Grants Available for Singapore Tech Startups in 2021
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Ranked as the world’s second most digitally competitive country, Singapore has become the regional base for most of the world’s top InfoComm multinationals, including Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Google, and other international tech startups. On top of that, more and more tech startups seem to be rapidly established in the country every year. This has mainly been contributed by government policies that enforce the growth of technology and innovation as the country’s core competencies.
Furthermore, the city-state government has provided various grants to finance ideas from tech startups and support them to grow faster. Therefore, if you have just incorporated a tech company or are planning to establish one in the country, you can consider yourself lucky. This article has compiled a list of government grants tech startups in Singapore can benefit from.
Grants Tech Startups in Singapore Can Tap Into
Following are some of the most common and valuable grants that Singapore government agencies have provided for tech startups.
For tech startups that are looking to get investments:
Startup SG Equity
This scheme aims to stimulate private sector investment into Singapore-based innovative technology startups with intellectual property and global market potential.
- The government will co-invest with independent, qualified third-party investors into eligible startups and invest in selected venture capital firms that will support eligible startups through a fund-of-funds approach.
- The investment is focused on early-stage deep tech startups based in Singapore, with a primary focus on Advanced Manufacturing, Pharmbio/Medtech, Agri-food tech.
- SEEDS Capital and SGInnovate are the authorities that manage the co-investment modality under this scheme.
- The scheme has different investment parameters for general tech and deep tech startups, who will get the investment caps of $2M and $8M from SEEDS Capital, respectively.
For information about eligibility requirements and how to apply for the scheme, click here.
Startup SG Founder
The purpose of this scheme is to provide a platform for matching mentors to startups.
- The scheme comprises of two tracks: The Startup SG Founder “Train” track that provides support for sourcing innovation, commercializing these ideas into scalable businesses, getting product/solution validation from customers, and finding capital; and the Startup SG Founder “Start” which will assist the startups with advice, learning programs and networking contacts.
- Through the Startup SG Founder “Start,” approved tech startups can enjoy a capital grant of $50,000.
- Startups can apply for Startup SG Founder “Train” through a Venture Builder and Accredited Mentor Partner (VB-AMP) (or through an Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP) if they want to apply for the Startup SG Founder “Start”).
For additional information, click here.
For tech startups that are starting to hire employees:
Tech@SG under Start-up SG Talent
Co-managed by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore, Tech@SG aims to help fast-growing companies access the critical talent they need to grow and scale their business in Singapore and the region.
- Through this program, approved companies can get an endorsement to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), reducing the risks of rejections for their Employment Pass (EP) applications (up to 10 new EPs over two years) to MOM.
- To qualify for this program, companies must be incorporated in Singapore with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and have a digital or technology offering as their core business products or services. In addition, they must have received funding (no minimum amount) from a program-recognized investment firm and secured more than US$10 million (cumulative) in investment funding in the past 36 months.
For detailed information about the program, click here.
Job Growth Incentive (JGI)
The Job Growth Incentive (JGI) aims to support employers to expand local hiring from September 2020 to September 2021 (inclusive) to create excellent and long-term jobs for local residents.
- JGI provides salary support of up to 12 months for each local minor employee and 18 months of salary support for each employee who is an adult, disabled, or ex-offender employed by an employer who successfully increased their local workforce within the qualification period.
- To be eligible for the JGI, there must be an increase in overall local workforce size and local workforce size earning ≥$1,400/month, compared to the August 2020 local workforce (for Phase 1) or the February 2021 local workforce (for Phase 2).
For further information about JGI, click here.
You may also be interested in this related article:
MAS-SFA-AMTD FinTech Solidarity Grant
This temporary grant aims to support Singapore-based FinTech companies amid the challenging business climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This grant provides 100% of internship funding for salaries of Singaporean/Permanent Resident (PR) undergraduate interns, capped at S$1,000/month per intern.
- Tech companies with more than 30 staff will be granted an overall internship salary cap of S$20,000, and those with 30 staff or less will receive an overall internship salary cap of S$10,000.
- The application for this grant will be closed on December 31, 2021.
For detailed information, click here.
For tech startups looking for Business Development support:
Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
EDG supports projects that help companies upgrade their business, innovate or venture overseas under three pillars: Core Capabilities (e.g., sales and accounting projects), Innovation and Productivity (e.g., reviewing and redesigning workflow and processes or adopting automation and technologies), and Market Access (for companies that are willing and ready to venture overseas).
- The grant funds qualifying project costs such as third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal human resources cost.
- The enhanced maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022.
- To qualify for the grant, you need to be a business entity registered and operating in Singapore, be financially viable to start and complete the project and have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
For additional information, click here.
Productivity Solution Grant (PSG)
PSG supports the implementation of pre-covered IT solutions, tools, and consulting services that increase productivity, aligned with industry roadmaps such as the Industrial Transformation Map (ITM) and the Industrial Digital Plan (IDP).
- The maximum funding support level has been raised from 70% to 80% from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022, to encourage companies to continue their digitalization and productivity improvement efforts.
- To be eligible for PSG, you have to be a business entity registered and operating in Singapore, have purchased/leased/used IT solutions or any consultancy service, have a minimum of 30% local shareholding, and have at least three local employees at the point of application.
For further information, click here.
For tech startups adopting digital solutions:
Digital Acceleration Grant
This grant aims to support Singapore-based small financial institutions and FinTech companies adopting digital solutions to increase productivity, strengthen operational resilience, manage risk better and serve customers better.
- The grant provides 80% co-funding for qualifying expenses.
- Singapore-based financial institutions and FinTech firms with not more than 200 employees can apply for this grant.
- Applications must be submitted by December 31, 2021.
For more information, click here.
Regulatory Technology Grant
Funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund, the Regulatory Technology (“RegTech”) grant aims to support Singapore-based financial institutions to improve their risk management and compliance functions through the use of technology solutions.
- The RegTech grant has two tracks: (i) Production Level Project Track for supporting solutions that are designed or customized to suit the operating environment of the financial institution, and (ii) Pilot Track for supporting quick prototyping of RegTech solutions to test the feasibility of such solutions.
- Under the Production Level Project Track, approved companies will receive funding support of 50% of qualifying expenses, capped at $300,000.
- Under the Pilot Track, approved companies with more than 200 staff will receive funding support of 50% of qualifying expenses, capped at S$75,000. Meanwhile, approved companies with less than 200 staff can enjoy funding support of 70% of qualifying expenses, capped at S$75,000.
For information about the eligibility criteria, click here.
For tech startups doing proof-of-concept:
FSTI Proof-of-Concept Grant
The Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) Proof-of-Concept (POC) grant provides funding support for the experimentation, development, and dissemination of nascent innovative technologies in the financial services sector.
- The grant is valid until March 2023.
- The grant supports up to 70% of qualifying costs and up to a cap of S$400,000, depending on the outcome of the panel evaluation.
- This grant is targeted at MAS-regulated financial institutions or technology/solutions providers working with MAS-regulated financial institutions to develop new solutions to problems in the financial industry.
For additional information, click here.
Startup SG Tech
Startup SG Tech accelerates the development of proprietary technology solutions and catalyzes startups’ growth based on proprietary technologies and scalable business models.
- This grant is targeted at startups who wish to receive early-stage funding for the commercialization of proprietary technology and meet certain conditions regarding years in business, percent of local shareholding, place of core activities, among others.
- Approved companies can enjoy a maximum of $250,000 for Proof-of-Concept and $500,000 for Proof-of-Value.
For information on the grant’s eligibility requirements and how to apply for it, refer to this page.
For tech startups building cybersecurity capabilities:
Cybersecurity Capability Grant
Launched as part of the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI), this grant aims to deepen cybersecurity capabilities and develop local cybersecurity talent in Singapore’s Financial Services sector.
- This grant supports up to 50% co-funding of qualifying expenses, including direct human resources costs, capped at $3 million per project.
- The funding period is capped at three years.
- Applicants should b Singapore-based financial institutions involved in either establishing, expanding, or relocating cybersecurity functions to Singapore.
For further information, refer to this page.
For tech startups doing projects/research:
Industry-wide Technological Infrastructure or Utility
This grant seeks to build industry-wide technological/ utility infrastructure and/or improve efficiency and boost productivity in the financial services sector.
- This grant is open to Singapore-based financial institutions (FIs), market or professional organizations or associations, industry consortiums, and non-FI solution providers/companies.
- This grant provides up to 70% of the level of funding support for qualifying expenses.
Visit this page for more information on the eligibility requirements and how to apply for the grant.
For tech startups expanding overseas:
Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
The MRA grant aims to support SMEs that want to take their businesses overseas.
- The MRA Grant support level of up to 70% will be extended until 31 Mar 2023.
- The maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended for six months until 31 March 2022.
- Companies who want to apply must meet new market entry criteria, have at least 30% local shareholding, have a maximum of S$100 million group annual sales turnover, or not more than 200 employees.
For complete information about the MRA grant, click here.
For tech startups adopting AI/data analytics technology:
Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant
The AIDA grant is launched to support the strengthening of the AIDA ecosystem in the Singapore financial sector.
- The grant is valid until March 2023
- This grant provides up to 50% co-funding of qualifying expenses, which may include direct workforce and project-related costs (e.g., professional services, hardware/software, equipment and IP rights, and capability transfer-related training costs).
For additional information about the AIDA grant, refer to this page.
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