Business Grants in Singapore To Help You Adjust to The New World of Work
As more and more businesses start working remotely from home, the local government and agencies have been ramping up efforts to help businesses adjust to “Work From Home” business plans.
Whether you are working freelance, a business owner of a small firm, or part of an enterprise, it is critical for you to be aware about the grants and subsidies available to help you tide over the tricky transition to remote working. After all, while working from home has its benefits, it does bring, with it, some unique challenges.
Since February this year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat has announced various business grants for firms in Singapore, these include:
- Unity Budget (February 2020)
- Resilience Budget (March 2020)
- Solidarity Budget (April 2020)
But what grants is your business eligible for? How do you apply? And what type of assistance will you be able to get?
You might have tons of questions about business grants in Singapore at this point.
But fret not – because this is where we come in. We have put together a guide to business grants in Singapore for firms of all sizes.
If you are working freelance or you head your own one-person company, you will be able to get some help from the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs).
Sirs was first announced on March 26 but has since modified its criteria to include more self-employed persons.
What Sirs Offers:
Self-employed persons will get a cash pay-out of $1000 per month for 9 months if they apply for Sirs.
Do I Qualify for Sirs?
Applicants must be Singapore citizens and they must be self-employed no later than 25 March 2020. You must also earn no more than SGD 2,300 a month. In addition, your net trade income should not exceed $100,000 a year.
2. Small-Medium Enterprises
Unless your company provides essential services, you would probably already be working from home at this point.
Here are some grants you could apply for.
A. Productive Solutions Grant (PSG)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) announced on 17 April that they now provide more solutions and business grants in Singapore for companies who are working from home in an effort to boost work from home productivity.
What the PSG Provides
It supplies up to 3 laptops and provides an 80% subsidy on IT equipment and solutions until the end of this year to help businesses fully integrate remote working into their business structure.
SMEs can buy up to 3 laptops from a supplier and submit the information on the business grant application website. You can choose from 2 pre-approved bundle packages from M1 and Singtel.
Who Can Apply for PSG?
A SME would be able to apply for the PSG as long as their business is registered and operating in Singapore. Their IT equipment must be used in Singapore. They must also have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
B. Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
If 2020 was the year you intended to expand your SME beyond the lion city’s transnational boundaries, you could apply for International Enterprise (IE) Singapore’s Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant.
What the MRA Covers
The grant provides up to 70% subsidies (cap at $20,000) and covers overseas market promotion, market set-up as well as identification of business partners in overseas markets from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023.
Do note that the grant covers one activity in one single overseas market.
Can I Apply for the MRA?
Your SME’s global headquarters must be based in Singapore and your annual sales turnover must be less than $100 million per annum.
C. E-Commerce Booster Package
As the name suggests, the E-Commerce Booster Package by ESG aims to help SMEs who have little to no experience in e-commerce switch from a traditional brick & mortar business model to a digital one.
What the E-Commerce Booster Package Covers
Applicants will receive up to SGD 9000 to expand their digital reach on Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 and Shopee.
You could also use the grant to finance services provided by the aforementioned platforms like content development, fulfilment, channel management, training workshops and product listing.
You can also apply for a grant to widen your reach overseas with the Multichannel E-Commerce Platform (MEP) Programme.
Eligibility for E-Commerce Booster Package
To qualify, your business entity must be registered in Singapore and have a minimum of 30% local shareholding. Your annual turnover should not exceed SGD 100 million per annum.
D. Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL)
You can apply the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL) if you are looking for business grants in Singapore that lets you access working capital to fund operational cashflow purposes.
What the EFS-WCL Provides
You can take up a loan of up to SGD 1 million for PFIs. But do note that this is subject to an overall loan exposure limit of SGD 50 million per borrower group across all aspects. The maximum repayment period is 5 years.
Is My Company Eligible for the EFS-WCL?
Your company must have fewer than 200 employees and your group revenue should not exceed SGD 100 million.
The Supplementary Budget also supports enterprises who need some assistance to cope with changes and developments in the new normal. Here are the business grants in Singapore tailored specifically to enterprises.
A. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
This grant supports enterprise projects geared towards business expansion, local innovation, or overseas ventures under 3 pillars – core capabilities, innovation & productivity, and market access, respectively.
How Will the EDG Help Me?
Support of up to 80% will be provided to enterprises from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020.
However, enterprises that are struggling significantly as a result of the pandemic might be able to obtain 90% financial support. Do note that eligibility is on a case-by-case basis.
Do I Qualify for the EDG?
Your enterprise must be registered and operating in Singapore as well as have a minimum of 30% local shareholding in order to qualify. The company must also be financially capable to kickstart and finish a project based on 1 of the 3 pillars.
B. Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP)
If your enterprise is having cashflow issues, you could consider taking up the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) for some working capital.
What Can I Get from the TBLP?
If your enterprise is eligible, you may borrow up to SGD 5 million from Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) with an interest rate capped at 5% per annum.
The TBLP will be available until 31 March 2021. Also, there is a maximum repayment period of 5 years.
Will I be Able to Apply for the TBLP?
Your business entity must be physically present and registered in Singapore. In addition, the company must have at least 30% local equity owned indirectly or directly by Singaporean citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents (PR).
C. Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan (EFS-TL)
In a nutshell, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan (EFS-TL) offers access to credit for financial trading.
What Can I Get if I Apply for the EFS-TL?
If your enterprise is eligble, you can borrow up to SGD 10 million from PFIs that is subject to an overall exposure limit of SGD 50 million per borrower group across all areas.
Can I Apply for the EFS-TL?
Your enterprise must be registered to operate in Singapore with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
D. Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS)
As the name suggests, you can secure a short-term financing loans from PFIs using the Loan Insurance Scheme (LIS).
What Do I Get Out of the LIS?
When you apply, you get insured loans by commercial insurers. In the event of enterprise insolvency, the insurer will co-share the loan default with a PFI.
You will also get a subsidy of up to 80% for the premium until 31 March 2021.
4. Temporary Relief Options
Aside from the aforementioned business grants in Singapore, there are also several temporary relief measures you could consider.
If Your Business is Unable to Fulfill Contractual Obligations…
You could obtain temporary relief under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020. The act covers contracts like:
- Construction or Supply contracts
- Loan facilities granted by a finance company or bank to enterprises
- Performance bonds
- Certain tourism-related contracts
- Provision of goods & services for events
- Certain hire-purchase agreements
- Leases for non-residential immovable property
If Your Business is Financially Distressed…
As of 20 April 2020, The COVID-19 Act also provides temporary relief for businesses who are facing corporate insolvency. There are various temporary relief options including:
- Increasing monetary threshold under the Companies Act for a company that is considered unable to pay debts from SGD 10,000 to SGD 100,000
- Widening time period for a company to meet statutory demands from creditors from 21 days to 6 months
Can My Company Apply for these Relief Measures?
The act only applies to contractual obligations that are/were performed after 1 February 2020 in respect to contracts that were registered or renewed before 25 March 2020. The inability to fulfill contractual obligations must caused, to a material extent, by an event related to the pandemic.
Before You Apply for these Business Grants in Singapore
Before applying for any of these business grants in Singapore, make sure you do your due diligence and check if your company is eligible for the grant. Take note that you will also be asked to submit supporting documents along with your application so get those ready ahead of time.