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SME Grants: Guide On The Best Ones Available

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore contribute greatly to Singapore’s economy as they constitute 99% of the companies here and are responsible for hiring more than 70% of the entire workforce. The government recognises this significant contribution by SMEs in Singapore by distributing SME grants to successful applicants. According to a Straits Times article, it was reported that these grants and other financing incentives accumulated to almost $30 billion from 2019 to 2022.

Receiving assistance through business grants is crucial for SMEs in Singapore as it adds to the working capital of your business. Furthermore, Singapore SME grants also finance areas such as operating costs, expansion plans, technological adoptions, and overall business sustainability. Business owners look to additional funding sources such as bank loans or private lenders like Poss only after these SME grants are deemed to be insufficient to sustain their businesses.

SMEs grants and Singapore startup grants, such as the PSG grant Singapore, awarded to successful applicants greatly help to finance business activities. A complete list of the grants available can be found on the GoBusiness website.

However, with a plethora of Singapore business grants offered by multiple agencies such as Enterprise Singapore, it may be confusing for your business to determine which grants best suit your business needs. Thus, this guide aims to help potential and existing SMEs in Singapore by providing a condensed list of SME grants available, to facilitate easier selection of the most suitable grants for your business. Various Singapore startup grants available have also been listed for Singapore startups.

Do You Qualify As An SME In Singapore?

Before deciding which Singapore small business grant best suits your business, you should first determine if your business is eligible to be considered an SME in Singapore. Different grants may have different definitions of what constitutes an eligible business. However, generally, you will need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore;
  • Local shareholding of minimum 30%; AND
  • Maximum of $100 million for your group’s annual sales OR have a maximum of 200 employees as your group’s employment size.

If you have yet to officially incorporate your business, these requirements provide a good reference on how you might want to structure your business. Additionally, if you are unsure about where or how to begin your business journey, check out our previous article for a roadmap to start fulfilling your dream of starting your very own business.

Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify to be a SME in Singapore, following which your business will be eligible to apply for SME grants.

List Of SME Grants & Singapore Startup Grants Available

After determining that your business qualifies or would qualify to be an SME in Singapore, the table below provides a non-exhaustive list of Singapore SME grants that you might consider applying for:

SME GRANTS
Name Of GrantValuePurposeKey Additional Conditions (Non-Exhaustive)
Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)Up to 50% of
eligible costs
Help businesses to upgrade,
innovate or venture overseas.
– Business is financially able to commence and complete the project;
– The project must be from the approved categories.
Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)Up to 50% of
eligible costs capped @ $30,000
Help businesses adopt IT solutions, equipment,
and consultancy services
to boost productivity.
– IT solutions must be from the pre-approved list and must be used locally.
SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes (WSPs)Up to $15,000
per trainee
Allows businesses to groom
and retain talents with
relevant skills and aptitude.
– Business must be committed to providing structured training and opportunities for career advancement.
Start DigitalFee waiver for
minimum of
6 months
Help businesses build foundational
digital capabilities with
easy-to-deploy solutions.
– First-time applicants only;
– Have not used similar solutions before.
Operation & Technology Roadmap (OTR)Phase 1:
$7,200
Phase 1 & 2:
$18,000
Help businesses develop a technology roadmap for
long-term growth.
– Phase 1 involves a 5 half-day workshop to discover new outlooks on the business environment of your industry.
Technology For Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up)Up to 70% of
eligible costs
capped @ $250,000
Aid innovation in business
processes and assist in
developing innovative products.
– Involve A*STAR researchers in R&D for up to 2 years;
– Must be able to finance and complete the project.
Local Enterprise & Association Development (LEAD) ProgramUp to 70% of
eligible costs
Help to transform and
upgrade industries,
and facilitate internationalisation
– Open only to trade associations and chambers;
– Must represent a key industry and have a sizeable membership.
Grow DigitalFee waiver of
up to 70%
(excluded from PSG fund use)
Help expand
businesses through
e-commerce platforms,
both locally and overseas.
– No additional conditions except to qualify as a SME in Singapore.

If your business falls under the startup category instead, the table below shows a list of Singapore startup grants available to you:

SINGAPORE STARTUP GRANTS
Name Of GrantValuePurposeKey Additional Conditions (Non-Exhaustive)
Startup SG FounderCapped @ $50,000Encourages aspiring
first-time entrepreneurs
to start businesses,
by providing mentorship
and financial support.
– Less than 6 months into registration as a Private Limited entity;
– Not receiving funds from any other government organisation;
– Commit to co-matching amount of $20,000.
StartupSG TechProof-of-Concept:
Capped @ $250,000
Proof-of-Value:
Capped @ $500,000
Supports businesses in
commercialising innovative
proprietary technologies.
– Open only to Private Limited entities;
– Registered within the past 10 years at the time of application;
– Grants Enterprise Singapore the right to exercise a share subscription.

It is important that you perform further due diligence before applying for these Singapore small business grants as the list above is simply a non-exhaustive guide and not a comprehensive handbook. You should refer to the various links for more information. The GoBusiness website has a complete list and relevant information on SME grants and Singapore startup grants available while the eligibility criteria for Singapore SME grants may be found on the Enterprise Singapore website. Other government agencies such as the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) may also have schemes that your business might find helpful.

Enterprise Singapore and GoBusiness Singapore are websites that SMEs in Singapore can check out for more information on SME grants available. Other government agencies such as EDB Singapore and STB may also have schemes that might appeal to some businesses.

Alternative Or Supplementary Solutions To Singapore SME Grants

In addition to Singapore business grants such as the PSG and EDG grants, the government also provides businesses with other forms of assistance. SkillsFuture credits allow businesses to invest in their workforce while the GeBIZ website provides another revenue-generating avenue through bidding for procurement opportunities from different government agencies. However, some businesses may still find it tough to keep up with the financial demands especially if they wish to take on these procurement opportunities without successfully receiving government grants for Singapore companies. It does not help that the increasing costs and projected rise in inflation continually pile on their financial burden.

Taking up bank loans to supplement the assistance from various government agencies such as EDB, STB, SkillsFuture, and GeBIZ and as an alternative working capital financing source is one possible solution to this issue. However, the success of being awarded a bank loan depends on your business’ credit score and reliability as banks have more stringent lending processes. This results in some businesses failing to secure loans entirely or to obtain affordable interest rates. Hence, it is crucial to make an informed decision on whether your business is prepared for the high interest repayments that these bank loans may carry. Due diligence should also be done here, similar to browsing the GoBusiness website for more information or clarifications on grants such as the Singapore PSG grant.

To learn more about the factors to consider when choosing between the bank loans available in Singapore, check out our previous article before making your decision.

Working With A Flexible And Transparent Private Lender

Alternatively, if you value added flexibility, a private lender like Poss can be an alternative funding option for Singapore SMEs. Poss understands that SMEs in Singapore may face financial challenges in maintaining or growing their businesses, thus we want to bridge this gap by offering transparent financing options. Our financing solutions come with prorated interest payments and no early prepayment fees. Contact us today and let Poss aid in the continuous success of your business!

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