What Types of Government Grants are available to small businesses?
Small businesses and startups are the powerhouses of the Singapore economy. They employ nearly two-thirds of Singapore’s workforce. To support the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the government provides some grants and incentives. These abundant grants and incentives help bolster the country’s business-friendly reputation.
Numerous SMEs operate all over the country. Singapore Budget 2018 added several grants and expanded other existing grants. It helped the companies based in Singapore improve their workforce, company’s capabilities, and international efforts that they carried out. The present grants offered by the Singaporean government are streamlined and straightforward. These grants cater to the specific needs of Singapore’s business owners.
Six Significant Singapore Government Grants
The purposes of these grants and incentives are to support various local companies in Singapore. SMEs and startups may use any of the following grants:
- Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
SME owners who want to start their journey in IT and technology solutions can use funding support from the Singaporean government. It also covers industries such as construction, retail, logistics, food and beverage, precision engineering, and landscaping. There are also grants for data analytics, customer management, inventory tracking, and financial management.
SMEs that plan to apply for the PSG must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Registered and operating in Singapore
- All purchases, leasing, and subscription of the equipment or solutions relative to the IT sector should be used in Singapore only
- Must have at least 30% local shareholding for specific solutions
How to Apply
- Visit the ‘Tech Depot’, view the list of supported solutions, and identify various relevant solutions
- Those who want to apply for “Digital Solutions,” must obtain the quotation from the pre-approved vendors; those applying for “Equipment,” must get it from selected vendors
- Submit the application at the Business Grant Portal (BGP). A CorpPass account is needed for on-site transactions.
The main benefit of this grant is that licensed companies in fields such as cleaning and waste management get nearly 50% of the qualifying cost of the grant. Companies can avail a total grant of almost S$250,000. Its period runs from September 17, 2019, to January 31, 2020.
- Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
The EDG helps Singapore companies that want to grow their foreign presence. This grant supports the building of a strong business foundation, innovative production, and adoption of technology. It replaced the GCP and CDG grants on October 25, 2018. It works upon three important pillars:
- The projects started under the “Core Capabilities” help businesses operating in Singapore grow and transform.
- Companies classified under “Innovation and Productivity” include the areas where one can review or redesign the workflow process. To make the routine tasks more efficient, owners can use technology and automation process.
- Projects that come under “Market Access” support can use this grant to tap into overseas resources.
The businesses that want to apply for EDG must be operating and registered in Singapore, possess 30% local shareholding, and have a group annual sales turnover of less than S$100 million.
The PACT program initiates mutual collaboration between SMEs and other companies present in Singapore. The partnership goes beyond regular business activities. In this program, one of the enterprises becomes a leader by taking the position of “lead enterprise” and drive projects towards profitability.
Companies became eligible for the integrated PACT program from April 1, 2018. The government will provide 70% of the qualifying costs including those of capability development, knowledge transfer, co-innovation, making of business alliances, and pooling of resources.
The eligibility criteria for PACT include:
The lead enterprise must possess clear capabilities over other companies. The company must take responsibility for the successful delivery of the project.
A majority of the companies must be from Singapore, but foreign companies can still be included in this collaboration.
Lead enterprises must support smaller companies that go beyond their common interests.
- Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
The MRA Grant aims to support the SMEs in Singapore to expand its business in the foreign market. These SMEs require the proper assistance from the Singaporean government to do so. Enterprise Singapore developed this grant that aids the companies with information, financial assistance, and learning.
SMEs will receive 70% of the qualifying costs. The amount an SME may receive is capped at S$20,000 for each company for each financial year. This support is extended until March 2020. The eligibility criteria for this grant include the following:
- 30% of shareholding being local
- Incorporation or registration of entity in Singapore
- Annual group turnover must not exceed S$100 million; group employment must not exceed 200 employees
The company in Singapore can apply by signing an engagement letter, making the first payment, and commencing the project with a third-party consultant. The Business Grant Portal can also be used for this purpose.
- Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization (DTDi)
Singapore startups or SMEs that wants to expand their business abroad can use the Double Tax Deduction for Internationalizaion (DTDi). It provides a tax deduction of 200%. It is available on investment development activities and the relared eligible expenses. The taxes will be deducted on the costs that are incurred with effect from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2020. Section 14B and Section 14K of the Income Tax Act provide more information on this matter.
To be eligible for DTDi, the companies must possess the following:
A resident of Singapore who has a primary purpose of promoting the trade of goods or the provision of services
Global headquarters must be in Singapore, primary purpose must be the trading of goods and services, must have intentions to expand to international markets.
One can apply for this grant by submitting an application online using a SingPass or the CorpPass for the activities that do not fall under DTDi or the amount exceeding the first S$100,000 for the particular financial assessment year. Separate applications must be deposited for New DTDi users and Existing DTDi users.
- Venture Debt Program (VDP)
The Venture Debt Program is offered to growing startups created by venture capital investors. It includes leveraging technological solutions to enhance products or services. When structured properly, it will reduce the risk of shareholding dilution and cost of financing for entrepreneurs.
SMEs and startups can apply for the venture debts to get a cash payout of up to S$5 million for assets, working capital, mergers, acquisitions, and other projects. The eligibility criteria for companies include:
Registered and operating in Singapore
30% of shareholding must be local
Annual sales turnover of S$100 million or less or fewer than 200 employees
How can I get a government grant for my Business in Singapore?
You need to follow the following government-approved ways to get Singapore government grants.
If you are planning on getting a particular grant for your business, then you need to ask for the grant support of S$30,000 or less. You can get it by simply filling in the online application. The processing time is usually from four to six weeks.
SME owners need to understand the process of getting any of the grants set forth by the government agencies. If you are not eligible for one fund, you may opt to use another grant.
Search the official sites of Singapore Government that state information on the various types of grants to learn of the eligibility of your business. If you require funds in a short time, then you need to seek for the funds with a shorter processing time.
After you have researched thoroughly and understood the requirements outlined in various grants, you must compile multiple legal and other company-related documents involving your company’s information, details about the project, and budgetary requirements.
The last step is the timely submission of your proposal. You need to follow all the guidelines mentioned in the document. It will aid in the approval of your grant.
Are there any free government grants in Singapore?
Some of the free Singapore government grants include the following:
Capabilities Development Grant: Helps SMEs and start-ups establish themselves in versatile business areas. Business owners can avail the funding cost of nearly 70%. It will help in new product designing, development, and the manufacturing process.
Market Readiness Assistance (MRA): Supports SMEs’ efforts to take their business to a foreign country for the first time. Business owners can get 70% of the project cost. The amount which may be received is capped at S$20,000 for each fiscal year.
Global Company Partnership (GCP): Supported by Enterprise Singapore, it helps companies take their business overseas. The difference between the GCP and MRA is that the GCP aids the businesses who already operate abroad and are interested in further expansion.
EDG (Enterprise Development Grant): A merger of the GCP and CDG, it is meant for businesses which need customized business funding support. Enterprise Singapore runs this grant. It will also supply70% of the funding support.
SME ‘Go-Digital’ Program: Helps SMEs to keep up with technological transformation and digitization in the economy. This program is now part of the PSG. It aims to improve productivity in sectors such as retail, cleaning, security, and food services.
These six significant grants and few free government grants help Singapore SMEs and start-ups remain strong in this competitive environment. These government grants are a boon for the companies that are either unable to fund themselves or have to pay heavy taxes. They allow local and foreign companies alike to have better futures. Anyone interested to know more about these grants and how they can give companies a boost should reach out to reputed accounting firm Paul Hype Page & Co. We have a team of experienced HR workers, accountants, and lawyers who can help in getting you these grants seamlessly.
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