In the July joint statement from Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Trade and Industry on Monday, Singapore’s core inflation which already excludes private transport and accommodation rose by 4.4.% in June from a year ago, recording one of the highest levels of inflation over a 10 year period.
With inflation going higher, businesses must be prepared to face higher hiring cost even as they try to recover from the pandemic. Further exacerbating the problem is a tighter labour market in Singapore, where S Passes and Employment Passes have a higher requirement than before. In such a scenario, it is truly a job-seeker’s market and businesses need to pull in all resources to be able to attract the best employee.
Thankfully, the government has put in place several grants to help ease hiring costs which can give SMEs the time to pass on the higher cost to their consumers. Here we highlight three of these grants that you should not neglect.
CCP are conversion programmes targeted at mid-career switches, to undergo skills conversion and move into new job scopes or even sectors that may have better prospects and opportunities for progression.
There are two key types that you can consider:
In both instances, they will typically cover External training, In-house training and structured on-the-job-training (OJT) which can range from three to 24 months. In terms of the actual duration in which an employee is in training, this is typically between 2-3 times a month. Do note that these are full day courses and employees need to be given off times to attend them.
Funding provided for the program is as follows:
One really important element is the seniority of the staff that you need. This support is only useful if your hire is only required at a junior level as he/she will only have as much experience as the training provides. It is therefore important to consider if the background of the individual can value add to their role. For example, an individual with a background in digital design could value add to a role in marketing.
As the name suggests, your hiring needs to be for the purpose of expanding into a new market and applicable if you have intentions to post an employee to conduct marketing and BD work. SMEs can use this grant to get financial support for their staff salaries while they market their goods and services into new overseas market. This is like the CCP- job redesign where the BD personnel’s role is to target a new market.
It is to note that while the CCP is supported by vendors (vendors complete the grant process for you), the MRA grant is one that needs to be handled through the Business Grant Portal (BGP) and is done on your own. As it is completed on your own, it is better to be prudent to ensure that grants are approved prior to hiring.
Funding provided for the program are as follows:
You will need to ask yourself if your business is international or can be international to begin with. It does not make sense to set up an overseas presence and send your employee overseas just to get that 70% support. A better choice is if you already have sales made to a given country and you want to set up an entity in the market to better establish your brand and record sales locally, then this might be a good opportunity to leverage on the grant.
List of supportable activities under MRA: https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/-/media/esg/files/financial-assistance/grants/for-local-companies/market-readiness-assistance-grant/mra_supportable_activities.pdf
Businesses who are eager to develop a talent pipeline to support development aspirations are supported by the Global Ready Talent Programme (Internships). Up to 70% of the monthly stipend can be funded by Singaporean businesses that provide student internships at universities, polytechnics, and institutes of technical education (ITEs). The program not only helps to create pipeline of young talents but also allow business to leverage on new minds and skill sets that they do not already have.
It is to note that the GRT is supported on another platform and requires companies to sign up https://www.beglobalready.gov.sg/. Again, as this grant is is completed on your own, it is better to be prudent to ensure that grants are approved prior to hiring.
Funding provided for the program are as follows:
Internships are great way to tap on skillsets that are out of your team’s. An example is with Data Analytics, which is a relatively new skill that most companies do not have and might be too experimental to commit a full-time budget into. This allows you to get a glimpse of what students are doing with data and start your journey with a small project at a subsidized cost. The grant really works because you only pay 30% of their stipend of typically $1,000 - $2,000 a month for 3-6 months and the student gets a real-life project to work on to add to their CV.
The reason we are recommending these grants are because we have benefitted from all of them here at Lendingpot. If you would like to know more about our journey and the application process, we’ll be happy to help with some templates that you can use. As these grants mostly come on a reimbursement basis, we can also take you through some grant financing options that are available from our lenders to help you with cash flow.
Benjamin heads up Lendingpot with a background in all things SME. He was previously a commercial banker at Citi with experience in Relationship management, Credit Risk, Trade Operations and Corporate FX sales; and understands the difficulties SMEs face in this opaque world of SME financing.