6 Most Useful Government Grants for SMEs

Are you ready to bring your company to the next phase of growth?

Singapore is known to provide one of the best environments in the world for businesses, and there are not just grants to help start-ups, but Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) as well.


Whichever type of business you are operating, you can be sure to find a grant suited to you.

These grants work to help develop different aspects of your company's growth, ranging from technology implementation to improve efficiency, human capital development and even implementing strategic business innovations.

Let us look at how some of these government grants can help your business grow:

1. Building A Website

It's hard to imagine a company without an online presence, especially in a city-state like Singapore with such immense connectivity.

Without the technical know-how, companies would need to spend money to build a website catering to their business needs.

Here's where the Capability Development Grant can be useful.

The Capability Development Grant (CDG) provides financial assistance for SMEs to build capabilities across 10 key business areas, ranging from raising service standards, adopting technology to staff training and overseas expansion.

The grant helps SMEs defray up to 70 percent of the expenses of qualifying projects in 10 business areas, such as training, certification and equipment purchases. 

The 10 business areas are listed below:

  • Brand & Marketing Strategy Development
  • Business Excellence
  • Business Strategy Innovation
  • Enhancing Quality and Standards
  • Financial Management
  • Human Capital Development
  • Intellectual Property & Franchising
  • Productivity Improvement
  • Service Excellence
  • Technology Innovation


  • Group annual sales turnover to be less than or equal to S$100 million or group employment of maximum 200 employees
  • Company must be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Applicant must hold at least 30% local shareholding

2. Taking Your Business Online

Other than just having an online presence through the building of a company websites, SMEs may also want to take a step further to increase sales by offering their products and services online.

For instance, a food business which is ready to offer online orders will find iSprint's packaged solutions very helpful.

The iSPRINT is a grant that helps support SME's use of technology to raise productivity and growth. In this scenario, SMEs can select packaged solutions such as point of sales systems, CFM software and accounting software from a list of vendors from IDA's pre-qualified list. The grant will cover up to 70% of the costs, capped at $20,000.

SMEs that prefer to utilize specific sector solutions only need to pay 30% of the expenses upfront to vendors, with the IDA reimbursing the remaining costs directly to the vendors.


  • Group annual sales turnover to be less than or equal to S$100 million or group employment of maximum 200 employees
  • Company must be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Applicant must hold at least 30% local shareholding

3. Increase Market Share Through Scaling Of ICT Solutions

If you are an SME in the tech sector, you might be looking for ways to increase your market share using certain ICT solutions.

For instance, digital advertisers are increasingly moving towards programmatic digital ads. With this comes heavy investment into software and internet connectivity, ICT implementation and training of staff.

The ICT for Productivity and Growth (IPG) Programmes are ideal for these types of solutions for SME growth. The IPG aims to accelerate the adoption of ICT solutions among SMEs with three main objectives:

1) Scaling up existing ICT solutions - 70% of the qualifying costs will be subsidised; SMEs pay the remaining 30%.                                           Condition – Implemented solutions have to help SMEs achieve productivity gains

2) Piloting of new solutions - 80% of the qualifying pilot project costs will be subsidised, up to $1 million per SME; SMEs pay the remaining 20%.

Condition – Proposed solution has to be a first deployment in the Singapore SME sector

3) Enabling high-speed internet connectivity for businesses - IDA will subsidise SMEs' fibre subscription plans of at least 100 Mbps with 50% of the monthly fibre subscription bills subsidised, capped at $120 per month and up to 2 years, or $2,880 per SME

Conditions – the SME must subscribe to service plans that feature speed of at least 100Mbps and to allow IDA to conduct random network audit.

4. Research And Development

When a company reaches the stage where there's a need for further research and development, it usually signifies that it has grown beyond just looking at operational requirements.

If you are looking at patenting a new innovation, investing in new designs for your products or simply looking for a more technologically advanced way to automate your workflow, the Productivity & Innovation Credit (PIC) might be the right government grant for you.

Under the PIC Scheme, SMEs can enjoy tax deductions or cash pay-out for investments made in any of the 6 qualifying activities. 

These activities are:

  • Acquisition and leasing of PIC IT automation equipment
  • Training of employees
  • Acquisition and licensing of intellectual property rights
  • Registration of patents, trademarks, designs and plant varieties
  • Research and development
  • Investment in design projects

The grant is disbursed using two methods – tax deductions/allowances (PIC+) or cash pay-out.

Under the PIC+ Scheme, the expenditure cap for qualifying SMEs will be at $600,000 per qualifying activity per Year of Assessment (YA).


Businesses registered as sole-proprietorships, partnerships and companies in Singapore where their revenue is not more than $100 million; or employment size is not more than 200 employees.

Using the cash pay-out option, eligible businesses can apply to convert up to $100,000 of their total expenditure for each year in all the 6 qualifying activities into a non-taxable pay-out instead of claiming for tax deduction.

The cash pay-out rate is at 60% of the expenditure incurred. This option may be more beneficial for businesses that are cash-strapped. .

5. Training And Skills Upgrade For Workforce

The government is very supportive of companies investing in their workforce through training and certified programmes.

SMEs will be able to send employees for certifiable skills training under the Enhanced Training Support scheme and pay as little as 10% for the courses supported by the WDA or Academic CET programmes at polytechnics and ITE.

There are currently more than 8,000 courses that fall under this scheme.

On top of this, companies can claim absentee payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary capped at $7.50 per hour.


  • Local employees of companies that are registered in Singapore with at least 30% local shareholding. These employees must be fully sponsored by their employers to attend training.
  • The companies must not be hiring more than 200 employees
  • Annual sales turnover has to be less than S$100 million.

6. Overseas Expansion Feasibility Study

Perhaps you feel that the Singapore market is a little too small for your company and you are looking to take advantage of the growing affluence of regional Asia.

Before you take the risk of setting up a branch overseas, you could definitely do with a feasibility study to have an idea of whether your target audience would love your products and services.

The Market Readiness Assistance Grant (MRA) is designed to help Singapore SMEs accelerate their expansion overseas through overseas set-ups, identification of business partners and overseas promotional activities.

The fund is administered by IE Singapore and SMEs can apply twice per fiscal year with claims capped at $20,000 per company.


  • Companies are required to have the global HQ anchored in Singapore
  • SMEs with annual turnover of less than S$100 million per annum based on the most recent audited report

With these useful government grants available for SMEs to grow their businesses, it will be helpful to take advantage of them to save more than tens of thousands of dollars on additional business financing.

How to Grow Your Business When The Banks Won't Finance You

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