A large part of Singapore’s business-friendly regime is due to the abundance of grants and incentives available to Singapore businesses. Some important startup grants in Singapore are introduced in this blog.
Startup Grants 1: Startup SG Founder
Startup SG was launched in 2017 as a platform for entrepreneurs to access local support schemes. Out of the six Startup SG pillars, Startup SG Founder is the most relevant for first-time entrepreneurs. Assistance under Startup SG is offered by Enterprise Singapore.
Startup SG Founder provides first-time entrepreneurs with mentorship and a startup capital grant of up to $30,000 on a co-matching arrangement. What this means is that the scheme matches $3 to every $1 raised by the entrepreneur for up to $30,000. Therefore, to receive the maximum value of the $30,000 grant, the entrepreneurs themselves need to raise and commit $10,000 to the business.
The application process for Startup SG Founder is as such:
- You will have to contact one of the Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) and submit your application directly to them.
- Your selected AMP will then evaluate your application based on the uniqueness of the business concept, feasibility of the business model, strength of the management team, and potential market value.
- Within 5 working days, you will be informed of the result.
- If your application is approved, Enterprise Singapore will issue a Letter of Offer to you, and your AMP will mentor you over a 12-month period. The grant is disbursed after your business has met certain milestones.
Startup Grants 2: SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)
The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and capabilities of their employees. Eligible employers will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on qualifying costs for supportable initiatives, over and above the support levels of existing schemes.
Programmes that support enterprise transformation
Job redesign initiatives, and curated training programmes by SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, such as training courses aligned to the Skills Framework, Professional Conversion Programmes and sector-specific programmes
To encourage employers to train and upskill their workers, S$3,000 of the credit should be used for workforce transformation programmes and employers can only use up to S$7,000 for enterprise transformation. There is no cap on the amount that can be used for workforce transformation.
- 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020
- 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020
- 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020
- 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020
In each of the qualifying periods, eligible employers who meet the following conditions will be notified in writing:
- Have contributed at least S$750 Skills Development Levy over the period
- Have employed at least three Singapore Citizens (SCs) or Permanent Residents (PRs) every month over the same period
- Have not been qualified at any of the earlier periods
Startup Grants 3: Startup SG Tech
Also under Startup SG, Startup SG Tech is targeted at tech startups and provides successful applicants with early-stage funding for the commercialisation of proprietary technology. Tech startups can apply for either a Proof-of-Concept (POC) grant of up to $250,000 or a Proof-of-Value (POV) grant of up to $500,000, depending on the stage of development of their technology or concept.
A POC Project is one which is still at the conceptualisation stage, and the technical/scientific viability of your concept still needs to be tested. On the other hand, a POV Project is one where you already have a technically/scientifically viable concept, and you want to develop a working prototype.
There are 3 stages to the application process for Startup SG Tech:
- Download and complete the Registration of Interest form, and email the completed form, along with a summary of your proposed project to [email protected].
- If your project is eligible, Enterprise Singapore will request for you to submit a formal application, comprising of a full business proposal and cost breakdown of your project. Your application will then be evaluated for its innovativeness, technical feasibility and commercialisation potential.
- Shortlisted applicants will present their proposals to a final evaluation panel of industry experts.
Startup Grants 4: Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme
The FSTI scheme is launched by the Momentary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide support for the creation of a vibrant ecosystem for innovation, under which the Authority has committed S$225 million over a five-year period. The scheme is to attract financial institutions to set up their innovation labs in Singapore, support the building of industry-wide technology infrastructure, as well as catalyse the development of innovation solutions.
Under FSTI, there is a sub-scheme called FSTI-Proof of Concept (POC). Under this, MAS provides funding support of up to 50-70 percent of qualifying costs, up to a maximum of $200,000, for up to 18 months. This support is available to Singapore-based Financial Institutions (FIs), as well as technology or solution providers working with Singapore-based FIs for the early stage development of innovative solutions to financial industry problems.
Startup Grants 5: Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) supports companies interested in adopting IT solutions and equipment in order to enhance their existing business processes and improve productivity. The PSG covers up to 70% of the costs of investing in government-approved long-term technology solutions such as Customer Relationship Management solutions and Human Resource Management systems.
To apply, you will have to go through the following steps:
- Access the list of approved IT solutions and equipment, via the Tech Depot on the SME Portal, to identify if any of them suit your needs.
- Get a quotation for your chosen IT solution or equipment from either a pre-approved vendor, or a vendor that you sourced for yourself.
- Submit an application for the PSG on the Business Grants Portal with your CorpPass account.
Startup Grants 6: VentureForGood Grant
The VentureForGood (VFG) grant is a funding scheme under raiSE to support social enterprises in various stages of their business. New and existing social enterprises who are starting up or expanding their operations can apply for up to $300,000 in grants.
The raiSE Grant is open to all new and existing locally-based social enterprises that are registered/ intend to register under the Companies Act or Co-operative Societies Act.
For applicants who have not incorporated their business at the point of application and are in the process of prototyping, a partnership with a relevant Social Service Agency (SSA) and/or validations with intended beneficiary groups should be illustrated.
The company should be incorporated and be registered as a raiSE member at the point of grant disbursement.
The social enterprise should be addressing a local social gap/need through one or more of the following outcome areas to be eligible:
|Beneficiary-focused||– Provision of employment opportunities.|
– Provision of good and services, in the areas of (i) education, (ii) skills development, (iii) basic human needs, (iv) economic tools and services and (v) health care / social care.
|Non-beneficiary focused||– Capacity building for organisations in the social sector|
– A social gap (identified by a public sector agency) that is not specifically targeted at beneficiary groups, but delivering impact to build resilient communities. Examples include mental health & well-being, ageing, caregiving and also emerging needs such as food and water security.
Startup Grants 7: Business Improvement Fund (BIF)
The BIF is open to all Singapore-registered businesses/companies embarking on projects with a clear tourism focus.
These companies are:
- 1. Tourism companies taking on capability development initiatives
- 2. Technology companies that create innovative technology products and services for tourism businesses.
Aligned to Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), the BIF supports projects that help tourism companies to upgrade the business or innovate, under two pillars:
A. Core Capabilities
Projects under Core Capabilities help companies prepare for growth and transformation by strengthening their business foundations.
- Business Strategy Development
- Financial Management
- Human Capital Development
- Service Excellence
- Strategic Brand and Marketing Development
B. Innovation & Productivity
Projects under Innovation & Productivity support companies that explore new areas of growth, or look for ways to enhance efficiency. These could include reviewing and redesigning workflow and processes. Companies could also tap into automation and technologies to make routine tasks more efficient.
- Process Redesign
- Product Development
Funding support varies for Small Medium Enterprise (SME) and non-SME.
Successful applicants will receive funding support for qualifying costs, subject to STB’s evaluation of the scope and merits of the project.
 At least 30% local (Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident) shareholding, and group annual sales turnover not more than S$100 million or group employment size not more than 200 employees.
Include third-party project-related costs such as professional services, testing and certification costs associated with the development of the solution and delivery of products, processes, and services meeting the desired standards, training costs that are an intrinsic component of the project, hardware/equipment and software associated with proposed business concept or system/process redesign, and travel costs associated with the project; and internal manpower cost (only applicable for Innovation & Productivity – Product Development).
Include hardware/equipment and software costs not related to the project (e.g. solutions for basic business functions), maintenance costs and marketing costs.