We all love government grants. But for a new business owner it can be daunting to navigate through the world of ACE’s, A*STAR’s, IDA’s, NRF’s, and SPRING’s world of acronyms.

Here are some of the most popular and widely-used government grants for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, as well as a short description on how they can apply to you:


  1. Talent from local institutions through STP

The SME Talent Programme (STP) lets you offer internships, sponsorships and training programmes to local students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITEs), polytechnics and universities.

One perk from the STP is funding of up to 70 percent of the monthly internship stipend you pay when you employ an intern. You will also get to enjoy similar funding if you choose to sponsor a student’s school fees, in exchange for an employment bond of up to two years.


  1. WDA’s enhanced training for SME employees

The Workforce Development Agency (WDA) subsidises or funds up to 90 percent in course fees and academic programmes when you send your employees for training. In addition to funding for higher course fees, companies can also claim absentee payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary at a cap.

The Enhanced Training Support for SMEs covers more than 8,000 certifiable courses supported by WDA and academic Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses offered by local institutions.


  1. Tap on qualified business advisors with the BAP

The Business Advisors’ Programme (BAP) matches business advisors to your SME and provides funding for projects. Under BAP, SPRING co-funds 70 percent of the full project costs (i.e. the fees paid to the business advisor), while SMEs only have to pay upfront 30 per cent of the full project cost and a small administrative fee.


  1. Funding support via WorkPro for age-friendly workplaces

You can apply for grants via WorkPro if you implement work-life measures, redesign jobs, improve workplace practices, or place employees on flexible work arrangements.

For example, if you employ at least five mature workers (aged 40 years and above), implement two out of six age management practices, and attend compulsory training in age management, you may qualify for an Age Management Grant of up to S$20,000.


  1. Tax allowances and cash payouts under the PIC scheme

Budget 2016 announced a reduction in the cash payout option under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme. This means that startups and SMEs have up to 31 July 2016 to purchase qualifying equipment and services, and file claims under PIC. The cash payout conversion rate will be reduced to 40 percent as of 1 August 2016.

Note: In order to be eligible for the cash payout option, the company must have least three local employees. Sole-proprietors, partners under contract for service and shareholders who are directors of the company do not contribute to the three-local-employee condition.


  1. S$5,000 via ICV for consultancy projects and integrated solutions

Innovation and Capability Vouchers (ICV) aim to encourage capability development in SMEs. Each ICV is valued at S$5,000 for startups and SMEs to use when procuring approved consultancy services in relation to innovation, productivity, human resources, and financial management. Similar support is also available when you engage the services of pre-qualified Integrated Solution Providers (ISPs).


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