Government Assistance Schemes for Singaporean SMEs

Posted in HR in Singapore | by Ivan Ho on 12 August 2020

Last updated on 30 November 2020

You know how they say “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Government grants are almost like a free lunch – you have to put in some work, do some research, fill in some forms, make sure you’re eligible and compliant with relevant regulations. That’s oversimplifying it a little, but by and large, the Singaporean government aims to assist companies not just monetarily, but to develop them in various ways. With that out of the way, here’s a compilation of some of the business grants that are being offered right now.

 

 

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The PSG is introduced to accelerate the adoption of pre-approved technology by businesses. That doesn’t mean you have to get avant-garde levels of tech to qualify. PSG covers both sector-specific IT solutions and generic IT solutions such as customer management, data analytics, online meeting tools and more.

 

The Supplementary Budget 2020 announced that up to 80% (as opposed to 70% previously) of costs for pre-approved IT solutions and equipment will be supported, with every eligible company being subjected to an annual grant cap of S$30,000 starting on 1 April and ending on 31 March the following year.

 

 

Is My Business Eligible for PSG?

Companies can apply for PSG if:

  • They are registered and operating in Singapore
  • The IT solutions and equipment are only going to be used in Singapore
  • They are SMEs with minimum 30% local shareholding; AND Company’s Group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employees (selected solutions only)

 

What is the Application Process for PSG?
  1. Access the list of solutions for the ones most relevant to your company
  2. Get a quotation from a pre-approved vendor
  3. Submit an application on the Business Grants Portal (BGP)
  4. Receive approval in as fast as 3 days

 

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

 

While PSG aims to get businesses to embrace tech, EDG helps Singaporean companies build capabilities in 3 main areas:

  1. Core Capabilities: Projects that assist in companies strengthening their business fundamentals, like branding development and human capital development
  2. Innovation and Productivity: Projects involved in optimising growth and efficiency, like reviewing and redesigning workflow processes
  3. Market Access: Projects that support Singaporean companies looking to tap into overseas markets

 

SMEs can get up to 80% of qualifying projects costs funded including third party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and costs of internal manpower. Non-SMEs are entitled to the grant too, but they’re only entitled to funding of up to 60%. Companies in sectors that were hit exceptionally hard by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to have qualifying projects funded up to 90%, although this is on a case-by-case basis.

 

Do take note that standalone training courses, incentives, benefits and welfare subsidies for employees are not covered under EDG.

 

 

Is My Business Eligible for EDG?

Companies can apply for EDG if:

  • They are registered and operating in Singapore
  • They have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • They are in a financially viable position to start and finish projects

 

What is the Application Process for EDG?
  1. Scope out your desired project
  2. Identify a suitable vendor
  3. Prepare project proposal here
  4. Submit an application on the BGP
  5. You can approach your local SME centre for assistance

 

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

For employers that are keen on further developing their staff, the SFEC is just the scheme for them. Eligible employers will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover for up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on qualifying costs for supportable initiatives, over and above the support levels of existing schemes.

SFEC is always tacked onto a base program like PSG, and can currently be used for 2 categories of programmes:

  1. Enterprise Transformation – Funding of up to S$7,000 only
  2. Workforce Transformation – Funding of up to the full S$10,000

 

 

Am I (Employer) Eligible for SFEC?

In the following qualifying periods:

  • 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020
  • 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020
  • 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020
  • 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020

 

Employers must have:

  • At least 30% of local equity
  • Contributed at least S$750 Skills Development Levy
  • Employed at least 3 Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents every month over the same period of time

 

Qualified employers will be notified in writing.

 

 

Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB)

 

For now, DRB is open to companies in the Retail and Food Services sectors to help them adapt to new post-COVID norms. These companies that integrate certain technologies can receive bonus payments of up to S$10,000.

The long term goal of the introduction of DRB is to uplift the digital capabilities of a broad base of enterprises for a boost in their competitiveness and productivity. For example, e-payment and e-invoicing enables businesses to conduct paperless and cashless transactions, thus reducing contact and physical interaction. Account and HR/payroll solutions increase efficiency and productivity of a business, and allows for remote working on top of that.

Is My Business Eligible for DRB?

Mandatory Baseline:

  • UEN falls under Food Services or Retail sectors
  • UEN incorporated before 26 May 2020
  • UEN has an active PayNow Corporate account
  • UEN is on the Peppol e-invoicing network

 

Criteria:

 

  • F&B and Retail Businesses who adopt online accounting or HR/Payroll solutions will be eligible for Category 1 and receive a grant of $2,500.
  • Use solutions at least once a month
  • The solutions are pre-approved under the schemes: PSG, Start Digital, Grow Digital and E-Commerce Booster

 

What is the Application Process for DRB?

You don’t have to make any submissions, if you are using solutions from any pre-approved vendor between 1 June 2020 and 30 June 2021, they will help you submit your UEN to IMDA.

 

 

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