How can I use the Business Grants Portal (BGP) to benefit my business?
12 minute read
If you’re looking to set up or incorporate your own business, Singapore is the ideal place to do so for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is because Singapore has a pro-business approach with laws and regulations that allow for the healthy growth and competitiveness of a business.
One of the biggest benefits of business ownership in Singapore comes in the form of business grants. The Business Grants Portal (BGP) allows for ease and convenience of access for every business in this country that wants to apply for financial aid.
If you’re new to business ownership in Singapore, you may not understand the concept of BGP. This guide explains the Business Grant Portal and how it may benefit your business.
What is the Business Grants Portal (BGP)?
The Business Grants Portal, often referred to as the BGP, is a government website that contains a number of different business grants in one place.
The portal was launched in January 2017 and it operates under the auspices of the Ministry Of Finance and Ministry Of Trade. The Government Technology Agency also supports the BGP.
The BGP makes it easier to find, analyze, and apply for a government grant that fits your personal business needs. As it’s a one-stop portal, it eliminates the need to approach multiple agencies in order to get a grant approved.
The Business Grants Portal (BGP) aims to do the following:
- Make it easy for entrepreneurs to find grant agencies and apply for relevant grants efficiently and without too much effort.
- Provide all business owners based in Singapore with a simplified grant application and approval process.
- Provide centralized business applications and reduce the time it takes for a grant application to be processed. All the data for this will be provided to each business by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACCRA) based on their UEN (Unique Entity Number).
Why is the BGP useful for my business?
As an entrepreneur, you would be very frustrated if you had to shift through the myriad of grants in Singapore.
Additionally, if you apply for a grant that doesn’t match your needs, you will most likely be disqualified and won’t have the chance to apply for a grant again.
However, if you go through the Business Grant Portal, it will be much easier to navigate through all the available grants and find the one that perfectly fits your startup’s needs.
If you leverage the Business Grants Portal, the entire grant application follow-up and approval process will be simple and effortless, and you won’t need to go through multiple agencies just to receive a business grant.
The key features of the BGP include:
- Streamlined application forms. The grant application forms and the data agencies need are streamlined, so the application process is as simple as can be.
- Routing of applications to relevant agencies. The way BGP is designed allows for route applications to the relevant agency based on inputs. This means you don’t have to worry if you aren’t sure which agency you need to approach for grant support.
- Simplifying the process of providing company-related information. When you decide to use the BGP portal, all of the necessary company information will be extracted automatically from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) database, based on your company’s registered Unique Entity Number (UEN).
Additionally, all of the company information you provide when applying for your first grant will be stored in the portal. If and when you decide to apply for any subsequent grants, you won’t need to provide all of that information again.
In other words, the Business Grants Portal is extremely useful for your business because it helps increase efficiency and simplify your business operations.
What can I do on BGP?
There are many benefits of using BGP, including the following:
- Find the right grant. There are many different grants a business owner can apply for in Singapore, and as we already established, if you apply for the wrong one, you will face disqualification. With the BGP, you can answer a few simple questions and find the right grant for you.
- Apply for grants. Once you fill out your online application forms on the portal, you will be directed to the right agencies. Some of the grants you can apply for include:
- Enterprise Singapore’s Market Readiness Assistance
- Enterprise Development Grant
- Singapore Tourism Board’s Business Improvement Fund
- Productivity Solutions Grant. If you opt for the Productivity Solutions Grant, it will help your company adopt new technological solutions and enhance your business processes. In addition, Sleek is an IMDA-approved vendor for this grant, so our clients will get additional benefits.
- Manage all of your grants. You will have complete visibility of your applications on the portal and be able to see everything, from the status updates to the agency that’s processing them.
- View and accept grant offers. When your grant is approved, you will receive and accept your Letter of Offer.
- File a claim.
- Retrieve your ACRA profile. You will automatically have your own profile which will be filled with the information you provided to the ACRA.
How do I apply for grants?
To apply for a grant via the Business Grants Portal (BGP), you need to go through the following steps:
- Discover the grant that’s most suitable for your business needs. As we already mentioned, there are different grants you can currently apply for via this portal. Based on the answers you provide when you fill out the application form, you will discover the perfect grant.
- Register an account with CorpPass. CorpPass is a corporate digital identity that businesses and other entities need to go through so they could log into The Business Grants Portal. You can get your appropriate BGP role by consulting your CorpPass admin.
- Fill in your Company Profile. Don’t forget that your ACRA profile will be automatically filled in as soon as you enter your Unique Entity Number into the portal.
- Fill in your application. When you submit your application, it will be sent to the relevant agency for processing. You can view the agency’s contact details on the “Grant Actions” page.
- Monitor your application. You can do this on the “My Grants” page on the portal. If the agency requires any clarification, they will send you an email.
Accept your Letter of Offer. Once your grant is approved, you will receive your application results via email. Once you do, all you need to do is log into the BGP to accept your Letter of Offer.
What do I need?
There is one thing you need – CorpPass.
But what exactly is CorpPass?
Singapore Corporate Access (CorpPass) is a corporate digital identity which businesses and other entities such as non-profit organizations and associations use to transact online with the government agencies. The CorpPass is used as a login mechanism for over 130 digital services managed by about 50 Government agencies.
Ever since Q3 2018, CorpPass has been the only login method used for online corporate transactions with the Government. It replaced previous login methods such as SingPass, EASY1, and other agency-issued login IDs.
All local entities that have a Unique Entity Number (UEN) as well as foreign entities are required to use CorpPass. If you’re a local entity operating in Singapore without a UEN, you can obtain a UEN by registering with an appropriate issuance agency.
So, all businesses that want to apply for the BGP grant need to:
- Log into the BGP using a verified CorpPass.
- Provide the Complete Company profile for your business.
- Find the ideal grant for your business and apply for it.
- After you submit the proposal, you can visit the portal to keep track of your process and receive updates.
Tips for making a successful application
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) actually have a large pool of government grants available through the portal, but unfortunately, these free resources are extremely underutilized. This is because business owners are under the impression that getting a business grant approved is a complicated process.
While the process is easier than many people believe, it can still be overwhelming to anyone who has never applied for a government business grant before. If you’re a business owner who’s applying for a grant for the first time, here are a few tips that could help you.
Act as soon as possible
These grants are in high demand, and they come and go extremely fast whenever they’re made available on the portal. Use a tool such as Google alerts to be notified whenever a new grant is available so you can apply on time.
Educate yourself on how these grants work
Don’t allow these grants to scare you off, because they’re actually very easy to understand if you take the time to study their structure. Some grants even come with facilitation workshops where a qualified grant facilitator will walk you through how the grant is structured.
Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria
The eligibility criteria differ from grant to grant, and not all businesses are eligible. Factors such as the size, nature, and format of your business will all be taken into consideration when you’re applying for the grant. Your eligibility will also depend on your revenue and regulatory requirements.
So make sure to find out all the criteria you need to fulfill to be eligible for the grant, and if your business isn’t eligible, don’t waste your time applying.
Call the grant administrator
When a new grant becomes available, you can work with a grant specialist to widen your network. This specialist will be able to tell you whether your application will be successful upfront, and provide you with advice that will enhance your chances of being approved for the grant.
Don’t over-rely on the grant
Due to the fact that there are a limited number of grants available at a time and you need to fit certain criteria to be approved for one, there is always a chance you won’t get the grant you want. If you over-rely on government help, you won’t be able to start your business if something goes wrong.
This is why it’s good to always have a plan B and funds from another source so you can still achieve your goals.
Draft your application in a Word document
It’s not enough just to envision your grant, you need to put everything down on paper. As applications require all the answers to be submitted in an editable format, it’s best to use a program such as Word documents. Make sure to save your proposal as a draft and back it up with a copy on your computer.
Make your answers short
The questions you will be asked in your grant applications are very simple, and they also require concise and short answers that are to the point. If you write answers that are too long and complicated, the agent who’s processing your application might get confused and simply deny your application.
Assign your submission with the grant provider’s priorities
For every question the grant providers ask, they will attach certain priorities. In Singapore, the point of every government-aided grant is to support specific objectives. When you draft your answers, make sure they fit the prescribed grant priority.
For instance, let’s say that the grant you’re applying to aims to promote the internationalism of local SMEs. In that case, the answers you provide need to reflect that objective.
If you are planning to start or already have a small or medium business in Singapore, you should definitely consider portals such as the BGP. The financial help entrepreneurs can receive from the government can be detrimental to their business’ success, so you shouldn’t miss out on this kind of opportunity.
One of these grants could give you a great head start in your business venture and provide you with all the resources you need to start a successful business.
Need further help? Reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with all the assistance you need.