Which Government Grant should you Apply?
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Since I started this site almost 3 weeks ago, I had received a steady stream of inquiries from small and medium businesses. These businesses came from diverse sectors. They ranged from an arts group, to a motorcycle workshop, and even a Muslim funeral service. On a personal front, it was a great learning experience for me as many of these were my first time dealing with these sorts of businesses. What was common for all of them was the passion towards their respective businesses. They all wanted to grow their businesses further, and they were not sure what grants were available to help them.
There are many government grants available, even more so at this moment with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting many businesses. It can get overwhelming looking at all the grants out there. One can easily get lost with all the different sites, which had several links leading to more sites! I am still looking for that one single site from gov.sg that summarizes all the grants available in one page! If you found one, do let me know so that I can share it here!
My advice to all businesses seeking help in grants is always the same. Before you start looking for grants, perhaps you need to be clear about what you need for your business. All the grants are not 'free'. You may need to fork out a small sum of money (after the funding) as well as time and effort to implement the solutions.
For the purpose of this article, I am assuming you are clear of what you need for your business. If not, contact me for help! :)
If you choose to skip all the explanations, a downloadable summary of all the grants is available at the end of the article.
I want to Purchase Laptops so that my Staff can work Remotely!
This is supported by the Productivity Solution Grant (PSG). You can get up to 80% cost offset for up to 3 laptops with bundled software. There are a couple of pre-approved solutions provider.
I Want to Sell Online / I want to Gain Digital Marketing Capability!
Part of the government drive for digitalization attempts to push businesses to establish an online presence in the form of a website or an online store that is capable of e-commerce.
There are grants that help you to set up a website. I like to highlight that having a website is not enough. You need to have the right Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques so that your website will be ranked higher whenever someone searched for your kind of business. Or you may employ CPC advertisements such as Google Ads to advertise your site. You also need to make sure your site is mobile-optimized as most people view sites from their mobile phones. You may need to update your contents regularly to build readership and credibility. You may be better off getting a vendor to do all these for you.
If you are thinking of setting up a website or an online store, go to this IMDA directory. Look under 'Sell Online'. These vendors have pre-approved solutions under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). Look for one that suits your needs.
If you want to save the headache of setting up and maintaining your own online store, you may want to explore selling your products on an online marketplace:
If you are a retailer or an F&B outlet, you can enjoy additional cash incentives for implementing digital solutions of up to $10000 under the Digital Resilience Budget. You can read more here.
UPDATE: A good reader Elaine updated me on this E-commerce Booster Package offered by Enterprise Singapore. This grant supports retailers to sell online either domestically or overseas market, with a one-time support of up to 90% (cap at $9000) of eligible programme costs. You can read more here. In the same package, there is also a digital marketing programme which will provide funding support of up to 90% for digital marketing advisory services for three months to help retailers enhance your digital marketing capabilities. That's not all! You can also enjoy additional manpower support to drive your business’ e-commerce efforts. You will receive a one-time support of up to 90% of the qualifying manpower costs for three months. Sounds like a good grant! However, I personally have not applied for any of these. I will appreciate if anyone who had undergone any of these programmes can share with me about the process and the details so that I can share in this platform.
I Want to Hire More People!
There are three grant support that you may want to look at if you are thinking of hiring more people.
SGUnited Traineeship Programme
This allows you to take fresh graduates from ITE, Polytechnics or University under a traineeship programme. Given the current situation, there are probably a lot of fresh graduates who are unable to find full-time employment. They may be willing to take a ‘trainee’ allowance. You can enjoy up to 80% support for this allowance. If they are good, you can actually terminate this traineeship and offer them full employment. Find out more here.
Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)
This grant is to support individuals who cross over from one industry to another. Alternatively, you may want to build in-house capability for your company e.g. train someone within your company for digital advertisements. Under this programme, you can get up to 70% for salary support and course fee waiver. If the employee is more than 40 years old, the support goes up to 90%. You can read more here. Choose the capability that you want to build.
Bonus! You can get an additional $10,000 under the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) programme. This is to support you in sending the employee for conversion courses. Check it out here. If you read the FAQ, it can also be used on top of PSG or other grants, helping you to save on more cost!
Career Support Programme (CSP)
If you hire someone above 40 years old, you can get grant support of up to $42,000 for the first 18 months. There are a number of such workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic period. They possess very good experiences and can contribute well to your business, and even mentor the junior staff. You can read more here.
If you are planning to hire people to support your digital marketing efforts, you can get support under the E-commerce Booster Package as described above.
I Want to be More Productive and Efficient!
Often people ask me what is the difference between productivity and efficiency. To put it simply, being productive means you are able to do more with the same resources while being efficient means you are able to use less resources (or steps) to do the same task. Productivity deals with output, while efficiency deals with input.
Most of these solutions fall under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) support. You can find pre-scoped packages by pre-approved vendors in this directory. Shortlist the solutions you need and approach the vendors for consultation.
I want to Expand Overseas!
There are several activities that are supportable under two grants. One is the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), and the other is the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG). If you want to
Engage a consultant to do a market research - MRA
Engage a consultant or agent to navigate the regulations - MRA
Find a local business partner - MRA
Conduct marketing activities - MRA
Set up an office - EDG under the Overseas Marketing Presence (OMP).
Is there Grant for my Employees who Work From Home (WFH)?
Yes! It's called the Enhanced Work Life Grant (COVID-19). If you provide WFH and staggered hours arrangement for your staff, you can claim $2,000 per employee for up to 35 employees, capped at $70,000 per company. Read more here.
What about the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)?
The EDG supports the growth and transformation of a company in the areas of core capability development (e.g. business strategy, rebranding, HR development, etc), innovation & productivity (e.g. process redesign, product development, etc) or venturing overseas to open a new market. How this differs from the PSG is that the PSG facilitates the ease of adoption with pre-specified solutions. From my past experiences, the EDG typically awards a higher grant quantum covering a much larger scope. Hence a stronger justification such as a business proposal is needed during the application. You can read more here.
A Summary to Help You!
I hope this article is useful for you to seek the right grant for your business!
If you are an SME, and if there is any area you may want some help, or an opinion, or just simply a chat, do drop me a message!