6.22 London5.86

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Best Place in the World for Social Entrepreneurs

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Best Place in the World for Social Entrepreneurs

Singapore lah?

James Norris

Where is the best place in the world for a social entrepreneur to live and build a social enterprise?

Global Cities Index

  • New York City6.22

  • London5.86

  • Tokyo5.42

  • Paris5.35

  • Hong Kong4.14

  • Chicago3.94

  • Los Angeles3.90

  • Singapore3.45

  • Sydney3.44

  • Seoul3.40

  • Brussels3.29

  • San Francisco3.26

  • Washington3.25

  • Toronto3.13

  • Beijing3.12

  • Berlin3.03

  • Madrid3.02

  • Vienna2.96

  • Boston2.78

  • Frankfurt2.78

Alpha Cities

  • Alpha++ world cities:

    • London, New York

  • Alpha+ world cities:

    • Beijing, Hong Kong, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo

  • Alpha world cities:

    • Brussels, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai, Seoul, Toronto

  • Alpha− world cities:

    • Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Bangkok, Budapest, Caracas, Dublin, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Jakarta, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Prague, Rome, Santiago, São Paulo, Stockholm, Taipei, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich

Rules of Engagement

  • Defend your assertions with data or logical conjecture

  • “Criticize by creating” an alternative answer/solution (paraphrasing Michelangelo)

  • Be nice

Related Questions

  • Where is the best place for a social entrepreneur in 2020?

  • Where is the best place for a bootstrapping social entrepreneur?

  • Where is the best place for a well-financed social entrepreneur?

  • Where is the best place for a newbie social entrepreneur?

  • Where is the best place for a seasoned social entrepreneur?

Specific ModelQuestions

  • How do you reach your customers or beneficiaries?

  • Do you distribute online or through physical channels?

  • Are there relevant industry clusters anywhere?

  • Etc.

Success Factors

  • Access to talent

  • Access to funding

  • Access to markets

  • Good business climate

  • Supportive culture


The Case for Singapore

Access to Talent

  • Very high standard of living which draws talent in

  • Liberal immigration laws for foreign talent

  • #1 labor force in world

Access to Funding

  • S$1M social innovation challenge

  • S$588K social enterprise competition

  • Asia’s first social stock exchange

  • Growing venture philanthropy community

  • S$300K grants for social entrepreneurs focusing on employing disadvantaged Singaporeans

  • S$200K grants for enterprises focused on volunteerism or philanthropy

  • S$50K grants for young entrepreneurs under 26

  • #1 in Asia for philanthropy and #1 in world for concentration of millionaires

Access to Markets

  • Geographically situated between three of the largest markets in the world: China, India, and Indonesia

  • Airport rated #2 in world with multiple discount airlines flying the region

Good Business Climate

  • #1 place in world to do business

  • 80% of population is English-literate and much of the other 20% can speak at least the basics

  • Very low corporate income taxes and zero tax on first S$100,000 for first three years

  • No capital gains taxes

  • Tied for #1 for lack of corruption

  • Effective government bodies work to support enterprise

  • #1 at protection of intellectual property

Supportive Culture

  • Approximately 150 existing social enterprises

  • Online community-edited directory for the social sector (“a Wikipedia for people who care”)

  • Dedicated social enterprise association

  • Multiple dedicated social entrepreneur co-working spaces being built

  • Multiple dedicated academic institutions

  • Established degree program in social entrepreneurship at polytechnic level

  • Widely circulated sector-focused publication read by people in over 650 cities

  • Five million residents and 9.7 million annual international travelers concentrated in a very densely populated space (with an amazing transportation system) creates a unique melting pot of ideas


  • Very small domestic market of 5 million

  • Financing for small to mid-sized social enterprises may currently be difficult past pre-seed stage, especially until the Impact Investment Exchange opens and the venture philanthropy community grows

  • Very risk-averse society

  • Local Singaporeans are effectively indifferent to social entrepreneurs (only 12% have heard of the term)

Population Gains – 2010 to 2020

  • 0 million more people in Europe

  • 4 million more people in Oceania

  • 31 million more people in North America

  • 57 million more people Latin American

  • 243 million more people in Africa

  • 429 million more people in Asia

James Norris

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