FAQs

Almost everything you need to know can be found below.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Singapore government distributes SME grants to successful grant applicants to aid SMEs. The disbursal of SME grants are typically done through agencies. Enterprise Singapore , which was formed on 1 April 2018 after International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING came together, is the key Singapore agency championing enterprise growth. On top of running the SME Portal , it also offers SME other support functions such as consultation, firm setup and COVID-19 advisory.

With that in mind, there are a multitude of SME grants available for SMEs to apply for. The following grants are organised according to the needs sought by firms.

 Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Purpose: Firms who have plans to innovate or grow their businesses can tap on this grant so long as their project falls under the three pillars: Core Capabilities, Innovation and Productivity, and Market Access.

Grant amount: Up to 80 per cent of qualifying project costs, according to Enterprise Singapore as of 18 June 2020.

Details: Relating to core capabilities should help businesses prepare for growth and transformation. These projects should be beyond basic functions of sales and accounting. Innovation and productivity project grants support firms that are exploring new areas of growth or are looking at enhancing efficiency.

Examples of such projects include reviewing or redesigning workflow processes. Market access projects refer to firms seeking to expand their footprint overseas.

 Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG):

Purpose: This grant encourages firms to adopt Information Technology (IT) solutions and equipment to enhance existing processes.

Grant amount: Up to 80 per cent of qualifying project costs, according to Enterprise Singapore as of 18 June 2020.

Grant objective: To improve productivity, SMEs can turn to adopting technology solutions. This grant covers sector-specific solutions including retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, wholesale, landscaping, and construction.

Details: In light of COVID-19, this grant has been expanded to include the scope of generic solutions to aid firms in implementing COVID-19 business continuity measures (BCM). Qualifying BCM areas include online collaboration tools, virtual meeting and telephony tools, queue management systems and temperature screening solutions. Readily adoptable solutions are also conveniently listed on Tech Depot.

My company is more of a startup, are there grants for me?

Enterprise Singapore Grants (ESG)

The ESG provides a series of Startup SG grants that are geared towards founders, investors and startups. These examples include the Startup SG Founder, Startup SG Tech, Startup SG Equity, and Startup SG Loan).

ACE Startups grant

This grant aids startups at every stage of their business growth to maximise their potential for success. There are programmes such as BACECAMP, StartupSG Founder Grant, Youth Entrepreneurship and Global Ready Talent Programme available.

To expand your business overseas, is there grant for it?

Yes it is called Overseas Marketing Presence(OMP), however you must:

  • Use the grant for marketing and/ or business development.

  • Meet the New Market Criteria (NMC), which is defined as a new city where the company has not had sales in excess of S$100,000 in any one year for the past three years.

  • Post at least one Singaporean or Permanent Resident to be based in the market to conduct marketing and/ or business development work.

Type of eligible expenses:

  • Salary of maximum two business development staff stationed at the market (of which, one has to be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident).

  • Rental expenses of the specified location.

In addition, all projects are subjected to:

  • A grant cap of S$100,000 per project

  • Maximum support duration of 12 months per project

Support level:

  • SMEs up to 80%; non-SMEs up to 60% of qualified costs from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020.

Another is Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant is an international boost for SMEs , 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 (capped at S$20,000)

  • Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)

  • Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)

  • Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas market (e.g. market entry, or participation in a trade fair)Note: The MRA

Note: The MRA Grant support level of up to 70% will be extended until 31 Mar 2023. The maximum support level will be raised from 70% to 80% from 1 November 2020 to 30 September 2021.

SME Grants Singapore:

This is a complete guide to SME grants in Singapore in 2020. Readers can expect to gain a solid understanding of what qualifies as an SME, as well as various grants available locally. In light of COVID-19, pandemic-specific grants will also be explored. Lastly, actionable steps on grant application and means to maximise the chances of a successful application will be discussed.

Table of Content:

●What are SME grants?
● What qualifies as an SME in Singapore?
● How does the Singapore government help SMEs?
● Are there grants to help SMEs tide over the pandemic period?
● How do SMEs apply for grants in Singapore?
● How can SMEs improve the chances of a successful application?
● What should SMEs do after reading this article?
● My company is more of a startup, are there grants for me?

What is an SME?

SMEs refers to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. In Singapore, 99 per cent of all businesses are SMEs. As a whole, SMEs employ 65 per cent of Singapore’s workforce and take up almost half of the country’s GDP, playing a fundamental role and directly affecting the livelihoods of many locals.

What are SMEs grant?Why are there grants specifically for SMEs?

Recognising SMEs’ crucial role in the economy, the Singapore government provides support through various grants. SMEs have different business needs from large Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) due to their smaller size, hence the specific grants were tailored to help Singapore SMEs grow.. For instance,
SMEs may need working capital to enable day to day business operations for the survival of their firm as well as to fund projects for business growth.

An SME may be considering an improvement to work processes to make their business more efficient through an automation of financial transactions. The SME may also be looking at opening a second branch to expand their consumer outreach, and requires funds to do market research as well as the subsequent office space rental and additional staff hires.

On top of that, grants are helpful to SMEs as securing bank loans to finance these activities can be difficult for SMEs because of their small size and lack of past track record. In fact, 40% of SMEs in Singapore have difficulty securing bank loans. This is especially so for SMEs with less than a year of operating record.

What qualifies as an SME in Singapore?

There are three main criterias to be considered an SME in Singapore:

1) Be registered and operate in Singapore;
2) Have a minimum of 30 per cent local shareholding; AND
3) Company’s Group annual sales turnover should be not more than S$100
million,
OR
Company’s Group employment size should be no more than 200 workers.

It is important to note that most SME grants favour locally owned companies. Foreign-owned companies will need to have at least a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident (PR) sharing the ownership to be eligible to apply for SME grants.

It is also imperative to acknowledge that different SME grants may have a different definition about what constitutes an eligible applicant. As such, SMEs should take the three criterias listed above as a general guideline only.

 How does the Singapore government help SMEs?

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