Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a government agency that aims to develop Singapore’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, will be enhancing the Startup SG Founder scheme by raising grant support from SGD 30,000 (USD 22,000) to SGD 50,000 (USD 36,500) and providing a three-month venture-building program for aspiring entrepreneurs. Up to SGD 150 million (USD 110 million) has been set aside for these changes.
Launched in 2017, Startup SG Founder supports first-time entrepreneurs through mentorships and startup capital grants.
Alongside the new pre-seed grant of SGD 50,000 (USD 22,000), startups that qualify are required to co-match SGD 10,000 (USD 7,300). To apply for the grant, they must have at least three Singaporeans or Singapore permanent residents on staff, with at least two being first-time founders.
ESG has also partnered with several venture builders to provide a three-month venture building program for startups. These programs will help partners with different aspects of launching a startup, such as forming co-founding teams, commercializing ideas, and finding capital. Each participant will receive a monthly stipend of SGD 1,500 (USD 1,100).
Five autonomous universities (AUs)—Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, and Singapore University of Social Sciences—have been announced as partners.
“The five universities were appointed as partners in this initial round as they have in place venture building programs to be scaled up to support this year’s graduating cohort, in addition to mid-career professionals,” Edwin Chow, assistant chief executive officer (innovation and enterprise) of ESG, told KrASIA. “These five AUs have track record and expertise in entrepreneurial programs and startup incubation and acceleration programs.”
Chow also noted that ESG will be “progressively onboarding other private sector partners”.
“Startups have an innate ability to adapt and pivot, to quickly spot opportunities and provide effective solutions. This is especially important during crises,” Chow said in a media release on Thursday. “We hope to enable more aspiring entrepreneurs to start new ventures and accelerate the formation of innovative startups in Singapore.”
The Startup SG Founder enhancements are part of Singapore’s Unity Budget, announced in February. SGD 8.3 billion (USD 6.1 billion) will be allocated over the next three years under the “Transformation and Growth” strategy, which aims to position Singapore’s economy to tap opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world.
The announcement comes as Singapore has been making concerted efforts to spur innovation in the country. Last Thursday, it announced that it was committing SGD 250 million (USD 182 million) to develop the fintech sector.