• Government Grants and Support Schemes for SMEs

When one is establishing themselves as an entrepreneur, small or large, financial sources are always one of the crucial considerations for smooth operation. Therefore, grants usually come in handy to kick start or continue one’s entrepreneurship dreams.

Hong Kong Grants for Small and Medium-sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs)

Grants are the funding that is given in the form of finances or its equivalent by entities such as governments, companies, or foundations to enable the accomplishment of a certain specific endeavor such as training, research, or upgrading of business processes. The government of Hong Kong has rolled out such funding to its SMEs to help them cope with such demanding situations. There are usually certain eligibility requirements associated with it.

Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living

This Hong Kong government grant is rolled out to assist Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneurs whose business endeavors make the life of local people safe, comfortable, and convenient in terms of daily living, health, education, and the environment, among others. It was laid out in 2017 with a funding duration of five years. These beneficiary projects should be technological innovations that are in line with government policies and are improving the technology industry. It covers 90% of the whole project’s lifespan which is supposed to be at least 2 years unless it is a one-time project. While under this funding, your business should not be making a profit.

Applications for the Innovative Technology grant are submitted online to the Administrative System or through paperwork in person or by post. This Innovation and Technology Fund comes in various forms and it is good to know where your entrepreneurship projects fall because the grants are project specific. Some of these areas are:

1. Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS)

This Hong Kong government grant is mainly for research purposes. It aims to make Research and Development successful by improving teamwork between research institutes, universities, and technology enterprises.

2. Partnership Research Program (PRP)

This program is rolled out under the Hong Kong government grants to assist entrepreneurs who are involved with Research and Development (R&D). The entrepreneurs get an opportunity to collaborate with research institutes or R&D centers.

3. Technology Voucher Program

This grant avails technological solutions and services to the local Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneurs to enable them to enhance their business practices.

4. Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF)

This funding through the Hong Kong government grants allocation program is aimed to benefit SMEs who are in their preliminary stages. The government co-invests with Venture Capitalist to promote innovation and technology related.

5. Patent Application Grant

This Hong Kong government grant through the commission of Innovation and Technology and the Hong Kong Council of Productivity enable the Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneur in Hong Kong to secure their inventions through Intellectual Property rights. Grant allocation covers around 90% of the total patent application cost and associated fees, an equivalent of HK$250,000 allocation.

6. Researcher program

7. Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme

8. Reindustrialization and Technology Training Program

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Support for Business Downturn Scheme

This program under the Hong Kong government grant is rolled out to assist Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneurs who are struggling during the economic recession periods. It enables you to connect with other business owners and get access to market analysis thus propelling your business upwards economically.

There is other funding akin to this grant that comes in the form of loans during the economic recession. This funding comes in various forms such as:

1. SME Export Marketing Fund

This is a funding program under the Hong Kong government grant which is rolled out for SMEs whose businesses deal with exports in Hong Kong. It is rolled out to encourage 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.

2. The Small and Medium-Sized Special Loan Guarantee Scheme

A loan application is not always guaranteed, that is why the Hong Kong government has rolled out this program to help SMEs who are experiencing the pangs of economic recession to enable them to carry on with their business activities. It is different from the other general loans. As long as the applicants meet all the requirements, the loan will be approved. . The government is the one who provides a guarantee to the Participating Lending Institutions. This grant, however, is not for those in the business of lending finances or those whose businesses are associated with the lending institutions.

3. Other programs

  • Small and Medium-Sized Entrepreneur Financing Guarantee Scheme
  • Microfinance Scheme

The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (SIE) Fund

This Hong Kong government grant helps SMEs to get financial support and get mentorship programs. It is for those businesses which are improving the daily living conditions of the locals by alleviating poverty and addressing social injustices. There are several programs under these grants which are laid out with different intermediaries as follows:

  • Good seed.
    Good seed grants aim to help the SMEs from the grassroots mentoring you until you implement the project.
  • Nurturing social minds.
    This grant is for those undergraduate and MBA programs to help them implement their inventions designed to bring about sustainable business models and customer experience.
  • Impact incubator.
    An incubator aims to empower the SMEs with business skills that them to identify opportunities and solve social problems using appropriate business methodologies.
  • Fast Forward for Capacity Building.
    This grant is almost similar to the good seed except that it concentrates on the entrepreneurs who deal directly with poverty alleviation, vocational training, and employment of disabled and/or elderly persons of the community.

Common Hong Kong support for SMEs

Just as the grants were specific and unique in their way, there are support programs that are specific and unique to a certain category of SMEs.

  • SME One
  • Cyberport
  • CreateHK
  • Hong Kong Productivity Council-Support
  • Innovative and Technology Commission
  • Hong Kong Trade and Development Council-SME Centre
  • Hong Kong Science and Technology Public Corporation
  • Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited

Hong Kong government Grants Eligibility Criteria

In addition to meeting the specific eligibility criteria that are unique to each program, there are general eligibility requirements that are mandatory for each grant applicant. Below are the requirements:

  • · The company must be registered or incorporated in Hong Kong.
  • · The company must be operating in Hong Kong as a SME
  • · The SME must not be part of any government subvented organizations.

Summary

The government of Hong Kong recognizes the contribution that the Small and Medium-size Entrepreneurs (SMEs) make to its GDP and as such it has laid out incentives in the form of grants and guaranteed loans to ensure they stay in business. Because grants are very few compared to the total number of SMEs, the application process is extremely specific and strict to ensure only the most eligible SMEs with the most impactful and sustainable projects get the funding. It is therefore important that you keep your ears out and your eyes open to the call for such applications. Ensure you have your paperwork ready for such periods.

Hong Kong Government Grants and Support Schemes for SMEs FAQs

Which funding is specific to the SMEs involved in environment-friendly projects?2021-02-10T07:24:44+00:00

There are funding schemes that are specific to the entrepreneurs whose projects are aimed at conserving the environment. These funding schemes are:

  • Recycling Fund for both the Enterprise Support programs and small-scale standard projects.
  • The Cleaner Production Partnership Program
Can I get funding for my SMEs if am a foreigner with business in Hong Kong?2021-02-10T07:24:12+00:00

Yes. Most Hong Kong government grant for SMEs is rolled out to those whose SMEs are registered or incorporated and are operating in Hong Kong. However, some are specific to locals only.

Who are considered Small and Medium-sized Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong?2021-02-10T07:23:51+00:00

Small and Medium-sized Entrepreneurship is defined as any entrepreneurship that engages in manufacturing activities and has an employee of not more than 100 persons who are actively involved in the running of the business and getting their remunerations from that business entity. It can also be a non-manufacturing business that employs not more than 50 persons.

What makes the loan programs under the Hong Kong government grants program different from other loans?2021-02-10T07:17:50+00:00

What makes the loan programs under the Hong Kong government grants program different from other loans?

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