SMEs make up about 99% of the overall enterprises in Singapore, contributing 47% of Singapore’s annual GDP. The Singaporean government recognises the importance of SMEs and has been providing much-needed support through various channels to foster the development of SMEs. This includes, Singapore government grants, and:
- Financial assistance through government grants
- Training programmes to educate SMEs and their employees
- Giving preference to local SMEs in the competition for government contracts (In 2016 the Singaporean government and local SMEs signed a total of 35,500 contracts worth S$22.6 billion)
- Providing free business consulting services to help support the needs of SMEs
In 2017, the Singaporean Government altered its budget to support the development of SMEs by:
- Allocating S$578 million in International Partnership funds to support overseas expansion
- Investing an additional S$2.3 billion into the National Research Fund and National Productivity Fund to facilitate the research and application of efficient business practices over the next four years
- Co-funding a 40% wage hike up to SGD$ 3800 per month for Singapore Citizens to allow firms to cope with rising wages
Support for SMEs is available through various Singaporean Government Agencies:
Singapore Government Grants
1. International Enterprise Singapore (IES)
IES focuses on providing financial and networking assistance for businesses that are expanding both locally and internationally. Two of IES’s resources that are commonly utilized by local SMEs include:
- Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grants – Suitable for companies who are looking to expand overseas. This grant helps finance third-party costs incurred during expansion, such market research or feasibility studies, advise on legal regulations in a specified target market and recommendations on suitable modes of entry into the targeted market(s).
- Research Databases – Workstations located at the IES Advisory Centre provide detailed information concerning market and industry trends, economic indicators, trade regulations and tariff rates.
2. SPRING Singapore
SPRING Singapore’s mission statement is to “Help Singaporean SMEs grow and to build trust in Singaporean products and services”.
To achieve this mission, SPRING Singapore works together with various partners to help enterprises develop successful financial and management capabilities. SPRING Singapore offers its services to both start-ups and SMEs:
- ToolKits – Offers a wide range of tools to assist the HR, marketing, financial, and PR departments in businesses
- Capability Development Grant – Assists businesses in increasing their capabilities in areas detailed below.
- Tax Incentives – Businesses enjoy 400% tax deductions up to S$400,000 or a 60% cash payout up to S$100,000 when they invest in improving their companies in terms of innovation and productivity.
- Loans – There are many types of loans available to aid with the acquisition of human capital, PP&E in addition to trade financing. All of the requirements for the loans are catered to SMEs who are still growing their businesses.
Support is also available for promising start-ups:
- StartupSG – Provides an end-to-end assistance to start-ups, aiming to help launch successful businesses. Services range from funding, talent acquisition, and even accelerator programmes. It offers entrepreneurs a launchpad to connect them to the global stage, and a platform to access local support initiatives.
- Tax Incentives – The Angel Investor Tax Deduction Scheme (AITD) helps attract investors by offering tax cuts off the return on their investments in start-ups.
3. Info-Communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA)
IMDA promotes the adoption of technology as a key enabler to enhance Singapore’s economic competitiveness in sectors such as education, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, tourism, transport, entertainment, and finance.
In the media industry, IMDA provides various grants and schemes to assist new media talent and start-ups create their own intellectual property and nurture future talent with the eventual goal of self-sustainability.
Some of the available IMDA grants are:
- IRAS’ Productivity and Innovation Credit (“PIC”)
- Businesses enjoy 400% tax deductions or allowances up to $400,000 of spending per year in each of the six qualifying activities. Find out more here.
4. SkillsFuture Singapore and WorkForce Singapore
Talent acquisition has always been one of the most difficult obstacles that hinders the development of SMEs. With this in mind, the Singaporean Government appointed the groups SkillsFuture Singapore and WorkForce Singapore to focus on creating a more educated workforce and provide grants to help train employees.
Closing Up the Cash Flow Gap
The majority of SMEs enjoy the benefits of programs provided by the governments but there are still a few SMEs who struggle with landing grants in a timely manner. Under normal circumstances, the issuance of grants can take up to 10 weeks. Many SMEs cannot afford to wait this long and are in need of immediate funds. InvoiceInterchange offers SMEs opportunities to bridge this harmful cash flow gap and get funds when they need them. Contact us to find out more.
Support is also available for promising start-ups:
StartupSG – Provides an end-to-end assistance to start-ups, aiming to help launch successful businesses. Services range from funding, talent acquisition, and even accelerator programmes.
Tax Incentivess – Help attract investors by offering tax cuts off the return on their investments in start-ups.
Financing Your Grants
If you are looking for funding to finance the gap while waiting for the disbursement of Singapore government grants, talk to us.
Find out more
Tegos, M. (20 February 2017). Singapore’s 2017 Budget focuses on more funding and international expansion for startups. Retrieved from Tech In Asia: https://www.techinasia.com/singapore-commit-17b-4-years-future-economy-strategies
Department of Statistic Singapore. (29 May 2017). Singapore Economy. Retrieved from Department of Statistic Singapore: http://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistics/visualising-data/infographics/economy
Soon, P. C. (2010). Insights to Business Excellence. Singapore: Spring Singapore.