Entrepreneur

Starting A Biz? These 9 S’pore Startup Programmes Offer Funding And Mentorship Opportunities

From conceptualising an idea to hiring the right talent, it is never easy to start a business.

Singapore is lauded as one of the best places to start a business, and the good thing is, there are many available schemes here to help new businesses gain a kickstart in the early stages.

If you keep your eyes peeled, there are definitely plenty of funds and resources available that can help to give your business that financial jumpstart.

1. Startup Founder SG Programme

Startup Founder SG
Image Credit: Startup Founder SG

Overseen by government agency Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Startup Founder SG Programme was first launched in 2017 to to provide capital grants and mentorship to first-time entrepreneurs.

In August, enhancements to the Startup Founder SG programme was announced by the government.

One of these enhancements is a new three-month venture building programme to help entrepreneurs build their startup.

Singaporean first-time entrepreneurs can now have access to a grant of S$50,000, up from S$30,000 previously, to help them kickstart their business ideas.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for the Startup Founder SG Programme via their website.

2. StartupSG Equity

SME Horizon
Image Credit: SME Horizon

Startup Equity was set up to catalyse more investments into Singapore-based deep-tech startups in key emerging sectors, including advanced manufacturing, pharmbio/medtech, and agri-food tech.

As part of the Startup SG Equity scheme, the government will co-invest with independent, qualified third party investors into eligible startups.

The government had pledged an additional S$300 million to Startup Equity at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)’s Committee-of-Supply 2020.

Following the MTI’s Committee of Supply 2020, the schemes will be enhanced to increase the investment cap for deep-tech startups from the current S$4 million to S$8 million and invest in selected venture capital firms that will in turn invest in deep-tech startups.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for StartupSG Equity via their website.

3. StartupSG Tech

Singapore
Image Credit: CIO.com

Startups can seek early-stage funding to fast-track commercialisation of scalable in-house solutions with the Startup SG Tech programme.

The grants will be awarded upon the completion of each milestone, unlike previously by reimbursement.

The grant will also carry an equity component where Enterprise Singapore will have the rights to exercise a share subscription — to cultivate greater financial discipline and a growth-oriented mindset that is consistent among venture-backed startups.

Startups would be required to inject an increase in paid-up capital of 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the grant for Proof-Of-Concept (POC) and Proof-Of-Value (POV) projects respectively.

The grant cap for POC will remain at S$250,000 and POV at S$500,000.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for StartupSG Equity via their website.

4. The Start by StartupX

StartupX
Image Credit: StartupX

The Start is a 12-week pre-accelerator programme powered by StartupX in partnership with Temasek.

Over the 12 weeks, the startups will go through an intensive curriculum and focused mentorship to refine their ideas and build their prototypes into a full-fledged business.

In addition to support and mentorship, you get up to S$15,000 worth of resources and funding to kick start your business and an opportunity to pilot your solutions with their partners.

Last year, they announced their first cohort of startups — a total of 12 including Mind Palace and StaffAny — to participate in the programme.

Interested applicants may keep a lookout for their next call for applications.

5. Capabilities Development Grant (CDG)

Image Credit: PAP.com.sg

The Capability Development Grant encourages and supports the continuous professional development of the people who work in Singapore’s arts and culture sector.

The grant defrays up to 70 per cent of qualifying project costs such as consultancy, training, certification and equipment expenses. In other words, it can support your organisation or you in training programmes.

The grant is able to support activities or programmes that span a duration of no more than 12 consecutive months.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for Capabilities Development Grant via their website.

6. raISE SG: VentureForGood Grant

raiSE
Image Credit: Eco-Business.com

The VentureForGood (VFG) grant is a funding scheme under the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE, to support social enterprises in various stages of their business.

New and existing social enterprises who are starting up and/or expanding their operations to meet emerging needs can apply for up to $100,000 in grants.

The social enterprise should be addressing a local social gap/need through one or more outcome areas to be eligible.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for VentureForGood Grant via their website.

7. Business Improvement Fund under Singapore Tourism Board

Gardens by the Bay
Image Credit: Borneo Post Online

The Business Improvement Fund (BIF) aims to encourage technology innovation and adoption, redesign of business model and processes in the tourism sector to improve productivity and competitiveness.

Funding support varies for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and non-SMEs.

Successful applicants will receive funding support for qualifying costs, subject to STB’s evaluation of the scope and merits of the project.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for Business Improvement Fund via their website.

8. Antler

Antler Demo Day
Image Credit: Antler

Global VC & startup generator Antler is known for mentoring startup founders and investing in promising startups.

All participants get an individual grant during the first phase of the programme to enable them to focus full-time on building their company and products.

They help bring together exceptional people to help you find the right co-founder with a complementary skill set and experiences from your own to build your next company together.

After two months, Antler invests in selected teams to kick-start their startup.

Interested applicants may find out more about their eligibility and apply for Business Improvement Fund via their website.

9. Grow Accelerator

Grow Accelerator
Image Credit: Grow

The Grow program is open to promising startups and later-stage scale-ups that can solve Asia’s biggest agri-food challenges.

Some of the resources you can get access to under the programme is mentorship opportunities with industry experts.

Startups can also access their partner facilities including world-class research labs, pilot manufacturing plants, and on-field testing.

If you have an impactful solution, they invest U$100,000 in cash and another US$100,000 of in-kind services to help your company scale rapidly and access new markets.

Interested applicants may keep a lookout for their next call for applications.

Finding The Support You Need

There are many ways you could fund your dreams, from applying to available government schemes to pitching your business models to angel investors or venture capitalists.

The Singapore government has been doing reasonably well in extending support to startups.

Besides the low tax rates and the ease of doing business, Singapore has been attracting entrepreneurs from around the world here with the availability of financing resources for startups.

If you are looking to start a business, do make use of the available grants and schemes out there that are specially extended to facilitate the growth of startups in Singapore.

Featured Image Credit: EFMD’s blog

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