Singapore government has always been supportive of SMEs in terms of providing support including initial capital grants. That explains Singapore’s record of being one of the world’s top countries to start a business. Here you will find a shortlist of popular SME grants provided by the Singapore Government to aid small businesses according to different needs.

1. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is a new grant by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), officially launched on 25th October 2018. This SME grant is a combination of the former Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Global Company Partnership (GCP) Grant.

Note: Application for Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Global Company Partnership (GCP) Grant has ended on 24th October 2018.

EDG is managed by Enterprise Singapore to help SMEs in Singapore in building internal capabilities within 3 main areas: Core Capabilities, Innovation and Productivity, and Market Access.

popular smes grant | enterprise development grant

The EDG is suitable for local companies who are looking to upgrade the business, innovate or expand overseas. The grant funds up to 70% of qualified project costs including consultancy fees, purchase of software and equipment and internal labor costs. There is a cap on funding, but you will need to refer to the specific project categories which can be found under the 3 main areas.

Application of the EDG grant will be assessed based on the project scope, project outcomes and competency of the service provider.

To qualify for this grant, the SME will need to:

  • Be a registered business and operating in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholdings
  • Be in a feasible financial situation to start and complete the project.

Additionally, you will need your company’s CorpPass and this information to apply for the EDG:

  • ACRA information
  • Audited financial statements
  • Relevant proof of quotation or proposal
  • Management consultancy scopes
  • Relevant consultants’ certification

2. Market Readiness Assistance (MRA)

The focus of this grant is to help Singapore SMEs to expand and have access to overseas opportunities. From market set-up, identification of overseas partners and promotions.

Two good news here:

  1. Companies with existing overseas presence/sales may still apply for MRA support.
  2. If your company has applied for the EDG SME grants, you may still apply for MRA SME grants as long as it is not for the same scope of work/services/activities supported.

The MRA grant funds up to 70% of eligible costs, capped at S$20,000 per company per fiscal year. The fund covers a maximum of two applications per fiscal year, starting 1 April and ending 31 March the following year and limited to ONE activity per application (e.g. market entry or participating in a trade fair).

Note: The MRA Grant support level of up to 70% will be extended until 31 Mar 2020.

SMEs must submit applications no earlier than 6 months of the project start date. The application filed after 10 March will be treated as an application for the new fiscal year.

Applications will not be accepted if the following events took place before the application date:

  • Signed an engagement letter with the third party consultant
  • Made the first payment to the third party consultant
  • Commenced the project with the third party consultant

Exception: Trade Fair applications may be made retrospectively (e.g. applicants may sign agreements, begin preparations, etc.) However, trade fair applications must be submitted at least one working day before the actual event day).

The MRA Grant criteria are:

  • The business entity is registered or incorporated in Singapore
  • The business has at least 30% local shareholding
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum based on the most recent audited report or group employment not exceeding 200 employees

Notes:

  • Sole proprietors and partnerships applicants are encouraged to apply for the SME grants but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

3. StartupSG Founder 

The StartupSG Founder scheme provides first-time entrepreneurs with startup capital grants. Startups are required to raise and commit S$10,000 as a co-matching fund to the grant.

Enterprise Singapore has appointed Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) to select applicants, assist the startups by giving advice, learning programs and networking contacts. One of the popular AMPs is the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE).

To be eligible for this SME grant, the main applicant(s) must:

  • Be a first-time entrepreneur & Singaporean Citizen / PR
  • Hold more than 30% equity
  • Commit full time and be the key decision-maker of the company upon acceptance of the grant

Additionally, the startup company must:

  • Be operating within 6 months of incorporation at the point of application
  • Have minimum 51% Singaporean Citizen/ PR shareholding
  • Have business activities conducted mainly/wholly in Singapore
  • Have not received funding for the proposed business idea from another government organization
  • Not be in areas such as cafes, nightclubs, lounges, bars, foot reflexology, massage parlors, beauty salons, gambling, prostitution, social escort, etc.

Note: As the grant is only available for first-time entrepreneurs, there must not have more than one business entity registered under the applicant’s name. In addition, the business should not have been registered or incorporated for more than 6 months at the point of application to Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

4. Productivity-Max (P-Max)

The main purpose of the P-Max program is to support SMEs in recruiting, training, managing and retaining newly-hired PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians).

This grant scheme is suitable for local SMEs looking to hire PMETs and/or looking to improving their HR practices within the company.

Participating SMEs can reimburse up to 90% course fee subsidy for PMET, SME training workshops and Age Management workshop (applicable for P-Max for Older Worker only).

Eligible SMEs will receive a one-time $5,000 Assistance Grant or $10,000 Assistance Grant (P-Max for Older Workers only) upon completion of the Programme and six-month retention of the newly hired PMETs.

Additionally, the startup company must: To be eligible for the P-Max SME grant scheme:

  • Companies must be registered or incorporated in Singapore
  • Group annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum based on the most recent audited report or group employment not exceeding 200 employees
  • At least 30% local shareholding being held by Singapore Citizen or PR
  • Hired a PMET within the last three months (90 days) prior to enrolment into the program, offering a gross monthly salary of at least $2,500

Summary

Before deciding which SME grant schemes to apply for, it is best to understand the needs of your business to maximize the use of the facilities and supports. Below are the key takeaways from each scheme:

  1. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG): Best for companies looking to upgrade the business, innovate or expand overseas.
  2. Market Readiness Assistance (MRA): Best for companies looking to expand to overseas markets.
  3. StartupSG Founder : Best for companies looking to expand to overseas markets.
  4. Productivity-Max (P-Max) : Best for companies looking to hire and improve HR practices

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