SMEs based in Singapore that fulfilled certain criteria were once eligible for the Innovation and Capability Voucher. This voucher helped qualifying companies finance projects and mitigate necessary costs incurred. It was even of assistance in the expansion of such companies to other countries.

Government Incentives in SG

One of the Singaporean government’s primary methods of developing the country’s economy is by attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world to live and work there. The government has been doing so for many years. It is because of this proactive approach that Singapore has become one of the world’s most important corporate hubs and business expansion locations. Among the ways by which the Singaporean government attempts to entice foreign entrepreneurs include low corporate tax rates, laws designed to protect businesses, and various benefits for both Singaporean and foreign entrepreneurs alike. One of the government’s other means of doing so is by the offering of various tax incentives and grants. These include the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant, The Singapore Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) was also one of these.

Innovation and Capability Voucher

The ICV was a grant given by the Singaporean government. The purpose of the ICV scheme is to help Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SME) grow and develop. The voucher had a value of S$5,000. It could be applied to either physical or intellectual property. Many SMEs had been able to use this voucher to pay for consultancy services. These services went on to help the SME improve in areas such as innovation, productivity, human resources, and financial management. Other SMEs chose to spend their voucher money on either technical solutions or equipment. By doing so, the efficiency and productivity levels of these businesses are heightened. A company was allowed to apply for up to eight vouchers, and each voucher was related to a specific project to be undertaken by the company. The duration of each project would not exceed six months. An ongoing project had to be completed before a new application could be made.

There were certain criteria which had to be fulfilled by a company that intended to apply for a voucher. The company must have been registered and fully operational in Singapore. The company must also have had a minimum of 30% local shareholding. The value of the company’s annual sales must not have exceeded S$100 million and group employment size must not have been more than 200 employees.

After a company’s application for a voucher had been approved, the next step was to select a category of consultancy and integrated solution provider to assist with the completion of the project.  The categories which were to be chosen from include technical solutions and training, payroll and human resource systems, customer relationship management systems, equipment and hardware, and design and renovation. Upon completion of the project, a report about the project had to be sent to Enterprise Singapore (formerly known as SPRING Singapore).

On April 1, 2018, the ICV ended after it was streamlined into the Productivity Solutions Grant.


The ICV and Business Expansion

Businesses that used the ICV wisely may have seen it as a good way to begin expansion. As the benefits of this voucher could be used for various purposes, it would help mitigate the costs incurred when a company based in Singapore expanded to other countries.

Expansion is generally a positive move for a Singapore company. This is because expansion generally leads to a company’s workforce costing the company less overall money. It may also reduce the company’s total operating costs. Furthermore, because of Singapore’s sterling reputation in the corporate world, companies which are originally from there are generally held in high regard.

Usually, most companies based in Singapore will first expand to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This is due to the fact that expanding to such countries costs less money because of the shorter distance covered and, in many cases, relatively lower labour costs. Businesses which have been registered in Singapore, which have employed professional consultancy services for assistance in expanding the company abroad, or both will have an easier time completing this task.