MARKET READINESS ASSISTANCE MRA GRANT
If you are a Singapore Small and medium enterprise (SME) and are looking to expand your business or market reach overseas, you can take advantage of the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant, awarded by Enterprise Singapore.
This grant aims to help Singapore companies with first-step internationalisation efforts by funding various business development and marketing activities.
AMOUNT OF FUNDING SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE MRA GRANT
As announced at Budget 2021, the MRA grant will cover up to 80% of eligible costs, capped at S$100,000 per company per new market* until 31 March 2022. After which, it will revert to a 70% support level till 31 March 2023.
*A new market refers to a target overseas country whereby the applicant has not exceeded S$100,000 in overseas sales in each of the last three preceding years.
The total ceiling support of S$100,000 is divided across the three MRA pillars as follows:
- Overseas market promotion (capped at S$20,000)
- Overseas business development (capped at S$50,000)
- Overseas market set-up (capped at S$30,000)
Costs Not Covered by the MTA Grant
Only eligible expenses stated in the scope of the MRA Grant are supported.
There are several expenses that companies may expect to be covered that are not supported by the MRA grant. Please refer to this non-exhaustive list of non-qualifying expenses here (scroll towards the bottom of the FAQs).
TYPE OF ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY THE MRA GRANT
The MRA grant covers a variety of overseas business development and marketing activities that are categorised into three pillars, each with a set of supportable activities:
Overseas Market Promotion (capped at S$20,000)
This pillar supports activities to create brand visibility and raise awareness to potential overseas clients.
Overseas Marketing and PR Activities
The MRA grant covers third-party costs incurred for marketing and PR activities, including the launch of in-store promotions, roadshows, pop-up stores, and pitching fees at overseas business/trade conferences.
Individual marketing/ PR activities are supported only if they are part of a holistic marketing/ PR campaign executed by a professional marketing/PR agency/vendor with relevant expertise in the overseas market.
Participation in Overseas Physical and Virtual Trade Fairs
The MRA grant covers third-party costs charged by event organisers to participate in overseas physical and virtual trade shows, not supported under the Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) Programme.
Overseas Business Development (capped at S$50,000)
This pillar supports companies in conducting early-phase market exploration and in-market business development activities for countries they intend to enter.
This essential groundwork provides insights to determine where a company should invest resources to further assess leads for potential business.
The MRA grant covers third-party costs incurred to identify potential partners and/ or customers (B2B) such as licensees/franchisees, agents and distributors, and joint venture partners.
Overseas Marketing Presence (OMP)
The MRA grant covers the salary of 1 permanent staff posted to the overseas market to conduct marketing and business development work.
The permanent staff can be a Singaporean, PR or foreigner and does not need to be a new hire. Supportable expenses will be pegged at an 80% support level for a Singaporean or PR and 60% for a foreigner.
The grant can also partially cover the rental of office/ shop in the overseas market for up to 12 months. This is assessed on a case-to-case basis.
In-market Business Development
The MRA grant covers third party costs from professional business, sales or marketing consultants for business development services for up to 12 months.
Examples of activities that can be supported include:
- Preparation of local in-market business development staff or promoters for sales and product training.
- Lead generation activities for new business leads.
- Implementation of market entry activities such as.
- Progress updates on business development efforts in the target overseas market.
- Recommendations on strategic planning, business development and setting up of entity in the overseas target market.
Overseas Market Set-up (capped at S$30,000)
This pillar supports businesses looking to set up their business in a target overseas market and covers legal business advisory and administrative expenses.
The MRA grant covers advisory, legal and documentation expenses relating to:
- Name search
- Intellectual Property (IP) Search and application
- Filing and registration for sales/representative offices or equity entity
- Implementation of recommended tax structures
- Import and export licences
- Drafting of franchising, licensing, agency, distributorship and joint venture agreements (limited to only the first set of such agreement)
- Trade Credit Insurance (TCI)
In-depth Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Consultancy
The MRA grant covers in-depth free trade agreement (FTA) consultancy services from pre-qualified consultants to leverage on FTAs to export to new markets.
- In-depth assessment to identify opportunities available in FTAs.
- Analysis of the company’s supply chain.
- Application procedures for Customs rulings with issuing authority.
- Advisory on FTA compliance, including internal guidelines/ checklist.
Full List of MRA Grant Supportable Activities
The above is a comprehensive overview of the activities supported by MRA. However, please review a more exhaustive list of supportable activities under the three MRA pillars from Enterprise Singapore’s website here.
- The maximum support period for an approved MRA activity is 12 months.
- A company can apply for multiple MRA grants for each new market/ single activity if the criteria are met and projects are within each activity grant sub-cap.
- If you are looking to grow your business in Singapore, this activity will not be supported by MRA as it is an internationalisation grant. If you want to grow your business locally, the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) will be more suitable.
- Eligible companies can apply for a MRA grant and EDG simultaneously if it is not for the same scope of work/services/activities.
MRA GRANT ELIGIBILITY
Like the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) or most Singapore government grants, for that matter, the company applying for the MRA grant should meet the following criteria:
- Be registered and operating in Singapore. The MRA grant is open to Sole Proprietors, Limited Liability Partnerships and Pte Ltd companies.
- Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding.
- Have less than 200 employees OR have less than SGD100 million annual turnover.
- Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project. (EDG works on a reimbursement basis and is not an upfront funding grant.)
- Not be a start-up. You should ideally be operating for at least 2 to 3 years.
- Has business activity and preferably growth in the last few years.
- The entity is not a non-profit organisation
Even if your company fulfils the above eligibility requirements, it is important to note that Enterprise Singapore does not accept retrospective applications for already commenced projects.
An application will be deemed retrospective only if any of the following events took place before the application date:
- Signed an engagement letter with the third-party consultant.
- Made the first payment to the third-party consultant.
- Commenced the project with the third-party consultant.
Companies must submit applications no earlier than six months before the project start date.
WORKING WITH A CONSULTANT FOR THE MRA GRANT
Unlike the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), working with a recognised certified management consultant for the MRA grant is not mandatory, except for Enterprise Singapore’s list of FTA consultants if you require legal entity set-ups and legal advice.
However, an experienced consultant can provide advisory services and assist with overseas market entry. Additionally, the MRA grant can fund up to 80& of third-party consultancy fees. This is an important point as the MRA grant does not support in-house or internal capabilities (research, analysis, strategy planning or business development activities).
For example, Evolve & Adapt is a strategic marketing consultant based in Singapore & Malaysia who has expertise in overseas business development and lead generation for Singapore businesses expanding into Southeast Asia markets.
We specialise in “Overseas Business Development” for MRA projects, specifically local in-market business development consultancy.
We are experienced business consultants who can assist with your MRA project to:
- Increase Leads, Sales & Revenue in the New Market
- Increase Brand Equity in the New Market
- Build Authority & Trust in the New Market
- Grow Your Business in a New Market
If you engage us to consult on a MRA project to target Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei or Indonesia, our consultancy fee can be funded up to 80% by the grant.
While there is no application fee when applying from MRA to Enterprise Singapore, some consultants may charge an administrative fee for assisting in a MRA application.
However, Evolve & Adapt will provide the service out of goodwill if we assess the MRA project and decide to take it on.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss scope of work and options for your business.