The government has taken initiatives to provide grants on various schemes to SMEs to promote innovation, globalization, digitization, automation and productivity improvements.


The government has taken initiatives to provide grants on various schemes to SMEs to promote innovation, globalization, digitization, automation and productivity improvements. The government departments namely Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), InfoComm Development Authority (IDA) have jointly provided various schemes to promote the above objectives.

SME centers attached to all the trade associations, with the help and support from the government, extend the above grants to reach all the SMEs in Singapore. You can also visit the above mentioned government departments’ websites to understand in detail the various schemes and the grants available. First we look into the definition of SME in Singapore.

1.1. Definition of SME

The Companies which are incorporated in Singapore enjoy all the tax benefits and incentives offered. When it comes to Enterprise Singapore, Government grants and incentives are concerned, the Company should be a SME to enjoy the benefit.
The definition of SME is as follows:

  1. Registered and operating in Singapore
  2. Having minimum 30% local shareholding (Singapore citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents) AND
  3. (i) Company’s group annual sales turnover not more than SGD 100 Million OR 
(ii) Company’s group employment size not more than 200 staff.

Company’s Group comprises:
Its direct and indirect [1] holding company [2], traced to the ultimate holding company

[3] and its direct and indirect subsidiaries [4].

[1] – Indirect shareholding refers to the shareholding that is held through another corporation.

  • [2]  – Refers to the corporation which holds >50% shareholding of the company.
  • [3]  – Refers to the holding company which is not itself a subsidiary of any corporation.
  • [4]  – Refers to the corporation with >50% of its shareholding held by the company.

1.1.1. SMEs to get more help on remote working solutions healthcare and education sectors

Those in healthcare, education sectors can get subsidies of upto 80% for adopting approved digital solutions from the productivity solutions grant. The scheme will run until 31st Dec 2020 under IDA and ESG.

1.1.1. SMEs to get more help on remote working solutions healthcare and education sectors

(Cont’ d)

The available solutions include platforms which let healthcare providers conduct video consultations and organize delivering of medicine to patients and leaving management systems which facilitate the creation and delivering of online content. Eligible SMEs that want to adopt to these solutions can apply for subsidies at

1.1.2. $6M Grant to support Singapore FinTech Firms

MAS, FAS and investment banking firm AMTD have jointly initiated the grant. There are 2 components to the grant and application will open on 18th May 2020 and close on 31st Dec 2021. The first is a business sustenance grant for eligible firms to get upto $20,000 to pay for salaries, rent and daily capital expenditure for the short term. The second is business growth grant which will hand out $40,000 for firm that show proof of concept which demonstrates a plan is workable with financial institutions on the API exchange (APIX) platform. With each subsequent proof of concept a firm will get $10,000 capped at $80,000.

1.2. Temporary Bridging Loan Programme

The temporary bridging loan programme will be available for enterprises across all sectors from April 1. Businesses can take a loan of up to $5 million under the programme, an increase from the previous $ 1 million cap. All eligible enterprises can apply for the programme till March 31 next year.

1.3. SME Working Capital Loan

The SME Working Capital Loan, helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in all industries access financing for cash flow. The maximum loan quantum has been raised to $1 million, up from the $600,000 cap.

The Government will work with participating financial institutions to defer principal payments for one year on loans under these two schemes, if businesses ask for it.

1.4. Enterprise Financing Scheme

The Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan, which supports enterprises in areas like the financing of short-term import and export needs, will be enhanced for one year from April 1. The maximum loan quantum is doubled to $10 million and the Government’s risk- share has been increased to 90 per cent (from 8 April 2020 till 31 Mar 2021, under the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, Enterprise Financing Scheme – Working Capital Loan, and Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan). The interest rates for loans taken under the programmes are subject to assessments by participating financial institutions. Monetary Authority of Singapore is working with banks and insurers to see how they can help businesses and individuals facing cash flow problems with their loan obligations and insurance premium payments. Details will be announced by the central bank and the industry at a later date.

1.5. Making Companies/Firms more resilient

  • Up to 80% of the cost of investing in technology like automation will be covered for firms under the productivity solutions grant.
  • Up to 90% under the enterprise development grant, which help firms upgrade, innovate or venture overseas. 
These two enhancements will last till the end of the year.

1.6. SME retailers to start selling online (E-Commerce Booster Package)

  • The E-Commerce Booster Package was launched to help small and medium- sized enterprise (SME) retailers which are new to, or have little experience in, e- commerce to diversify their revenue streams beyond the traditional bricks-and- mortar model.
  • Retailers can sign up with one of four e-commerce platforms – Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 or Shopee – and have 90 per cent of qualifying costs waived.
  • The one-time support is capped at $9,000 and the e-commerce platforms will offset their fees directly.
  • Qualifying costs refer to the services provided by the platforms, including content development services, product listing and advertising.
  • The platform providers will work with retailers to curate and list products for up to six months, participate in promotional campaigns, fulfil orders and analyse sales data.
  • Those looking to expand their reach overseas can also tap ESG’s existing Multichannel E- 
Commerce Platform Programme and list their products on overseas marketplaces with 
more qualifying costs covered.
  • The ESG booster package will also help SME retailers with their manpower costs. It will 
support 90 per cent of the salary costs of three of their employees for three months.
  • New hires and existing employees who are Singaporeans and permanent residents can
  • Retailers can sign up for the E-Commerce Booster Package directly with the e- commerce

platforms and solutions providers from now until Sept 30.

1.7.  Work-Life grant 
Work life grant to help firms implement work from home and staggered hours arrangements. Companies can get $2,000/- per worker on daily work from home arrangement for at least a month with a cap of $70,000/- (up to 35 employees you can apply).

1.8.  Self-employment person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) 
People eligible for SIRS will receive 3 quarterly payouts of $3,000 each with the next two payments in July and Oct 2020. People who do not receive a notification by the end of May 2020 are not automatically eligible and should submit their applications to NTUC. You will get a reply from NTUC within one month and will receive all 3 payments.

1.9.  TR76 – E-commerce transactions – National Standard 
The launch of the new standard Technical Reference 76 (TR 76) will help built trust and transparency in online transactions (Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Standard Council – both developed it). Businesses can use the guidelines as check list to develop e-commerce policies and communicate clearly to the customers. The guidelines include details on what information merchants need to state regarding their products or services, return and refund policies, as well as payment and shipping policies.

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