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The Business Owner's Guide to Government Grants For Powering Digital Transformation

Read this free guide to government grants that will help fund the hardware, software, and training expenses necessary to enable your digital transformation efforts.

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Introduction

Note: This page was updated on 2 March 2023 to reflect the most up-to-date information available.

Since 2010, the Singapore Government has encouraged businesses in Singapore, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to undertake digital transformation of their businesses.

They did this by offering various incentives and grants over the years, including the now-defunct Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme, the Technology Adoption Programme, and most recently the SMEs Go Digital Programme.

These grants can help fund any new hardware and software that you need to digitalise your business processes, or cover any expenses for training that your employees need to gain the necessary skills in order to make full use of the new technology and tools that you’ve implemented into your operations.

 

But First Things First; Does Your Business Need A Grant? Here's What You Need To Consider Before Applying For One.

 

We’ve put together a list of government grants that can fund the software and services you need to enable the digital transformation of your business, based on the most up-to-date information that we’ve found from the respective official sources.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but covers the government grants that you should look at first, as well as certain grants that are exclusive to businesses in your particular sector.

For your ease of reference, this list is categorised into:

  • Government grants that businesses of all sectors are eligible for.
  • Government grants that are available to businesses in specific economic sectors.

 

What Should You Consider Before Applying For A Grant? We've Got Some Expert Tips That Will Be Useful For You To Know.

 

With this list, we hope to provide you with a resource that you can easily refer to at any time when you’re considering your options for funding the digital transformation of your business.

1. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) first came into effect on 1st April 2018, and combined previous Government incentives for encouraging businesses to digitalise their processes such as the Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV), and support for pre-scoped solutions from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under the SMEs Go Digital programme.

 

If There's Something You'd Like Clarified About The PSG, Here Are Our Answers To The Top 13 FAQs About It.

 

The PSG is designed to support companies that are keen on adopting IT solutions and equipment for the purpose of enhancing their business processes. If your business operates in one of the following sectors, the PSG covers the acquisition of IT solutions which provides sector-specific functionalities:

  • Retail
  • Food
  • Logistics
  • Precision Engineering
  • Construction
  • Landscaping

The PSG also supports businesses in adopting solutions that are designed for managing business functions that multiple sectors have in common, such as:

  • Customer management
  • Data analytics
  • Financial management
  • Inventory tracking

 

Budget 2023 Introduces Several New Measures To Support SMEs Like Yours. Learn More About The Details Here.

 

To be eligible for the PSG, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • The business must be registered and operating within Singapore.
  • The purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment covered under the grant must be used within Singapore.
  • For selected solutions, the business must have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.

From 1 April 2023 onwards, the PSG will provide a maximum funding support of up to 50% of total qualifying project costs.

By the way, did you know that we're the only 7-time Top SAP Business One Partner Award winner in Singapore to date?

If you'd like to make an appointment with our consultants to know more about SAP Business One, drop us a note here.

2. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

While the PSG is intended to help businesses take the first steps on their digital transformation journey by subsidising the necessary IT solutions or equipment, the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) by ESG is intended to support the growth and transformation of businesses in Singapore in a more comprehensive manner.

Established in 25 October 2018 to replace the Capability Development Grant (CDG) and the Global Company Partnership (GCP), the EDG is intended to help businesses fund qualifying project costs, which include third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost. The scope of the EDG extends to three main pillars:

  • Core Capabilities
  • Innovation and Productivity
  • Market Access

Under the Innovation and Productivity pillar which is intended to assist businesses with their digital transformation efforts, the EDG will help fund any projects started by your business to carry out:

Process Redesign

Projects which helps your business review existing processes, and identify possible areas where efficiency can be improved. This is a crucial first step to take before introducing automation or technology, and the scope of the project includes the review and redesign of workflows and processes, as well as exploring the use of technology for the purpose of automating processes.

Automation

Projects which supports your business’s usage of automation and technology which can result in tangible benefits and significant growth. The scope of the project can include the adoption of hardware or software solutions, and the training of staff to deploy these solutions.

From 1 April 2023 onwards, the EDG will provide a maximum funding support of up to 50% of total qualifying project costs. For sustainability-related projects, the EDG will provide up to 70% funding support up until 31 March 2026.

To be eligible for the EDG, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • The business must be registered and operating within Singapore.
  • The business must have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
  • The business must be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project.

If your business is eligible for the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits (SFEC), it will also qualify for additional subsidies under the sceheme.

3. Start Digital

Launched in January 2019 by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as part of the SMEs Go Digital programme, Start Digital is designed specifically to help new SMEs and startups carry out the digital transformation of their businesses from the very start.

Start Digital offers the use of affordable and user-friendly digital solutions which are offered by the Start Digital Partners, in subsidised ‘plug and play’ packages called Start Digital Packages.

If you apply for a Start Digital Package for your business, you can acquire any two IT solutions from the partners at no cost for at least six months, with a minimum contract of 18 months. The solutions cover the following core business functions:

  • Accounting
  • HR Management and Payroll
  • Digital Marketing
  • Digital Transactions
  • Cybersecurity

If your business has only been established recently, or if you’re ready to pursue the first step of digitalising your business processes, Start Digital is probably a more ideal option for you compared to the PSG or the EDG, as both are designed for the digital transformation needs of more established enterprises.

 

Before You Sign Up For A Start Digital Package, Here Are Some Things You Need To Know First.

4. InvoiceNow Grants

On 1 November 2022, the IMDA launched a series of grants to encourage more SMEs to adopt the InvoiceNow e-invoicing network.

To qualify for one of these grants, your business need only meet a few criteria depending on the grant in question.

Here's what you need to do to qualify for each of these new grants from IMDA:

 

InvoiceNow Transaction Bonus (ITB)

The InvoiceNow Transaction Bonus (ITB) is for SMEs  which are connected to the InvoiceNow network.

To qualify for the ITB, your business must have sent a total of 10 e-invoices over the InvoiceNow Network within 12 months, starting from the date that the first e-invoice was sent.

This will make your business eligible for a S$200 bonus.

 

LEAD Connect Grant

The LEAD Connect Grant is for large enterprise that have an existing finance or ERP software, but is not yet connected to the InvoiceNow network.

To qualify for the Grant, you need to connect your business's finance or ERP software to the InvoiceNow network before 31 October 2024, and have a minimum of 200 business counterparties (including B2B customers and suppliers).

If your business is eligible for the LEAD Connect grant, it stands to be awarded a fixed grant of S$30,000.

 

LEAD Transact Grant

The LEAD Transact Grant is for large enterprises with finance and ERP software that are already connected to the InvoiceNow network, and are actively using it as a buyer and/or a biller.

To qualify for the Grant, your business must carry out transactions with at least 25 business Unique Entity Numbers (UENs) as a buyer, and/or 250 business UENs as a seller over InvoiceNow before 31 October 2024.

Depending on the number of transactions your business carries out over the InvoiceNow network, it stands to be eligible for up to S$40,000 in total payouts.

 

To Find Out More About IMDA's New Grants For Encouraging Businesses Like Yours To Connect To InvoiceNow, Click Here.

5 . NTUC CTC Grant

Business transformation doesn’t just mean the digital transformation of your business through the implementation of IT software and equipment alone. It should also involve investing in developing the skillsets of your employees, and giving them the opportunity to take up new job roles and the better wages that come with them.

To helps businesses like yours achieve both objectives, the National Trade and Union Congress (NTUC) introduced the Company Training Committee (CTC) Grant, a S$70 million grant managed by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).

If your business has established a Company Training Committee with NTUC to enact:

  • Enterprise Transformation to enhance your business capabilities, innovation and productivity through implementation of business software solutions, and
  • Workforce Transformation to help your local employees (Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents) to achieve better career prospects through a Career Development Plan (CDP) and wage increases.

The CTC Grant will provide your business with funding support of up to 70% for your project. These can include the following items in your project:

  • Implementation of business equipment or software, such as an ERP software
  • Consultancy services
  • Training in OEM or business software to support job redesign.

To be eligible for the CTC grant, your business must be legally registered or incorporated in Singapore. The following types of organisations are eligible:

  • Companies
  • Societies
  • Non-profit organisations (NPOs) such as charities and social service agencies (SSAs)
  • Restructured hospitals
  • Autonomous universities (Aus)
  • Social enterprises

The application period for the CTC Grant has been open since 1 August 2022, and it will end on 31 July 2026. To apply for the CTC Grant, your business must first have formed a CTC with NTUC. Then you’d need to develop and validate a business transformation plan with the members of your CTC.

Finally, you can submit your project application through the e2i Grant Portal.

 

6. Building and Construction:

Productivity Innovation Project (PIP)

Part of the BuildSG Transformation Fund by the Building and Construction Authority, (BCA), the Productivity Innovation Project (PIP) is intended to help businesses in the construction industry defray the costs of re-engineering work processes or adopting labour-efficient construction technologies to reduce manpower needs or improve site productivity.

As announced at the Ministry of National Development's (MND) COS 2022, the PIP scheme will be extended to 31 March 2024.

Your business is eligible for the PIP if it’s registered and physically present as a company in the construction sector in Singapore. The following costs can be supported on a co-funding and reimbursement basis:

  • Manpower
  • Equipment and Materials
  • Professional Services
  • Intellectual Property Rights

To support the digital transformation of your construction business, the PIP will co-fund up to 70% of qualifying costs for productivity improvements under the Technologies and Innovations category, or the Integrated Digital Delivery digitalisation programme.

7. Offshore and Marine:

Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan (IDP)

Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan (IDP)

A joint initiative with IMDA, ESG and SkillsFuture Singapore as part of the SMEs Go Digital programme, the Sea Transport Industry Digital Plan (IDP) is intended to help SMEs in the ship agency and harbour craft sectors to adopt digital solutions that they need at each stage of their growth.

The IDP includes a list of maritime-specific digital solutions that are curated by the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) and IMDA to meet the digitalisation needs of the ship agency and harbour craft sector.

If your business is in either sector and you apply successfully for the Sea Transport IDP Grant, you’ll get funding of up to 70% of the solution’s costs, subject to a cap of S$30,000 per Financial Year per SME applicant.

Do take note that the Sea Transport IDP does not apply to non-maritime specific digital solutions. To fund those, you should apply for the PSG or Start Digital instead.

8. Retail: E-commerce Booster Package

To help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker measures on retail businesses, ESG launched the E-Commerce Booster Package to help them take their business online in order to reach customers relying on e-commerce platforms for their purchasing needs.

To be eligible for the E-Commerce Booster Package, your business should meet these criteria:

  • Be registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • Annual turnover not exceeding S$100 million per annum based on the most recent audited report, or group employment not exceeding 200 employees.

If you engage one of the four appointed e-commerce platforms – Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 and Shopee – through the Singapore E-commerce Programme to help sell your products online in the Singapore market, you can apply for this Programme and get a one-time support to defray 90% of eligible costs for up to six months, subject to a cap of S$9,000.

Should you need more help to help your business get started in e-commerce, you may also apply for additional manpower support to drive these efforts. If eligible, you’ll get a one-time support of up to 90% of qualifying manpower costs for up to three months.

9. Arts and Culture:

Sector Transformation Fund (STF)

The National Arts Council (NAC) has launched the Sector Transformation Fund (STF) to support the digital transformation efforts of arts companies in Singapore.

Through this, the NAC hopes to help arts companies achieve the following objectives:

  • Generating market demand by creating new and/or innovative arts experiences,
  • Improve their operational efficiency, and
  • Develop diverse streams of revenue.

New digital transformation projects, as well as existing projects that were supported by NAC's Organisational Transformation Grant (OTG) that demonstrates potential for further optimisation and/or expansion, as well as sustainability, are eligible for the STF.

Applications for the STF are open from 17 May 2022, and will close on 30 November 2022 (5pm SGT)

However, if you're keen on participating in the consultancy programme, you'll need to submit your EOI no later than 31 June 2022 (5pm SGT).

All projects awarded the STF have to be competed by 31 March 2024. All recipients of the STF have between 12 to 18 months to complete the digital transformation project, starting from the day of the award.

10. Tourism: Business and Improvement Fund (BIF)

Offered by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) aims to encourage innovation and adoption of technology, as well as the redesigning of business models and processes to improve productivity and competitive in the tourism sector.

If your business is registered in Singapore, and is 1) a tourism company that’s taking on capability development initiatives, or 2) a technology company that creates innovative technological products and services catered towards businesses in the tourism sector, it is eligible for funding under the BIF.

The BIF is aligned to the EDG, and as such encourages tourism businesses to undertake digital transformation under the Innovation & Productivity pillar. If your business is engaged in projects to redesign or automate your processes, you may apply for funding under the BIF.

If your application is successful, you will receive funding support for qualifying costs, subject to the STB’s evaluation of the scope and merits of your project. These qualifying costs includes third-party project-related costs such as professional services, testing and certification, training expenses, acquisition of hardware and software, travel costs, and internal manpower costs associated with the project.

11. Social Service Agencies: Tech-and-GO!

Note:  Application for the Tech-and-GO! grant is now available year-round.

The Tech-and-GO! grant is a series of funding initiatives intended to help Social Service Agencies (SSAs) take up new IT solutions and project consultancy services.

Because SSAs are not eligible for grants such as the PSG and the EDG, the Tech-and-GO! grant was established by the NCSS as an equivalent for SSAs.

Because of this, Tech-and-GO! provides funding support for many of the same IT solutions and tools that are covered under the PSG and EDG.

The Tech-and-GO! grant comes in two tiers:

Tier 1: Start Digital - The 'PSG' Grant for SSAs

Not to be confused with the grant from IMDA of the same name, Start Digital is the first tier of the Tech-and-GO! grant.

This tier is the equivalent of the PSG for SSAs, and provides funding up to 80% of total costs (up to an MFA of $30,000) for acquiring an IT solution.

This can be either a pre-scoped IT solution listed in the GovAssist website for PSG grants, or one shortlisted as a Green Lane solution - one with features or functionalities that cater to the unique needs of SSAs.

Tier 2: Go Digital - The 'EDG' Grant For SSAs

Intended to help support SSAs in acquiring large-scale or highly-specialised IT projects totalling more than $37,000 in costs, Go Digital is the second tier of the Tech-and-GO! grant.

It's the equivalent of the EDG for SSAs, and covers:

  • 80% of total costs in the first year, and
  • 50% of total costs in the second and third year

for acquiring IT solutions, up to an MFA of $30,000.

 

To Get More Details About The Tech-and-GO! Grant, Click Here To Read Our Deep Dive Into The Funding Initiative For SSAs.

 

Fund Your Digital Transformation With Government Support

The Singapore Government has always been keen to help local businesses kick off the digital transformation of their operations, in preparation for the digital economy that will emerge and dominate the economic landscape in the 2020s.

To that effect, they have launched and reworked various government grants for funding digital transformation efforts by businesses, responding to feedback from businesses like yours so that they can fine-tune the funding to better suit your business transformation needs.

This has led to the selection of grants for funding digital transformation from the various government agencies today, both those which are available for businesses in general and those which businesses in specific sectors can apply for.

Therefore, you should seriously consider the prospect of undertaking a digital transformation project for your business, especially since this is key for keeping your business viable in the digital economy in the long term.

And if you’re worried about the funding you’ll need for such a comprehensive overhaul of your business processes, you should also look at what government grants are available to help you fund such an effort.

For example, the implementation of an ERP software would be an option that offers some of the best value for your money, since they integrate your business functions into a single source of truth and give you full visibility into your business processes.

And if you can fund an ERP implementation project by applying for the government grants that your business is eligible for, it would help your business take a significant step in its digital transformation process at a much more affordable cost to your finances.

If you'd like to know more details about the government grants which your business may be eligible for, we recommend getting in touch with the respective government agencies or statutory boards behind each grant to arrange for a consultation with them.

We hope you found this list of government grants that will help your digital transformation efforts useful, and look forward to hearing from you soon!