Things to take note of when applying for the Enterprise Development Grant
It’s been a tough season for businesses all around the world. With the global pandemic, inflation, and geopolitical and climate crisis coming to a head, this perfect storm of events has forced companies to pivot or adapt to the rapidly changing market forces of today. Thankfully, Singapore’s government has been aware of the need for support in these ailing times and has introduced grants such as the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) to invest in promising firms that need temporary assistance.
On websites such as Enterprise Singapore, one will find multiple grants available. The Enterprise Development Grant will cover as much as 70% of qualifying costs for SMEs. Two further groups stand to gain stronger subsidies, with Budget 2022 allotting up to 80% for applicants from the Food Services and Retail sectors from 1 Apr 2022 to 31 Mar 2023; and the same for unionised companies and e2i partners under the Labour Movement that promise to work with unions to train workers as part of those looking for job transformation.
The Enterprise Development Grant is best suited for SMEs looking to use the financial subsidies to improve, innovate or expand their reach overseas through three core pillars.
- Core Capabilities
- Innovation and Productivity
- Market Access
If applicants submit proposals that outline these initiatives vividly, their applications will likely be approved, so it is important to know what these three categories entail.
“Projects under Core Capabilities help businesses prepare for growth and transformation by strengthening their business foundations.” – Enterprise Singapore website
As indicated, the first pillar deals with re-envisioning the fundamentals within the business model itself. The website further clarifies these into 5 areas:
1. Business Strategy Development: Finding intervention through strategies – tapping into areas such as those of research and development, marketing or more to seek out opportunities and strengthen competitiveness.
2. Financial Management: Optimise financial performance through a review of existing investments, while evaluating risk exposures. Also to keep expenditure lean but efficient, with training invested in the most important stewards of the company’s resources.
3. Human Capital Development: Bolster the company’s Human Resource (HR) capabilities – and restructuring if needed – to create more efficient systems that reward and invest in talents to support business growth strategies.
4. Service Excellence: Investigate and improve the company’s service delivery at all touchpoints and find updated alignment with existing customers’ needs.
5. Strategic Brand and Marketing Development: Discover differentiation and well-defined brand levers to better target and convert audiences. Update strategies and deliver better communication through collateral and engagement.
Innovation and productivity
“Projects under Innovation and Productivity support companies that explore new areas of growth, or look for ways to enhance efficiency, or optimise resource usage to improve their sustainability performance. Companies could also tap into automation and technologies to make routine tasks more efficient and sustainable.” – Enterprise Singapore website
Digital transformation has been one of the key solutions to tide over – and in some cases excel in – these challenging years. Understanding that these innovations require significant capital, the Enterprise Development Grant defrays the cost of procurement and implementation in these 3 areas:
1. Process redesign: Evaluating the existing workflows and processes to identify areas of implementation, so as to enhance productivity and efficient resource use.
2. Automation: Drive productivity and growth through implementation of automation in processes; streamlining workflows and gaining deeper insights.
3. Product development: Help businesses to discover market viability and develop an effective commercialisation plan.
“Projects under Market Access support Singapore companies that are willing and ready to venture overseas. You may tap into the EDG to help defray some of the costs of expanding into overseas markets.” – Enterprise Singapore website
As outlined, this segment applies to those companies seeking to expand out of Singapore. The primary 3 areas this grant can help look into are:
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): Finding expansion through M&A, including resources to help in the assessment (such as feasibility studies and valuations) to post-merger integrations and documentation.
Pilot Project and Test Bedding: Building a solid track record to allow for a more credible and easier expansion into new geography and markets.
Standards Adoption: Ease businesses into adopting internationally-recognised standards and certifications in new or existing key industries, to enhance native competitiveness, minimise legal complications and gain faster market reach.
Note: A fifth area, Overseas Marketing Presence, has since been removed from this list and been given its own grant under the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant.
To apply for the Enterprise Development Grant, businesses will also need to be of the following criteria to be eligible for the subsidy:
- Be a business entity registered and have at least one operation in Singapore.
- Have a minimum of 30% in local shareholding.
- Justify the financial viability of the project to assure its full completion.
With these criteria met and a sound proposal submitted, the Enterprise Development Grant
Promises to fund qualifying project costs include (but are not limited to) third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal workforce cost.
All applications will be assessed by Enterprise Singapore, and factors such as the project scope, its outcomes and an evaluation of the competency of the service provider will be considered before the final outcome. In some cases, businesses who wish to assure themselves of effective documentation and project viability can consult with firms such as Go Global Gem as advisory and administrative partners to enhance their applications. The experienced agencies will highlight lesser-known factors (such as additional subsidies for employers eligible for SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits) or indicate critical areas that require supporting documentation.
But as long as applicants can provide solid presentations and projects under the three pillars indicated above, the Enterprise Development Grant is well worth the effort to give your business the step up in much-needed funding.
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