Government Funding and Grants Every Singaporean Entrepreneur Needs to Know (in 2023)

According to U.S. News & World Report, Singapore is the third most entrepreneurial country in the world (#19 best country overall), trailing only the United States and China. And it’s not hard to see why: Singapore is a country that values innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. 

The government does its part to support entrepreneurs and businesses, too. They have been actively introducing grants and funding initiatives to help small businesses grow.

From grants and subsidies to funding and tax incentives, there are plenty of options for businesses looking to get a leg up in Singapore.

The government is so eager to help that it almost feels like they’re giving away free money.

So if you’ve got a big idea and want to make it happen, why not look into some government funding and grants?

We’ve prepared a line-up of the most popular Singapore government funding and grants that you can take advantage of:

Funding and Capital Support

#1. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Type: Subsidy

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) was designed to help support projects that help businesses grow, innovate, upgrade, and transform their business processes. 

It’s meant to help companies in Singapore build internal capabilities in three core areas, along with their corresponding sub-areas:

  • Core Capabilities: These include Strategic Branding and Marketing Strategy, Human Capital Development, Business Strategy Development, Financial Management through third-party consultants, and Service Excellence

Let’s break down each of these sub-areas:

    • Strategic Branding and Marketing Strategy:  Want to refresh your brand’s image? Are you looking to develop a powerful market strategy? EDG can help.
  • Human Capital Development: Need an expert on your team but don’t have the funds to hire one? The EDG was designed to help companies hire, attract, train, and retain the best talent.
    • Business Strategy Development: If your business plans to embark on a project to enhance its long-term sustainability, internal management systems, and competitiveness, ED can help bring your plans to life. 
  • Service Excellence: Time-consuming processes are a common problem for SMEs. EDG can help you streamline operation processes with customised solutions, making things easier and faster for everyone involved.
  • Financial Management: Preparing for the next stage of corporate growth? You can use EDG to get professional advice on financial management and gain access to funds to help you scale up quickly. 
  • Innovation and Production: These Include Process Redesign, Product Development, and Automation Projects.
  • Process Redesign: Looking to diagnose and improve your current business operations? Maybe you want to streamline your workflow, create new processes, digitalise some of your operations, or improve customer service. The EDG can help you get the resources necessary to bring your plans to life.
  • Product Development: Need help creating a new product? EDG can provide the funds and resources needed for research, design, development, and prototyping.
  • Automation Projects: Are you looking to automate your processes? You can leverage EDG to help you scale up your automation project quickly and efficiently.
  • Market Access: These include Overseas Marketing Presence, Standard Adoption, Merger and Acquisition, Pilot Project, and Test Bedding.
  • Overseas Marketing Presence: Ready to take your business global? EDG can help you fund overseas marketing campaigns and projects, making reaching a wider audience easier. 
  • Standards Adoption: Keeping up with the times can be hard. You can use the EDG grant to raise the standards of your products and services, keeping them up to date with industry trends. 
  • Merger and Acquisition: Are you looking for an easier way to grow your business? Merging or acquiring another business can be a great way to do that. EDG can provide the resources and funds necessary to make the process smoother. 
  • Pilot Project: Want your business to stand out in a crowded market? Why not start a pilot project? EDG can help you fund project research, development, and marketing. 
  • Test Bedding: Test bedding is the process of testing a new product or service on a small group of customers. Use EDG to fund test-bedding and get valuable feedback from real customers.

Eligible companies can receive up to 80% subsidy for the cost of selected projects. From 1st April 2023, SMEs can only receive up to 50% subsidy, although sustainability-related projects are still eligible for up to 70% until 31st March 2026. 

The Eligibility Criteria for EDG Singapore Funding

  • The business entity must be registered/incorporated in Singapore.
  • Must have at least 30% local equity ownership (30% of the business must be owned by Singaporean Citizens/PR)
  • Must be financially viable to complete the project (i.e., have the positive cash flow to carry out the project).

You can apply for the EDG grant here.

Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Type: Funding/Grant

Purpose: Help businesses in Singapore to grow by providing financing support for eligible projects. 

The EFS is an umbrella scheme designed to help companies access financing in a timely and affordable manner throughout the different stages of their business growth.

The scheme covers even key areas of enterprises’ growth:

  • EFS Green: is targeted at project developers, technology and solution enablers, and system integrators keen to pursue green energy projects. It covers projects and solutions that aim to reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource use and promote the use of clean energy.
  • SME Working Capital Loan: aimed at businesses that need short-term working capital to cover immediate business needs such as salaries, operating expenses, and purchase of raw materials.
  • SME Fixed Assets Loans: The funding targets businesses that must purchase fixed assets for their operations. These could include capital purchases such as buildings, vehicles, and machinery.
  • Venture Debt Loan: aimed at companies in their growth stages and requiring additional working capital to expand their business.
  • Trade Loan: Businesses can use this loan scheme to finance their inventory. 
  • Project Loan: The funding is meant to finance the costs of specific projects, such as research and development, overseas expansion, and IT-related projects. 
  • Merger & Acquisition Loans: The loans help businesses finance corporate restructuring activities such as merging, acquiring, or divesting another business.

During Singapore’s 2023 budget, the following updates were announced:

  • The EFS will be extended to March 31, 2024
  • The Energy Efficient Grant was extended to March 31, 2024
  • Merger and Acquisition(M&A) loans also expanded to include domestic activities from April 1st 2022 to March 31st 2026

Eligibility Criteria for the EFS

  • The business entity must be registered/incorporated and physically present in Singapore
  • Must have at least 30% local equity ownership (30% of the business must be owned by Singaporean citizens or PR) 
  • The annual group sales turnover must not exceed S$500 million

You can learn more about the EFS here.

Business Improvement Fund

Agency: Singapore Tourism Board

Type: Funding

Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

Agency: Singapore Tourism Board

Type: Funding

The tourism industry faced significant disruptions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help businesses stay afloat and be prepared for future crises, the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) was launched. The funding scheme aims to help tourism-related businesses adopt technologies, services, and systems to adapt to the changing landscape.

The BIF’s support level tends to vary depending on the size of the business.

SMEs can receive up to 70% funding, while non-SME applicants are only eligible for up to 50% funding support. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • A tourism company taking on a capability development initiative
  • A technology company creating innovative technology products and services for tourism businesses
  • It must be aligned with EDG’s core pillars: — Digital Solutions, Productivity, and Innovation

Click here to find out more about the BIF.

Innovation, R&D, and Capability Development Incentives (IRCDI)

Agency: Economic Development Board

Type: Scheme

Purpose: To help companies expand the scope of their business operations in Singapore.

The Innovation, R&D, and Capability Development Incentives (IRCDI) scheme provides funding to help businesses develop new technologies and products and scale up their capabilities. It also helps businesses fund research projects to develop new solutions for solving industry-wide challenges.

The IRCDI scheme consists of three main components:

#1. Special Situation Funds for Startups (SSFS): The SSFS was introduced in 2021 to provide time-limited funding support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDBI is in charge of administering it, which aids startups in weathering the storm and continuing their R&D initiatives.

#2. Pioneer Certificate Incentive (PCI) and Development & Expansion Incentive (DEI): These two incentives provide funding to businesses looking to expand their operations in Singapore.

It aims to stimulate businesses that carry out regional or global headquarters operations to grow their capabilities and conduct new or expanded research and development activities. 

#3. Aircraft Leasing Scheme: The ALS provides financing support to help businesses develop aircraft leasing capabilities or grow their existing capabilities. 

#4. Finance and Treasury Centre: The F&T Centre helps businesses establish and expand their regional financial and treasury capabilities. 

To learn more about the IRDCI scheme, click here.

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Agency: Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Type: Subsidy

Purpose: To help businesses take their businesses overseas and expand into new markets.

The MRA grant provides funding to help businesses with overseas expansion. It allows companies to cover costs such as market research, market entry strategy, and business development activities. The fund also enables companies to build capabilities to grow in overseas markets. 

Before March 31, 2023, eligible companies can receive up to 70% funding support for overseas business expansion activities.

However, as of April 1, 2023, the funding support was reduced to up to 50% of qualifying expenses. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The business entity must be registered and operate in Singapore. 
  • The annual group revenue must be S$100 million or less.  
  • The group’s employment size must not exceed 200 employees.
  • The company must have at least 30% local shareholding.

For more information about the MRA grant, click here.

Startup SG Equity Programme

Agency: Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Type: Funding

Purpose: The government co-invests with independent, qualified, third-party investors in high-growth innovative companies.

The Startup SG Equity Programme (SSEP) provides funding to startups and early-stage companies in Singapore. The SSEP is designed to help innovative and high-growth startups attract more venture capital investments.

Under the program, the government co-invests in the ratio of 7:3 (up to S$250K cash injection) alongside independent and qualified third-party investors in the company. 

For up to S$2 million invested in the company, the government will require a 1:1 match and a minimum investment of S$500K.

For tech investments, the co-investment ratio of 7:3 (the government provides 7, and the investor provides 3) will apply to investments of up to S$500K. The 1:1 ratio will apply for investments of up to S$4 million.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Singapore-based companies and startups with their core operations carried out within Singapore. 
  • The company must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000. 
  • The company must be at an early-stage or pre-series A funding level. There should not be any existing government grants received.
  • The company shouldn’t be a subsidiary or joint venture of another company. 
  • The company must have an innovative idea and a clear expansion plan with the ability to scale up.
  • Must have identified a ready, independent, and qualified investor. 
  • The business shouldn’t be involved in gambling, tobacco-related companies, or activities deemed inappropriate by Enterprise Singapore. 
  • The company must be able to prove substantial innovative and intellectual property rights, such as Proof of Concept (PoC), Patents, Copyrights, etc. 
  • The company must commit to good corporate governance and financial discipline.
  • The company must have high-growth potential with straightforward scalability for international market expansion.
  •  The company must have the potential to create quality jobs and contribute positively to Singapore’s economy.

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

Agency: Enterprise Singapore (ES)

Type: Subsidy 

Purpose: To provide support for businesses to adopt pre-scoped IT solutions and equipment to enhance their productivity

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) provides funding for businesses to adopt pre-scoped IT solutions and equipment to enhance their productivity. 

This grant is managed by Enterprise Singapore (ES) to support the adoption of solutions that cut across boundaries in areas such as data analytics, customer management, inventory tracking, finance, and human resources. 

Under the PSG, businesses can receive up to 70% funding for pre-approved solutions, subject to the type of solution and size of the business. The maximum funding cap is S$30,000 for each solution and S$100,000 in total for each business.

Eligibility Criteria

For businesses to be eligible for the PSG, they must: 

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore. 
  • Have at least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporeans or Permanent Residents (PRs). 
  • Have a group sales turnover of not more than S$500 million or a group employment size of over 200 employees. 

Please visit Enterprise Singapore’s website for more information on the grant and eligibility criteria.

Venture for Good (VFG) Grant

Agency: Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE)

Type: Subsidy 

Purpose: To help social enterprises with funding to kickstart, grow and scale their businesses.

Venture for Good (VFG) Grant

Agency: Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE)

Type: Subsidy 

Purpose: To help social enterprises with funding to kickstart, grow and scale their businesses. 

The Venture for Good (VFG) grant was created to help social enterprises kickstart, grow, and scale their businesses. Managed by raiSE, the grant provides funding to support pre-approved social enterprise projects. 

Under the VFG grant, businesses can receive up to S$300K in grants and funding support. The grant is also open to individuals and organisations looking to start a social enterprise in Singapore.

Eligibility Criteria

Individuals or organisations must: 

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore. 
  • The social enterprise must address a local social gap/need in one or more of the provided outcomes areas. 
  • Some eligible areas for the grant include employment opportunities, bridging a social gap (in caregiving and mental health), and poverty alleviation. 

For more information on the grant and eligibility criteria, please visit raiSE’s website.

Support for Hiring and Workforce

Career Trial Programme

Agency: Workforce Singapore (WSG)

Type: Subsidy 

Purpose: To help employers hire and retain suitable workers.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) manages the Career Trial Program. The goal is to help employers hire and retain Singaporean workers. The programme provides wage subsidies for employers to subsidise the wages of eligible local job seekers for a 6-month career trial period.  

Under the Career Trial Programme, employers can receive up to S$5,400 of wage subsidies for each eligible job seeker.

Eligibility Criteria

Employers must: 

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore (registered with ACRA and with a Unique Entity Number). 
  • Be Actively hiring and/or willing to hire local job seekers, paying S$1500 for full-time or S$750 for part-time. 
  • Commit to providing suitable and meaningful job placements for job seekers.

Salary Support for employers includes:

  • 30% subsidy of the local job seeker’s gross monthly wages, capped at  S$5,400 (6 months). 
  • S$2700 per hire for part-time employees for employers who hire unemployed Singaporeans who have been actively job-seeking for six months or more

Please visit Workforce Singapore’s website for more information on the grant and eligibility criteria.

Job Growth Incentive

Agency: IRAS

Type: Salary Subsidy 

Purpose: To promote job creation and upskilling. 

IRAS manages the Job Growth Incentive to promote job creation and upskilling in Singapore.

The programme provides wage subsidies for employers to subsidise the wages of local employees who are new hires or newly promoted and/or given higher-skill roles. 

It supports local workers or PR through substantial salary support in phased payouts.

The phases of the JGI incentive are: 

  • Phase 1: From September 2020 to February 2021 -> 25% salary support for the first S$5,000 for businesses that hire eligible Singaporeans or PRs.
  • Phase 2: From March 2021 to September 2021 -> 25% salary support for the first S$5,000 for businesses that hire eligible Singaporeans or PRs.
  • Phase 3: From October 2021 to March 2022 -> 15% salary support for the first S$5,000 for businesses that hire eligible Singaporeans or PRs.
  • Phase 4: From April 2022 to September 2022 -> recently extended during the 2022 budget

Eligibility Criteria

Businesses must: 

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore (registered with ACRA and with a Unique Entity Number).
  • Increase in the overall headcount or hiring new employees
  • Be Actively hiring and/or willing to hire Singaporeans or PRs 
  • For more information on the grant and eligibility criteria
  • Increase in gross salary for existing employees at least S$1,400/month

Click here for more details.

Job Support Scheme (JSS)

Agency: IRAS 

Type: Scheme

Purpose: To provide wage support for employers hiring local workers. 

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was introduced by IRAS to provide wage support for employers hiring local workers. It aims to help employers retain their employees and defray the cost of wages during periods of economic uncertainty. 

The Job Support Scheme provides wage support for Singaporean and PR employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$4,600. The government subsidises 50% of the first S$4,600 wages paid to each local employee. 

Eligibility Criteria

Businesses must:

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore (registered with ACRA and with a Unique Entity Number).
  • Be actively hiring and willing to hire local job seekers and pay up to S$4,600 for their wages.

Please visit the IRAS website for more information on the grant and eligibility criteria. 

Support for Digital Solutions

Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS)

Agency:  IMDA

Type: Funding

Purpose: To support businesses in their digital transformation journey.

Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) provides funding support for businesses to adopt digital solutions and services. The grant covers up to 70% of the total qualifying costs.

Here are some of the qualifying costs:

  • Hardware and software costs
  • Cybersecurity
  • Project management
  • Infrastructure and connectivity
  • Integration and development

Eligibility Criteria

Businesses must:

  • Be registered, incorporated or set up in Singapore 
  • Be able to demonstrate a commitment to digital transformation and innovation. 
  • Have at least 30% local shareholding (for companies)
  • Have an annual group turnover of not more than S$100 million or an employment size of not more than 200 employees. 

For more information on the grant and eligibility criteria, please visit the IMDA website.

Grow Digital

Agency:  IMDA

Type: Funding

Purpose: To help SMEs go digital and grow internationally.

The Grow Digital grant provides financial support of up to 50% for SMEs looking to go digital. The grant covers costs related to the purchase, subscription, and/or implementation of digital solutions and services that enable businesses to transform their processes digitally. The grant applies to all sectors, including hospitality, retail, professional services, and manufacturing. In conjunction, there is the PSG grant. See one of the PSG digital marketing grant vendors here.

Eligibility Criteria

Businesses must:

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore (registered with ACRA and with a Unique Entity Number). 
  • Have an annual group turnover of not more than S$100 million or an employment size of not more than 200 employees. 
  • Have a minimal local shareholding of 30%. 
  • Be able to demonstrate a commitment to digital transformation and innovation. 

For more information on the grant and eligibility criteria, please visit the IMDA website.