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Starting a business

The Ultimate Guide to Business and Startup Grants in Singapore

Growing and improving your business can be difficult without sufficient funding. Fortunately, the Singaporean government offers business grants and startup grants to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). 

Startups and SMEs power two-thirds of Singapore’s workforce. This makes SMEs an essential part of Singapore’s economy. That’s why it’s important to the Singapore government to help these businesses grow and expand. 

If your business falls into the startup or SME category, you’re in luck. You may just qualify for a government grant for SME companies. In this article, you’ll discover the different types of business and startup grants available in Singapore and which grants best suit your needs. 

How Will Grants Help Your SME Business? 

A grant is funding given to you by the government, a philanthropist, or a company. Grants are different from loans. While they both offer financial assistance, loans require you to repay that money within a specific period.

On the other hand, grants allow you financial aid without the responsibility of repaying the amount. 

Business grants aim to give small businesses a helping hand. They help produce job creation, support projects that traditional lenders wouldn’t, and increase economic benefits for communities. Here are a few more things they may help your business achieve: 

  • They assist you in developing new products, improving existing ones, and improving your work process. 
  • They help you acquire new business software and hardware. They can also offer training to your workforce, so your employees know how to run the software. 
  • They aid you in conducting market studies, expanding businesses abroad, and participating in the International Trade Fair. 

Grants range from amounts as small as S$100 and as large as S$200,000, if not more. It’s not as much as a loan would offer, but the amount varies depending on the grant you apply for.

Singapore Startup Grants For SMEs

Startup grants provide you with startup capital to help you to plan, develop, test, and refine your business idea. While they may not cover your whole business, they offer to cover costs such as getting professional advice to create a business and financial plan, investment in equipment, and specific training. 

Specific use of your startup grant funding may include conducting technical viability studies for your Proof of Concept (POC). This enables you to determine whether there is existing technology in the market and if you can expand on it. You can also use your grant to assess your products' Proof of Value (POV) or commercial value.

Startup SG is one of the most popular agencies in the startup grants field in Singapore. This agency unifies all grants and support schemes for these companies. They also cater to all variations of the startup ecosystem - through nine different pillars. Here are three of their most popular startup grants: 

Startup SG Founder 

This SG startup grant provides first-time entrepreneurs with mentorship and startup capital to pursue their innovative business ideas. SPRING (Standards, Productivity, and Innovation Board) gives the founder S$3 for every S$1 they have earned through the business. 

If you’re a business founder, your Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) will evaluate your application based on the feasibility of your business model, the uniqueness of the concept, the strength of your management team, and the potential market value.

Startup SG Tech 

Startup SG Tech provides early-stage funding to startups in Singapore who aim to commercialise their proprietary technology. This will include both POV and POC, depending on your product’s developmental stage. 

This is a competitive grant because tech startups can use this grant to fast-track their technology development and create a scalable business model. This project is evaluated based on commercialisation, technical feasibility, and innovativeness.

Startup SG Equity 

Startup SG Equity allows the Singapore government to co-invest with third-party investors. The aim is to encourage and stimulate private sector investments into Singapore-based technology startups with global market potential and innovative intellectual property. 

This pillar is managed by SPRING SEEDS Capital (SSC) – the investment arm of SPRING Singapore – and SGInnovate – a private corporation of the government. The government may only co-invest provided that the third-party investor is willing to invest at least S$50,000 and provide the company with technical expertise, experience, and relevant business contacts. 

Startup SG’s other six pillars include Startup SG Talent, Startup SG Investor, Startup SG Loan, Startup SG Accelerator, Startup SG Infrastructure, and Startup SG Network.

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Business Grants Offered By the Singapore Government 

While Startup SG is the primary source of government funding, other grants for startups are equally as helpful. 

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) 

The EDG program was started by Enterprise Singapore. This grant aims to support projects to assist Singapore-based startups and businesses improve their productivity, strengthen their business foundations, and expand overseas.

This business grant covers up to 70% of project costs, costs related to equipment and software, and your qualification for SME categorisation. 

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) 

PSG supports businesses interested in developing IT solutions and equipment that enhance productivity and business processes. They offer maximum coverage of 70% when investing in Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), Customer Relationship Management Solutions (CRMS), and other long-term technology solutions. 

The business Improvement Fund (BIF) 

BIF is available to all Singapore companies in the tourism sector. They aim to encourage technology innovation and adoption. They also influence the redesign of business models and processes that improve tourism companies’ productivity and competitiveness. 

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) runs this grant. It offers up to 70% coverage for qualifying travel costs, training costs, software and hardware, and third-party-related costs, depending on the size of your business. 

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant 

The Market Readiness Assistance Grant aims to provide eligible SMEs with 70% third-party costs of up to S$100,000 per business per new market. They cover activities such as an overseas market promotion at S$20,000, overseas market set-up at S$30,000, and overseas business development at S$50,000. 

InvoiceNow Grant 

InvoiceNow is a national E-invoicing system that enables the seamless transmission of invoices in a structured digital format among finance systems. It utilizes the Peppol network, an international standard, to facilitate quicker and more efficient invoicing and payment processes.

By sending 10 e-invoices within a year, you can receive a reward of $200.

Singapore Business Grants Portal 

The Singapore government provides a Business Grants Portal. Business owners can find all grants offered in Singapore here. This makes it easier for businesses to find and apply for the right grant for your business. 

The portal was created by the Ministry of Finance, Government Technology Agency, and Ministry of Trade and Industry, allowing you to manage all your grants and applications, and you also receive status updates on the website. They also provide questions to help guide you on which grant is right for you. 

You can visit our article about the Singapore Business Grant Portal to learn more and find out how the portal can help you develop your business. 

Do you feel better informed about SME business and startup grants? The QuickBooks Blog offers a wide range of business-related topics. It’s all part of the support we offer to SMEs in Singapore, including cloud applications that every small business needs and survival strategies for cash-strapped businesses.

Explore our free Small Business Resources at the Intuit QuickBooks Resource Centre to help grow your business in Singapore today.

Frequently Asked Questions for Business and Startup Grants in Singapore