Complete list of startup schemes and grants in Singapore

03 Sep 2023
12 mins read
Written by Team Instarem

Singapore is known as one of the best places in the world to start a business not only because it is ranked first for economic freedom but also because it offers a number of startup schemes and grants that can get companies to get off the ground. We will be looking at all of the different startup schemes and grants available in Singapore, as well as how you can apply for them. So if you are thinking about starting a business in Singapore, then this article will be helpful for you! 


Startup SG Founder

Startup SG Founder is one of Singapore’s most popular Startup Schemes. The scheme provides funding for startup companies up to $50,000 SGD and access to several resources and mentorship programmes. 


Startup SG Founder program now offers and includes both of these courses:


The Startup SG Founder “Train” track
  • For entrepreneurs that are ready to start and have viable business plans.
  • Will put through a 3-month venture building program.
  • Will receive a stipend of $1,500 SGD per month through the Venture Building programme’s duration.


The Startup SG Founder “Start” track
  • For entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas 
  • Will be provided with starting capital of $50,000 SGD by Enterprise Singapore. 
  • Will receive support from an Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP) of your own choosing.


Venture Builder and Accredited Mentor Partners (‘VB-AMPs’) were chosen by Enterprise Singapore to provide 3-month Venture Building (VB) courses to Singaporeans on the “Train” track.


It aims to improve and expand upon innovation in a variety of ways: by supporting the search for new ideas, converting these innovative concepts into scalable businesses, raising capital, and obtaining product or solution validation from consumers.


On the other hand, “Start” provides entrepreneurs with a chance to connect with any Enterprise Singapore-appointed Accredited Mentor Partners (AMPs) and share their unique business ideas.


The following factors are taken into account and proposed by these AMPs:

  • Uniqueness of business idea
  • Doability of business model
  • Potential market value
  • Ability of management team


If you’re looking for more general funding, you can also apply for the Startup SG Equity scheme, which provides up to S$500,000 in funding for early-stage startups. The Singapore government puts money into a company in tandem with third-party investors under this program. It aims to encourage and stimulate private-sector investments into innovative, Singapore-based technology startups with intellectual property and international market potential.


Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is a government grant that helps companies in Singapore to grow and transform. The grant supports a wide range of activities, including product development, market expansion, business model transformation, and talent acquisition. Successful applicants can receive up to 80% funding support for eligible costs.


Simply put, this grant aims to help you upgrade your business, innovate and break into overseas markets by funding and providing your business with resources. This grant also has three pillars to help it stay on track with its aim: core capabilities, innovation & productivity, and market access


SME businesses are eligible for this grant, but in order to apply for the EDG, SME companies must:

  • Be a registered business in Singapore
  • Have at least 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project


If you think your company meets the above criteria, you can apply for the EDG through the Enterprise Singapore website.


VentureForGood (VFG)

VentureForGood (VFG) aims to support social enterprises in their growth journey. Social enterprises are businesses that have a positive impact on society, and the VFG programme provides funding and mentorship for these types of businesses.


Under the VFG programme, social enterprises can receive up to S$300,000 in grants, as well as access to a range of resources and support. In order to be eligible for the VFG programme, businesses must:

  • Be a registered business in Singapore
  • Have a social mission that benefits society
  • Incorporated and be registered as a member at the point of grant disbursement.


Besides that, to ensure your application for this grant is successful, you need to know what VGF is looking for in its applicants; 

  • Compelling objectives
  • A viable and solid business proposition
  • A committed team


So if your business’ nature aligns with what VGF is looking for, then this grant scheme is for your business. 


Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme

The Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme is a government initiative that encourages collaboration between the financial sector and technology startups. The aim of the scheme is to develop innovative solutions for the financial sector, as well as to create new opportunities for technology startups in Singapore.


Under FSTI, there are a few sub-schemes:

Innovation Centre

To attract financial institutions to establish innovation centres of excellence or labs in Singapore to test-bed and roll out market solutions.

Proof of Concept (POC)

Fundings to support experimentation, development, and dissemination of nascent innovative technologies within the financial services sector.


Institution-level Projects

To encourage Singapore-based financial institutions to catalyse innovative ideas and market solutions.


Industry-wide Technological Infrastructure/Utility

To build and improve the efficiency of industry-wide technology infrastructure and boost productivity in the financial services sector.


Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA)

AIDA is catered to projects that are focused on AIDA adoption with the objectives to improve decision-making and generate better insights.


Cybersecurity Capability Grant

To deepen cybersecurity capabilities and support the development of local cybersecurity talents in Singapore.


Digital Acceleration Grant (for FIs and FinTech firms with <200 employees)

To support Singapore-based smaller financial institutions and FinTech firms adopting digital solutions to improve productivity, manage risk better, strengthen operational resilience and serve customers better.


Under the FSTI scheme, businesses can receive various amounts of grants and funding in accordance with various schemes. To be eligible for the scheme, businesses must:

  • Be a registered business in Singapore
  • Have innovative solutions that can be applied to the financial sector
  • Be able to collaborate with a financial institution (FI) or FinTech firm on the project


If your startup business is in the technology or financial sector, this grant scheme can greatly benefit your startup business. 


Productivity and Solutions Grant (PSG)

The Productivity and Solutions Grant (PSG) is a government grant that helps businesses in Singapore to adopt IT solutions and equipment. The grant supports a wide range of activities, including the purchase of software, hardware, and IT services. Successful applicants can receive up to 70% funding support for eligible costs.


It covers industry-specific solutions under these industries, for example:

  • Retail
  • F&B
  • Construction
  • Logistics
  • Landscaping

To be eligible for the PSG, companies must:

  • Be a registered business in Singapore
  • Purchase an IT solution or equipment that has not been funded by another government grant and to be used in Singapore
  • Have at least 30% local shareholding
  • Company’s Group annual sales turnover should be not more than S$100 million, OR Company’s Group employment size should be no more than 200 employees


Early Stage Venture Fund (ESVF)

The Early Stage Venture Fund (ESVF) is a government fund that provides financing to early-stage startups in Singapore. The aim of the fund is to support the growth of these startups and help them scale up their businesses.


Under the ESVF, The 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 under this initiative.


Notably, the VC has the option to buy out NRF’s share of the fund within 5 years by returning NRF’s capital with interest.


The eligibility criteria to apply for the Early Stage Venture Fund with NRF are as follows:

  • Venture funds that are registered in Singapore.
  • Good financial management and commitment.
  • A strong team.


If you are planning to run a high-tech startup company, but struggling with starting funds, you can consider applying for this grant scheme. 


Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

The Business Improvement Fund (BIF) is a government fund that helps Singapore-registered businesses/companies start on projects with an emphasis on tourism, and is thus run by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).


It aims to encourage:

  1. Technology innovation and adoption
  2. Redesign of business models 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 and varies according to SMEs and non-SMEs.


Successful applicants will be eligible for funding assistance for qualifying expenditures, depending on the project’s scope and STB’s evaluation of its merits. Qualifying costs may include third-party project-related costs such as consultancy fees (which can include costs involved in sustainability certification), hardware/equipment and software, materials and consumables, training costs (if training is an intrinsic component of the project), travel costs associated with the project; and internal manpower costs (only applicable for employees directly involved in technology development).


Companies that are eligible for the BIF grant schemes must be Singapore-registered and tourism-focused. Besides these, the companies have to be:

  • Technology companies that create innovative technology products and services for the tourism industry and businesses.
  • Tourism companies taking on development initiatives.


Application for the grant will be evaluated on the proposed project on how it can improve the productivity and competitiveness of tourism companies. 


Grants fund payment will be made to the successful applicants/companies on a reimbursement basis, subject to achievement of the agreed project deliverables and milestones. Before applicants/companies may receive their grant funds, they must submit third-party audited documents on the qualifying cost to receive their fund payment. 


So, if your business/company is a tourism company and with a strong initiative for technological innovation that will improve the tourism industry, this grant fund will be able to help you and your company to achieve the set goals. 


Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi)

The Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation (DTDi) is a government scheme that allows businesses to claim a tax deduction on qualifying expenses incurred when expanding their operations overseas.


To be eligible for the DTDi, businesses must:

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Have incurred qualifying expenses related to internationalisation, such as market research, overseas exhibitions, and conferences, and overseas business development trips


It offers support in 4 essential categories:


Market preparation
  • Design packaging for the oversea market
  • Product or service certification
  • Market survey/research and feasibility study


Market exploration
  • Overseas market development trips or missions
  • Overseas trade fair
  • Local trade fair
  • Virtual trade fair


Market promotion
  • Overseas advertising and promotional campaigns
  • Production of corporate brochures for overseas distribution
  • Advertising in approved local trade publications
  • Overseas business development


Market presence
  • Overseas trade offices
  • Master licensing and franchising
  • Employee overseas posting
  • Overseas investment study trips or missions
  • Investment feasibilities and due diligence studies


You can automatically claim up to a 200% tax deduction on the first $150,000 of qualifying expenses for these 9 activities under the Automatic DTDi without approval from Enterprise Singapore:

  • Local trade fairs
  • Overseas trade fairs
  • Virtual trade fairs
  • Overseas market development trips/missions
  • Overseas investment study trips/missions
  • Product/service certification
  • Overseas advertising and promotional campaigns
  • Design of packaging for overseas markets
  • Advertising in an approved local trade publication


Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

The Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant is a government grant that helps businesses to defray costs associated with overseas expansion, such as market research, attending trade fairs, and setting up an overseas office.


To be eligible for the MRA Grant, businesses must:

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • Have a group turnover of no more than S$100 million or a group employment size of no more than 200 employees


Eligible expenses include:

  • Market research and feasibility studies related to the project
  • Overseas business development trips to explore and develop specific projects/markets under the project scope
  • Rental of temporary overseas premises and office equipment required for the project
  • Overseas exhibition participation fees at approved international trade fairs/exhibitions


LEAD International Fairs & Missions (LEAD IFM)

The LEAD International Fairs & Missions (LEAD IFM) programme helps businesses to defray the costs of attending international trade fairs and missions.


This grant gives companies financial support for participation in approved business missions and trade fairs guided by the Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) of Commerce overseas.


It provides up to 70% of funding support on eligible expenses for businesses that take part in the same trade fair more than 3 times and 50% for those who attend less than 3 times.


To be eligible for this grant, you must be a small medium enterprise (SME) registered and based in Singapore and looking to promote itself in overseas markets through trade shows or missions. In addition, your company also must:

  • Have at least 3 core functions in Singapore.
  • Fulfill all the requirements to qualify for LEAD IFM (for TAC only)


So if you are planning to venture your business into the overseas market, this grant scheme will be able to help you to achieve it. 



These grants can provide the seed money that you need to get your business off the ground, and they can also help you to gain access to important networks of potential investors.


Do your research and see which one is the best fit for your company. Remember to check the eligibility criteria and required documentation before applying.


Of course, once you’ve secured the grant, it’s important to use it wisely. That’s why balancing costs and ensuring efficient use of resources is key to making your startup a success.


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*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.  

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