10 Singapore Government Business Grants[Updated]
By Alex, Last updated: 2023-01-18 (originally published on 2018-12-26)
Don’t we all love government grants?
Not that we should ever complain about having too many options and too much support… but for a new business owner it can be daunting to navigate through the world of ACE’s, A*STAR’s, IDA’s, NRF’s, and SPRING’s world of acronyms.
Below we list some of the most popular and widely-used government grants in Singapore for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, as well as a short description on how they can apply to you and eligibility:
1.SME Talent Programme (STP)
The SME Talent Programme (STP) is government grants in Singapore that lets you offer internships, sponsorship and training programmes to local students from Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs), Polytechnics and Universities.
SME Talent Programmne- Claims
For example, the STP funds up to 70% of the monthly internship stipend you pay when you employ an intern. You will also get to enjoy similar funding if you choose to sponsor a student’s school fees, in exchange for an employment bond of up to two years.
SMEs should meet the following criteria:
- At least 30% local shareholding
- Group annual turnover of up to S$100 million OR group employment size of up to 200 workers
- Offer potential career opportunities with a clear job description and career progression path
- Possess sound Human Resource processes
- Willing to participate in Enterprise Singapore’s Human Resource Maturity Diagnostics (HRMD) to facilitate future capability upgrading
STP claims- Quick users Guide
Important links: How to apply for STP , Application Process, Claims Process
WorkPro encourages and rewards age-friendly workplaces. You can apply for this business grants in Singapore if you implement work-life measures, redesign jobs, improve workplace practices, or place employees on flexible work arrangements.
For example, if you employ at least five mature workers (aged 40 years and above), implement two out of six age management practices, and attend compulsory training in age management, you may qualify for an Age Management Grant of up to S$20,000 which is government grants in Singapore for SMEs.
With work pro Employers grants in Singapore will be able to:
- Adopt progressive age management practices.
- Support job redesign.
- Implement and sustain flexible work arrangements.
Any company registered or incorporated in Singapore including societies and non-profit organisations such as charities and voluntary welfare organisations can apply for workPro
For more information on WorkPro, employers may contact the Programme Partners. Their contact details are:
NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute)*
ACE Startups Scheme for the first-time entrepreneurs having an innovative idea. The business grants in Singapore provides mentor-ship support and startup capital grant. The Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) select applicants. The AMP supports the startups with advice, learning programs, and networking contacts.
Upon application, If the AMP assesses that the applicant has met the eligibility and evaluation criteria, the AMP can recommend the application to Enterprise Singapore, together with appropriate milestones for disbursement of grant amounts. Enterprise Singapore will inform the applicant and AMP on the application status for the grant.
The grant is open to all Singaporeans/Permanent Residents who are first-time entrepreneurs. In addition, the applicant would need to adhere to the following conditions at the time of application:
- Applicant(s) must hold or propose to hold at least 30% equity in the underlying company;
- The company must have at least 51% of local shareholding and not be incorporated for more than six (6) months at the point of application to Enterprise Singapore;
- The applicants must not have registered or incorporated any business entity;
- The applicants must not have received any funding for the proposed business idea from another government organisation.
The list of documents required are:
- Completed and signed application form
- ACRA e-statement (to declare that main applicant is a first time entrepreneur)*
- Business plans, CVs of management team (Optional)
4.Enterprise Development Grants
The Enterprise Development Grant is Singapore small business grants for providing financial assistance to startups.I t is designed to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore build internal capabilities in 3 main areas( core capabilities, Innovation and productivity, market Acess) with their corresponding sub-areas. Singaporean SMEs can obtain up to 70% government grants to defray the costs of qualifying projects.
EDG is designed to help Singaporean companies grow and transform their business for the future and for the global market. Hence, it is undergirded by three pillars: Core Capabilities, Innovation & Productivity and Market Access. You can view it as a progression: from developing internal core capabilities to innovating for productivity growth and finally, expanding overseas.
Eligibility: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore
EDG Application Checklist
5.Early-Stage Venture Funding
The Early Stage Venture Fund (ESVF) is a Singaporean initiative to support Innovation and Enterprise. ESVF is the biggest equity scheme by the government which co-funds startups as Singapore small business grants along with Venture Capital (VC) firms. The beneficiaries of this startup funding in Singapore are early-stage technology startups based in Singapore.
The National Research Foundation (NRF) invests S$10 million on a matching basis, to seed corporate venture capital (VC) funds. The VCs have the option to buy NRF’s share within five years.
Eligibility: Startups that are operating in the technology sector in Singapore.
How It Works: National Research Foundation (NRF) co-funds startups up to $10 million with approved VCs. Eligible startups can qualify for up to $3 million in this Singapore startup grants grant.
Budget 2016 announced a reduction in the percentage of cash payout option under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme. This means that you have up to 31 July this year to purchase qualifying equipment and services, and file your claims under PIC as government grants in Singapore.
Note that in order to be eligible for the cash payout option, you must have least three local employees (Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents with Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions). Sole-proprietors, partners under contract for service and shareholders who are directors of the company do not contribute to the three-local-employee condition.
From YAs 2016 to 2018, the CPF contributions must be made for three local employees in the last three months of the relevant financial quarter or combined financial quarters.
The cash payout conversion rate will be reduced to 40% as of 1 August 2016. Under PIC scheme, businesses get 400% tax deductions on up to $400,000. Or they can opt for 40% cash payout of up to $100,000. The PIC Scheme will expire after Year of Assessment (YA) 2018.
Singaporean companies, sole proprietors
7.Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) is available from 17 Sep 2018 to 31 Jan 2020 for the environmental services (ES) industry to adopt and scale up commercially available and proven ES technologies (i.e. ready-to-go solutions) to increase operational efficiency and productivity.
small and medium-sized enterprises, multinational corporations, as well as building/facility owners
Applications must meet the following eligibility criteria at the point of submission through the Business Grant Portal:
- The applicant must be a registered business in Singapore
- The applicant must be an NEA-licensed waste management or cleaning company with an existing contract in Singapore.
- Premises owner (i.e. building/facility owner) applying to the funding scheme must be the owner of building/property.
- The applicant’s purchase/lease/subscription of the solution or equipment must be used in Singapore.
The applicant must not have:
- Made any payment to a supplier, vendor or third party in relation to the purchase/lease/subscription of the solution or equipment; and/or
- Signed or confirmed any contract with a supplier, vendor or third party in relation to the purchase/lease/subscription of the solution or equipment before the application
The following entities do not qualify for grant support:
- Charities, Institutions of Public Characters (IPCs),
- Religious Entities
- Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO)
- Government agencies and subsidiaries
The PACT programme encourages mutually beneficial collaborations between companies as singapore government grants for SME. The nature of collaboration should go beyond regular business activities.
One enterprise should undertake the role of a leader (known as a “Lead Enterprise”) in driving projects to benefit the group of companies.
PACT collaborations are led by one company (known as a Lead Enterprise) whose job is to drive projects that benefit all collaborating parties. These projects go beyond business activities (such as providing services) and include areas such as:
- Capability development, or upgrading the technology capabilities of suppliers, co-development and test-bedding of supplier products, and knowledge transfer (such as training programmes) between companies to develop innovation expertise
- Alliances, consortiums, and shared resources (or shared service centres)
The new PACT scheme combines four existing partnership programmes: EDB’s and Spring’s respective Partnerships for Capability Transformation schemes, Spring’s Collaborative Industry Projects; and IE Singapore’s Global Company Partnership Grant. It funds up to 70% of qualifying costs for SMEs and 50% for non-SMEs.
Companies acting as Lead Enterprises in PACT projects need to be registered in Singapore – either as a local company or a multi-national corporation with a Singapore office. As for participating companies, they can be either local or foreign, with local projects given a majority in individual PACT projects.
PACT projects should be driven by a Lead Enterprise, which is a Singapore registered company. It can be an MNC or a Singapore company.
The following areas will also be considered:
- The Lead Enterprise should have clear capabilities above those of the other participating companies in the project. It takes responsibility for the implementation and successful delivery of the project.
- The Lead Enterprise should help the participating companies in a manner that is beyond its normal commercial interests. For example, the Lead Enterprise should not be selling its product or service to the smaller firms through the project.
- The project should include a majority of Singapore enterprises, even though foreign companies can be involved in the collaboration.
9.Venture Debt Programme (VDP)
In 2015, the Singapore government piloted the SME Venture Debt Programme (VDP), which enabled SMEs with high-growth potential to access loans up to S$5 million for working capital, asset financing, project financing and mergers & acquisitions purposes. Under the 2018 Budget, this scheme will be extended for another two years.
The VDP Singapore government grants for sme , it was structured with small Singapore businesses in mind: to be eligible for the loan, businesses needed at least 30% local ownership and less than 200 employees. Additional eligibility requirements may be imposed by local banks participating in the programme, which can be found at their respective websites and enquiry channels.
The VDP has seen positive takeup – within a year of the programme’s launching, loans to four Singapore businesses have been approved, with more slated for approval in the near future.
Companies should meet the following criteria:
- Registered and operating in Singapore
- At least 30% local shareholding
- Group annual sales of up to S$100 million or group employment size of up to 200 employees.
10.Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)
The Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi) initiative was established to encourage Singapore businesses to embark on international expansion and internationalisation.
Under the enhanced DTDi initiative which comes into effect on the Year of Assessment 2019, Singapore businesses carrying out select overseas business activities will be entitled to a 200% tax deduction up to S$150,000 – up from the previous cap of S$100,000 – on expenses for these activities.
These activities include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Overseas business development trips
- Overseas trade fairs
- Market surveys and feasibility studies
- Investment feasibility and due diligence studies
- Overseas advertising or promotional campaigns
- Expenses of Singaporean staff posted to overseas entities
Businesses applying for the DTDi need to be registered in Singapore and primarily deal with goods and services. Foreign businesses who have their global headquarters in Singapore and intend to internationalise will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Businesses may claim double tax deduction (DTD) on qualifying expenses incurred in the following four qualifying activities up to the specified expenditure cap, without approval from Enterprise Singapore or STB:
- Overseas business development trips/ missions;
- Overseas investment study trips/ missions;
- Participation in overseas trade fairs; and
- Participation in approved local trade fairs.