There are many reasons why Singapore is one of the most attractive places to start a new company or business venture, one of which is the extensively favorable business environment that it fosters. Apart from boasting several tax exemptions, the Singaporean government, along with other organizations and private bodies, also offers several grants and support schemes to nurture new businesses and maintain its robust economy.
A prominent example of this is the Market Readiness Grant of Singapore, most commonly referred to as the MRA grant, which aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises and increase their chances of garnering international success and recognition.
What Is the Market Readiness Grant
This grant was launched by the Singaporean government in response to the increasing challenges and costs associated with the overseas expansion and global ventures of Singapore companies.
With the MRA grant, eligible companies will be able to avail generous financial assistance and guidance, particularly those expected from market promotion efforts, which will allow these companies to break into a new foreign market and establish a name for themselves.
Benefits of the Market Readiness Grant
Eligible companies stand to receive up to 50% of their costs covered by the MRA grant. This grant has a maximum limit of up to SGD 100,000 for every company and new market. However, only costs that qualify under the accepted activities specified by the grant will be covered. The following activities can be shouldered by the MRA grant, along with each activity’s specific caps:
- Overseas Market Promotion (SGD 20,000): Includes launching of any marketing or public relations efforts, as well as pitches of products, services, or industry capabilities, regardless of whether these are of a physical or virtual nature. Examples include the launching of in-store promotions, pop-up stores, advertisements, content seeding, business or trade conferences, and more.
- Overseas Business Development (SGD 50,000): Includes any fees associated with licenses or franchises, agents and distributors, joint venture partners, and cross-border logistics. Certain activities may also be covered such as market entry activities, the review of market entry strategies, product training, outreach efforts for business leads, and more.
- Overseas Market Setup (SGD 30,000): Includes any legal and documentation expenses that relate to name search, intellectual property, sales offices or equity entities, the implementation of tax structures, import and export licenses, and more. This also includes any advisory or legal expenses such as customs compliance, general trade compliance assessment, export controls and sanctions, and more.
Market Readiness Grant Eligibility Criteria
Companies that are interested in applying for the MRA grant must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- The company must be incorporated and operate in Singapore
- The company must have at least 30% local equity held by a Singaporean permanent resident or a citizen, whether directly or indirectly
- The company must be entering the selected international market for the first time
- The company’s annual sales in the international market must not exceed SGD 100,000 within the last three years
- The company must either have a Group Annual Sales Turnover of at most SGD 100 million or an employment size of at most 200 employees
Market Readiness Grant Application Process
For eligible companies looking to apply for the MRA grant, here’s a quick step-by-step guide through the application process.
Step 1: Identify Your Chosen Overseas Market and Activity
When applying for the MRA grant, the first thing you need to do is choose the overseas market that you want to enter as you’ll need to ensure that the sales of this market have not surpassed SGD 100,000 within the last three years. This eligibility requirement was put into place to ensure that the grant only supports companies and businesses with very limited market presence, thus maximizing the benefits to accepted applicants.
Afterward, you’ll need to choose the overseas activity that you want to apply for, and you’ll be able to see all three options in the previous sections.
Step 2: Prepare the Necessary Documents
While the full list of required documents may vary depending on your chosen market activity, you should still prepare certain paperwork such as your company’s financial statements for the last three years, as well as any documents related to your chosen vendors or consultants such as quotations and proposals.
Step 3: Apply on the Business Grants Portal
The Business Grants Portal was implemented to streamline the grant application process and consolidate everything into one place, making it easier for applicants to find and apply for their chosen grants. You can sign in to the portal with your Corppass account before filling out the MRA grant application form.
Once you’ve submitted your form, you can expect a response within eight to twelve weeks from the day of submission, though keep in mind that a representative may still reach out to you to ask for further clarifications or additional requirements.
Step 4: Receive Letter of Offer
Should everything in your application have gone smoothly, then the next step is for you to receive your Letter of Offer, which will have the details of your received grant such as the conditions, given amount, and qualifying period. It’s important that you accept this letter within a specific time period.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to reach out to a qualified auditor from Enterprise Singapore and undergo an audit. Afterward, you’ll have to submit a claim on the Business Grants Portal within the specified deadline indicated in your Letter of Offer. Once this claim has been approved, you will be notified through an email and the amount will be released to your bank account anywhere between six to eight weeks.
Things to Keep in Mind
When looking to apply for the MRA grant, it’s best to keep the following in mind:
- Grant Application Coverage: Each MRA grant application is only applicable to a single activity in a single international market.
- Selection of Vendors and Consultants: Companies looking to apply are not required to choose from a pre-approved list of vendors, allowing companies the flexibility to choose vendors and consultants on their own. However, this does not apply to Free Trade Agreement and Trade Compliance consultants.
- Audit Requirements: Grant claims are subjected to an audit by an auditor selected from EnterpriseSG’s Pre-Qualified Panel, and this will entail additional costs of at least SGD 200 depending on the scope. During this process, companies should prepare all the required documents such as the Letter of Offer and any additional and relevant letters as these will have to be submitted to the auditor.
Effortless Incorporation with WealthBridge
From its vibrant business scene to its favorable corporate conditions, there are so many reasons to start a company in Singapore, especially with WealthBridge to make the entire application process much easier for you.
Singapore company incorporation often comes with several application processes and requirements that may seem daunting to most first-time business owners. However, WealthBridge’s professional team is equipped with years of experience incorporating a wide range of Singaporean businesses across different industries and is more than ready to help make your dreams into a reality.