Business Grant Portal Singapore: A Complete Guide

how to apply for singapore business grants

 

The business grants portal mitigates the challenge of identifying the right business grant for Singaporean entrepreneurs. Aspiring business persons encounter a puzzle-like difficulty when assessing tens of government-aided business grants in Singapore.

Though these grants enable SMEs to grow and expand their ventures, finding a befitting option and identifying different issuing agencies can be energy-sapping. Also, the paperwork required to ensure a successful submission makes it more challenging.

With Singapore’s pro-business approach, a consolidated resource such as the grant portal makes it easy for budding entrepreneurs to find financial reprieve. In Singapore, new grants pop up after the annual budget announcement. A host of new grants emerged during the 2018 budget, which saw the reinforcement of existing grants.

What Is The Business Grant Portal?

The Business Grant Portal is a government website that consolidates numerous business grants in one place. It makes it easier to find, analyse and apply for the grant that fits your needs. The portal was launched in 2017, and it operates under the auspices of the Finance and Trade ministries. The Industry and Government Technology Agency is also a key player.

The objective of the BGP

  • To facilitate entrepreneurs in finding grant agencies and applying for relevant grants efficiently
  • To provide a simplified grants application and approval process
  • To provide centralised business information and to reduce grant application timelines- business can rely on ACCRA to provide data based on the UEN number

What you need to apply for a BGP Grant

  • Log in to the BGP using a verified CorpPass
  • Provide Complete Company profile.
  • Find and apply for a business-relevant grant
  • After submitting a proposal, you can follow up on the process and get updates via the portal.

Upon approval, you can accept the grant offered.

Why Use the Business Grants Portal?

Sifting through a myriad of government grants in Singapore could leave an entrepreneur frustrated. At the same time, applying for a grant that doesn’t match your needs can lead to disqualification. Through the Business Grant Portal, it’s easy to navigate through the grants offered and find one that fits your start-up needs. There are reasons you need to leverage the BGP portal:

  • It makes the entire grant application follow up, and approval processes simple for businesses.
  • The portal expels the need for businesses to swing from grant agency to another.
  • An entrepreneur doesn’t need to triplicate the same information to different grant issuing agencies for every application.

How to Login into the Business Grants Portal

To access the BGP portal, you need a valid CorpPass account. If you don’t have a CorpPass administrator, you must appoint one. The administrator can create an account for you and designate different e-service roles that enable you to access the portal.

These roles include the Viewer, Preparer and Acceptor roles.

As an entrepreneur looking to expand and upgrade your business through a grant, the BGP has a range of options. When you log on to the portal, the grants you’re likely to find are tabulated below.

 

Grants Available

 

Administering Agency

 

Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant

International Enterprise Singapore

 

Global Company Partnership (GCP) Grant

 

International Enterprise Singapore

 

Capability Development Grant (CDG)

 

SPRING Singapore

 

Business Improvement Fund (BIF)

 

Singapore Tourism Board

 

Building Information Model (BIM)

Building and Construction Authority

Marketing Assistance (M-Assist) Grant

 

Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore

 

Factors That Make Grant Application Via BGP Easy

·     A Simplified Application Process

Businesses interested in government grants can find application forms, project-specific data and relevant resources in one place. It makes the application process simple.

·     Directs Applications to the Relevant Agency

When you submit applications through the BGP portal, they’re efficiently routed to relevant issuing agencies based on project needs. You don’t need to worry about the agency to approach.

·     Provide Company-Related Information Quickly

The grant application process requires a business to avail critical details. On the portal, it’s easy to provide such since it’s automatically generated for the

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) database through the company’s Unique Entity Number.

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·     Preserves Data for Future Reference

First-time applicants who provide business information are no longer obligated to prepare it afresh if they wish to apply for another grant. The portal preserves the data, and it can be used for subsequent proposals.

Quick Steps to Apply For a Grant through BGP

Step 1

Log in and click>Get New Grant

Step 2

Answer 3 crucial project-specific questions

Step 3

Fill in and submit your application form

Step 4

Follow up on your application

Step 5

Accept your Letter of Offer

How to File an Application Change Request

Step 1

Click> Submit Change Request

Step 2

Choose the grant that you want to amend

Step 3

Complete the change request form and submit

Step 4

Follow up on to verify if the change request is processed

Step 5

Receive the grant with new T$Cs

How to File a Claim

Step 1

Click> file new claim

Step 2

Choose the grant you want to claim

Step 3

Fill and submit the claims form

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Step 4

Get updates regarding the claims process?

Step 5

When approved, claims are deposited in your designated bank account.

The BGP Application Process

Applying for a grant through the business grant portal requires an elaborate yet straightforward process.

It’s not possible to submit an application if you haven’t provided your company’s profile. Participating agencies on the portal require businesses to provide the latest company profile. Fortunately, ACRA avails these agencies with crucial details, including:

  • Business occupation
  • Shareholder names
  • Audited financial information- businesses are required to refresh their profile on ACRA every three months.

BGP Application Process-FAQs

  1. Is it possible to edit an application that I have already submitted and already being processed by the agency?
  2. You can contact the agency via email to request an edit. Agencies always provide contact details on the application form.
  3. Why can’t I see the “submit button in my application?
  4. You cannot see the submit button if there are specific issues within your application. You need to resolve them to view the button located at the bottom of the page.
  5. My partner, who has been handling the grant application on behalf of the company, has resigned. Can someone else handle the process?
  6. A CorpPass administrator who has been assigned the preparer or acceptor role can take over. You need to provide the new contacts before you apply.
  7. Where can I get updates regarding the progress of my application?
  8. You need to log in to the portal and click> ‘My Grants’ tab. You should see the progress of all the applications you’ve made. You’ll see the status of all your grant applications on this page.
  9. Will I get written notifications regarding the progress of my application?
  10. Yes. Email notifications are sent to the primary contact person as the application process progresses.
  11. How long will it take for my application to process and approve?
  12. Usually, it takes between 6 and 10 weeks.
  13. Q. Is it possible to cancel my application?
  14. If the relevant agency has returned your application for editing, you can decide to cancel. If the application is already under processing, you need to write to the agency requesting them to withdraw.

How to Make Claims on the BGP Portal

If you wish to make claims for the grants you applied for, you need to note that not all requests can be made through the BGP portal. However, some grants can be claimed through the portal. They include:

If you’re making claims for the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG, you need to do so through the ESG Portal.

If you wish to extend the claim date for a grant such as the Productivity Solutions Grant, you need to submit a one-off claim extension before the due date. You need to follow the steps below.

Step 1. Log in to the Business Grants Portal.

Step 2. Click>’My Applications’ and preview your applications.

Step 3.  Click> ‘Completed’ tab.

Step 4. Click > your project title

Step 5. Click> ‘Extend Due Date’ button.

If you’re interested in the Business Improvement Fund, Market Readiness Assistance or Enterprise Development Grant, you need to submit a change request to extend the claims due date.

If the unavoidable culminates into a missed due date, your claim is likely to lapse. Reminder emails are always sent to the contact person to notify them about the pending due date.

Tips for Accessing Government Grants to Transform Your Business

Although Singaporean SMEs have access to a large pool of government grants, these free resources are highly underutilised. Aspiring SME owners tend to think that getting a grant is a highly complicated process.

The truth is that the Singaporean government encourages small businesses in various sectors to take advantage of these grants. Grants are readily available for business optimisation, innovation, growth and business diversification.

If you’ve not applied for a grant before, it can be overwhelming to research and apply. But here are tips that help you apply successfully for government grants in Singapore.

Get Ready To Act As Soon As a Grant Opens

Grants are in demand. They come and go fast. Always be prepared to apply and summit in a short time. To avoid missing out, keep checking for new grant alerts using tools such as Google alerts. Consider talking to your networks and grant coordinators.

Educate Yourself on the Workings of a Grant

Grants can scare you off, but they are easy to understand if you study their structure. Some grants come with facilitation workshop where a grant facilitator walks applicants through the grant’s structure. They can recommend whether the said grant is a fit for your start-up.

Fit the Eligibility Criteria

Different grants come with exclusive eligibility criteria. You need to check whether you qualify based on the size, nature and format of your business. Eligibility also depends on your revenue, company size and regulatory requirements. If your business doesn’t match the criteria, don’t waste time applying.

Call the Grant Administrator

When a new grant opens, consider working with a grant’s specialist. It widens your network, and the specialist can tell you upfront whether your application will succeed. If positive, these experts can provide top-notch advice to enhance your approval chances.

Don’t Over-Rely On Grant Success

Even though grants can take you to the next level, always have a plan B. If the approval fails, you can proceed with the project with funds from another source.

Get Help to Write Your Grant

When preparing a proposal, don’t go it alone. Take advantage of a grant research or service provider. They act as a buffer when you require hands-on experience to write your proposal.

Draft It in Word

You can envision your grant, but it needs to be put down on paper. Applications require the submission of answers in an editable format. To avoid losing the idea, have your proposal as a draft and don’t forget to back it up with a copy.

Keep Answers Short

Grant questions can be simple, but they require concise answers. Provide short answers that are to the point. Long winding answers may confuse the agent processing your application, and you could end up losing.

Align Your Submission with the Grant Provider’s Priorities

Grant providers attach some priority to every question they ask. In Singapore, government-aided grants seek to support specific objectives. Make sure that your answers fit the prescribed grant priority. For instance, the EDG grant aims to promote the internationalisation of local SMEs. Your answers should reflect that.

How to Increase Your Chances of Securing a Start-up Grant

SMEs in Singapore will tell you that getting your name on top of the grant approval list is exhausting. But it’s not unachievable. If you’re relentless and keen on research, you can take several steps to guarantee the success of your proposal.

From the onset, you need to have a discreet way of approaching your grant agency. Consider the viability of communication methods such as email, phone call or a physical office visit where possible. If you’re not sure, consider sending them a general inquiry letter. The response you get will tell you whether they’re interested in supporting your project.

Create a Compelling Proposal

Government grant agencies are always looking for robust applications. To win them over, state your objectives succinctly. Demonstrate a practical plan of action and provide realistic budget projections. You need to include measurable goals in the short and long term. Don’t forget to explain your benchmarks, methodology and timelines.

Adhere To Agency Guidelines

Grant issuing agencies in Singapore take time to train applicants on the workings of the grant in context. After the training, applicants need to remember and abide by the guidelines stipulated. Don’t provide more or less than the information required. Check that all the boxes are ticked such that the agency doesn’t send it back.

Direct Funds to the Defined Purpose

Eventually, an applicant needs to show the grant agency that they intend to use the funds as demonstrated. If approved, you need to channel the funds into the outlined grant purposes. It builds your credibility and the chances of getting your subsequent grant approved.

Grant Application Mistakes That Singapore’s SMEs Need to Avoid

Singaporean government grants are in abundance for SMEs looking to grow and excel. The variety of government grants available promises to breathe new life into a struggling business in different industries. However, grant applicants make mistakes that lead to disqualification. Here are grant application mistakes that entrepreneurs and small business owners need to avoid.

Targeting the Wrong Grant

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The business grant portal in Singapore has a variety of grants on offer. But they are not a one-fits-all solution. If you’re applying to expand your SME internationally, you need to concentrate on the grant that matches such an objective. Applicants tend to target the wrong grant. It’s not possible to benefit from the Enterprise Development Grant when your construction start-up can benefit from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) grant. Always do due diligence to pick a grant that suits your business.

Using the Wrong Pitch

When applying for a grant, you need to send a winning pitch. It’s only possible if you have a clear understanding of the grants available, previous and upcoming projects. As an applicant, you need to demonstrate where your business is going. You must show how the local economy will benefit if your grant is approved. If your business is aligned with the government’s vision, you stand a better chance.

Addressing Specific Problems with Generic Solutions

Successful proposals depict a clear picture of what the company will do to mitigate a situation in hand. Avoid making the mistake of sounding ambiguous in your submission. You must provide particular details and actions you’ll take to resolve them. The best solution is to write a proposal with the help of experts with in-depth project knowledge. If you omit project-specific details, your proposal may not succeed.

Fronting the Cookie-Cutter Approach

Some entrepreneurs will cut and paste information from the agency’s guidelines when preparing their application. They forget to match the funder’s needs to their project intentions. Instead of borrowing from previous proposals, inject creativity into every proposal you prepare. An agency tends to qualify original proposals over those that sound too typical.

Making Late Submissions

Entrepreneurs and SME owners in Singapore are likely to push the preparation and presentation of project proposals to a later date. SMEs can indeed be pressed for time and preparing grants can tip to the bottom of their priority list. However, it can lead to a hasty last-minute submission that could lead to the submission of erroneous information.

Ignoring Crucial Supporting Documents

Grant application through the BGP in Singapore comes with intensive paperwork. Some grants require a ton of back up documents. If you submit a proposal and forget these supporting documents, the issuing agency will return it, or they will disqualify your bid.

Forgetting the Power of Delegation

When preparing a grant application, consider bringing in an expert.  There’s a lot of red tape surrounding some grants. An expert will help to manoeuvre through confusing compliance, eligibility and bureaucracy requirements in the process.

An SME Guide to Finding the Right Grant Agency in Singapore

Pursuing government grants for your Singaporean business is a detailed process. Even though a consolidated grant portal like the BGP makes it seamless, you need to review available grant issuing authorities to see whether they rhyme with your project objectives. Here are steps that help you identify the perfect grant agency.

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Learn More about Your Prospective Grantor

Applying for a grant that doesn’t match your business objectives is futile. You need to study everything you can about a given grant firm whether they are on the BGP portal or not. It help you to narrow down to a feasible option if you match the interest of the grantor to those of your project, your proposal has high chances of success.

Check Prospective Grantor Websites

After identifying several grant issuing agencies in Singapore, consider browsing through their website. Focus on statistics, reports or testimonials.

Importantly, assess their guidelines regarding available grants, application process and approval rates. If you have burning questions, consider calling them for clarification.

Leverage Information to Write a Persuasive Proposal

After gathering agency information, you need to design a plan to target each agency based on their guidelines, objectives and procedures. If your project provokes their attention, they’re likely to keep you in the loop.

Determine the Preferences of Your Target Funders

Armed with insights about grant agency preferences, it’s easy to determine a reasonable amount to request. If you are planning to bid for more than one project, make every proposal unique. Don’t copy and replicate one proposal to other agencies. Also, avoid borrowing sections of an old submission for use in a new project.

Create a Prospects Spreadsheet

To make it easy, create a prospects list or spreadsheet.  It should detail every grantor you’ve identified and your business proposal that closely matches the agency’s funding principles. Also, the list should highlight the amount you need and the submission deadlines stipulated by each prospect.

Reasons Why You Need To Maintain Contact with a Grant Agency

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In Singapore, business grants are handled discreetly and systematically. Organisations follow a specific procedure that includes downloading application templates/forms, compiling applications, and sending to the issuing agency. There exists minimal human communication in the process. However, incorporating one on one interaction can bring forth grantor and business benefits.

SME owners in Singapore assume the fact that many grant agency; including the ones on the BGP portal usually avail their contact information. They present the applicant with the chance to speak to them directly.

Some reasons why a grant agency will want to speak to a business owner include:

  • To explain their funding bias
  • To respond to tentative project suggestions
  • To advise applicants on ways to improve their proposals
  • To assist applicants throughout the application journey
  • To enable businesses to ask pertinent questions

The value of speaking directly with an agency’s representative is two way. As an applicant, you can exploit the chance to discuss your project extensively. Some of the aspects you can raise include:

  • Issues pertaining to your project application
  • Feedback on proposed project elements
  • Get clarification about the application system
  • To query funding elements and procedure
  • To assess the agency’s funding priorities at the current
  • To seek advice on problematic areas in your application

In Singapore, grants agencies and applicants don’t fancy wasting time deliberating incompatible grant applications. Fortunately, direct communication can save time and resources for both parties.

If you’re interested in a government grant and you can get through the business grant portal, MediaOne provides insights and advice. Contact us today.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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April 04, 2020

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