Singapore Government Covid-19 funding measures – what is available to Fintechs?

As a global firm we have actively tracking and assessing the varied measures which have been made available by governments across the world to support corporates and businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Building on this work we this is the third in a series of posts focusing on key Fintech jurisdictions: assessing what funding measures could be available specifically to Fintechs in Singapore (from SMEs to start-ups). 

Fintech specific measures 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced on 8 April a S$125 million support package intended to help position financial institutions (“FIs”) and fintech firms for stronger growth when the threat of COVID-19 recedes and economic activity normalises:

1. Support for Training and Manpower Costs

  • A new Training Allowance Grant has been introduced to encourage firms to train and deepen the capabilities of their employees during this time. 
  • The MAS has also collaborated with the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), to offer an increase in course fee subsidies for Singapore Citizens (SC) and Permanent Residents attending relevant IBF courses to 90% (from the current range of 50% to 70%) and extension of the subsidies to include employees of fintech firms.
  • Doubled salary support for FIs to hire SC fresh graduates or workers from other sectors and place them in talent management programs under the Finance Associate Management Scheme. 

2. Support for Operational Costs

Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG)

The DAG scheme supports Singapore-based FIs and fintech firms in their adoption of digital solutions to improve productivity, strengthen operational resilience, manage risks better, and serve customers better. The scheme is open to firms with not more than 200 employees, and is split into two ‘tracks’: 

 

 DAG – Institution Project track

 DAG – Industry Pilot track

Aim

Support for adoption of digital solutions such as cloud services, compliance and KYC tools, and data-related services. 

Support for joint projects by at least three FIs to customise an existing solution with a solutions provider. 

Funding support

Up to 80% of support, capped at S$120,000 per entity, is available for 1 year in respect of the below qualifying expenses:

 

  • Hardware and software, including licences, maintenance and subscription costs; and

  • Professional services (e.g. consultancy, cybersecurity testing, IT audit).

Entities can claim for expenses incurred from 1 February 2020. 

 

Up to 80% of support, capped at S$100,000 per participating entity, is available for 2 years from implementation.

 

Qualifying expenses may include hardware and software, professional services, and manpower costs. 

 

3. Support for Access to Business Opportunities

APIX free access

Singapore-based fintech firms are granted 6 months’ free access to API Exchange (APIX), an online global marketplace and sandbox for collaboration and sales. 

Fintech Self-Assessment Tool

The MAS will also work with the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) to set up a new digital self-assessment framework for MAS’ Outsourcing and TRM Guidelines, hosted on APIX. Completing the self-assessment will help fintech firms provide a first-level assurance to FIs about the quality of their solutions. More information on this is expected to be released soon.

Broader measures

Government grants

The following government grants are also available to fintech firms.

   Enterprise Development Grant (EDG)  Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)
Aim

Supporting projects that help Singapore companies upgrade their business, innovate, or venture overseas, under three pillars:

 

  • Core capabilities – helping businesses prepare for growth and transformation by strengthening their business foundations
  • Innovation and Productivity – supporting companies exploring new areas of growth or looking for ways to enhance efficiency (e.g. reviewing and redesigning workflow and processes)
  • Market Access – supporting companies that are willing and ready to venture overseas by defraying some of the costs of expanding into overseas markets.
Supporting Singapore companies in the adoption of pre-scoped IT solutions and equipment to enhance business processes. 
Funding support

80% funding support from April to December 2020. 90% support is available on a case-by-case basis for enterprises most severely impacted by COVID-19. 

 

Support covers qualifying project costs such as third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower costs. 

 

80% funding support from April to December 2020.

 

The scope of solutions will also be expanded to include COVID-19 business continuity measures such as: 

 

  • Online collaboration tools
  • Virtual meeting and telephony tools
  • Queue management systems 
  • Temperature screening solutions
 Eligibility

Firms must fulfil the following criteria:

 

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project. 

Firms must fulfil the following criteria:

 

  • Be 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 (for selected solutions only).