Planning To Start A Business In 2020? Here’s Your Guide To Grants, Tools, And Resources Available

We’ve previously written about why 2020 could be a great year to start a business, despite because of the COVID-19 recession. If you’re thinking of finally taking action on a business idea you always had, this guide is for you for getting started.

Read Also: Here’s Why 2020 Could Be The Best Time To Start A Business

Government Schemes And Grants

In 2020, the government rolled out an unprecedented series of four budgets: Unity, Resilience, Solidarity, and Fortitude.

The Jobs Support Scheme is one of the largest salary subsidy efforts in Singapore’s history, paying for at least 25% of Singaporean workers’ salaries over 10 months, and more for those in the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19. However, beware about being too ‘clever’ about maximising the scheme in dubious ways.

If you’re open to hiring fresh graduates, the SG United Traineeships programme would subsidise up to 80% of the cost of hiring these trainees.

To encourage companies to implement Flexible Work Arrangements and Enhanced Work-Life balance, the government has implemented grants to help defray the additional costs of remote work, such as the costs of ergonomic chairs, additional monitors, VPN subscriptions, video conferencing plans.

Companies that wish to take advantage of the lull in business activity can enjoy reimbursement of up to 90% of training costs when they send their employees for training, thanks to the Absentee Payroll Funding. There is also a SkillsFuture Training Subsidy and Productivity Solutions Grant to explore.

When the time comes for you to expand overseas, you can tap on the Market Readiness Assistance Grantto engage the services of consultants and fund other expansion efforts.

For self-employed persons affected by COVID-19, the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)was a very welcome form of support, provided they did their documentation properly and paid their taxes responsibly.

Business Financing 101

When starting a company, you should be aware of the various financing options available to you, which can come in handy to quickly take advantage of opportunities, or keep your company running through a rough patch. You can read more about how fellow entrepreneurs have used businesses loans for growth and why maintaining a healthy balance of cash in bank is critical.

In the world of government-assisted loans, you should know about the Enterprise Financing Scheme and new measures introduced specifically to help companies amid COVID-19.

Furthermore, to help companies still maintain access to credit during the COVID-19 recession, the government has stepped forward to take on a larger risk-share of government-assisted loans, as well as introducing the Temporary Bridging Loan programme.

Keep an eye on these key financial ratios so you can identify any potential financing issues early.

Useful Tools For You And Your Business

To manage your team remotely or still hold meetings and discussions, there are quality free alternatives to Zoom you can use. There are also other apps you can use to keep yourself productive and focused as you work-from-home.

We’ve all experienced the convenience and speed of using PayNow as consumers. You can also enjoy the same power and flexibility to make and receive payments using PayNow for Business.

OCBC even created a digital dashboard that integrates with many popular tools you might already be using to run your fledging business, such as e-mail marketing solutions or appointment scheduling software. You can read our review of our first-hand experience of using the OCBC Digital Dashboard.

For quick design work, you can use these free tools that are simple enough for non-designers to use.

If you’re selling products, there isn’t a better time to start using e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10, because of changing consumer habits due to social distancing, as well as support packages to encourage companies to adopt digital platforms.

For food and beverage companies, the Enterprise Singapore’s Food Delivery Booster Package provides subsidies for using platforms like Deliveroo, foodpanda, and Grab and other logistics partners.

Human Resources And Talent Management

Here are some ideas you can implement for onboarding new staff remotely, including explaining to them payroll matters. Over time, you could look at how you can reward your hardworking employees, even without necessarily giving them a pay raise.

When expanding your workforce, you might think about engaging the services of a headhunter, or use job and internship websites to look for hires yourself.

When looking for skilled freelancers, you can take a look at these popular platforms to find freelance talent from Singapore and around the world at various price points for writing, design, and other kinds of work.

If the unfortunate situation where you need to wind up your business, you can at least do right by your employees, even if a generous severance is not possible. Before any retrenchment exercise, explore these options first (such as no-pay leave), and if retrenchment is inevitable, be sure to do a proper offboarding for them and explain to them any non-compete clauses that they might be under.

Professional Development As An Entrepreneur

Learning to be a good entrepreneur is a lifelong endeavor, and you would probably need to hone your skills and knowledge as your company grows.

There are plenty of resources you can access to continue to learn, such as websitesonline learning platforms, as well as the DollarsAndSense Business Community on Facebook. Some online courses are even SkillsFuture claimable.

Here’s what you need to know about registering your business and selecting the right business entity for your needs, and making sure you don’t allow your business registration to expire.

The government has passed special legislation to cover contracts made before the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker measures, known as the COVID-19 Temporary Bill as well as mandated that landlords pass on rebates from the government to their tenants. The authorities were also explicit about companies’ salary obligations to their foreign workers.

Here are some red flags that might indicate a business contract is problematic, whether you’re signing it in person or using a e-signature.

As a new entrepreneur, you should also be on the alert so that you don’t fall victim to unscrupulous scammers. Be sure to do right by your customers who prepaid for goods or services to be consumed in the future.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Even though we’re the self-proclaimed food capital of the world, Singapore food and beverage entrepreneurs have it quite tough, grappling with rent, stiff competition, and fickle consumer tastes. We spoke to Terry of KopifellasManna Pot CateringMitchell of Bootstrap Beverages, and Rachel of KURA.

You might also be interested to read our profiles about entrepreneurs from other sectors, such as Desmond of Everest Fortune GroupEve of OneThreeOneFourBrent of Desk StationAntoinette of High Vibe, and Timothy of DollarsAndSense.

Building a Sustainable Future

Be part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and achieve your business’ sustainability goals. Fund your green initiatives today with the OCBC SME Sustainable Financing Framework.

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