Looking for SME grants in Singapore? Save up to 80% off select Shopify plans with the Productivity Solutions Grant. Working in the Singapore Retail industry? Apply for the Digital Resilience Bonus today and receive up to $2500.
Small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of Singapore’s economy. In April 2019 there were an estimated 220,000 SMEs in the lion city, contributing nearly SGD$200 billion to the economy.
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of Singapore’s economy with small businesses far from exempt. 8,600 businesses shut down in April, at the height of the pandemic. The silver lining is that the Singaporean government is cognizant of the challenges that this important sector faces and is addressing it on priority.
In this article, we’ve listed some of the most prominent ways your business can take advantage of various government schemes in Singapore.
Productivity Solutions Grant
The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG grant) falls under the IMDA’s Go-Digital campaign. It aims to support Singaporean SMEs in the procurement of IT solutions and other applications to enhance productivity and accelerate digital transformation. Eligible SMEs must be at least 30% owned by Singaporean citizens/PRs. Begin your application now.
Shopify is one of the approved partners of IMDA Singapore and eligible businesses can claim a discount of up to 80% on their annual Shopify plan or up to $6,400 on the Shopify Plus plan (before 31st December 2020).
Here’s more information on the PSG grant.
Digital Resilience Bonus
The Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) offers payouts of up to $10,000 in order to help businesses improve their competitiveness, productivity, and to emerge stronger from the post-COVID environment.
Shopify merchants in the retail sector can qualify for a Digital Resilience Bonus of up to $2,500 under the eCommerce category—subject to eligibility criteria specified below. Please see our blogpost to learn more.
If you qualify, please complete the Google form here so we can share your registration information with the IMDA.
This bonus is on top of the IMDA Singapore’s Go-Digital programme and is initially targeted at the retail and food services sectors. Through the DRB, the Singaporean government wishes to accelerate the use of e-payments and e-invoicing in order to assist cashless and paperless transactions, reducing the need for physical interaction. It also wants to promote accounting and HR solutions to support remote work and business continuity.
Other key considerations are digital ordering, inventory management, and ecommerce to have better engagement with customers, expand your market beyond just your physical shopfront, and reduce the number of manual stock taking processes.
Data mining and analytics rounds up the DRB offering, with the view to optimize conversions, reduce waste, and develop the right product mix by aggregating and consolidating data sources.
More details on the Digital Resilience Bonus can be found here.
Special Situation Fund for Startups
Another government grant for SMEs is the Special Situation Fund for Startups (SSFS) which aims to “sustain innovation activities and growth momentum amidst the challenging environment and to emerge stronger.” This is slightly different from the PSG grant in the sense that it involves the corporate investment arm of the Economic Development Board as well as the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. Selected enterprises will receive convertible notes with private sector co-investors, with the scheme scheduled to end by 31 October 2021.
One thing to note in the SSFS is that the fund targets those companies that “have developed or commercialised innovative or strategic capabilities that can contribute to Singapore's national priorities.”
Here’s more information on the Special Situation Fund for Startups.
Enterprise Development Grant
The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG grant) is squarely aimed at supporting Singaporean businesses to improve on their core capabilities, innovation and productivity, and market access.
An important factor to consider here is that the EDG grant only covers pre-revenue companies. This means those founders that are actively considering an idea but haven’t signed any customers yet can apply. This excludes companies that have entered into a contract but haven’t received the monies yet; a commitment for payment signifies formal start of business.
The EDG grant covers project costs such as third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost. It can also be used to hire management consultants in order to finetune the project and comb out its plan. The maximum support level is 80% of costs, but there is provision in the grant to raise this to 90% if the founders can show that they need the extra funding.
Here’s more information on the Enterprise Development Grant and details on how to apply.
Enterprise Financing Scheme
The Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) is earmarked for those companies that are in the growth stage and wish to either expand overseas, create new products, or develop new capabilities. The Singapore government realizes that access to financing is a crucial part of this phase and hence has broken up the scheme in 6 broad categories:
SME Working Capital Loan
To meet operational cash flow requirements.
SME Fixed Assets Loan
To assist in acquiring domestic and overseas fixed assets.
Venture Debt Loan
To help accelerate the growth of innovative companies using Venture Debt and Warrants.
In order to finance trade requirements.
To fulfill secured overseas projects.
Mergers & Acquisitions Loan
To help businesses acquire other companies in order to go global.
For more information on the Enterprise Financing Scheme, click here.
Temporary Bridging Loan
Under the Temporary Bridging Loan (TBL), eligible companies can apply to borrow up to $5 million with an interest rate capped at 5%. The Singaporean government will cover 90% of risk-sharing on these applications with a cut-off date of 31st March 20201.
Approved companies may also defer their principal repayments in order to streamline cash flow, but this is subject to a case-by-case approval by the partner financial institutions.
Here’s more information on the Temporary Bridging Loan scheme.
Job Support Scheme
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was announced as part of Budget 2020 and aims to help Singaporean employers retain their local staff (Singaporean citizens and PR holders). Under the scheme, the Singapore government will help finance between 25-75% of the first $4600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee in a 10-month period.
Employers that make CPF contributions qualify for this scheme payout barring those explicitly mentioned in the employer exclusion checklist.
Property Tax Rebate for Businesses
The property tax rebate is aimed at businesses such as hotels, serviced apartments, shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Under this scheme, the government will pass on 100% rebate on payable property tax between 1st January 2020 - 31st December 2020 with the view that the owner alleviates the tenant’s financial burden.
This could either mean discounted rent for the period or a monthly monetary payment to reduce the overall amount owed.
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