[2021] The Ultimate Guide to SME Grants in Singapore (including COVID-19 support!) 

As we enter yet another round of restrictions, local small-medium enterprises (SMEs) are going to need extra help to hold on. This isn’t news, but the concurrent transition from pandemic to endemic mode is likely to put an extra strain on businesses, which is why SMEs need to fully utilise government support.  

 Here’s our comprehensive, industry-specific list of the SME grants and COVID-19 relief measures available for SMEs:

Grants for all industries  

1. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

This aids SMEs in adopting long-term high-tech solutions that will boost productivity. It is perfect for companies that are looking into digital transformation with the automation, or even elimination of certain processes.  

PSG covers solutions across many industries, including retail, food, logistics, precision engineering, construction and landscaping sectors. It also supports the adoption of solutions across customer management, data analytics, financial management and inventory tracking.

SME Grant Amount: Subsidies of up to 80% till 30 September 2021. 

2. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)  

The EDG is designed to help SMEs develop internal capabilities in these 3 main areas that are made up of relevant sub-areas:

  • Core Capabilities, which includes Strategic Brand & Marketing, Business Strategy, Human Capital, Service Excellence and Financial Management 
  • Innovation and Productivity, which includes Product Development, Process Redesign and Automation 
  • Market Access, which includes Pilot Project & Test Bedding, Overseas Marketing Presence, Mergers & Acquisitions and Standards Adoption 

SME Grant Amount: Subsidies of up to 80% to offset the costs of qualifying projects till 31 March 2022. 

3. Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV)

ICV vouchers are given out to aid with consultancy projects in the areas of productivity, innovation, financial management and human resources.

SME Grant Amount: Up to 2 $5000 ICV vouchers per area, so $40,000 in total.  

4. Market Readiness Assistance Grant (MRA) 

The MRA Grant funds companies planning to bring their business overseas. The costs are broken down into overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000), overseas business development (capped at S$50,000) and overseas market setup (capped at S$30,000).

SME Grant Amount: 70% of eligible costs per new market till 31 March 2023.

5. New COVID-19 relief measures

Keeping daily operations up and running during the second wave can be daunting, but the COVID-19 relief measures announced in Budget 2021 (that cost the government $800 million) should help SMEs cut costs in terms of wages and rental.

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is getting kicked up a notch. If you’re registered under the JSS, expect increased support until 16 June 2021.

SME Grant Amount: JSS subsidies will increase from 10% to 50% for businesses required to suspend most, if not all operations. These include gyms, fitness studios, performing arts centers and art education centers. Those not required to suspend operations but are significantly affected, such as art and culture sites and beauty services, will receive enhanced JSS support of 30% 

Rental relief or cash payouts will be given to SMEs with an annual revenue below $100 million, based on a new Rental Support Scheme. Details of the scheme will be provided in June 2021. 

SME Grant Amount: One month rent waiver for qualifying tenants of government-owned commercial property and a direct 0.5-month rental relief cash payout in August 2021 for qualifying tenants of privately-owned commercial property. 

Property owners who run an SME on their own commercial property can also collect the cash payout, computed based on the Annual Value of the property for 2021.  

Grants for Food Services & Retail Industries 

1. Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) 

Our retail and F&B sectors suffer whenever social distancing measures are announced. The DRB funds restaurants and shops that are incorporated before or on 26 May 2020 and employ digital solutions like PayNow Corporate and e-invoicing between 1 June 2020 and 30 June 2021. Other digital solutions used for Business Processes, Digital Presence and Data Mining & Analytics are eligible too.  

SME Grant Amount: Bonus payouts of up to S$10,000.

Grants for the Finance Industry

1. Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme 

With the aim of creating a vibrant ecosystem for innovation in the finance sector, the FSTI funds the local development of innovative solutions and implementation of industry-wide technology infrastructure for SMEs. 

SME Grant Amount: Innovative solutions receive up to 50% of funding support (capped at $1 million) and industry-wide infrastructure projects get up to 70% of funding support for qualifying reasons, until March 2023.

2. FSTI-Proof of Concept (POC) Grant

For finance SMEs getting their hands dirty with innovative solutions, the POC scheme under FSTI will get you extra funding, right from the early stages. This is applicable for projects investigating a fresh approach to resolving business use-case problems, using technology or business processes. 

SME Grant Amount: Support of up to 70% of qualifying costs (capped at $400,000) for 18 months. 

3. Digital Acceleration Grant 

This SME grant is another facet of the FSTI Scheme, only open to local financial institutions and FinTech firms with under 200 employees. The grant aims to co-fund the adoption of eligible digital solutions in the finance sector.  

SME Grant Amount: 80% of qualifying costs incurred (capped at $120,000) over a period of a year.

Grants for Applied Sciences Industries  

1. Marine and Process Support Package 

This sector-specific package addresses two issues.

The Marine and Process Safe Restart Package keeps workers safe from COVID-19 exposure in the short-term. This protects the wellbeing of the workforce and safety of the worksite.

SME Grant Amount: $400 cash support for firm-level measures such as protective gear and individually-packed meals, as well as 50% co-funding of worksite safety enhancement measures.

The Marine and Process sector relies heavily on manual work processes and large quantities of manpower. The Productive Safe Restart Scheme (PSRS) helps SMEs in the industry stay competitive in the long run with transformation models and technological solutions.

SME Grant Amount: Up to 80% support for qualifying joint or independent transformation projects.  

2. Startup SG Equity 

This scheme intends to trigger greater private sector investments into local tech startups with intellectual property and global market potential. This will be done via domino effect - the government co-invests with select venture capitals, these venture capitals provide greater funding for SMEs.

While Startup SG Equity applies to all tech and deep tech firms, there is a primary investment focus on the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, MedTech, Biomedical Science and Agri-food tech sectors.

SME Grant Amount: At least $50,000 for selected firms.

Government grants are still centered on general monetary relief, but there is an increasing focus on cultivating industry-specific solutions. Whether you’re looking for short-term relief or long-term sustainability, there is definitely an SME grant in Singapore that you can apply for. Good luck!

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