Supercharging Your Startup: Funding Assistance and Where to Get It

It is a well-known fact that most startups run on a shoestring budget. Lack of funding often becomes one of the biggest roadblock that thwarts success of startups. That being said, how do you back up the truck and keep your startup afloat?

If you plan to start your own venture in the Lion City, you can seek assistance from the Government to support your startup’s future funding. Singapore government with its ambitious dream of turning the country as South East Asia’s version of Silicon Valley has launched copious schemes and grants to foster the proliferation of startup ecosystem.

The government has taken steps to craft a pro-business environment for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their seed-stage business in the country.

Ranked 12th in Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017, Singapore is home for 1,600 to 2,400 tech startups. Supported by conducive environment that supports enterprise development, Singapore-based startups gain access to various benefits they cannot find elsewhere. Least complicated bureaucracy, stable political climate, excellent technical infrastructure, low-tax system, wide-range of available talents, as well as generous government funding and schemes are only a handful of examples of the benefits that startups get to thrive and grow.

Talking about startup funding in Singapore, Grab (previously known as Grab Taxi), is probably one of the most prominent examples. Grab is one of the most popular Singapore-based startup that has been successfully widening its international reach. Started way back in 2012 and founded by Tan Hooi Ling and Anthony Tan, Grab has raised US$90 million funding from prominent investors such as Vertex Ventures, GGV Capital, and Tiger Global in 12 months.

Since then, Grab has been spreading its wings and transforming into Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing platform with its growing service in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Philippines.

By August 2015, Grab secures a deal worth US$350 million, from Coatue Management, China Investment Corporation, and Didi Kuaidi. Along with existing shareholders, this additional funding brings Grab’s total worth to approximately US$700 million, which makes it one of the best funded startup in the history of Southeast Asia. And the achievement does not stop here. Latest report released by The Straits Times reveals that Grab has raised US$750 million funding led by Japanese mobile giant, SoftBank.

Grab’s efficacious funding efforts is one of the best role models every startup in Singapore can look up to. However, if you are newbie in the business world, you will need helpful assistance before jumping into the startup bandwagon. To serve this purpose, International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) is founded by the government as an agency to promote international trade and partner with Singapore companies in going global.

Through its Global Company Partnership (GCP) and Market Readiness Assistance (MRA), IE Singapore helps companies through various stages of growth towards being globally competitive, including startups. Whether you are planning to expand your business overseas for the first time or interested to broaden your market presence worldwide, IE Singapore offers several schemes of financial assistance for local companies.

Besides GCP and MRA, the program also offers Double Tax Deduction and Internationalisation Finance Scheme to support your new venture’s funding security. Starting off a new venture is not an easy feat. You might have secured the deal with prominent sources of funding, but the check alone is not enough to guarantee your startup’s sustainability.

For startup founders, signing up for startup organisation membership is crucial to improve their business standing and get recognised in the competitive landscape. Before you can bring your products to the global market, you need to widen your network first.

Set up in 2016, NTUC U Startup is part of National Trades Union Congress program which aims to support the thriving startup community in Singapore. Connecting startups to the wider NTUC network which comprises of companies, professionals, as well as talents across the globe, there are several initiatives created by U Startup.

Some of the initiatives are targeted towards helping startups and potential service buyers (B2B), promoting startups to NTUC Members (B2C) and bridging the link between startups and PMEs who are keen on carving a niche in their careers and skill prowess.

Designed to help early-stage startups organise and find out innovative solutions to improve business productivity, U Startup provides access to startups for funding sources to support stronger startup ecosystem in Singapore.

The key point to expand your startup’s growth and get hold of the funding you need, is to get social and meet with the real people. Attending startup fair will give you a great opportunity to introduce your business to a wider scope of audience, connect with professionals from the same industry, as well as gain access to top talents.

Efforts made by MOM and NTUC to secure and build a supportive startup ecosystem in Singapore, will definitely offer the much-needed friendly-advice, suggestions and funding assistance to get started on your next entrepreneurial journey.