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 Budget 2019

 About Budget

 Look Back At Recent Budgets

Look Back At Recent Budgets

As we look forward to Budget 2019, check out some of the recent Budget
measures that created a positive and significant impact to businesses and the
lives of Singaporeans every day.

Infrastructure: There’s No Place Like Home

English ( 287kb) Chinese ( 455kb) Malay ( 256kb) Tamil
( 768kb)

Healthcare: The Heart Of Healthcare

English ( 746kb) Chinese ( 818kb) Malay ( 1,212kb) Tamil
( 660kb)

Jobs: Good Jobs, Bettter Careers

English ( 266kb) Chinese ( 380kb) Malay ( 286kb) Tamil
( 928kb)

Social: A Helping Hand Can Change Lives

English ( 261kb) Chinese ( 417kb) Malay ( 261kb) Tamil
( 241kb)

Economic Schemes

Scheme Short Year of Cost of Scheme Remarks

Descripti Implementa Initiati Beneficiar
on tion ves ies

Schemes to To provide 2015 Increase All CET

support Singaporea d Singaporea measures
Continuing ns with the spendin ns who launched
Education and opportuniti g on want to include:
Training (CET), es to continui improve SkillsFutu
including develop to ng themselves re Credit,
SkillsFuture - their educatio through SkillsFutu
(MOE/ MOM/ fullest n and learning re Earn
MTI/ potential training and and
SkillsFuture throughout from education Learn,
SG) life, $600 SkillsFutu
regardless million re
of their per year Fellowshi
starting (2010- ps,
points. 2015) to SkillsFutu
over $1 re
billion Leadershi
per year p
(2015- Developm
2020) ent

Capability This Enhanced $600 SMEs Between

Development programme support level million 1 Jul
Grant (CDG) - is designed of 70% was (FY15- 2016 to
(SPRING) to help extended in 17) 30 Jun
SMEs build Budget 2015 2019,
their for another 3 companie
capabilitie years s
s across 10 supported
key under
business CDG may
areas, such apply for
as product the CDG-
developme WorkPro
nt, Job
business Redesign
processes Rider to
enhancem receive
ents for funding
productivit support
y and for
business projects
model enhancin
expansion. g the
The grant employabi
defrays up lity and
to 70% of work
qualifying environm
project ent of
costs such older
as workers.
y, training,
n and

To make
the CDG
ts for
has been

Market Provide up Enhanced in $400 All

Readiness to 70% Budget 2015 million companies
Assistance funding to raise (announ
(MRA) and support for support level ced in
Global companies from 50% to 2017)
Company looking to 70% for 3
Partnership internation years
(GCP) grants - alise, in
(IE Singapore) areas such
on of
nt and

National Trade The NTP is 2017 Expecte Supports It has the

Platform (NTP) a one-stop d to firms, potential
- trade cost particularly to bring
(Customs/SPRI information more in the over $600
NG/ manageme than logistics million
GovTech/IMDA nt system $100 and trade worth of
) that will million finance man-hour
enable sectors savings
electronic each year
data to firms.
t, and
serve as an
for service
to develop
and apps.

SMEs Go To help 2017 $80 SMEs Industry

Digital SMEs build million Digital
Programme digital (announ Plans for
(IMDA) capabilitie ced in the Retail
s by: 2017) and
SMEs with
step-by- launched.
step The IDPs
advice on work as a
the guide for
technologi local SME
es to use companie
at each s to
stage of digitalise
their their
growth businesse
through s, plug
the skills
sectoral gaps and
Industry participat
Digital e in
Plans. national
SMEs with
help at The SME
SME Digital
Centres Tech Hub,
and the establish
new Digital ed by
Tech Hub; IMDA and
and operated
by ASME,
advice and
support to
SMEs that
are ready
to SMEs
to pilot
with more
such as

 Oth
er links
ted in:

 Oth
er links
ted in:

Wage Credit To help In Budget $1.8 All The WCS

Scheme (WCS) companies 2018, WCS billion companies has
defray was over extended
operating extended for three for three
costs, the three years, years more
WCS was i.e. 2018, (announ years, to
introduced 2019 and ced in fund 20%,
to support 2020 2018) 15% and
firms in 10% of
their wage
restructuri increases
ng and in 2018,
upgrading 2019, and
journey. 2020
The respectiv
Governmen ely.
t will co-
fund wages
given to
earning a
wage up to

Corporate To ease Enhanced for Addition All tax- The CIT

Income Tax business YA 2018; al $475 paying rebate
(CIT) Rebate costs and extended to million companies has been
support YA 2019 (announ enhanced
restructuri ced in and
ng by Budget extended
companies, 2018) to 40% of
it was tax
announced payable,
in Budget capped at
2018 that $15,000
the CIT for YA
rebate 2018 and
would be extended
enhanced at 20% of
for Year of tax
Assessmen payable,
t (YA) 2018 capped at
and $10,000
extended for YA
to YA 2019. 2019.

Productivity To support 2018 NA All Up to

Solutions firms to companies 70%
Grant (PSG) keep up funding
with the support
rapid pace for the
of change, adoption
existing of pre-
grants will scoped,
be off-the-
streamline shelf
d for solutions
adoption of to
pre- improve
scoped, productivi
off-the- ty.
es into one

Enterprise The EDG 2018 NA All The grant

Development helps companies funds up
Grant (EDG) Singapore to 70% of
companies qualifying
grow and project
transform. costs
This grant namely
supports third-
projects party
that help consultan
companies cy fees,
upgrade software
their and
business, equipmen
innovate or t, and
venture increment
overseas, al
under internal
three manpowe
pillars: r cost.

a) Core
b) Innovati
on &
c) Market

Tech Skills Tripartite 2016 $145 All TeSA

Accelerator initiative (enhanced in million Singaporea provide
(TeSA) by the Budget 2018) over ns who programm
Scheme Governmen three seek to es to
t, industry, years upgrade develop
and NTUC, (announ and acquire more
to build ced in new skills local ICT
and Budget in the professio
strengthen 2018) Information nals in
the digital and emerging
workforce Communica skill
and to tions areas like
enhance Technology data
employabili (ICT) analytics,
ty industry. artificial
outcomes intelligen
in the ICT ce, and
profession. cyber

a) Compa
b) Tech
n and
me (TIPP)
c) Critical
me Plus

How Does a Budget Help Companies to Plan

Future Events?
by Neil Kokemuller
Related Articles
 1 Plan Business Events

 2 Things You Need to Start an Event Planning Business

 3 Calculate a Sales Budget for a Master Budget

 4 Calculate Budgeted Revenue

A budget is a critical financial planning tool, especially for small businesses that need
to make wise use of revenue. Planning for future events is at the heart of a business
budget purpose. An annual budget allocates project revenue for the coming year,
making sure there's enough to fund a year's worth of activities and operations.
Typical Expense Planning

The major forward-looking function of the budget is to allow your business to plan for
effective future spending. By budgeting, you avoid putting too much money into
unproductive short-term areas and tasks and not leaving enough to last the entire
year. You can analyze the typical costs of doing business, or focus on those activities
that generate the greatest returns. In a straightforward business year, this aspect of
budgeting is the most oriented toward future planning.

Development and Growth

Newer companies often look to grow and develop during the first years of operation.
Your budgeting process allows you to assess funds available for growth investments
on top of planned expenses. If you can set aside a percentage of your project
revenue for reinvestment, that is ideal. In some cases, you may realize the need to
seek further equity investment or loan financing to pay for growth. These
approaches may lead to revenue gains in subsequent years.

One-time Expenses

Budgeting is not always so simple as figuring out how to spend a plethora of financial
resources. In some cases, companies have to prepare financially for a pending event.
Single, one-time expenditures can significantly affect a small business. Legal
expenses to file or defend a lawsuit, and expensive equipment replacement or repair
are examples of potential one-time expenses. The budgeting process allows you to
gauge whether you can pay the expense within projected revenue, or need to seek
extra funds.

Expecting the Unexpected

In correlation with strategic planning processes, budgeting also can help you prepare
for unexpected business events or developments. Some companies use a dynamic
budget process, which means they review budgets a few times a year and make
necessary adjustments. Periodic reviews allow you to adjust going forward if certain
costs of doing business go up. Additionally, you can set aside a portion of your
budget for "miscellaneous" or "emergency" expenses.


Missed Budget 2019? Here's

Everything S'pore Startups
and SMEs Need To Know

Victoria Sek
2019-02-19 16:32:14
 The Singapore Government expects to spend a total of $4.6 billion
over three years to drive our economic transformation plans.
 Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat shares the ways the Government
is helping startup and SME owners scale up and supporting
Singaporeans in upskilling and reskilling.
Before we begin the roundup of the Budget 2019 speech by Finance Minister Heng
Swee Keat, let’s briefly recap our past speeches.

In 2017, we placed a focus on enterprises in Singapore and noticed keywords

such as “adaptability”, “innovation” and “partnership” being used in the speech.
Mr Heng emphasized the need for businesses to “stay competitive and grow” as they
are the “heart of [our] vibrant economies” and encouraged owners to embrace digital
innovation and scale up.

Some of the notable highlights for businesses include the SMEs Go Digital
Programme that helps small enterprises build digital capabilities and the SME
Working Capital Loan where the government will tank 50% of the default risk for
loans up to $300,000.
2018 saw the government working towards three major shifts: the rise of
Asia, emerging tech, and ageing society.
The government once again shared the need for businesses to innovate and promised
to support firms and workers in getting more opportunities as global trade
economies face tension following Brexit and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Under the SMEs Go Digital Programme, more than 650 SMEs have benefitted
last year.
Injection of funds and aid into initiatives that upskill workers in Singapore like the
Tech Skills Accelerator (TeSA), SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy, and the
SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, among others.

Last year also saw more support for helping elderly workers re-enter the workforce.

This year, the Budget casts the spotlight once more on helping SMEs upskill
their workers and go digital.
There will also be more information on the Merdeka Generation Package,
boosting cybersecurity in Singapore, and a monetary handout from the republic’s
overall budget surplus from FY2018 (Bicentennial Bonus), among others.
A 4th Shift And 3 Key Thrusts
On top of the three shifts mentioned above, Mr Heng highlighted one more shift: the
decline in support for globalisation.
“Some countries are benefitting from globalisation, while others are questioning its
value,” he said.

Noting that Southeast Asia (SEA) has given birth to a number of ‘unicorns’ –
companies with valuations in excess of US$1 billion – he shared that improving
Singapore’s bilateral relations with our regional neighbours are growing in

Mr Heng stressed that we need to tackle longer-term challenges on home ground

such as ageing and economic transformation, among others.
The Government wants Singapore to be a Global-Asia node of technology,
innovation, and enterprise.
Changing global and domestic landscape presents both challenges and opportunities
so Singapore must always respond to challenges with grit and determination.

“Like Sang Kancil, the small but quick-witted mousedeer, Singapore can make its
way in the world,” said Mr Heng, adding that Singapore has turned its size and
location into an advantage.

Besides keeping Singapore safe and secure and building a caring and inclusive
society, there is a need to keep our economy vibrant, and the Budget aims to
achieve these goals in a responsible and fiscally sustainable way.
This year, Mr Heng introduced three new key thrusts to support industry
transformation: building deep enterprise capabilities, building deep
worker capabilities, and encouraging strong partnerships, within Singapore
and across the world.
$100M More To Enable S’pore Startups

Credit: Seedly

To build deep enterprise capabilities, Mr Heng said that startups can only thrive
if they scale up and venture into new markets, and to do that, the Government will
support them in three ways.
The first way is through providing customised assistance, as part of that move,
Enterprise Singapore will launch a Scale-up SG Programme in partnership with
the private and public sectors where high-growth firms will get guidance and tools to
innovate, grow, and internationalise.
The Government will also launch a pilot Innovation Agents Programme for
businesses to consult a pool of experts on opportunities to innovate and
commercialise technology.
Next, Mr Heng said better financing options will be made available to startups.
Noting that firms can more effectively scale up if they have smart, patient capital that
attracts investors, the Government has worked on improving access to private capital
for startups and SMEs.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has simplified regulations for

venture capital managers, and launched a US$5 billion private markets
programme to encourage international private equity players to invest in local
$400 million has been set aside since 2010 by the Government into the Co-
Investment Programme (CIP) to invest in SMEs and private sector.

As part of the CIP, this year an additional $100 million will be set aside to
establish the SME Co-Investment Fund III.
Mr Heng mentioned that loan financing remains an important source of funding for
SMEs and highlighted banks that are meeting this need.

To make it simpler for companies, the Government will streamline existing financial
schemes by Enterprise Singapore into one: Enterprise Financing Scheme.
This scheme will be launched in October 2019 and will focus support for companies
that have been incorporated for less than five years, with the Government taking up
to 70% of the risk for bank loans.

Furthering support for startups in their daily operations, the Government will extend
the SME Working Capital Loan scheme for two more years, till March 2021,
and this scheme will fall under the Enterprise Financing Scheme from October.
Finally, in supporting technology adoption, Mr Heng announced the expansion
of the SMEs Go Digital Programme where the Accountancy, Sea Transport, and
Construction fields will get their own industry digital plans.
To boost technology adoption among SMEs, the programme will have more cost-
effective, pre-approved digital solutions.

Introduced in 2016 to help firms implement large-scale automation such as robotics

and Internet of Things solutions, the Automation Support Package (ASP) will
be extended for two years.
The Minister of Trade and Industry will provide more details at a later date.

Learning Is A Lifelong Journey

Credit: Seedly

Supporting the growth and globalisation of local firms is as important as enabling

people and building deep worker capabilities of Singaporeans.
Mr Heng promised that the Government will continue to invest in citizens across all
stages of their lives.

On the Adopt and Grow initiatives and the national SkillsFuture movement, he
reported that the percentage of residents in the labour force who participated in
training grew from 35% in 2015, to 48% in 2018.

76,000 jobseekers found employment through the Adopt and Grow initiative
between 2016 and 2018.

He then called for workers, firms, unions, and Trade Associations and Chambers
(TACs) to be proactive in continuing this progress, and to embrace upskilling and
With that, Mr Heng introduced new Professional Conversion Programmes
(PCPs) relating to blockchain, embedded software, and prefabrication.
Implemented in 2007, over 100 PCPs have been launched, covering about 30 sectors.

The Career Support Programme, which was initially launched in 2015, will also
be extended for two years, further providing wage support for employers to hire
eligible Singaporeans who are mature and retrenched, or are in long-term
Mr Heng noted that S Pass and Work Permit holders have increased by 34,000 (3%)
every year for the past three years in the service sectors.

“Relying on more and more foreign workers is not the long-term solution – other
economies are developing too,” he said seriously.

Our workforce should balance the inflow of foreign workers to local workers and that
it is a must to “enhance the complementarities” of both workers.

The Government will adjust the workforce quota for the services sector by
reducing the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) from 40% to 35% in the next two
The services sector S Pass Sub-DRC will also be reduced from 15% to 10% in the
next two years.
Until FY2022, to help firms as they adjust to these changes, the Government will
extend the 70% funding support level for the Enterprise Development
Grant for three more years, up to 31 March 2023.
The Productivity Solutions Grant will be expanded to support up to 70% of the
out-of-pocket cost for training.
Foreign Worker Levy rates increment for the Marine Shipyard and Process
sectors will be deferred for another year as they have just begun showing signs of
On Partnerships, Research, And
Speaking on the third key thrust, building deeper partnerships within
Singapore, and across the world, Mr Heng shared that our TACs have done well
in helping our companies forge overseas partnerships.
The Government will bolster their support for TACs through the Local Enterprise
and Association Development (LEAD) programme and will continue to develop
global partnerships at Government-to-Government and Business-to-Business levels.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that the Government has struck up with partner
economies will be streamlined and digitised to raise efficiency.

On Singapore’s road to become the Global-Asia node of technology,

innovation and enterprise, the Government will set aside $19 billion as part
of our five-year Research, Innovation, and Enterprise 2020 plan.
During the speech, Mr Heng lauded Creative Technology’s CEO, Mr Sim
Wong Hoo, on his entrepreneurial spirit; how he persevered and how his efforts
paid off after 20 years and an investment of $100 million into R&D.
“Mr Sim’s story illustrates the point that to succeed, we must learn, we must walk the
ground, and we must persist,” he said.

Like the transformation of our economy, we need talents to draw out the potential of
the Government’s investment in research and innovation.

Students currently in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) can participate in the

Global Ready Talent Programme, a combination of the existing local and
overseas internship programmes.
This programme will also have enhanced funding support for students
interning overseas with Singapore firms and will support high-growth local
firms to send Singaporeans with up to three years of working experience overseas.
The Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister for Manpower will provide
more details at the Committee of Supply (COS).

Confidence In Economic Transformation

Credit: Seedly

As he wraps up this segment of his speech, Mr Heng stated that our economic
transformation is going well and that we must persist with our efforts.

The Government expects to spend $4.6 billion over the next three years on the
new and enhanced economic capability-building measures shared in Budget 2019, he
He elaborated that $3.6 billion will go towards helping workers to thrive amid
industry and technological disruptions and $1 billion will go towards helping firms
build deep enterprise capabilities.

“But let me emphasise that supporting companies and supporting workers are
mutually reinforcing – stronger companies provide better jobs and pay for workers,
and highly skilled workers make companies stronger. I am confident that we can
continue to make good progress,” Mr Heng said.
“As long as we stay relevant and useful to the world, we can continue to create
opportunities for our people and enterprises.”

This year, the government is getting more proactive in cultivating local businesses, so
budding startups and aspiring entrepreneurs should take advantage of these benefits,
wherever possible, to get a boost in growth or expansion.

To keep ourselves competitive and our skills relevant in this ever-changing

landscape, Singaporean workers should also take the opportunity to upgrade
whenever we can, more so now than ever.

Featured Image Credit:

SG Budget 2019: Govt Will Set

Aside Additional $100M To
Invest In S'pore SMEs And
Private Sectors

Victoria Sek
2019-02-18 16:41:42
One of the three key thrusts in Budget 2019 to support industry transformation is
building deep enterprise capabilities.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat reported that there are more than 150 global
venture capital funds, incubators, and accelerators based in Singapore supporting

He shared that Enterprise Singapore will launch a Scale-up SG programme in

partnership with private and public sectors, working with high-growth local firms to
identify and build new capabilities to innovate and go international.

The Government will also launch a pilot Innovation Agents Programme for firms to
consult a pool of experts on opportunities to innovate and commercialise technology.
To encourage global private equity firms to invest in business in Singapore, the
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has simplified regulations for venture
capital managers and have set up a US$5 billion private markets programme.

Since 2010, the Government has set aside $400 million through two rounds of the
Co-Investment Programme (CIP) to invest in SMEs and private sectors, and Mr
Heng said they will set aside an additional $100 million to establish the SME Co-
Investment Fund III this year.

As part of the CIP, Mr Heng said it is expected to attract about $200 million worth of
investments for Singapore-based SMEs that are ready to scale up.

Loan financing remains and important source of funding for SMEs, Mr Heng said.

Noting that there are different financing schemes available, the Government have
decided to enhance the accessibility of loans by making it simpler for SMEs.

Current existing schemes offered by Enterprise Singapore will be streamlined into a

single Enterprise Financing Scheme, launching October 2019, that will cover trade,
working capital, fixed assets, venture debt, mergers and acquisitions, and project

The Government will extend the SME Working Capital Scheme for 2 more years until
March 2021 for a further $1.8 billion, Mr Heng announced.

About 4,000 SMEs have adopted the SME Go Digital Programme which was
introduced in Budget 2017, and Mr Heng stated that it will be expanded.


Singapore Budget 2019: Businesses welcome digital push,

emphasis on reskilling workers
20-Feb-2019 Intellasia | Straits Times | 6:00 AM
Amid slowing global growth, ongoing geopolitical uncertainty and technological disruptions to industries and jobs,
the 2019 Budget unveiled on Monday (February 18) was perceived by business and industry leaders to be
focused on accelerating the development of digital skills and adoption of innovative solutions, strengthening
cyber security, and reskilling the workforce with less reliance on foreign workers.
Christian de Guzman, vice-presidentsenior credit officer of Moody’s Investors Service, said: “Against the
backdrop of a deteriorating external environment, the mildly expansionary Budget announced by Singapore
Finance minister Heng Swee Keat provides some support to growth, with room for manoeuvre in the event of a
prolonged slowdown.
“The restated commitment to avoid borrowing and to use revenue enhancements, such as higher GST (goods
and services tax) rates, to finance these larger long-term spending commitments help to preserve Singapore’s
structurally robust fiscal position,” Guzman added.
Some observers say the focus on building deep enterprise and worker capability should help sharpen
Singapore’s global competitive edge, amid rising protectionism and an increasingly adverse global environment.
Professor Tan Yong Kam of Nanyang Technological University: “Asean will become the fourth largest economy in
the world by 2030. And Indonesia has become a more important external engine of growth for Singapore. We can
position ourselves to soar with the rising regional wind. This will help to mitigate against the impact of global
protectionist headwinds.”
Precursor Group managing director Tan Khoon Guan pointed out that by moving away from providing short-term
benefits such tax or cash rebates or even a reduction in tax rates, Budget 2019′s focus is on ensuring that
businesses and employees stay relevant.
The introduction of customised support programmes such as Scale-up SG, and Innovation Agents, a two-year
pilot to help firms tap industry professionals for opportunities to innovate and commercialise technology, could
help local firms deepen their capabilities and internationalise. This, in turn, will generate good jobs, better career
opportunities and wage growth for local workers, the Singapore Business Federation said.
Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) president Chia Hock Lai said: “Scale-up SG will increase the chance of
producing Singapore-based tech unicorns, while Innovation Agents will increase the chances of success for tech
He added: “This is the year SFA will be launching SMEs Go FinTech to raise awareness on the various fintech
solutions to address their complex financing needs.”
WeInvest chief executive and co-founder Bhaskar Prabhakara said Scale-Up SG will help the start-up access
much-needed financing and mentorship as it plans to expand into Malaysia and Thailand this year.
In addition, local enterprises can also look forward to easier access to financing. Precursor’s Tan said that the
setting up of the SME Co-Investment Fund III will make more funds available, the SME Working Capital Loan
Scheme is being extended, and the introduction of Enterprise Financing Scheme will streamline existing
financing initiatives for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Toby Koh, group managing director of Ademco Security Group, said he hopes that his firm can “get on the radar”
for such co-investment programmes.
“But I am surprised and disappointed that there are no tax incentives for SMEs that have gone international,” he
The extension of existing schemes such as the Automation Support Package and the SME Working Capital Loan
will address smaller companies’ financial needs. Expanding the coverage of SME Go Digital will encourage
broader adoption of digital technologies by SMEs, while extending the Enterprise Development Grant and
enhancing the Productivity Solutions Grant will promote innovation.
Ms Irene Tai, corporate tax director of PwC Singapore, said: “The streamlining of financing schemes… should
also allow Enterprise Singapore to channel the funds to where they are most needed.”
KPMG head of enterprise market Jonathan Ho noted that the government is taking up to 70 per cent risk on bank
loans to companies less than five years old, and the extension of the SME working capital loan scheme will help
catalyse start-ups with innovative ideas, as these companies may need some gestation period.
Anuj Kagalwala, PWC’s asset & wealth management tax leader, said: “The government has set aside an
additional $100 million for investment in SMEs as co-investment with private sector investment… Such
investments have a direct correlation to investments and employment in Singapore.”
The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) noted that since October last year, it has implemented a
manufacturing digital plan to help SMEs realise Industry 4.0 standards. The programme helps SMEs that want to
go digital, but do not have the scale, tap “mentors” or digital project managers to help them deploy technology,
SMF president Douglas Foo said.
Terrence Oh, senior vice-president (Asia-Pacific) at EOS, a technological provider in additive manufacturing or
industrial 3D printing, said the expected investment of $3.6 billion to help workers thrive amid industry and
technological disruptions is timely.
“At present, the skills gap in industrial 3D printing is a challengeniche expertise is required,” he said.
Daryl Pereira, KPMG’s head of cyber security, management consulting, said that the measures to transform the
private security industry will help, but government support could also have been extended to help businesses
address cyber threats through tax incentives or grants to adopt stronger cyber-security practices.

You are here: Home / Blog / 13 Startup Schemes and Grants in Singapore

13 Startup Schemes and Grants in Singapore

Business-incubating infrastructure, tax incentives, cash grants, or financing schemes;
everything that a new company desires, Singapore has it. In fact, the Government has
recently rolled out several initiatives to propel the nation towards a thriving start-up

To get ahead of the fierce global competition for talented entrepreneurs, Minister of State for
Trade and Industry Mr Koh Poh Koon announced the launch of Startup SG in March 2017.

Startup SG is the umbrella branding unifying all the support schemes for startups in
Singapore. Essentially a launch pad for entrepreneurs by providing them a platform to access
local support initiatives as well as connect to the global entrepreneurial network, Startup SG
is your go-to one-stop source for loans, grants, funding and capability-enhancement.

The Government, meanwhile, has also overhauled the EntrePass work pass scheme with
further enhancements to the evaluation criteria in a bid to facilitate the entry of global
entrepreneurial talent into Singapore.

This came at the backdrop of significant increase in the number of start-ups in the country
over the last decade or so. The number was 48,000 in 2015, as compared to 22,000 in 2003.
And with recent developments where the authorities have extended more support to start-ups
in terms of funding and talent, this number is bound to increase even further, adding to
Singapore’ reputation as a regional hub for start-ups.

So if you have decided to be a part of the city-state’s vibrant startup ecosystem and
incorporate a company in Singapore, below is the exhaustive list of all the governmental
support you can receive here.

1) Startup SG
The platform provided by the said initiative caters to every possible permutation of a start-up
ecosystem, and is categorised under six different pillars:

Startup SG Founder
It provides mentorship and start-up capital grant to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative
business ideas. Under this, SPRING, which matches $3 for every $1 raised by the
entrepreneur, has appointed Accredited Mentor Partners (AMP) whose job is to identify
qualifying applicants based on the uniqueness of business concept, the feasibility of business
model, strength of management team, and potential market value.

Startup SG Tech
It is aimed at providing early-stage funding to companies for the commercialisation of
proprietary technology and includes both Proof-of-Concept (POC) and Proof-of-Value (POV)
grants depending on the technology’s developmental stage. Do note that this is a competitive
grant, which tech start-ups can use to fast-track the development of their proprietary solutions
and generate a scalable business model.

Startup SG Equity
This scheme – where the Singapore Government co-invests in a start-up along with third
party investors – is aimed at encouraging and stimulating private-sector investments into
innovative, Singapore-based technology start-ups with intellectual property and global market
potential. With regard to the co-investment ratio with third party investors, it is 7:3 up to
$250,000, and 1:1 thereafter up to the investment cap of $2 million for general tech
companies. The figures for deep tech companies are 7:3 up to $500,000, and 1:1 thereafter up
to the investment cap of $4 million. But the Government only co-invests if the interested third
party individual or corporate investors are prepared to invest at least $50,000 each, and are
able to contribute to the start-up’s growth via management experience, relevant business
contacts and necessary technical expertise.

Importantly, this pillar of Startup SG is managed by SPRING SEEDS Capital (SSC), which is
the investment arm of SPRING Singapore. It co-invests with independent investors in
commercially-viable Singapore-based start-ups with innovative and strong intellectual
content that are scalable across international markets.

SSC has already pledged up to $100 million to groom high potential Singapore-based deep
technology start-ups and is calling for co-investment partners in the domain areas of
Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), as well as Health and Biomedical

Startup SG Accelerator
This scheme provides funding and non-financial support to incubators and accelerators
working in strategic growth sectors to further enhance their programs and expertise in
nurturing successful start-ups. The funding support includes partial operating expenses such
as salaries of the incubation team, hiring of mentors and experts to guide start-ups, and
expenses in developing programmes to help start-ups develop new products and services,
obtain business financing, and improve market access.

Startup SG Talent
This pillar includes schemes such as EntrePass, T-UP and SME Talent Programme (STP) for
Start-ups. EntrePass is a work pass scheme to facilitate the entry and stay of global
entrepreneurial talent in Singapore, which can complement the country’s local skill-sets and
contribute to a more vibrant high tech start-up ecosystem. T-UP or Technology for Enterprise
Capability Upgrading – is aimed at helping businesses build in-house R&D capabilities by
accessing the pool of talent from A*STAR’s Research Institutes. It subsidises up to 70 percent
of the secondment costs of research scientists and engineers for a period of up to 2 years.
SME Talent Programme (STP) for Start-ups is run by Action Community for
Entrepreneurship (ACE), where it provides 70 percent subsidy in stipends paid to interns, and
in turn, assists start-ups in building their human capital development capabilities.

Startup SG Loan
While offered through participating financial institutions, these are Government-backed
loans, which provide start-ups with much-needed working capital, equipment/factory
financing and trade financing. These include SME Micro Loans – for companies with 10 or
less employees, which can access working capital financing of up to S$100,000 to support
their day-to-day business operations; SME Venture Loan – for high-growth companies, which
can access alternative financing of up to S$5,000,000 for the purpose of business expansion;
SME Working Capital Loan – in place between June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019, start-ups can
access unsecured working capital financing of up to S$300,000 to support their day-to-day
business operations; and SME Equipment and Factory Loans – start-ups can access financing
of up to S$15 million to purchase equipment, machines or selected factory properties.
While Startup SG is the “umbrella” covering all-you-need-to-know about start-up
incorporation advantages in Singapore, there are few additional not-widely-known benefits as
well, which are listed below.

Related Article: 6 Startup SG Pillars You Have To Know

2) Angel Investors Tax Deduction (AITD) scheme

The AITD is for suitable and approved angel investors who commit a minimum of $100,000
in a qualifying startup. The angel enjoys a tax deduction of 50 percent of the investment at
the end of a two-year holding period. Do note that for each year, the eligible investments will
be subject to a cap of $500,000, and the corresponding maximum tax deduction will be

3) Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI)

The FSTI scheme is launched by the Momentary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide
support for the creation of a vibrant ecosystem for innovation, under which the Authority has
committed S$225 million over a five-year period. The scheme is to attract financial
institutions to set up their innovation labs in Singapore, support the building of industry-wide
technology infrastructure, as well as catalyse the development of innovation solutions.

Under FSTI, there is a sub-scheme called FSTI-Proof of Concept (POC). Under this, MAS
provides funding support of up to 50-70 percent of qualifying costs, up to a maximum of
$200,000, for up to 18 months. This support is available to Singapore-based Financial
Institutions (FIs), as well as technology or solution providers working with Singapore-based
FIs for the early stage development of innovative solutions to financial industry problems.

4) Capabilities Development Grant (CDG)

This is a financial assistance programme designed to help start-ups/ SMEs build their
capabilities across 10 key business areas. Companies can use the scheme to subsidise up to 70
percent of qualifying project costs including consultancy, training, certification, equipment
and software costs. These initiatives must lead to increasing productivity, process
improvement, product development, human capital development, business model
transformation, and better market access.

5) Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC)

Information below is for reference only. Kindly note that PIC Scheme has expired as at YA


PIC is an initiative under the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, which allows
businesses to enjoy 400 percent tax deductions up to $400,000 or 60 percent cash pay-out up
to $100,000, for investments in innovation and productivity improvements. The six activities
covered under PIC include R&D, registration of IP, acquisition and in-licensing of IP,
acquisition or leasing of prescribed automation equipment, training of employees, and
approved design projects.

Related Article: Singapore productivity and innovation credit pic scheme

6) Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV)

This is a simple to apply, easy-to-use voucher valued at $5,000, to encourage start-ups/ SMEs
to develop their business capabilities. Companies can use the voucher to upgrade and
strengthen their core business operations through consultancy in the areas of innovation,
productivity, human resources and financial management. Each start-up/ SME is entitled to a
maximum of eight vouchers, and the duration for each project should not exceed six months.

7) Early Stage Venture Fund (ESVF)

ESVF is an initiative under the National Framework for Innovation and Enterprise. Through
ESVF, NRF invests $10 million on a matching basis, to seed corporate venture capital (VC)
funds that invest in Singapore-based early stage high-tech companies. Notably, the VC has
the option to buy out NRF’s share of the fund within five years by returning NRF’s capital
with interest.

8) Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

The BIF is open to all Singapore-registered businesses/companies embarking on projects with

a clear tourism focus, and is thus run by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). It aims to
encourage technology innovation and adoption, redesign of business model and processes in
the tourism sector to improve productivity and competitiveness. Funding support is awarded
based on STB’s evaluation of the scope and merits of the project. While successful SME
applicants receive funding support of up to 70 percent of qualifying costs, non-SME
applicants receive funding support of up to 50 percent of qualifying costs.

9) Building Information Model (BIM) Fund

This fund, under which companies can apply for up to $30,000 funding, is to encourage wider
adoption of BIM collaboration among the built environment industry firms by subsiding part
of the cost incurred in training, consultancy, software or hardware.

Finally, if you are a Singapore-registered company and are stepping into a new market or
deepening your presence in an existing one, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore offers a
suite of assistance programmes. These are listed below.

10) Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)

Companies expanding overseas can enjoy tax savings with DTDi, which provides 200
percent tax deduction on eligible expenses for supported market expansion and investment
development activities.

11) Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

Also, available is the MRA grant of up to 70 percent of eligible third-party costs, which cover
activities such as overseas market set-up, identification of business partners, and overseas
market promotion.
12) Global Company Partnership Grant

The GCP Grant helps companies defray eligible costs of their overseas expansion projects in
capability building, market access and manpower development.

13) International Marketing Activities Programme (iMap)

iMAP supports overseas business missions and Singapore Pavilions at international trade
fairs. Companies who are participating in iMAP approved activities will receive support of up
to 50 – 70 percent of eligible core expenses such as rental of exhibition space, booth
construction cost and fair/mission consultancy expenses.
Closing Note
The above is just a brief overview of all the assistance start-ups get when they incorporate in
Singapore. Additional benefits available to all companies in Singapore include low corporate
tax rates, tight intellectual property rights regime, skilled manpower, and good connectivity to
emerging markets of Asia.

Suffice to say, if you want to build your dream company, Singapore is the place to be.

And when you decide to do so, just note that SCI’s expertise in Singapore company
incorporation is unmatched. There is a reason we have helped establish over 10,000 business
entities in the last two decades of operations – choose us to be your corporate services

Get funding on capability upgrading

initiatives such as process improvement
and product development.

Budget 2019 Overview

Budget 2019 introduces new measures and initiatives to support enterprise
capability building, groom a pipeline of global-ready talent, as well strengthen our
business ecosystem for local enterprises to find success.

Building Information Model (BIM) Fund

Apply for up to S$30,000 funding to build up your company's BIM collaboration
capability to improve productivity in managing building projects.

Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

Improve your business’ productivity and competitiveness and get up to 70% funding

Career Support Programme (CSP)

Wage support to encourage employers to hire eligible Singapore
citizen Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) and tap on their
experience and transferable skills.

Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme Plus

To build a strong core of specialised Singaporean ICT professionals with Smart Nation
capabilities, CITREP+ is now expanded to support entry-level professionals to build
specialised ICT skills through broad-based training and certifications.
Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F)
This grant supports industrial companies in their efforts to lower their facility's
operating costs through energy efficiency.

Enhanced Training Support for SMEs

Enhanced Training Support for SMEs is a scheme aimed at encouraging small and
medium enterprises (SMEs) to send employees for training and skills upgrading.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) NEW

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) helps Singapore companies grow and
transform and also supports projects that help you upgrade your business, innovate
or venture overseas.

International Marketing Activities Programme (iMAP)

Trade Association & Chambers can tap iMAP to bring SMEs on board overseas
missions and trade fairs to access more markets.

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

Taking your business overseas for the first time? Get up to 70% of support on eligible
costs with the MRA Grant.

Mechanisation Credit (MechC) Scheme

Raise builders’ construction productivity through technology adoption.

Operation & Technology Roadmapping (OTR)

Want to maximise returns from your investments in technology? Get a grant for
expert help from A*STAR to create a technology roadmap.

Productivity Innovation Project (PIP) Scheme

Operate your business more efficiently by re-engineering your work processes and
adopting labour-efficient technologies.

Productivity-Max (P-Max) Programme

The Productivity-Max (P-Max) programme helps small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) better recruit and retain Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

Companies keen to improve productivity by adopting technology solutions can now
tap this simplified grant.

Revitalisation of Shops (ROS) Scheme

Supports efforts across Merchant Associations (MAs) to enhance vibrancy and
competitiveness among HDB retailers.
SMEs Go Digital
Help SMEs build stronger digital capabilities to seize the opportunities for growth in
the digital economy.

SME Talent Programme (STP)

Engage and attract local talent from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs),
polytechnics and universities through quality internships.

Talent Assistance
Helps media professionals to upgrade, upskill and secure work attachment

Tech Access Initiative NEW

Access to A*STAR’s installed base of advanced manufacturing equipment and

facilities, as well as technical expertise.

Technology Adoption Programme (TAP)

Helps to improve the accessibility to technology for small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) to enhance their productivity and innovation.

Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-UP)

Access the pool of talent from A*STAR’s Research Institutes and build in-house R&D
capabilities in your business operations.

Training@Maritime Singapore
Upgrade knowledge and expertise of local maritime personnel through attending
approved training programmes under the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF).

Training Industry Professionals In Tourism (TIP-iT)

Is your business in the tourism industry? Get a grant to send your staff for upgrading
as well as talent and leadership development.

Workforce Training & Upgrading (WTU)

Get funding support when you apply for training courses and assessment offered by
the BCA Academy or any Approved Training and Testing Centres (ATTCs) by the
Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Encourage employers to implement progressive employment practices to benefit
Singaporeans through job redesign, age management practices and flexible work