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SME grants and schemes guide for business owners

This article has been updated as of 18 March 2022

Being a business owner can be rewarding and yet challenging to keep the business relevant and sustainable. Thankfully in Singapore, the Government has rolled out many initiatives to help businesses improve their operations by adopting IT solutions, tide through this period of uncertainty, as well as generate new revenue streams.

Here are our top picks for SME grants and schemes for every SME owner to consider applying:

  1. Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
  2. SMEs Go Digital
  3. Job growth incentive (JGI)
  4. Small Business Recovery Grant
  5. SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

What is the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)?

Productivity Solutions Grant was launched to encourage companies to adopt IT solutions and equipment to automate existing processes and improve productivity. 

What are some examples of IT solutions which are covered by PSG?

Some IT solutions covered by PSG include:

  • Human Resource Management system (HRMS)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Accounting Management
  • Inventory Management
  • E-Commerce - Online (B2C)

In fact, Payboy is a PSG-approved cloud-based human resource management system that offers one-stop solution to SME’s HR needs such as payroll processing, leave management, attendance tracking, shift scheduling and more. Reach out to us if you are keen to explore using Payboy!

How much is the PSG coverage?

From 1 April 2022 onwards, the maximum support level of up to 70%.

However, for food services and retail sectors, eligible pre-scoped solutions will be provided an enhanced support level of up to 80% from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Who can apply for PSG?

SMEs can apply for PSG if they meet the following criteria:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; with Company's Group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employees (for selected solutions only)

How to apply for PSG?

  1. Access the list of supportable solutions eligible for your sector and identify relevant solutions that best suit your business needs.
  2. Get quotation from pre-approved vendors or consultants
  3. Submit an application on the Business Grants Portal (BGP)

SMEs Go Digital 

What is SMEs Go Digital?

The SMEs Go Digital programme aims to help SMEs adopt digital technologies and build stronger digital capabilities to improve operations and generate new revenue.

What are some initiatives under the SMEs Go Digital programme?

  • Start Digital Pack: SMEs can take up any two solutions, at no cost for at least six months with a minimum 18-month contract period, from a range of categories including Accounting, HR Management System and Payroll, Digital Marketing, Digital Transaction, etc
  • InvoiceNow: IMDA implemented the nationwide E-invoicing network in 2019 to help businesses to shorten your invoicing processing time and help your business get paid quicker.
  • Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB): The last payout for DRB will take pace in July 2021

Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)

What is the Jobs Growth Incentive?

The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) supports employers to expand local hiring so as to create good and long-term jobs for locals.

How much salary support does the Jobs Growth Incentive provide?

  • Up to 6 months of 15% salary for each non-mature local hire (< 40 years old)
  • Up to 24 months of 50% salary for each mature hire, person with disability or ex-offender hired by employers that managed to increase their local workforce within the qualifying window. 

Find out more about your company’s eligibility here.

What is the qualifying window for Jobs Growth Incentive?

As announced at Budget 2022 on 18 Feb 2022, the JGI has been extended by six months to Sep 2022. Do note that this extension will only cover mature workers aged 40 and above who have not been employed for six months or more, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders.

  • Phase 1 of the JGI: September 2020 to February 2021
  • Phase 2 of the JGI: March 2021 to September 2021
  • Phase 3 of the JGI: October 2021 to March 2022
  • Phase 4 of the JGI: April 2022 to September 2022
  1. Small Business Recovery Grant (New)

What is the Small Business Recovery Grant?

The Small Business Recovery Grant (SBRG) provides one-time cash assistance to SMEs in sectors that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 regulations in the past year, such as food and beverage, retail, tourism, and hospitality.

Eligible companies will receive S$1,000 for each local employee with mandatory CPF contributions in the period from 1 November 2021 to 31 December 2021, up to a maximum of S$10,000 per firm.

IRAS will notify eligible firms starting from June 2022.

What are the eligibility criteria for the Small Business Recovery Grant?

  1. Firm must be a ‘live’ business entity that is physically present in Singapore and registered no later than 31 December 2021;
  2. Firm must have an annual operating revenue that is less than S$100 million, filed with IRAS in the Year of Assessment 2021 by 31 December 2021; or employ fewer than 200 employees as of 31 December 2021;
  3. Firm must be in one of the sectors:
    1. Food and Beverage
    2. Hawker Centres, Markets, Coffeeshops, Food Courts, and CanteensRetail
    3. Performing Arts and Arts Education
    4. Sports
    5. Cinema Operators
    6. Museums, Art Galleries, and Historical Sites
    7. Indoor Playgrounds and other Family Entertainment Centres
    8. Tourism, Hospitality, COnventions, and Exhibition

Are sole proprietorships and partnerships eligible for the Small Business Recovery Grant?

Sole proprietors or partnerships will also receive a flat payout of $1,000, provided that these conditions are met:

  • Run by at least one local business owner
  • Do not hire any local employees
  • Net trade income filled with IRAS in the Year of Assessment 2021 is not more than S$100,000

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

Employers are encouraged to engage in company transformation and personnel capacities through the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC). Over and above the support levels of existing schemes, eligible employers will get a one-time S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket spending on qualifying costs for supportable programmes.

What programmes do the SFEC support?

The SFEC supports 2 broad types of programmes:

  1. Enterprise Transformation:
  2. Workforce Transformation:

There is no need to apply for SFEC as credits will be automatically used on the above programmes which you have applied for.

Here are some SME grants or schemes which have ended:

  1. Work-Life Grant
  2. Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme
  3. Special Employment Credit
  4. Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
  5. Wage Credit Scheme
  6. Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)
  7. E-Commerce Booster Package
  8. Work-Life Grant

Work-Life Grant provides companies funding support to implement and sustain flexible work arrangements (FWAs) for all employees, to create work-life harmony at the workplace. Work-Life Grant is no longer accepting applications after 18 August 2020.

  1. Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme 

Under the PIC Scheme, businesses enjoy 400% tax deductions/ allowances for qualifying expenditure incurred in any of the Six Qualifying Activities:

  • Acquisition and Leasing of PIC IT and Automation Equipment
  • Training of Employees
  • Acquisition and Licensing of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
  • Registration of Patents, Trademarks, Designs and Plant Varieties
  • Research and Development (R&D) activities
  • Design Projects Approved by DesignSIngapore Council

The Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme has ended after the Year of Assessment (YA) 2018.

  1. Special Employment Credit

The Special Employment Credit was introduced as a Budget Initiative in 2011 to encourage and support employers to hire older Singaporean workers. The Special Employment Credit is no longer available as it was only extended to end-2020 at Budget 2019. 

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) provides wage support to employers to help them retain their local employees (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The last payout was in Dec 2021.

Wage Credit Scheme

The Wage Credit Scheme is introduced to support businesses embarking on transformation efforts and encourage sharing of productivity gains with workers.

In Budget 2021, the Scheme was further extended by one year to 2021, with the government co-funding ratio remaining at 15% and the qualifying gross wage ceiling at $5,000.

Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) aims to help Singapore companies grow by supporting projects to help businesses to upgrade, innovate or venture overseas under 3 pillars:

  1. Core Capabilities
  2. Innovation and Productivity
  3. Market Access

The enhanced maximum support level of up to 80% was extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022, as announced at Budget 2021

E-Commerce Booster Package

What is the E-Commerce Booster Package?

The E-Commerce Booster Package is introduced to support retailers in diversifying their operations and covering business costs of going online. Eligible local retailers will receive a one-time support to cover 80% of qualifying costs (capped at S$8000).

This package was available from 16 May to 16 November 2021.

Find out how you can do it all with Payboy

Reach out to us if you are keen for a free demo on how we can help you save hours and give you some peace of mind on payroll and other HR matters so that you can focus on your business and people.
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