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Singapore government funding & grants for entrepreneurs

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The Singapore government has been actively promoting their pro-business friendly policies in recent years, by providing a range of grants, subsidies and funding, that can help you grow your business, whether you are 100% local or 100% foreign. In this article, we have gathered the 7 most popular schemes you can tap on.

For companies that do not have at least 30% local shareholdings (i.e. Foreign-owned businesses that registered a Singapore entity). These are the schemes available: 

1) Startup SG Equity Programme

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Funding

 

As part of the Startup SG Equity scheme, the government will co-invest with independent, qualified 3rd party investors into eligible startups. This scheme aims to stimulate private-sector investments into innovative, Singapore-based technology startups with intellectual property and global market potential.

Investment parameters

 

 

General tech

Deep tech

Investment Cap for each startup

$2M

$4M

Co-investment ratio

7:3 up to $250K,

1:1 thereafter up to $2M

7:3 up to $500K,

1:1 thereafter up to $4M

Eligibility Criteria

Startups seeking government co-investment under Startup SG Equity should meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Singapore-based company with core activities carried out here
  • Be incorporated as a Private Limited company for less than five years
  • Have paid-up capital of at least $50,000
  • Be able to prove substantial innovative and intellectual content for its products and/or services and applications
  • Have high-growth potential with clear scalability for the international market
  • Have identified a ready, independent third-party investor(s)
  • Business must not be involved in the following business activities: gambling, tobacco-related products, or any other activities which are in violation of law, or against public interest
  • Company cannot be a subsidiary or joint-venture

Click here for more details. 

2) Career Trial Programme

Agency: Workforce Singapore (WSG)

Type: Subsidy

 

This programme aims to offer your company, as an employer, a trial period to assess the job fit of a Singaporean jobseeker, considering factors such as the occupation, industry and jobseeker’s profile.

 

As an employer, you may assess the jobseeker’s fit through a short-term work trial before offering employment to suitable Singapore Citizens. During the trial period, the salary of the jobseeker may be covered by the government.

 

Salary Support to Employers

30% subsidy of monthly salary for up to 6 months, capped at $5,400 per hire and $2,700 per hire for part-time jobs, for employers who hire unemployed Singapore Citizens who have been actively looking for jobs for 6 months or more

Eligibility Criteria

  • All employers must be legally registered or incorporated in Singapore, with a Unique Entity Number (UEN) registered with ACRA
  • Actively hiring for jobs paying $1,500 (for full-time or $750 for part-time position) or more
  • Offer employment to suitable jobseekers on permanent terms or on contract terms that are no less than one (1) year after completion of Career Trial

3) Innovation, R&D and Capability Development Incentives

Agency: Economic & Development Board (EDB)

 

Type: Incentive

 

Finance & Treasury Centre (FTC) Incentive

 

Encourage companies to grow treasury management capabilities and use Singapore as a base for conducting strategic finance and treasury management activities.

 

Incentive: Eligible for reduced corporate tax rate of 8%

 

Intellectual Property (IP) Development Incentive

 

Encourage the use and commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) rights arising from research & development activities

 

Incentive: Eligible companies qualify for a reduced corporate tax rate of either 5% or 10%

 

For more information, please refer to EDB website here

 

For companies that have at least 30% local shareholdings (i.e. Singaporean/ Singapore PR), these are the schemes available:

4) Productivity & Solutions Grant (PSG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

 

Companies which are keen to improve productivity by adopting pre-scoped technology solutions in areas of customer management, data analytics, financial management and inventory tracking can tap on a 70% subsidy.  

 

PSG also covers sector-specific solutions including the retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, construction and landscaping industries.

 

Visit Tech Depot on SME Portal to access the list of supportable solutions and identify relevant solutions that best suit your business needs.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding (for selected solutions only)

For more information, visit here

5) Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

 

The MRA grant supports Singapore companies taking their business overseas for the first time. Get up to 70% of eligible 3rd party cost which cover activities such as overseas market set-up, identification of business partners, and overseas market promotion. Click here for the full list of supportable activities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100million per annum, based on the most recent audited report, or group employment not exceeding 200 employees
  • At least 30% local shareholding

For more information, visit here

6) P-Max Scheme

Agency: Workforce Singapore (WSG)

Type: Subsidy

 

P-Max will assist SMEs to better recruit, train, manage and retain their newly-hired executives/professional staff. Companies will receive a one-time S$5,000 grant upon successful retention of their newly hired staff for at least 6months upon completion of the workshops under the programme as well as show evidence of in-house training.

 

For more information on the programme, refer here

Eligibility Criteria

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • Annual Sales turnover of not more than S$100million, or employment size not exceeding 200 employees
  • Offer newly-hired staff a gross salary of at least S$2,500 per month
  • At least 30% local shareholding

7) Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

 

The EDG grant is designed to help companies in Singapore build internal capabilities in 3 main areas with their corresponding sub-areas, with up to a 70% subsidy off the qualifying project costs.

 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Business entity is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project
  • At least 30% local shareholding

For more information, you can refer here

Types of debts funding in Singapore

  • Financing Options: Banks, Private Lenders, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Platforms
  • Short Term: Unsecured Business Term Loan, SME Micro Loan/Working Capital Loan
  • Mid-Term: Invoice Financing, Purchase-Order Financing
  • Long-Term: Equipment Financing, Project Financing

Types of equity funding in Singapore

Angel Organisations

For seed or series A investments, you may refer here. This sets out most of the active VC investors in Singapore. Refer here for map of the funding terms.

*Do note that information on government grants, Funding and Financial schemes may be subject to changes from time to time. Please refer to the respective websites for the latest updates.

 

For a more customised complimentary 1-to 1 advisory session, you may contact the SME Centre here, where a business advisor would meet you, to share with you the relevant schemes and grants that  you may be eligible for. This service is provided free of charge to all aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners in Singapore.

 

*Information accurate as of July 2019.

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