Grants Available To Start-Ups And Entrepreneurs In Singapore
The grants, programmes and incentives from the Singapore government that you need to know about.
If you are an entrepreneur with a brilliant idea, these grants, programmes and incentives are just some of the ways the Singapore government can help you bring your business goals to fruition.
The ACE Start-up Grant supports first-time entrepreneurs with viable and differentiated business ideas, with up to $50,000 in co-funding.
One company that has benefited from this grant is the Singapore-based, business-to-business company Pixibo. A ‘fashion-tech’ company, it builds technology that can predict, with up to 96 per cent accuracy, a shopper’s clothing size when he or she is shopping for clothes online.
“Confusion over clothing sizes tends to hold some people back from shopping online. Our technology [can] help online fashion retailers with this,” says Rohit Kumar, Pixibo co-founder. “The ACE Start-up Grant really helped us with our product development, and the entire application process took just four-and-a-half months, from first application to approval. We were called in to present our business plan and ideas, a panel asked us questions, and shortly after we were told that we had received the grant. In addition, we were introduced to mentors and key media players, which has benefited our company tremendously.”
The Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS) is a competitive grant to support technology-based, early-stage start-ups for Proof-of Concept (up to $250,000) and Proof-of-Value (up to $500,000) stages in product development. This enables the commercialisation of technology.
In 2015, Spectronik, a Singapore company that develops lightweight, powerful hydrogen PEM fuel cells, utilised the Proof-of-Value grant to develop Spectronik Water-Assisted Power (SWAP) Platoon, a portable power device that uses the company’s patented solid-fuel technology to produce hydrogen gas on demand.
SPRING Singapore’s co-investment initiatives include the Business Angels Scheme (BAS), Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS) and Sector Specific Accelerator (SSA), where it matches, dollar-for-dollar (up to $2 million), investments from credible third-party investors into high-potential start-ups.
The government has identified a need to catalyse smart monies into start-ups in high-technology sectors such as med tech, clean tech, and advanced manufacturing and engineering, which require a longer runway for development and commercialisation. By partnering capable investors and incubators, SPRING hopes to fast track the growth of such high-tech start-ups.
The Micro-Loan Programme (MLP) is a loan facility in which the government has increased its risk-share in the programme, to encourage lending by participating financial institutions to companies younger than three years old.
Private sector financing
SPRING continues to work with private financiers and corporates to help innovative start-ups. It teams with various experienced, private sector partners and industry experts to assess the suitability of these start-ups.
Entrepreneurs seeking funds for their business should be able to demonstrate:
1. Their unique value proposition and/or innovative offering
2. The viability of their business idea in the long run
3. That their business has a (preferably) strong intellectual or proprietary content
4. That their business has strong growth potential across markets
5. The commitment and experience of their founding team
Other forms of support
Besides funding, SPRING focuses its efforts on maximising start-ups’ chances of success by creating the right environment for them, and providing access to public research organisations, networks and market opportunities.
One example is the JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, opened in January 2015 and spearheaded by SPRING and JTC Corporation. Currently, this cluster of blocks is home to more than 500 start-ups, and 35 incubators and investors. It is in close proximity to R&D lab facilities, tech partners, and expertise at the institutes of higher learning. SPRING has been supporting incubators, which play critical roles in the start-up landscape by offering mentorship and access to their existing network of clients and investors. This common space enables better exchange of ideas and network. Three more blocks will be added to accommodate 50 more start-ups.
Another example is the SME Talent Programme (STEP), started in partnership with Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE). STEP helps start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises attract young talent for business growth.
Technology start-up PigeonLab has tapped into the SME Talent Programme to attract young talent for business growth. Lyon Lim, PigeonLab co-founder, says: “The SME Talent Programme connects us to a pool of enthusiastic young adults whom we can engage and identify as future talents for our team. In the process, we provide them with real-world opportunities and experience that reveal what the working world is like and the exciting careers that await them.”