Is there a Singapore Digital Marketing Grant for SME Businesses? (Updated Apr 2023)

With the push for digital transformation, we explore the availability of a Singapore digital marketing grant for SME businesses and clarify any online misinformation.

Technological disruption and COVID-19 have fundamentally changed industries and how businesses produce, distribute, and operate.

Most businesses need help generating leads and converting customers to make sales and revenue online.

Many businesses that want to transform digitally may not have the resources to invest in the necessary expertise or training to be digitally enabled. A grant or subsidy will help to cover a significant portion of these costs and motivate more businesses to adapt to the new economy.

Do note that the spirit of most grants is to help growing businesses scale their business and is not designed to be a lifeline for a business that is experiencing a downturn or has cashflow issues.

Businesses in need of working capital for business needs can apply for the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) instead.

WHAT SINGAPORE DIGITAL MARKETING GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE?

The good news is that there are several business and marketing grants in Singapore that can be tapped into for digital marketing strategy and activities.

The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) currently offers funding support of up to 50% of the cost of adopting specific pre-approved digital solutions, including those related to digital marketing.

Two grants that are more far-reaching in scope but can include some aspects of digital marketing are the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) and Digital Growth Subsidy.

Other grants are also available for specific digital solutions or aspects related to digital marketing.

Note:

The grants are generally targeted at SMEs that have at least 30% local (Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident) shareholding, and group annual sales turnover not more than S$100 million or group employment size not more than 200 employees.

Here are the grants and support schemes that can be leveraged for digital marketing:

ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT GRANT

Best for SMEs looking for full-scope projects to develop a brand strategy, craft a business strategy transform digitally, automate, or venture overseas.

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), administered by the Singapore government, supports projects that help Singapore companies grow and transform.

An EDG grant subsidies projects for up to 50% of qualifying costs and are supported on a reimbursement basis. Claims can be submitted when all project deliverables have been achieved. 

The pillar that can apply to all businesses, regardless of industry, looking to transform digitally would be “Core Capabilities”, specifically under Business Strategy Development or Strategic Brand and Marketing Development.

Learn More Details of the EDG Here

The previous incarnation of this component of EDG was called the Capability Development Grant or CDG. CDG was discontinued on 25 October 2018 and was replaced by the EDG.

Previously, under CDG, to a certain extent, digital marketing costs and web development costs could be claimed under this grant. However, this is not the case now. The EDG clearly states that it does not support the following:

Production of corporate and/ or marketing collaterals, such as brochures, videos, websites, photography, stock pictures, and copywriting

Implementation of marketing or PR campaigns, including retainer fees of consultants, advertising and media buys, engagement of social media influencers, management of websites/ social media platforms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

However, a Singapore SME business can still leverage the EDG in digital marketing strategy and digital business transformation.

Digital marketing tactics, like the costs highlighted above, need to be guided by strategy. Businesses need to have a clear digital marketing strategy and plan before they invest in what EDG considers as digital marketing on-going costs.

A digital consultant will be able to develop a project with a scope that includes business strategy or identifying how your business can fulfil strategic market needs in the online space.

This will ensure you have a clear plan for digital marketing and only invest in the types of digital marketing that fit your business. The digital consultant should also be able to work with you to allocate digital marketing budgets and create a digital marketing calendar.

EDG Scope of Funding

EDG funds qualifying project costs, namely third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and internal manpower cost.

From 1 April 2023, SMEs can receive up to 50% support for EDG, (while sustainability-related projects may be supported at up to 70% from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026).

DIGITAL GROWTH SUBSIDY

Best for SMEs looking for a value-for-money marketing & branding project for the digital economy.

The Digital Growth Subsidy is a subsidised support project for companies to grow and succeed in the digital economy.

It is one of the best-value comprehensive marketing & branding projects currently available to Singapore companies.

The Digital Growth Subsidy was first introduced in 2020 to help businesses in specific areas of digital marketing.

On 1 Apr 2023, the Digital Growth Subsidy was restructured as a Strategic Marketing Advancement Project to fit the needs of businesses for post-pandemic growth in the digital economy.

The project has a fixed scope, and up to 50% of the pre-scoped strategic marketing project is subsidised upfront for eligible businesses.

The project has a fixed scope that lasts 4 months and covers 4 main areas:

    1. Market Research & Analysis
    2. Strategic Planning
    3. Content Development
    4. Marketing Plan

Objectives of DIGS projects include:

    • Increase Brand Equity
    • Build Authority & Trust in the Market
    • Increase Leads, Sales & Revenue
    • Grow Your Business

The Strategic Marketing Advancement project fees are SGD50,000, and the Digital Growth Subsidy supports up to 50% of the costs upfront for eligible businesses.

The benefit of this initiative is that approval and processing time is very fast compared to EDG.

Apply for the Digital Growth Subsidy here.

THE PRODUCTIVITY SOLUTIONS GRANT

Best for SMEs looking to adopt specific digital marketing solutions.

The Productivity Solutions Grant or PSG, is a government grant offered by Enterprise Singapore to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore. The grant aims to help SMEs streamline their operations and reduce costs by adopting pre-approved productivity solutions, including digital marketing solutions.

A wide range of digital marketing solutions is covered under the PSG, including website development, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, and online advertising. However, it is essential to note that PSG only covers one specific digital marketing activity per project from a pre-approved vendor.

Applicants should have a clear digital marketing strategy before determining which digital marketing solution to opt for, as different tactics serve different purposes.

The PSG provides funding support of up to 50% of the qualifying costs for eligible solutions.

The PSG application process is simple and can be done online through the Business Grants Portal. Once approved, SMEs can use the grant to offset the costs of implementing the eligible solutions.

To apply for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) in Singapore, you can follow these simple steps:

    1. Identify the productivity solutions that your business requires. You can refer to the list of pre-approved solutions on the Business Grants Portal or consult an SME Centre Business Advisor for guidance.
    1. Check the eligibility criteria for each solution you are interested in. The eligibility criteria can be found on the Business Grants Portal and may vary depending on the solution.
    1. Contact the pre-approved vendor for a quotation, proposal and any other supporting documentation the vendor advises. Make sure to keep copies of all relevant documents for your records.
    1. Apply for the PSG through the Business Grants Portal. You must create an account if you don’t already have one. Ensure you fill in all required fields accurately and completely and attach the relevant documentation to your application.
    1. Submit your application and wait for the outcome. You can track the status of your application on the Business Grants Portal.

PSG Scope of Funding

To be eligible for the PSG, businesses must be registered and operating in Singapore, have a minimum of 30% local shareholding, and meet other eligibility criteria specific to each solution. SMEs can apply for multiple solutions under the PSG, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for each solution.

As a guide, most digital solutions tend to be priced at around SGD10,000, with up to 50% funding support by PSG on qualified costs.

START DIGITAL PACK

Best for SMEs less than one-year-old looking to go digital.

The Start Digital initiative in Singapore has been extended to support more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in building their foundational digital capabilities with easy-to-deploy solutions. As of November 2022, this extended version of the initiative is only offered by five partners – DBS, Maybank, OCBC, UOB, and Singtel.

SMEs that have just started their business or are new to digital solutions can take up a Start Digital Pack to get a head start in going digital. To be eligible, business entities must be registered and operating in Singapore, have a minimum of 30 percent local shareholding, and meet other eligibility criteria such as group sales turnover not more than S$100 million per annum or group employment size not more than 200 employees.

Start Digital Pack | Evolve & Adapt

All SMEs can benefit from starting with the right foundational digital solutions, which can help their business be more relevant, competitive, and resilient.

SMEs can sign up for Start Digital Packs through any of the five partners or access Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service), to view the list of Start Digital solutions.

SMEs can select at least one foundational digital solution from any of the following categories and receive six months of fee waivers: accounting, HR and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions, cybersecurity, and data analytics. After the fee waiver period, SMEs pay for the solutions as per partners’ rates and contractual terms.

SKILLSFUTURE ENTERPRISE CREDIT (SFEC)

Best for SMEs looking to train their staff in digital marketing and other skills.

One support scheme you can utilise for digital marketing for your business is to train your staff in digital marketing. If you are an SME, you can subsidise up to 90% of digital marketing training courses when upgrading the skills of your employees.

The scheme to tap is the Skillsfuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) which replaced the Productivity Solutions Grant (SkillsFuture Training Subsidy) on 1 March 2020.

 

Under the workforce transformation category, you can subsidise several digital marketing courses supported by SFEC. View the qualifying courses HERE.

SFEC Scope of Funding

In addition, SFEC encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and the capabilities of their employees. Eligible employers will receive a one-off S$10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on qualifying costs for supportable initiatives, over and above the support levels of existing schemes.

SFEC covers:

Enterprise Transformation – Programmes that support enterprise transformation

Workforce Transformation – Job redesign initiatives, and curated training programmes by SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, such as training courses aligned to the Skills Framework, Professional Conversion Programmes and sector-specific programmes.

This scheme is quite complicated, so learn how SFEC can help your specific business HERE. Or, it might be best to consult one of their officers directly.

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT FUND (BIF)

Best for SMEs in the tourism sector.

If your business is in the tourism sector or if you have a project with a clear tourism focus, you can apply for the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) provided by Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The BIF aims to encourage technology innovation and adoption, redesign of business models and processes in the tourism sector to improve productivity and competitiveness.

This grant is aligned to Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) so it supports similar projects but specifically for tourism companies. You can also refer to the section above on EDG to see how digital marketing can be covered under this fund.

As of 1 April 2022, the BIF has been expanded by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to include sustainability initiatives. This move is aimed at supporting tourism companies in their sustainability journey, helping them to build resource efficiencies, pivot business models to enhance competitiveness and scale up the adoption and development of sustainable solutions across the tourism industries.

For more information and to apply for the BIF, click HERE.

DIGITAL SOLUTIONS DIRECTORY

Best for all SMEs looking for a wide variety of subsidised digital solutions.

While this is not a digital marketing grant per se, here is a directory of digital solutions jointly curated by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SGTech to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and businesses address business continuity challenges.

Some of the solutions are free or most are eligible for the Productivity Solution Grant, which provides a 70% cost subsidy.

The specially curated offerings aim to make business continuity essentials more accessible to SMEs and businesses, across several key categories:

    • Remote Working
    • Workforce Management
    • Visitor Management
    • Bill and Pay Online
    • Sell Online
    • Others

For more information on the Digital Solutions Directory, click HERE.

Singapore Digital Marketing Grants 2023

WHICH SINGAPORE DIGITAL MARKETING GRANT FITS YOU?

All the best in finding a Singapore digital marketing grant that covers some aspects of your online marketing efforts.

The next step to do is consult a management consultant like Evolve & Adapt to discuss how to leverage on an appropriate grant.

We are one of the very few Enterprise Singapore-recognised management consultants who is also certified in both traditional marketing management and digital marketing.

We have a 100% approval-rate for Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) applications.

You can arrange a no-obligation chat by sending a message through the chat box at the bottom right corner of your screen or fill in the form below.

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DIGITAL MARKETING GRANT IN MALAYSIA

If you are a Malaysian SME, you might be interested to learn about the government business grants available here.

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 12 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing, and analytics. J C holds a Bachelor of Arts from National University of Singapore and is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse". He has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938, and Money FM 89.3.