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A guide to Singapore’s grants for entrepreneurial success

grants

Singapore’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem thrives on innovation and ambition. With numerous government grants and support initiatives available, taking your business to the next level seems achievable. But with so many options, the sheer abundance can be overwhelming. This guide aims to simplify your journey by providing a clear overview of key grants and their crucial considerations, empowering you to choose the right stepping stone for your specific needs and aspirations.

Why should SMEs consider these grants? 

In Singapore, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for almost half of the GDP and employ roughly 70% of the labour force. In Singapore, the number of firms has also increased, with 291,600 registered in 2021, where 99% of these businesses are SMEs.

Grants provide crucial financial support, alleviating the burden of upfront costs associated with growth initiatives, technology adoption, or overseas expansion. These grants translate into real impact, freeing up resources for further investment and accelerating progress. Moreover, securing a government grant signifies the potential and merit of the venture. This external validation can attract investors, boost employee morale, and enhance your brand image, creating a ripple effect of positive outcomes. 

The Singaporean government provides special grants to assist the growth and development of SMEs because it acknowledges their critical role in promoting economic growth. Because they are smaller than larger multinational corporations (MNCs), Singaporean SMEs have different needs, which are intended to be met by these subsidies. Let’s look at some of the grants for SMEs in Singapore. 

Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F)

The Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) offers a helping hand to manufacturing SMEs in Singapore by co-funding up to 70% of their energy-saving initiatives. Through five distinct grants, E2F supports activities like detailed energy audits, efficient facility design, adoption of green technologies, low-carbon chillers, and even implementation of energy management systems. To qualify, the company needs to be Singapore-registered with SSIC codes 10XXX to 32XXX with annual sales under SGD 500 million, and the project must utilise pre-approved technologies, demonstrate energy savings, and have yet to start before applying. The amount of grant support that eligible E2F projects that do not fall under the pre-approved energy-efficient technologies list will depend on the amount of carbon reduction that is achieved. This support will be capped at 70% of the qualifying costs, which include outside labour, technology or equipment, and professional services.

Who is it ideal for? 

  • Manufacturing SMEs looking to reduce energy consumption and costs.
  • Singapore-registered with SSIC codes 10XXX to 32XXX with annual sales under SGD 500 million

Productivity Solutions Grant  (PSG)

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) aims to empower Singaporean businesses to achieve operational excellence through technology adoption. This grant offers financial support of up to 50% (previously 80%) for the implementation of pre-approved IT solutions, equipment, and consulting services specifically designed to enhance productivity and streamline processes. The PSG caters to a diverse range of business needs, encompassing industry-specific solutions aligned with established Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) and Industry Digital Plans (IDPs), as well as general business functions such as customer management, data analytics, and inventory tracking. This grant programme presents an opportunity for Singapore-registered companies with at least 30% local shareholding, annual sales turnover below SGD 100 million, and less than 200 employees to embrace technological advancements and elevate their operational efficiency without facing significant financial burdens.

Who is it ideal for?

  • SMEs of any industry looking to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency.
  • SMEs that want to adopt new technologies but face financial constraints.

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

This government-funded programme provides support for a broad spectrum of business endeavours, encompassing upgrading core capabilities, fostering innovation and productivity, and venturing into overseas markets. Eligible companies registered and operating in Singapore, with a minimum of 30% local equity and demonstrably sound financial standing, can access grant funding of up to 50% for qualifying project costs. This support offers a significant financial boost, enabling businesses to invest in critical areas and pursue strategic initiatives that would otherwise be financially challenging. The EDG programme operates under three distinct pillars: core capabilities, innovation and productivity, and market access. 

Who is it ideal for?

  • Established SMEs in Singapore seeking comprehensive support for various business goals.
  • SMEs registered and operating in Singapore with a minimum 30% local equity 

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA)

The Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant empowers Singaporean companies to embark on their international expansion journey with greater confidence. This targeted grant programme offers financial support of up to 50%, capped at SGD 100,000 per company per new market, to defray the costs associated with overseas market promotion, business development, and set-up. Eligible companies must be registered and operating in Singapore, demonstrate intention to enter a new overseas market, possess at least 30% local equity, and have a group annual sales turnover below SGD 100 million or an employee size under 200.

Who is it ideal for?

  •  Growth-oriented Singaporean SMEs ready to take their brand international.

Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

The Singapore Tourism Board’s Business Improvement Fund (BIF) is a grant programme designed to propel the tourism sector forward. It incentivises technology adoption, business model redesign, and process optimisation, ultimately aiming to enhance productivity and competitiveness within the industry. Eligible applicants, including both Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and larger businesses, can receive funding support for qualifying costs associated with their proposed projects. The awarded amount is determined by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) based on a rigorous evaluation of the project’s scope, merit, and alignment with the Economic Development Board’s (EDG) core pillars for tourism development.

Who is it ideal for:

  • Tourism-related businesses in Singapore seeking to embrace innovation and elevate their operations.
  • SMEs with projects aligning with STB’s tourism development goals.

Startup SG Equity Programme

The Startup SG Equity programme acts as a launchpad for promising tech startups in Singapore. It incentivises private-sector investment by offering government co-investment, providing crucial funding and validation for innovative ventures. Through this scheme, the government co-invests alongside qualified third-party investors, sharing the risk and reward. The co-investment ratio varies depending on the stage of the startup, with a 7:3 ratio (up to S$250k) for early-stage startups and a 1:1 ratio (up to S$2 million) for later-stage companies. To qualify, your startup must be registered in Singapore, incorporated as a Private Limited company for less than five years, and possess at least S$50,000 in paid-up capital. Additionally, your business must demonstrate high-growth potential with precise scalability for international markets and avoid involvement in non-permissible activities such as gambling or tobacco-related products.

Who is it ideal for?

  • Early-stage and later-stage technology startups in Singapore
  • Businesses operating in any tech-related industry with innovative solutions or products.

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

The SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) is a government initiative to empower employers to invest in both enterprise transformation and the skill development of their employees. Eligible companies receive a one-time $10,000 credit to offset up to 90% of qualifying costs associated with approved programmes. This credit goes beyond existing funding schemes, providing additional support for your transformative journey. One thing to note is that the eligibility for SFEC has already been determined and communicated to qualifying companies. If you haven’t received an email notification from EnterpriseSG through your registered Corppass administrator, your company may not be eligible for this programme. However, you can still access the Business Grants Portal and SkillsFuture Singapore’s SFEC microsite to review the list of supported initiatives and explore alternative funding options that align with your business goals.

Who is it ideal for?

  • Companies that are committed to upgrading their workforce skills and transforming their businesses.

grants_Singapore

Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS)

The Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) programme is a strategic initiative designed to empower innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore. Recognising the transformative power of technology, ADS provides funding support of up to 80% to help SMEs adopt cutting-edge solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and integrated digital systems. Through this programme, eligible SMEs can gain valuable access to the resources and expertise necessary to enhance their digital capabilities and future-proof their operations. However, participation in the programme is subject to specific requirements outlined in Calls for Proposals (CFPs) released periodically. Be sure to stay informed and adhere to the deadlines outlined within these CFPs to ensure your proposal receives due consideration.

Who is it ideal for?

  • Innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore adopting cutting-edge solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and integrated digital systems

Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)

The Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi) scheme offers a powerful incentive for Singaporean businesses seeking to venture overseas. The DTDi tax deduction scheme offers a 200% tax discount on eligible expenses for international market expansion and investment development operations, making it advantageous for companies who intend to grow internationally. To qualify, the business must be registered in Singapore, primarily focused on trading goods or services, and committed to internationalisation. While this includes companies enjoying discretionary incentives in some cases, approval by EnterpriseSG or the Singapore Tourism Board is required. Additionally, you must establish your global headquarters in Singapore while engaging in international trade or services.

Who is it ideal for?

  • Growth-oriented Singaporean SMEs aiming to expand their presence beyond the domestic market.

While navigating the myriad options within Singapore’s vibrant grant ecosystem might seem challenging, remember that it’s a collaborative venture designed to empower your growth. Utilise this guide as a springboard, delve deeper into relevant programmes, actively engage with administrators and peers, and seek expert guidance if needed. Remember, comprehensive knowledge and a clear vision are vital to unlocking the full potential of these grants. By harnessing the power of these grants,  you can transform its resources into a powerful engine propelling your business towards sustained growth and achieving your long-term aspirations. Start your journey today and unlock the remarkable potential that awaits.

Want to know more about Singapore’s grants and boost your entrepreneurial success? Contact us today at hello(a)syncpr.co to learn about grants, PR and marketing strategies to fuel your success and launch your venture to the next level.

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