In focus: Schemes & grants for entrepreneurs in Singapore
Entrepreneurship is rather common in Singapore. In fact, it has a unique connection to ‘entrepreneurship’. The Singaporeans take immense pride in the fact that the country was built on entrepreneurial ideas that steered the way to make it grow into a financial & commercial hub. Reports point out that around 7% of the country’s population takes part in entrepreneurial activity and that they are amongst the top countries in the world in terms of investing in businesses. Over 45,000 businesses were registered in Singapore In the last year – which works out to about 1 per 100 people.
Singapore’s push for entrepreneurship sees many new entrepreneurs setting foot into the business market every year. This typically means there are huge opportunities to invest money in new businesses, which is relevant for startups, since not all start-ups can source funds easily.
An interesting fact emerged out of the research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute increasing gender equality in Singapore’s workforce could add S$26 billion to the country’s GDP by 2025.
Empowering women is key to unlocking Singapore’s economic potential. The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs perceives plenty of opportunities for women in Singapore to succeed, but challenges remain too.
Here are some schemes and incentives that women entrepreneurs can avail of, in Singapore.
> Start-Up Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS)
The Singapore government works actively with angel investors and start-ups on programs such as the Start-Up Enterprise Development Scheme (SEEDS). For a fact, this was the first to promote entrepreneurship in Singapore and has been active for decades.
Besides, this scheme has helped launch many businesses in Singapore – both to start & grow business and even expand business further. Often, when banks do not work out, then for new businesses this opens the market to venture capitalists and angel investors. Many local entrepreneurs have expanded their businesses, not only within Asia, but to the Middle East and Europe too. With a younger entrepreneur base than most countries, many students after completing studies, look out to start a business instead of joining any company.
Due to Singapore’s location and focus on free trade many angel investors looking for business projects to fund, make their way to Singapore – since they understand that the marketplace offers huge opportunity for wealth creation.
> Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network SG-WEN
This platform “brings women entrepreneurs together to collaborate for business growth, influence culture and policy, and to drive industry changes”, said Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in The Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, at the Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network (SG-WEN) 1st Anniversary Event, 2 December 2022.
And that is achieved through the efforts by SG-WEN to drive its four focus areas – first, championing women entrepreneurs; second, knowledge sharing through networking events; third, collaboration with other Groups and Networks, both locally and regionally; and lastly recognizing women entrepreneurs for their achievements. And that is very important because after all they have done and been through the conditions, is key.
The obvious plus points here are – increasing local outreach (SG-WEN has grown its membership to almost 400-strong within the span of one year, which creates an important network for our women entrepreneurs to learn, collaborate and grow through the knowledge and experience of each other) and it provides international exposure as SG-WEN’s outreach is not limited to Singapore, it is also Singapore’s official representative at the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN).
> Singapore government’s range of funding & grants for entrepreneurs
The Singapore government has been actively introducing policies to help support and grow the business landscape. The vast opportunities open up from these wonderful offers. From grants, subisidies, to funding and tax deductions – there are many schemes available. Whether anyone is seeking funding support, subsidies in local hiring, adoption of digital solutions, tax subsidies or angel funding – there’s definitely something in store for everyone!
Some of the options that can be availed are:
> Business Improvement Fund (BIF)
> Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
> Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)
> Innovation, R&D, and Capability Development Incentives
> Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant
> Startup SG Equity Programme
> Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP)
> Trade Loan Scheme
> VentureForGood (VFG) Grant
> Career Trial Programme
> Job Growth Incentive (JGI)
> Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS)
> Grow Digital
> Startup SG Tech
> Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization (DTDi)
> Angel Organizations