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If you are planning company incorporation in Singapore or have an existing business on the verge of exploding into a phenomenal growth, it will be worth your while to go through a few of the Singapore government grants for SME & Startups.

Starting or incorporating a Singapore Company, or a new Singapore startup to be reality can be tough, and sometimes expensive. With that being said, the rate of start-ups failing within the first few months, if not years after incorporation is quite common.

The reason for such failure is often attributed to the fact that the companies have limited funds and working capital to realize their business plans or dreams, and to expand their ideas further.

This information is very important for you as an entrepreneur in Singapore to ensure the planning of a sound financial strategy for your company, and even as you are drafting up your business plan during pre-incorporation.

There are several ways of ensuring that your start-up does not suffer the same fate as many other blowouts in the ever stringent corporate landscape of hopes and dreams.

The fact to be told, startups & SMEs are the driving force behind Singapore. The startup and SME sector employ almost two-thirds of the Singaporean workforce, which is not surprising that the government is putting in their effort to support these companies.

Starting Your Company with Singapore with Startup SG

Singapore’s leading agency SPRING – authorised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry established an umbrella branding called Startup Singapore under which all the start-up support schemes have been grouped.

Startup Singapore is one of the schemes which aims at enabling new entrepreneurs to start strong. The scheme provides a mentor-mentee program, and also capital support for entrepreneurs who have outstandingly innovative ideas. In order to qualify, the proposed business must have a distinct competitive advantage and must be truly unique with substantial market potential.

Representing the shared interests of the start-up community in Singapore, Startup SG is ideally a stepping stone platform for entrepreneurs by providing them a support system where they well connected to the global entrepreneurial network.

Therefore, if you incorporate your business in Singapore, Startup Singapore is will be you one-stop solution centre for loans, grants, funding and capability-enhancement.

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Advantages of Starting Up in Singapore

Stability of Economy

This is probably the biggest reason why foreigners choose to start their business in Singapore. Being one of the lowest corruption rates countries in the world, Singapore’s reserves are abundant enough to withstand about 10 years of recession.

Access to Funding

With the readily available Government Schemes, Startup Incubators, Angel Investing Networks, Venture Capital Firms, and Private Equity Firms for startups, it is no surprise that Singaporean investment in start-ups ranks second in Asia, only after China.

Launchpad to ASEAN Market

Market-wise, Singapore is small. However, as it only pushes startups to create strong relations with neighbouring countries. Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, you are accessible to any major cities in the region. Singapore is considered to be central in the start-up ecosystem of Asia, having a geographical edge when joining hands together with the huge markets of China, India and Indonesia and Malaysia.

Enforceable legislation

Unlike many other Asian regions, Singapore Law is ironclad and unbiased. With these laws, contracts and agreements can be pursued with proper channels and mitigations, thus making business arrangements in Singapore a safer bet for a new startup incorporation.

Challenges of Starting Up in Singapore

High overhead costs

Due to Singapore’s very limited space, it’s expensive to buy as well as rent land space in Singapore, making land costs in Singapore pretty ridiculous. However, these need to be weighed up against Singapore’s advantages. Renting an office, building a semi-conductor factory or even renting a retail shop space is going to cost around twice as much compared to neighbouring Asian countries.

Shortage of manpower

With Singapore being a small country and having a small talent pool, having local talent is very limited. Singapore government has to be proactive to attract foreign talent and retain local talent.

Requirement to qualify for Startup SG

  • The startup must be a Singapore-based company, with the core operation conducted in Singapore
  • A private limited company incorporated not more than six months
  • Have paid-up capital of at least S$50,000
  • Have high-growth potential with clear ability to scale in the international market
  • Not a subsidiary or joint-venture
  • Have identified an independent third-party investor
  • The applicant must be a key person making decisions in the company, and must hold at least 30% shares in the company
  • The applicants must not have received any funding for the proposed business idea from another government organisation
  • The business must not be involved in any illicit activities which are in violation of Singapore and International law, or against public interest.
Startup SG

Six Pillars of Startup SG

Startup SG Founder

If you have an original business plan or idea, yet you do not know where to begin, Startup SG Founder is a good place. What makes this amazing is, under the scheme, Enterprise Singapore matches SG$3 for every SG$1 which is raised by the entrepreneur.

Under this scheme, Enterprise Singapore provides mentorship to entrepreneurs with its Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP), who will identify qualifying applicants based on the viability of business model, uniqueness of business concept and potential market value.

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Startup SG Tech

This is targeted towards businesses interested venturing and growing the technology and innovations industry. Startup SG Tech has accelerate and incubated the growth and development of proprietary technology particularly in the sector of:

  • advanced manufacturing,
  • healthcare sector,
  • biotechnology and biomedical sciences,
  • Robotics, information and communication technologies,
  • clean technologies, and
  • transport engineering and engineering services.

Under this scheme, two types of grants are available:

  • Proof-of-Concept (POC) : This is a realization of a certain idea or/ and methods in order to demonstrate its feasibility, or a demonstration in principle with the aim of verifying that some concept or theory has practical potential. A proof of concept is usually small and may or may not be complete.
  • Proof-of-Value (POV): Sometimes called a Proof of Concept, this is just the initial step in the introduction of Every Angle to the targetted and intended audience.

To be successful in the application of this grant, the solution that is being proposed must be commercially viable, lead to or build on proprietary technology, and must be in a breakthrough level of technology.

Startup Singapore Equity

This scheme aims to encourage private sector to co-invest in general tech and deep-tech startups along with third party investors.

The government will co-invest if private sector investors are willing to put in at least SG$50,000 each into the startup as well as provide necessary management experience and guidance to contribute to the startup’s growth.

Hence, it is always advised for business interested in this grant to have a third party investor ready.

Startup SG Accelerator

Startup SG Accelerator aims to boost the startup ecosystem by providing more support to incubators and accelerators. The Accelerator plays an important role in terms of growth of the startup, and also commercialization of ideas as well as patent creation.

Aimed at startups with new products or services, they help obtain financing, and improve their access to the global market. It also subsidies the costs of hiring mentors and experts, guiding these companies to grow further.

Startup SG Talent

Startup SG Talent creates an environment that attracts talent from all over the world to join local startups, where they can learn from each other. There are several schemes under this pillar including EntrePass, T-Up and SME Talent Programme (STP).

  • EntrePass: A work pass scheme for foreign entrepreneurs keen to start businesses in Singapore who can be the finishing touch to Singapore’s local skillsets and contribute to the startup ecosystem.
  • T-Up: T-up helps to enhance businesses’ in-house research and development capabilities by giving them access to talent from top class research institutions. Not only that, this scheme sees a subsidiary up to 70% of the assignment costs of research scientists and engineers for a period of up to two years. To be eligible, the applicant will need to be registered as a Singapore business, having a minimum of 30% local shareholding and employees less than 200 person.
  • STP: This scheme helps tech-based startups build up their talent by matching students seeking internships. Under this scheme, interns are given 70% subsidiary of their remuneration.

Startup Singapore Loan

This scheme offers government loans, providing companies with working capital and financing for equipment, factory, and trade.

The SME Micro loan provides financing of up to SG$100,000 to support companies with 10 or fewer employees in their business operations.

If you own a high-growth company, you can turn to the SME Venture Loan, which can grant up to $5,000,000 of alternative financing for their expansion.

Startups are also eligible to apply for the SME Working Capital Loan that will grant them financing of up to SG$300,000.

In this scheme, SMEs can rely on the Equipment and Factory Loans that grant up to $15 million, if they intend to purchase equipment or factory properties.

Singapore, the Best Place for Your Startup

With that, it is understood why Singapore is the ultimate country to start and upscale up your company. With the Singapore Government helping set up thousands of business entities by providing stellar digital marketing services, it is only a matter of time your idea becomes a multi-million dollar idea.


Despite Singapore’s small geographical size, hence small market place and exorbitant overhead, its good relations with the surrounding neighbouring regions of southeast Asia avails its startup an opportunity to thrive. The numerous advantages such as funding schemes and grants also outweigh the disadvantages.

Singapore Startup FAQs

What is the main difference between an entrepreneur and a startup?2020-11-23T14:04:50+08:00

The main difference is that an entrepreneur has a financial motivation behind venturing into a business, while a startup is innovators of new ideas or solutions to existing problems, they sell their ideas as a solution to problems rather than as a source of income. 

Does the Singaporean government assist foreigners who contribute to the growth of local startups?2020-11-23T14:04:32+08:00

Yes. Singapore through Startup SG Talent assists foreign investors in acquiring an EntrePass, a work permit to enable them the finishing touch to Singaporean local skillset of upcoming entrepreneurs.  It also has a T-UP scheme that avails them access to talent from topclass research institutions and caters for up to 70% of the cost related to research.  

What grants exist for SMEs and startups in Singapore?2020-11-23T14:04:09+08:00
  • Startup SG which funds in three different ways: for novice startups, for a startup in technology, and companies involved in deep technology.
  • Capabilities Development Grant, and Innovation and Capability Voucher, both given by Enterprise Singapore to cover qualifying project costs and for developing business capabilities respectively.
  • National Research Foundation (NRF) is given to seed corporate venture capitalists to be able to invest in startups.
What makes Singaporean investments in startups to be ranked second in Asia?2020-11-23T14:03:27+08:00

Singapore ranks second in Asia as second best when it comes to investments in startup because of the readily available Government Schemes, Startup Incubators, Angel Investing Networks, Venture Capital Firms, and Private Equity Firms for startups. It worth noting that these startups have excellent innovation and ideas that qualify them for the benefits. 

What is the startup ecosystem?2020-11-23T14:02:27+08:00

startup ecosystem begins with the brainstorming of ideas, then innovations and research. At different stages, a startup will include entrepreneurs, team members of the startupadvisors, mentors, and investors. An ecosystem will also involve support and funding organizations, gig companies, research organizations, service providers, and universities. 

2021-03-31T11:56:57+08:00March 21, 2019|0 Comments

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