What is a grant?
When we mention a grant, we are discussing the funding in form of finances or its equivalent that is availed by entities such as governments, companies, or foundations to enable the accomplishment of a certain specific endeavor such as training, research, or business. There are usually certain qualifications associated with it.
Grants that are available for new startups in Hong Kong
There are few government grants that are available to help entrepreneurs to launch their businesses in Hong Kong.
- Technology Startup Support Scheme
A grant that exclusively to university-related startups that are dealing with technology.
- BUD Fund
This fund is rolled out to SMEs Entrepreneurs and new startups that are keen to establish their businesses within the ASEAN markets and Mainland China markets. It avails capital of up to HK$1,000,000 for each project for developing brands, upgrading, and domestic sales.
- Innovation Hubs
The Hong Kong government has put in place innovation hubs that host and support new startups. There are two innovation hubs that the government has set up namely the Cyberport and the Science and Technology Park each dealing with different innovative ideas.
Under the Cyberport program, Cyberport Incubation is there toprovide funding to inform finances to innovations, technology-related startups. And the Cyberport Incubation program provides startups with a support system, finances, education, and training for innovative and technological ideas.
There are grants for startups that are specific to the Science and Technology Park (HKSTP) such as the Hong Kong Business Angel Network program, HKSTP-Incubator-Bio Program, HKSTP-Incubator-App Program, HKSTP-Incubator-Tech Program both of which provide funding inform of finances and support systems for the startups.
- HK Mortgage Corporation-Microfinance Scheme
This scheme provides funding in the form of finances aimed at promoting Hong Kong startups.
- Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund
This scheme provides funding in the form of finances and support to startups in Hong Kong.
- Design Incubation Program
This funding is for new startups associated with creativity. It provides support to startups in the form of education, training, finances, and access to potential markets.
- Technology Voucher Program
This voucher is given to startups whose business activities foster technological adoption and advancement.
- Youth Development Fund (YDF)
This grant helps youths to establish their startups in Hong Kong. It also gives mentorship, support, and business-focused consultation programs. They also get an opportunity to work with Non-Governmental Organizations and expand their networks.
- Good seed
This grant provides mentorship programs and funding worth HK$100,000 to startup businesses that deal with technology.
- The Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme
This fund is rolled out for startups that are in the retail sector and it enables them to tackle the problem of managing workforce demand.
- SIE FUND
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE) is rolled out to startups that offer solutions to combat social injustices and poverty. The SIE is allocated via different intermediaries as below:
- Incubator by the Hong Kong council of social service. It supports social entrepreneurs through the provision of capital to Hong Kong citizens of 18 years and above who are engaged in startups that bring social impact to the young elderly and poor populace of Hong Kong.
- Capacity building program by SOW (Asia) Foundation Limited whose intention is to empower startup owners with business skills that enable them to expand their business operation and attract capital funding.
- Nurturing program by the Yeh Family Philanthropy ltd that aims to enable startups, senior undergraduates, and master’s students to come up with innovative business ideas that solve business and social programs.
- Patent Application Grant
This grant through the commission of Innovation and Technology and the Hong Kong Council of Productivity enables the new startups in Hong Kong to secure their innovations through Intellectual Property rights. Grant allocation covers around 90% of the total patent cost an equivalent of HK$250,000 allocation.
- Subsidy Scheme
This funding was rolled out under the Anti-Epidemic fund to encourage businesses in the private and public sector to apply 5G technology in their business undertakings. It reduces the cost incurred in 5G technology adoption.
- Other available grants
- The CreatSmart Initiative
- Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme
- The innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living
- Partnership Research Programs
Common Grant Application Requirements for New Startups in Hong Kong
As a new Hong Kong startup grant applicant, you are to impress the funding entities because the grants are rolled out to the most brilliant viable business ideas. Such workable business ideas include the adoption of technology and ideas that solve problems like poverty and social injustices. There are usually no application fees charged for grants. Ensure that you do the following:
- Have a well-written business proposal
- Have a practical and relevant business idea
- Have a well-written business plan
- Have at least two co-founders where applicable.
- Have a working prototype where applicable.
- Ensure prompt submission of your grant application and follow up. If a grant does not limit the number of applications at one given time, send as many applications as is possible.
Hong Kong Startups and SMEs Funding
- Innovation and Technology Funding (ITF)
This scheme is rolled out to companies who adopt technologies and to companies with unique innovations. It avails them the funding for research and options for partnering with other companies.
- SME Export Marketing Fund
This funding is both for startups and SMEs in Hong Kong. It is rolled out to encourage these business owners to expand their businesses beyond the Hong Kong borders. Each successful business gets a total of HK$400,000 funding and there is no limit to the number of times you get to apply. This fund helps startups to do advertising related activities. This grant covers international trade exhibition costs, printing costs, Google, and YouTube advertisement costs among benefits.
Grants are allocated to businesses that bring about social impact in terms of poverty eradication and campaign against social injustices. Grants are extremely competitive as they do not require any application fee and the requirements are not stringent. Therefore, to qualify for a grant allocation as a new startup, you must ensure you are always on the lookout for such opportunities. You also need to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for the category that you are applying for and that where applicable you send out as many applications as possible.
If you are a young person wondering what business to start and you have no capital, it would be more advantageous for you to focus on innovations that bring about social impact, technological adoption, and technological advancement.
Grants for new start-ups in Hong Kong? FAQs
Startups that usually qualify for funding in the form of grants are those that are involved with technological adoption, poverty eradication, and impacts that campaign against social injustices in the community.
We learned that startups that usually get grants are those that have projects aimed at eradicating poverty and social injustices. Below are ways in which a good startup can do these:
- A startup business can make a social impact by removing barriers that hinder employment through vocational training of various groups or individuals. These can be those that empower them technologically and those that enable them to be in a better position to get funding such as how to draft a good business proposal and business plan.
- A startup business can offer employment opportunities to the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged members of the Hong Kong community.
- A startup can bring about a social impact by offering subsidized products and services for disadvantaged communities thereby reducing the cost of living.
Build a strong network with people who are engaged in the same business as the one you are starting or closely similar to yours. You can do so by liking their social pages, attending their social events, volunteering with them, or being part of their correspondence mail among other ways.
Meeting eligibility criteria
Ensure that you read and meet all the requirements for a particular grant. You also have to be proactive.
There are funding schemes by the government and private firms for startups who are expanding their business operations beyond Hong Kong,
- Incubators for new startups. For example, the Cyberport Incubation gives free-rental space, consultancy services, and financial assistance.
- Special loan guarantee schemes for those affected during unfavorable economic situations.