- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are an essential part of Singapore's economy - they form 99% of all enterprises, and contribute nearly half of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted SMEs. Both external and domestic facing sectors have been badly hit due to disruptions to global supply chains and social distancing measures.
- Supporting initiatives by the government, such as SME grants in Singapore, can help SMEs protect jobs, defray business operational costs and improve productivity.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are an essential part of Singapore's economy - they constitute 99% of all enterprises in Singapore. They currently employ around seven out of every ten workers and contribute nearly half of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Unfortunately, Singapore’s SMEs have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the retail/F&B sector bearing the brunt of the blow.
There are numerous grants provided by the Singapore government that businesses can tap on, to aid recovery. Before deciding which SME grants in Singapore to apply for, it is best to understand the needs of your business to maximise the use of the support.
Here, we list down the SME grants in Singapore that are available for businesses.
Guide to SME grants in Singapore for businesses
P-Max is a place-and-train programme that helps to:
Help place job-seeking Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) into suitable SME job roles
Assist SMEs to recruit, train, manage and retain newly-hired PMETs
Promote progressive human resource practices within the SME ecosystem
With up to 90% funding support from Workforce Singapore (WSG), SMEs will only be required to pay the 10% nett course fees for the respective SME and PMETs workshops.
SMEs will receive a one-time $5,000 Assistance Grant upon successful retention of their newly-hired PMETs for at least six months upon completion of both the SME and PMET workshops under the Programme.
2. Global ready talent (GRT)
Singapore enterprises looking to expand overseas need the right talent to compete effectively in the global market.
The Global Ready Talent Programme (GRT) aims to build a pipeline of global-ready talent for Singapore enterprises by exposing more Singaporeans to internships and overseas work opportunities.
This programme comprises of two key components:
Through GRT, Singapore enterprises offering student internships or management associate programmes are eligible for up to 70% funding support on qualifying costs.
SME grants in Singapore can help transform your business and protect workers’ jobs. PHOTO: UNSPLASH
3. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) supports companies keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes.
As announced in Supplementary Budget 2020, the PSG will provide subsidies of up to 80% for SMEs (from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020) that adopt digital solutions pre-approved by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
SMEs can apply for PSG if they meet the following criteria:
Registered and operating in Singapore
Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; with Company's Group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employers (for selected solutions only)
4. Start digital
Start Digital was launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore, as part of the SMEs Go Digital programme, to enable new SMEs to get a head start in going digital.
New SMEs can select any two free foundational digital solutions from five categories of core business functions:
These SMEs will need to commit to a minimum period of 18 months, with costs waived for the first six months and priced affordably for the remaining period.
5. Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB)
The Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) aims to uplift the digital capabilities of enterprises. For a start, DRB will be targeted at the Food Services and Retail sectors which are more affected by safe distancing requirements in the reopening of the economy post-COVID-19.
Food Services and Retail enterprises that have PayNow Corporate, e-invoicing, and use pre-defined categories of digital solutions for Business Processes, Digital Presence and Data Mining and Analytics can receive bonus payouts of up to $10,000.
To qualify for DRB, the enterprise must be:
Before deciding which SME grants in Singapore to apply for, it is best to understand the needs of your business. PHOTO: UNSPLASH.COM
6. SGUnited Traineeships Programme
Through the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, organisations can come on board as host organisations to bring in new graduates as trainees to support their business needs. The Government will co-fund 80% of the training allowance.
The programme aims to provide up to 21,000 traineeship opportunities to those who have recently graduated or will soon be graduating.
Following the completion of the traineeship, organisations can consider suitable trainees for permanent positions.
7. E-Commerce Booster Package
The E-Commerce Booster Package administered by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) is an initiative to support retail businesses diversify and find ways to reach customers by taking their business online. This initiative is in view of the damage to companies created by the COVID-19 situation.
The E-Commerce Booster Package comprises the following:
E-commerce for the domestic market
E-commerce for overseas markets
Digital marketing capabilities for retailers
Retailers participating in the programmes can also apply for additional manpower support to drive their business’ e-commerce efforts (like digital marketing). SMEs will receive one-time support of up to 90% of the qualifying manpower costs for three months.
8. Enterprise Development Grant
The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) supports projects that help you upgrade your business, innovate or venture overseas.
The EDG grant funds qualifying project costs, namely third party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost.
As announced in the Supplementary Budget 2020, the maximum support level will be raised to 80% from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. For enterprises that are most severely impacted by COVID-19, the maximum support level may be increased to 90% on a case-by-case basis.
Do note that it may be more challenging for enterprises to get this grant approved.
9. Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
The Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant supports SMEs in taking their business overseas.
Eligible SMEs will receive the following support:
Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)
Again, it may be more challenging for SMEs to get this grant approved.
Apart from the various available grants, SME Centre@ASME provides SMEs with assistance and services like in-depth diagnostic advisory, capability workshops, guidance on upgrading projects based on their business needs and available Government assistance.