Singapore government funding & grants for entrepreneurs

5 minute read


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 popular schemes you can tap on.

*Information accurate as of July 2021

Overview:


Startup SG Tech

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Funding

The Startup SG Tech grant accelerates the development of proprietary technology solutions, and speeds up the growth of startups based on proprietary technology and a scalable business model.

Companies may receive early-stage funding for the commercialisation of proprietary technology if their qualifying solutions are viable.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Registered for less than 5 years at time of grant application.
  • At least 30% local shareholdings.
  • Company’s group annual sales turnover is not more than $100 million or group employment size is not more than 200 workers.
  • Core activities to be carried out in Singapore.
  • Solutions must also (i) clearly demonstrate how science/technology is applied (ii)
    be of a breakthrough level of innovation (iii) lead to or build on proprietary know-how/IP and (iv) be commercially viable.

Click here for more details.


Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

The Enterprise Development Grant is designed to help companies in Singapore build internal capabilities in 3 main areas with their corresponding sub-areas.

  1. Core Capabilities: These include Strategic Brand & Marketing Development, Business Strategy Development, Human Capital Development, Service Excellence, and Financial Management through 3rd party consultants.
  2. Innovation and Productivity: These include Product Development, Process Redesign, and Automation projects.
  3. Market Access: These include Pilot Project & Test Bedding, Overseas Marketing Presence, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Standards Adoption.

EDG provides eligible companies with up to 70% off in subsidies for qualifying project costs.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

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

Click here for more details.


Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

Companies with intentions to expand overseas can benefit from the Double Tax Deduction Scheme for Internationalisation (DTDi).

The DTDi provides eligible companies with a 200% tax deduction on eligible expenses for international market expansion and investment development activities such as market preparation, market exploration, market promotion, and market presence.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Reside in Singapore with a primary purpose of promoting the trade of goods or provision of services.
  • Businesses enjoying discretionary may also be allowed to qualify for the DTDi scheme on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by Enterprise Singapore or Singapore Tourism Board.
  • Incentivized businesses must have their global headquarters in Singapore, with the primary purpose of trading in goods or providing services, and have an intention to internationalize.

Click here for more details.


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 program offers a co-investment ratio of 7:3 (up to $250k). For up to $2 million, a ratio of 1:1 applies. These are the numbers for general tech investments.

For deep tech investments, there is a co-investment ratio of 7:3 (up to $500k) while the ratio of 1:1 applies for investments of up to $4 million.

This scheme aims to stimulate private-sector investments into innovative, Singapore-based technology startups with intellectual property and global market potential.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Singapore-based company with core operations carried out in this location
  • Incorporated as a Private Limited company for less than five years
  • Company cannot be a subsidiary or joint-venture
  • Paid-up capital of at least $50,000
  • Able to prove substantial innovative and intellectual content for its products and/or services and applications, such as Proof of Concept (POC)
  • 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 gambling, tobacco-related products, or any other activities which are in violation of the law, or against the public interest

Click here for more details.


Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

Agency: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)

Type: Scheme

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) provides wage support for employers to retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) during this period of economic uncertainty.

The level and duration of support each employer receives depends on the sector in which the employer operates.The government will subsidize 50% of each employee’s monthly wage, applied to the first $4600 earned per employee.

Click here for more details.

Read our comprehensive guide to the JSS here.


Career Trial Programme

Agency: Workforce Singapore (WSG)

Type: Subsidy

This program aims to offer your company a trial period to assess the job fit of a Singaporean jobseeker. During the trial period, the salary of the jobseeker may be covered by the government.

As an employer, you may assess the jobseeker’s fit through a short-term work trial before offering employment to suitable Singapore Citizens.

Salary support for employers include:

  • 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 a part-time position) or more
  • Offer employment to suitable jobseekers on permanent terms or on contract terms that are no less than one year after completion of Career Trial

Click here for more details.


Innovation, R&D and Capability Development Incentives

Agency: Economic Development Board (EDG)

Type: Scheme

EDB Singapore offers several incentives and schemes to companies that wish to expand the scope of their business operations in Singapore.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to upgrade their business’ capabilities using the incentives and schemes that are offered. Here are some of the schemes:

  • Special Situation Fund for Startups (SSFS) – administered by EDBI, aims to support early stage to late stage promising startups that can contribute to Singapore’s national priorities via a convertible note.
  • Pioneer Certificate Incentive (PC) and Development and Expansion Incentive (DEI) – aims to stimulate companies that carry out global or regional headquarters (HQ) operations to grow capabilities and conduct new or expanded economic activities in Singapore.
  • Aircraft Leasing Scheme (ALS) – encourage companies to develop aircraft leasing capabilities and grow the aircraft leasing industry in Singapore.
  • Finance & Treasury Centre (FTC) – encourages companies to grow treasury management capabilities and use Singapore as a base for conducting strategic finance and treasury management operations through a reduced corporate tax rate of 8%.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Development Incentive – promotes the use and commercialization of intellectual property (IP) rights arising from research & development operations through a reduced corporate tax rate of either 5% or 10%.

Click here for more details.


Productivity & Solutions Grant (PSG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore

Type: Subsidy

Companies that 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.

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 that is registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • At least 30% local shareholding
  • Company’s Group Annual Sales Turnover of not more than S$100 million, or Company’s Group Employment Size of not more than 200 workers
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the Equipment or IT Solution must be used in Singapore

Sleek has been pre-approved by IMDA for support by PSG. Eligible Sleek clients can now get up to 80% of their yearly fees with us.

Click here for more details.


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 costs which covers steps such as overseas market set-up, identification of business partners, and overseas market promotion.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The 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.

Click here for more details.


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 6 months upon completion of the workshops under the program as well as show evidence of in-house training.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The 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.

Click here for more details.


Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

Agency: Singapore Tourism Board

Type: Funding

The BIF targets Singapore-registered businesses in the tourism sector to encourage technology innovation and adoption, and the redesign of business models and processes.

Based on the size of your business, the level of support provided by the BIF will vary. Small-to-medium enterprise applicants (SMEs) will receive funding support of up to 70% of qualifying costs; non-SME applicants will receive funding support of up to 50%.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Tourism companies taking on capability development initiatives.
  • Technology companies that create innovative technology products and services for tourism businesses.
  • Aligned to EDG’s core pillars – core capabilities and innovation & productivity.

Click here for more details.


VentureForGood (VFG) Grant

Agency: Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE)

Type: Grant

The VFG Grant is available to new and existing social enterprises who need funding to either start up or expand their operations. Applicants can receive up to $300,000 in grants.

In light of COVID-19, dedicated grant funding to support solutions that solve community issues that will become prevalent in Singapore during the post COVID-19 recovery phase can receive up to $100,000 in grants.

 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Your social enterprise should be addressing a local social gap/need in one or more of the provided outcome areas to be eligible.
  • Some of these areas include the provision of employment opportunities, or bridging a social gap in the areas of mental health, and caregiving.

Click here for more details.


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 a map of the funding terms.

For a more customized 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 Singapore startup grants that you may be eligible for.

These services are provided free of charge to all aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners in Singapore.

If you’d like to learn more about how to fund your startup, you can read our article on 6 main sources of funding for your startup in Singapore.

*Do note that the information provided may be subject to changes.

Please refer to the respective websites for the latest updates.

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