Singapore, as part of its efforts to nurture an ecosystem that is conducive for startups to thrive, established an umbrella branding called Startup SG under which all the start-up support schemes have been grouped. Startup SG Founder is one of the schemes targeted at first-time entrepreneurs. The scheme provides mentorship and capital support for entrepreneurs who have outstandingly innovative ideas. In order to qualify, the proposed business must have a distinct competitive advantage and must be truly unique with substantial market potential. Here is an overview of the scheme.
About the Scheme
- SPRING provides funding to first-time entrepreneurs by matching S$3 for every S$1 raised by the entrepreneurs. The grant is capped at S$30,000.
- The fund will be disbursed in two tranches upon achieving the predetermined milestones over a period of 12 months.
- Besides funding, the selected entrepreneurs will also get constructive support in terms of mentorship and networking for up to 12 months.
- Applicants are assessed on the basis of the uniqueness and feasibility of the business model as well as the competency of the management team and the market potential for the business.
Eligibility for Startup SG Founder
- The applicant must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.
- The applicant must hold at least 30% shares in the company.
- The company must have at least 51% local shareholding.
- At the time of application, the company should not be incorporated for more than six months.
- The company’s business operations must be conducted predominantly in Singapore.
- The applicant must not have registered any business entity previously or received any funding from any other government organization.
- The applicant must be a key person making decisions in the company.
Documents Required for Startup SG Founder
- Completed and signed application form
- ACRA e-statement to declare that the main applicant is a first-time entrepreneur
- Business plans and CVs of management team
Procedure for Startup SG Founder
The application must be made through Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP). Presently, there are 17 AMPs listed on the Startup SG website.
The applicants must submit the completed Startup SG Founder application form to the AMP that they have selected. The AMP will evaluate the applications and assess if the applicants meet the qualifying criteria. After screening for qualification, the AMP will work with the applicant to draw a suitable developmental plan for the proposed business with appropriate milestones. The AMP will forward the application to SPRING along with recommendations of milestones for disbursement of the fund.
SPRING, after further scrutiny, will notify the applicant and the AMP on the status of the application.
- The applicant can be employed in another job at the time of application but the applicant must dedicate full-time to the company and must not hold other forms of employment from the date of receipt of the Letter of Offer.
- It is not necessary to incorporate a company in order to apply for this scheme but if the company is incorporated prior to the application, it must not be more than six months at the time of application.
- The applicant must choose an AMP after careful evaluation of their mutual fit. Though either party can seek early termination of the mentorship with valid reasons, the applicant must find another mentor partner to qualify for subsequent disbursement of grant. This provision is allowed only once.
- Upon acceptance of the Letter of Offer, the applicant must raise the co-matching amount and make it available in the company’s bank account prior to the disbursement. The amount to be co-matched is in accordance to the agreed tranches. Expenses incurred prior to the Letter of Acceptance cannot be considered as part of the co-matching amount.
- SPRING is the approval authority and the AMPs are in charge of the evaluation of applications.
- If the grants are misused or in the event of breach of the terms and conditions SPRING may ask for the funds to be returned.
- Unsuccessful applicants can re- apply for Startup SG Founder through AMPs with a revised/new business proposal provided there are substantial changes made from the previous submission. However, you must ensure that the company is not incorporated for more than six months at the time of re-application.
Startup SG Founder Closing Note
The grant amount may appear inadequate for some emerging entrepreneurs, however, the evaluation process will take the applicant through a series of insightful discussions with the seasoned AMPs. The AMPs are selected by SPRING after a comprehensive evaluation of their expertise and competence. Such discussion could unveil the potential hiccups, risks, and lacunae in the project and the means of addressing them. Besides fine-tuning the business model and concept, it will help the aspirants to foolproof their business plan and have realistic estimates of its potential. Also for successful applicants, besides the grant, the AMP will be able to provide them the much-needed operational hand holding and mentorship. The AMP would plug them into resourceful networks that would enhance their capabilities and competence. Therefore, the scheme is worth more than the face value of the grant for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Grab the Startup SG Founder opportunity and start a business today
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