Resources

Best Hong Kong Grants for Businesses

12 minute read

Do you want to start a business in Hong Kong? Or perhaps you are already running a business here?

Considering that Hong Kong is a true tax haven, a great environment for entrepreneurs, and an overall economic giant, it is no wonder that many entrepreneurs flock here to launch their business gigs.

If you answered positively to any of the questions above, it may be time for you to learn more about the benefits that can be enjoyed in Hong Kong. Whether you are looking for support in research and development, technology adoption, training and hiring, growth, or funding, here are a few useful Hong Kong business grants available.

We’ve also included some tips to help you along your grant journey. Take a read and learn more below!

*Information accurate as of Mar 2022.

Overview:

Support in Research & Development (R&D)

Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The ESS is a major funding initiative that serves to encourage the private sector to invest in R&D. The funding provides a dollar-for-dollar matching basis of up to HKD 10 million per approved project.

Eligibility Criteria:

Click here for more details.

Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

TCFS aims to enhance the level of collaboration on R&D between Hong Kong and Guangdong/Shenzhen. Projects funded by the TCFS will have to demonstrate an element of Guangdong/Hong Kong or Shenzhen/Hong Kong cooperation.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must be an R&D Centre or designated local public research institute.

Click here for more details.

Innovation and Technology Support Programme (ITSP) (Platforms & Seed)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

ITSP (Platforms & Seed) supports platform (R&D projects with potential for commercialization) and seed projects (future-focused) by designated local public research institutes and R&D Centers. ITSP invites applications for funding once a year, typically between February and May.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must be an R&D Centre or designated local public research institute.

Click here for more details.

Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Funding Scheme (MHKJFS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

MHKJFS is similar to the ITSP, with a focus on research institutes and technology enterprises in Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must be an R&D Centre or designated local public research institute.
  • R&D work must be conducted in both Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Click here for more details.

Partnership Research Programme (PRP)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

PRP merges the University-Industry Collaboration Programme (UICP) and the collaborative stream of Innovation and Technology Support Programme (ITSP). The programme provides matching funding support for collaborative R&D projects.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must be an R&D Centre or a designated local public research institute.
  • Applicants must have an industry co-applicant partner.

Click here for more details.

R&D Cash Rebate Scheme (CRS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Rebate

The CRS provides up to 40% cash rebate on companies’ eligible expenditure that is contributed to ITF projects and Partnership projects.

Eligibility criteria:

Click here for more details.

Encourage technology adoption

Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living (FBL)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The FBL supports innovation and technology (I&T) projects that focus on making people’s lives more convenient, comfortable and safer. A grant of up to 90% of the total eligible costs (capped at HK 5 million) is given to successful applicants. Applications are accepted all year round in phases.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Non-governmental organizations receiving subvention from the Social Welfare Department.
  • Public and/ or professional bodies.
  • Trade associations.
  • Social service organizations.

Click here for more details.

Public Sector Trial Scheme (PSTS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The PSTS provides funding support for the realization and commercialization of R&D results under ITF projects.

Eligibility criteria:

  • All completed ITF R&D projects undertaken by R&D Centres and designated local public research institutes.

Click here for more details.

Re-industrialization Funding Scheme (RFS)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The RFS subsidizes the cost for manufacturers who want to set up new smart production lines in Hong Kong. Up to one-third of the total approved cost or HK 15 million will be funded to approved projects.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622).

Click here for more details.

Technology Voucher Programme (TVP)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The TVP aims to support local organizations in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. A cumulative funding ceiling of HK 600,000 is given per organization.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Either
    • Registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 31);
    • Incorporated and registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622);
    • Established as statutory bodies.
  •  And
    • Not a listed company in Hong Kong or a government subvented organization or subsidiary of one.
    • Has substantive business operations in Hong Kong.

    Click here for more details.

Support in hiring, and employee development

Research Talent Hub (RTH)

Agency: Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme

Type: Funding

The RTH provides funding support in talent hiring to organizations involved in ITF projects, incubatees and tenants of the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, and companies conducting R&D research in Hong Kong.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Talent must be a Hong Kong permanent resident or person legally permitted to work in Hong Kong.
  • Possess a bachelor/ master/ doctoral degree awarded by either a local university or a well-recognised non-local institution.

Click here for more details.

Reindustrialization and Technology Training Programme (RTTP)

Agency: Vocational Training Centre (VTC)

Type: Funding

The RTTP encourages local employers to train employees in advanced technologies. It provides a 2:1 matching basis to eligible applicants.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Either:
    • Business registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310); or
    • Registered as a Non-government and non-subvented organization
    • Employee involved is a Hong Kong permanent resident with the relevant background to the course.

Click here for more details.

Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS)

Agency: Immigration Department

Type: Scheme

While not technically a grant, TechTAS is a scheme that provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible companies to admit non-local talent to undertake research and development (R&D) work for them.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant has no prevailing security risk and is employed as a full-time employee by the company.
  • Applicant is a degree-holder in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) from a well-recognised university,
  • Company has a valid quota.

Click here for more details.

Support for company growth

Cyberport Incubation Programme

Agency: Cyberport

Type: Incubation Programme

The Cyberport Incubation Programme provides potential entrepreneurs and start-ups with up to HK 500,000 in resources to fast-track their growth. Amongst these resources includes financial assistance and rent-free office spaces.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Viable business plan for a product or service that is ready to be marketed in 12 to 18 months.
  • Applicant must be a registered digital tech company limited by shares and incorporated in Hong Kong less than 7 years upon application deadline.
  • The founders of the Applicant collectively (legally and beneficially) must hold at least 51% of the company shares or absolute control.

Click here for more details.

Design Incubation Programme (DIP)

Agency: Hong Kong Design Centre

Type: Incubation Programme

The DIP provides incubatees with office space and other professional support including business knowledge enrichment programs and mentorships.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Company must be registered as a start-up Hong Kong-registered company and in early stage of development.
  • Applicant must be a Hong Kong permanent resident. Overseas applicants must possess an overseas registered company that has registered for not more than three years as at the date of application that must be set up a Hong Kong registered company immediately to qualify.

Click here for more details.

General Support Programme (GSP)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

This funding programme supports organizations in non-research and development (R&D) projects that contribute to the upgrading and development of industries.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Legitimate Hong Kong organization.

Click here for more details.

Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Incubation Programmes

Agency: Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks

Type: Incubation Programme

The Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks has three incubation programess designed for start-ups working in the field of web and mobile technology (Incu-App), technology (Incu-Tech), and biotechnology (Incu-Bio).

These schemes provide consultancy services, subsidized office space, investment matching, and financial aid packages.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The criteria will depend on which incubation.

Click here for more details.

Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF)

Agency: Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF)

Type: Funding

The ITVF is a HK 2 billion fun to attract more venture capital (VC) funds to co-invest in local innovation and technology (I&T) startups in Hong Kong.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Company was incorporated under the Companies Ordinance.
  • One of its offices located in Hong Kong.
  • Subsidiaries have been engaging in I&T business.
  • Has a total number of employees of less than 250.

Click here for more details.

Patent Application Grant (PAG)

The Patent Application Grant is a funding scheme to assist local companies and individuals to apply for patents of their own inventions. Under this grant, up to HK 250k or 90% of the patent application is provided.

  • Eligibility criteria:
    • Must be locally incorporated.
    • Hong Kong resident or PR that has resided for a minimum of 7 years.
    • No prior history of owning previous patents in other countries.

Click here for more details.

Youth Business Hong Kong (YBHK)

Agency: The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG)

Type: Scheme

The YBHK aids young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 35 years to launch their own businesses. The scheme has four core services:

  1. Seed money
  2. Business mentorship and professional consultancy
  3. Business support
  4. Information and networks

Eligibility criteria:

  • Aged between 18 and 35.
  • Holder of Hong Kong Permanent Residence Identity Card.
  • Viable business idea that can start within one year
  • Have registered or will register own business in Hong Kong
Click here for more details.

Youth Development Fund

Agency: Youth Development Commission (YDC)

Type: Funding

The Youth Development Fund supports youth entrepreneurship and youth development activities through collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including working with NGOs in the form of a matching fund to help young people start their own business.

In March 2019, The Youth Development Commission rolled out the Funding Scheme for Experiential Programmes at Innovation and Entrepreneurial Bases in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Funding Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Click here for more details.

Support for funding

Branding, Upgrading, and Domestic Sales Fund (BUD)

Agency: Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC)

Type: Funding

The fund is designed to support HK enterprises in undertaking projects to develop brands, upgrade, restructure their business operations and promote sales in the ASEAN market and Mainland China market.

BUD provides a reimbursement of up to 50% of the total approved project cost, up to HK$1M.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Business must be locally registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310)1.
  • Proof of substantive business operations in Hong Kong at the time of application.

Click here for more details.

Good Seed

Agency: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Type: Funding

This funding scheme is designed to help young entrepreneurs apply ‘Design and Technology’ to generate ideas by providing funding of HK 100,000 and mentoring to implement projects. Applications are on a first-come-first-served basis

Eligibility criteria:

  • Local or overseas students and graduates of higher education institutions
  • Hong Kong Citizen

Click here for more details.

SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF)

Agency: Trade and Industry Department

Type: Funding

The fund is designed to provide financial assistance to help individual SMEs expand their business.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Business must be locally registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310)1.
  • Proof of substantive business operations in Hong Kong at the time of application.
  • Not an organiser/ co-organizer/ service provider or a related company of the organiser/co-organiser/service provider of the promotion activity and the related services covered by the application.

Click here for more details.

SME Financing Guarantee Scheme

Agency: Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation (HKMC)

Type: Loan scheme

The scheme is designed to help SMEs and non-listed enterprises obtain loans from participating lenders such as banks for meeting their business needs to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment.

Under the Scheme, applicants may receive a guarantee coverage of 50%, 60% or 70% to the credit facilities of their business.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Criteria will depend on your guarantee coverage.

Click here for more details.

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development fund (SIE Fund)

Agency: N/A

Type: Funding

The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) was designed to provide resources to companies that address poverty and social exclusion.

Click here for more details.

Trade and Industrial Organization Support Fund (TSF)

Agency: Trade and Industry Department

Type: Funding

The TSF provides financial support to non-profit-distributing organizations to increase the competitiveness of non-listed Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Non-profit-distributing organizations

Click here for more details.

Hints and Tips for Hong Kong Startup Financing

Since many foreigners are interested in launching their businesses in Hong Kong, it is worth mentioning that they can look at different chambers of commerce and international grants.

Grants and funds are most certainly not exclusive to local residents.

However, one has to come prepared in Hong Kong. Come up with a detailed plan of how much you want to raise, what you plan to do with the money and how you are going to execute the business plan.

Also, as a business owner, you should demonstrate high EQ and soft skills. Running a company in HK is tough and investors will want to see that you are a leader confident enough to handle business hurdles.

Finally, have a working prototype to show for the fundraising interviews. Start-ups ultimately come down to execution!

Wrap Up

Hong Kong is an ideal country for you to start and run a business in. If you have a good idea, come up with a plan and you have what it takes to go through with it, you will get help from the authorities!

If anything is unclear or you need more information on keeping your business compliant, reach out to Sleek today.

Some of our other articles you might want to read:

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