TLDR: Meet the millennials moving into the corner office – by buying SMEs

In this week’s Brunch, BT’s Paige Lim explores the phenomenon of entrepreneurship through acquisition, and meets Singaporean “searchers” to learn how it’s done.

IF YOU'VE always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never had a particularly good business idea, "searching" may be a possible way in.

A niche group of Singaporean millennials have become such "searchers" - aspiring entrepreneurs on the hunt for a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to purchase a majority stake in and run as their own business.

Once you've bought a business, you can then scale its operations, introduce innovations, or even acquire a few more that complement one another to form something bigger and more successful - all without having to go through the teething pains of a business in its startup stage.

How to be a searcher:

1) Quit your job.

2) Get some money together. You could turn to a search fund: a vehicle through which you seek investors willing to pay you a salary, cover your expenses while searching, and while they're at it, throw in more money to help you actually buy the company you've found. Or if you happen to have the cash, fund this effort yourself and then ask people for money to actually purchase the company.

3) Look for a company to buy over (this is the searching bit). This is the toughest part, so people get brokers, accountants, researchers and even merger and acquisition firms to help with the effort.

4) Convince the company's owner to sell to you. According to those in the market now, many business founders are more open to partial takeovers or joint ownership, so it may be worth keeping an open mind towards being a majority stakeholder instead of a full owner.

As it turns out, there are also companies that support searchers in their efforts in various ways - some are trying to set up and support search funds here, while others look to match searchers with SMEs looking to sell.

Read more about searchers and discover the strategies of successful searches in this week's Brunch.


BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to