There is no secret to why Bali is a paradise island – from secluded white sand beaches to breath-taking mountains, from traditional dance performances to hip nightclubs; the island has them all.
Not to mention the friendly people that easily make you feel a part of the community, and make you long to come back.
And most importantly, most entrepreneurs, digital nomads and expats are flooding into the island’s emerging start-up scene to be members of the thriving startup ecosystem in this tropical paradise.
In this article, we are looking into the details of the startup scene in Bali, and maybe it can serve as a guideline for you to consider jetting off to Bali next to jumpstart your aspiring business.
1. THINK NO MORE – STARTUP SCENE IN BALI IS WAITING FOR YOU
Indonesia’s digital economy no longer exists only in the realm of cyberspace — it is starting to have a measurable impact on the real economy.
In 2018, it is predicted that the digital economy will account for 8.5% of GDP in Indonesia, a significant increase as compared to 7.3% last year.
Many expats have decided to settle in Indonesia, and Bali in particular, because of the low-cost and endless possibilities of growing startups and tech scene.
You can create a very nice lifestyle with very little cash and with all the necessities and luxuries you need. The startup scene has been growing exponentially over the past couple of years, but recently we can see more and more success stories come out from this “Island of Gods”.
2. THE NEXT SILICON VALLEY
Known as the next Silicon Valley, or “Silicon Bali”, computers are honoured in Bali and the technological innovation creates an environment attracting digital nomads.
Not only that, Bali’s popularity is further proved by the increasing numbers of co-working spaces, becoming the hottest hubs for all the non-tethered entrepreneurs. Almost 85% of the co-working space community is made up of self-identified digital nomads.
With Bali quickly becoming a fascinating place for startups and entrepreneurial hubs popping all over, the prosperity has also prompted investors to pour capital into this place full of entrepreneurial spirits, outside of traditional tech hubs in Bali.
3. COST OF LIVING
With a relatively lower living cost compared to most of the western countries, it’s no surprise that the culture and allure beautiful surroundings of this island would attract aspiring innovators and startups.
Many entrepreneurs and digital nomads have based themselves in Bali to take advantage of the living costs. While it does not have the same extravagant infrastructure and talent pool as larger urban areas, it provides an environment where experimentation, creativity, and innovative thinking are possible.
Most of the popular startup hubs in the world, such as London, Singapore, Los Angeles, etc., might cost you an arm and a leg. In Bali, you can get yourself a full and decent condominium or villa for less than $1,000 per month – huge enough to house a few more people including yourself.
Food is even cheaper, and you pay approximately $5 to $10 for a premium quality meal and ambience. Here in Bali, you can find all sorts of cuisine across the globe, including western food and traditional Balinese or Indonesian cuisine.
4. RELAXATION AND MODERN AMENITIES
One of the best parts about Bali is the peace and relaxation it has provided, and also the modern amenities which make most expats feel belong. You’ll find plenty of yoga studios, good gym, meditation, health food, affordable spa treatments, alternative healing options, and at the same time staring serenely at the exotic nature and art around you.
This is why more than a handful of remarkably promising startups call Bali their home away from home.
5. STRATEGIC POSITION
Bali is in a good strategic position to attract entrepreneurs, IT talents and investments from Jakarta or Bandung, which have more mature IT infrastructure and investing communities.
The ideal location of Bali is also the heart to access the rest of Asia, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and Australia. Flights are affordable and quick to these places for short sightseeing or shopping trip. Also, there are more paradises nearby, such as Gili islands, Nusa Lembongan, and Lombok.
In all honesty, medical care might be a concern for some expats considering moving to Bali. The main hospital, Sanglah Hospital, is located in Denpasar, and other clinics on the island do not have a strong medical infrastructure. As a result, the close proximity to the mentioned nearby countries allows many expats to access many other hospitals outside of Bali for planned surgeries and procedures.
BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS IN BALI
The Bali startup scene is very young. Just a couple years ago there was hardly any startup activity, and now the scene is blowing up.
According to World Population Review, as of December 2017, more than 30,000 expats are living on this island. Due to the increased expat population, regulations in Bali can become stricter than before. Therefore, there are a few things you need to consider before making a move.
The most common visa for Bali is a tourist visa that lasts for 30 days, and you extend it to 60 days for an additional fee. When the 60 days is up, you must leave Bali and re-enter the country — which is known as a visa run. For short-term expats, a tourist visa or a visa run is usually the best option.
Nevertheless, for long-term expats, it is recommended that you apply for the social-cultural visa. A social-cultural visa lasts for 60 days and can be extended for 30 days, for a maximum of four times.
However, for this type of visa, you will need a local company or individual to sponsor you. The procedure can be lengthy and cumbersome, but you can always opt for assistance from a reliable agent.
It’s worth to consider a business visa – single or multiple-entry – as well.
Renting or Buying a Property
Renting? Buying? Or opting for a co-working space?
We understand that it is a tough decision if you plan to stay in Bali for a long period of time, with limited financial capital.
Obtaining your own property to become your office might be a dream of everyone starting a business in Bali. However, the whole process can be complex due to the restrictive policy laid out by the government in Indonesia.
Even renting a property in Bali can be daunting to some as well. Therefore, expats are advised to seek professional legal assistance before renting or buying a property in Bali.
Don’t fret. Renting or buying an office are not your only option to join the startup scene in Bali. Bali is one of the world’s hottest spots for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Thus co-working spaces have been opening across the island to accommodate these newcomers.
Combine the beautiful, non-urban environment with the unique co-working space with many benefits in Bali; you have the perfect recipe for startup incubation.
Contact us for detailed information about the startup scene in Bali and how to become part of it.