💼💵 9 Best Business Grants in Singapore for 2020 [Must Read] 💵💼

April 7, 2020

Written by

Multiply Team

This article breaks down the 9 best business grants in Singapore that both existing SMEs and entrepreneurs can tap into. If your company needs support, you MUST read this article to find out about the major business grants in Singapore!

esg enterprise financing scheme

Contributing 48% to Singapore’s GDP and employing an estimated 65% of the workforce, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are incredibly vital to the growth of the country’s economy. The government has come up with many schemes to provide assistance and support to SMEs in Singapore.

Here’s a list of the most popular government grants for SMEs, designed to help SMEs grow and expand.

For current SMEs in operation, there are plenty of grants provided by the government to help businesses grow and expand into overseas markets. Below are four of the most popular. Each grant has specialized funding for a specific area to enable companies with further progression. There is also capital funding available for entrepreneurs who wish to embark on a new business venture.

Grants for Existing SMEs

1. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) provides support for Singapore companies to grow and revamp their business. 

Primarily, this grant funds projects that help to upgrade businesses, innovate, or progress overseas, under three categories: Core Capabilities, Innovation and Productivity, and Market Access.

a. Core Capabilities

This helps businesses plan for growth and transition by improving their company foundations as they go beyond basic roles like sales and accounting. It includes Business Strategy Development, Financial Management, Human Capital Development, Service Excellence, and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development.

b. Innovation and Productivity

This helps businesses pursuing new growth markets, or searching for ways to improve productivity. This may involve updating and redesigning procedures and workflows. Companies may also tap into automation and technology to improve productivity in routine activities. It includes Automation, Process Redesign, and Product Development. 

c. Market Access

This helps companies in Singapore that are prepared and able to move overseas. EDG can be tapped into to help defray some of the expansion costs to the overseas markets. It includes Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Overseas Marketing Presence (OMP), Pilot Project and Test Bedding, and Standards Adoption. 

Projects are eligible for funding if they are defined by their ability to either improve business foundations, explore new opportunities of growth and increased efficiency, or if SMEs are prepared and seeking to expand into overseas markets.

Eligibility:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Minimum 30% local shareholdings
  • Group annual sales turnover less than S$100m per annum, or less than 200 employees

More information can be found here.

2. Market Readiness Assistance (MRA)

The Market Readiness Assistance grant, or MRA, is designed with the sole purpose of helping Singapore SMEs gain exposure to overseas opportunities for possible expansion.

What Eligible SMEs Will Receive:

  • Up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per company per new market* from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023 that covers:
  • Overseas market promotion
  • Overseas business development
  • Overseas market setup

There is a limit of one activity per application.

Eligibility:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • A minimum of 30% local shareholdings
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum, or less than 200 employees

More information can be found here.

3. Productivity-Max (PMax)

SMEs looking to employ PMETs or improve their HR practices can consider this grant.

The P-Max programme helps to defray costs in the recruitment of Professionals, Managers, and Executives (PMEs) and the retainment of employees.

Participating SMEs can be compensated up to 90% course fee subsidy for PMET, SME training workshops, and Age Management workshops.

Upon completion of the programme and six-month retention of the newly hired PMETs, eligible SMEs will receive a one-time S$5,000 Assistance Grant or $10,000 Assistance Grant (P-Max for Older Workers only).

Eligibility:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum, or less than 200 employees
  • A minimum of 30% local shareholdings
  • Hired a PMET within the last three months prior to programme enrolment, PMET earns a gross monthly salary of at least S$2,500

More information can be found here.

4. Enhanced iSPRINT

This scheme aims to boost SME’s productivity and growth, provide SMEs with broader coverage, simplify the application process, and eliminate the need for claim submissions by SMEs. The new, improved factors include piloting new sector solutions, institutionalize proven sector solutions, and high-speed connectivity that SMEs can enjoy.

IT vendors and SMEs looking to develop new solutions that transform a particular sector are eligible for the scheme. SMEs will be able to receive up to 80%, capped at S$1 million per SME for their solution, depending on the expected sector impact.

There is also funding for SMEs seeking to establish proven solutions. SMEs may deploy solutions from IDA’s list of Packaged Solutions, with support from IDA of up to 70%.

SMEs can enjoy high-speed connectivity with IDA’s support if they are to implement any of the solutions in the enhanced iSPRINT. However, this excludes basic solutions. IDA will subsidize SME’s fibre subscription plans of at least 100Mbps and provide additional support by supplying Wireless@SG services at their premises.

More information on the grant and pre-qualified productivity and growth solutions are available at https://www.imda.gov.sg/sme.

5. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) assists businesses who are keen to implement IT systems and facilities that will boost business processes. PSG includes sector-specific approaches that include the retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, construction, and landscaping sectors. In addition to sector-specific solutions, PSG also promotes the implementation of technologies that reach through sectors in areas such as customer service, data processing, financial management, and inventory monitoring.

Eligibility: 

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; with Company's Group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employers (for selected solutions only)

More information can be found here

6. Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) 

The Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) seeks to boost a wide base of organizations' digital capabilities. For a start, DRB will be aimed at the Food Services and Retail sectors that are more affected in reopening the economy by safe distancing requirements. SMEs with PayNow Corporate, E-Invoicing, and using predefined digital solutions will earn up to S$10,000 bonus payouts.


The table below shows the solution categories and Digital Resilience Bonus quantum.

Enterprises that implement qualified solutions in each of the three categories will receive incentive payouts for the specific categories, in addition to the baseline solutions. For example, an organization that adopts baseline strategies from category 1 and category 2 will receive a combined $5,000 bonus payout. A business may earn up to $ 10,000 for approaches in all categories (including the category of baseline). 

More on the eligibility criteria and other information can be found here.

7. SGUnited Traineeship Grant 

The SGUnited Traineeships Grant aims to provide up to 21,000 traineeship opportunities for fresh graduates in 2019 and 2020. Given the current economic environment, this will help them develop industry-relevant skills and improve their employability in preparation for the expected economic recovery. Host organisations can leverage a pool of fresh talent and hire seasoned trainees when recruiting picks ups. 

The monthly training allowance given to each trainee may differ depending on the extent of the training, based on the traineeship criteria as shown below.

For each credential, the average monthly training allowance is set at 50-70 percent of median starting salaries. 80% of the training allowance would be co-funded by the government.

Eligibility: Host organisations must be registered or incorporated in Singapore

  • Host organisations must be registered or incorporated in Singapore
  • Offer traineeships lasting up to 9 months (Traineeship must commence by 31st December 2020)
  • Provide clear Traineeship Descriptions and Development Plans that would provide trainees with meaningful developmental opportunities during the traineeship period, subject to approval by the appointed programme manager, Singapore Business Federation(SBF)
  • Co-fund 20% of the training allowance for the duration of the traineeship

More information can be found here.

Grants For Entrepreneurs

8. StartupSG Founder

This scheme provides start-up capital grants for first-time entrepreneurs. Start-ups are required to make and commit S$10,000 as a co-matching fund to the grant.

Enterprise Singapore has appointed Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) to select applicants and aid them by giving advice, conducting learning programs, and networking contacts.

Eligibility:

  • Be a first-time entrepreneur and Singaporean citizen/PR
  • Hold more than 30% equity
  • Commit full time and be the key decision maker of the company upon acceptance of the grant

Start-up Company Requirements:

  • Operate within 6 months of application
  • Have minimum 51% Singaporean Citizen/PR Shareholding
  • Have business activities conducted mainly in Singapore
  • Have not received funding for the proposed business idea from another government organisation
  • Not be in fields such as cafes, nightclubs, lounges, bars, food reflexology, massage parlors, beauty salons, gambling, prostitution, social escort, etc

More information can be found here.

9. ACE Startups Grant

This grant provides funding to support Singaporeans who are seeking to establish a business of their own.

ACE will match $7 to every $3 raised by the entrepreneur, for up to S$50,000.

For capital-intensive industries, the individual can consider applying for an additional S$50,000, which ACE will match $3 for every $7 raised.

Eligibility:

  • First-time entrepreneur
  • Holds at least 51% shareholding of the company
  • Key decision maker
  • Committed on a full-time basis
  • Have parental consent if under 18 years old

More information can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you get a grant to buy a business?

Yes, you can get grants from the government which will help to reduce costs (ie. cash rewards, free equipment), funding your new business, and helping it to grow. 

2. How do you start a business with no money?

If you do not have enough savings, you can ask your friends and family for extra funds or try to get potential investors to invest in your business. Alternatively, applying for a small business loan or looking for small business grants and local funding opportunities are some other ways for you to start a business with no money. 


3. How do startups get funding in Singapore?

There are Singapore government grants for SMEs and Startups. Some of the best business grants include the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), Productivity-Max (PMax), Enhanced iSPRINT, StartupSG Founder, and ACE Startups Grant. 

4. What is a work-life grant?

A work-life grant provides businesses with funding support to incorporate flexible work arrangements for all employees. 

5. How do I qualify as an SME in Singapore?

To quality, your company must be registered and operate in Singapore. It must also have a minimum of 30% local shareholding. Last but not least, your company’s group annual sales turnover should not be above S$100 million or have an employment size of more than 200 workers.

6. Does “grant” mean free?

Yes. As long as you are eligible, you can receive grants which are free money and do not need to be repaid. However, the grants have to be used for their intended purpose (ie. to fund the company).

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Multiply Team

Multiply brings a fresh perspective to financial services. We offer simple and flexible financing for smaller businesses.

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