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Singapore Incubators - The 5 Schemes to Look Out For


Although only a small city, Singapore is one of the best places in the world to build a startup, with easy access to major Asian cities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and more. Besides the location, Singapore also has many funding opportunities available through incubators and accelerators, and has some of the world’s best tech talents, making it the perfect startup location for entrepreneurs.

Incubators are a great source of assistance for start-up businesses as they not only provide capital, but they also give business guidance and technical expertise. Some even provide access to accounting or legal services, as well as the opportunity to establish meaningful business relationships. 

There are a number of funding alternatives open to incubators such as cash grants and equity investments. Incubators may provide matching funds or cash subsidies, taking an equity stake in the firm in return for the money they have received. 

Below are five different Incubator options in Singapore:

1) Incubator Development Program

The Incubator Development Program provides up to 70% grant support to incubators and venture accelerators that have initiatives in place to assist with the start-ups developments.

The money covers the cost of hiring mentors as well as market services and events costs. It also covers the cost of recruiting incubator managers and funding for training and shared services/equipment for start-ups. 

2) Incubator for Disruptive Enterprises and Start-ups (IDEAS) Fund

The IDEAS Fund is an acceleration fund for early-stage firms that focuses on recognising and supporting startups with the potential to disrupt an industry. Each investment receives around $500,000 to $600,000 in funding, which may be used to invest in businesses across all sectors.

The program is overseen by Innosight Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital company, and the National Research Foundation.

3) i.Jam Micro Funding Scheme

The i.JAM Micro Funding Scheme is a seed financing program for Australian startups that provides up to $250,000 in seed money and two tiers of funding. Tier 1 Funding is made up of grants up to $50,000 provided through approved incubators to selected firms.

The awards will be used to compensate up to 100% of start-up expenses (subject to a limit of $50,000 per start-up) for two years.

Tier 2 funding is for projects that have successfully completed and surpassed performance indicators in their i.JAM project, or phase 1.

After the successful completion of a digital games development training course, students will be eligible to apply for funding of up to S$100,000. This is handled by the Interactive Digital Media Programme Office.

4) NRF Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS)

Under the TIS scheme, the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore can invest up to 85% of the sum invested in a Singapore-based start-up that is recommended by a Technology Incubator (TI), limited at S$500,000 per firm.

The start-up will have a 15% profit margin. The TI will then co-invest the remaining 85%. The start-up will receive active mentorship and guidance from the TI. Within three years, the TI can buy back NRF's stake in the company by paying back both capital and interest.

5) Fast-Track Environmental and Water Technologies Incubator Scheme (Fast-Tech)

This program is available to firms registered in Singapore that are less than three years old. This assistance comes in the form of a repayable grant, which will be up to S$500,000 per firm or S$85,000 per company, whichever is lower, over two years.

If the firm accepts the offer, one-third of the authorised grant amount will be advanced to it. The remaining grant is paid out to the company on a reimbursement basis. This money is controlled by the Environment and Water Industry Program Office.

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