In the race to promote the growth and expansion of businesses in Singapore, the Singapore government offers various business-related schemes and incentives to assist small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups. Since the Singapore government has limited resources, the best route towards economic growth and prosperity is innovation and technology.
In the last 40 years, Singapore has grown immensely and has developed its capability in skills and technology-intensive industries. The launch of Startup SG was done in 2017 to propel the country towards a thriving startup ecosystem. As a startup, these are some of the schemes the Singapore government has promised to roll out to foster economic growth and support SMEs.
1. Startup SG
This is the umbrella branding of all support schemes for startups in Singapore. This is a stepping stone for entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform to access local support programs and Bridgeway to the global entrepreneurial network. As a startup, you should think of Startup SG as a one-stop source for grants, funding, loans, and capability enhancement. Under loans, the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme is available for startups, and it has the following features. It comes with the high loan amounts of up to $5,000,000 with competitive rates. It’s flexible and has a repayment periods of up to 5 years. There is service only interest for the first one year after that principal and interest for the remaining loan tenor under loan repayment. No collateral is needed.
Your business entity must be registered and operating in Singapore, with at least 30% (Permanent residents or Singapore citizens) for eligibility. The loan is available with effect from (WEF) April 2020 to 31st March 2021. The Startup SG pillar is categorized under six different programs:
Startup SG Founder
Under this pillar, first-time entrepreneurs with innovative ideas are provided with the required mentorship and capital grant to kickstart their ventures. To qualify for this program, applicants should have unique business concepts, potential market value, a good management team, and a good business model.
Startup SG Tech
This program aims to provide funding to companies at their early stages of inception to commercialize proprietary technology.
Startup SG Equity
This scheme aims to encourage and stimulate private-sector investments into creative and innovative investments that tap into Singapore-based technology, which has global market potential.
Startup SG Accelerator
This scheme provides funding and non-financial support to incubators and accelerators working in strategic growth sectors to further enhance their programs and expertise in nurturing successful startups.
2. Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Scheme
The FSTI scheme is under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to support creating a vibrant ecosystem for innovation. The Authority has committed S $ 225 million over five years. The scheme is to attract financial institutions to set up their innovation labs in Singapore, support the building of industry-wide technology infrastructure, and catalyze innovative solutions. Under FSTI, there is a sub-scheme called FSTI-Proof of Concept (POC). Under this, MAS provides funding support of up to 50-70 percent of qualifying costs, up to a maximum of $200,000, for up to 18 months. This support is available to Singapore-based Financial Institutions (FIs) and solution providers working with Singapore-based FIs for the early-stage development of innovative solutions to financial industry problems.
3. Capabilities Development Grant (CDG)
This is a financial assistance program designed to help startups/ SMEs build their capabilities across various business areas. Companies can use the scheme to subsidize up to 70% of qualifying project costs, including consultancy, training, certification, equipment, and software costs. These initiatives must increase productivity, process improvement, product development, human capital development, business model transformation, and better market access.
4. Business Improvement Fund (BIF)
The BIF scheme is open to all Singapore-registered businesses/companies embarking on projects with a clear tourism focus and is thus run by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). This scheme aims to encourage technology innovation and adoption, redesign business models and processes in the tourism sector to improve productivity and competitiveness. Funding support is awarded based on STB’s evaluation of the scope and merits of the project. While successful SME applicants receive funding support of up to 70% of qualifying costs, non-SME applicants qualify to receive the support of up to 50% of qualifying costs.
While we couldn’t cover all the schemes that startups can get when they incorporate a Singapore business, the available options are the best to start with. If you want to build your dream business as a startup, Singapore is the best place to be.