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 there 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. And since there are quite a few useful Hong Kong business grants available, why not take a look below and learn more about them?

*Information accurate as of July 2021


Different Types of Financing

There are various funding schemes designed and established in Hong Kong to help companies that strive to expand. There are also certain funding schemes that help business owners start their new ventures in the region.

  • SME Funding Schemes provide financial assistance to small and medium enterprises that want to expand their markets outside of Hong Kong.
  • Then, there are Technology and Innovation Funding (ITF) schemes that provide support for companies that adopt innovative ideas and utilize modern technology.

The authorities in Hong Kong also offer support programs for businesses. These are called incubation programs that have been developed to provide comprehensive support for businesses.

  • The Design Incubation Program (DIP) provides incubates with office space and other professional support including business knowledge enrichment programs and mentorships.
  • The Cyberport Incubation Program includes financial assistance and rent-free office space along with other subsidized services.
  • Finally, the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks have three incubation programs designed for start-ups working in the field of web and mobile technology, technology, and biotechnology.

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

  • The last scheme in this group is the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS).

TechTAS provides a fast-track arrangement for eligible companies to admit overseas and Mainland technology talent to undertake research and development (R&D) work for them.

Eligible to make applications are businesses engaged in R&D in the fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, biotechnology, data analytics, financial technologies, material science, robotics, 5G communications, digital entertainment, green technology, integrated circuit design, Internet-of-Things or microelectronics.

Government Funds

Let’s take a look at some of the regional government programs that offer funds to support businesses.

  • 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.

  • SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF)

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

  • Branding, Upgrading, and Domestic Sales Fund (BUD)

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.

  • SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (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.

Government Grants

Businesses of all sizes can enjoy grants that the Hong Kong government offers. Take a look at some of the more prominent ones.

  • Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) — there are numerous programs and schemes under the ITF including Partnership Research Program (PRP), Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS), and General Support Program (GSP).
  • The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) — designed to provide resources to companies that address poverty and social exclusion.
  • Good Seed — designed to help businesses apply ‘Design and Technology’ to generate ideas by providing funding of HK$ 100,000 and mentoring to implement projects.

Private Funding

As mentioned above, there are quite a few schemes for small and medium businesses. Let’s take a deeper look into a few more prominent ones.

  • Innovation and Technology Support Program (ITSP)

ITSP supports research and development (R&D) projects undertaken by designated local public research institutes and R&D Centers. ITSP invites applications for funding once a year.

  • Guangdong – Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS)

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.

  • Partnership Research Program (PRP)

PRP, which merges the University-Industry Collaboration Programme (UICP) and the collaborative stream of Innovation and Technology Support Programme (ITSP), was launched in January 2019.

  • General Support Program (GSP)

GSP is a program under the ITF catering for non-R&D projects that contribute to the upgrading and development of our industries as well as fostering an innovation and technology culture in Hong Kong.

  • The Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS)

The Enterprise Support Scheme is a major funding initiative under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF). It serves to encourage the private sector to invest in research and development (R&D).

Government Schemes For Youth

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.

Additionally, there is the Youth Business Hong Kong (YBHK) program that aids young entrepreneurs (18 to 35 years of age) 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

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

The lands are fertile in Hong Kong when it comes to business stimulation. In other words, 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, reach out to Sleek!

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