Running a small business in Hong Kong or looking to start one there? Given that it is consistently ranked among the top in the world for economic competitiveness and has a straightforward business incorporation process that can be completed in five to seven days, Hong Kong is a popular destination for business owners.
Related reading: 5 reasons to set up your business in Hong Kong
These business benefits are not just limited to large MNCs and other big businesses. Small businesses also stand to benefit, what with a slew of resources and grants that the government provides for small businesses. Here, we identify the top 5 government grants for small businesses, so make sure you don’t miss out!
1. Level up your productivity & tech-savviness with the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF)
In his 2017 Policy Address earlier this year, Chief Executive CY Leung announced that the government had invested $18 billion on measures to attract innovation and technology enterprises from Hong Kong and elsewhere. The Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) that which is administered by the Innovation and Technology Commission introduces a range of support schemes to strengthen productivity and competitiveness among Hong Kong companies.
Among these, the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) that was introduced in November 2016 subsidises the use of technology by SMEs to improve productivity or upgrade business processes. The TVF funds up to $200,000 for each eligible enterprise, provided on a 2:1 matching basis, and can be used to engage a technology consultant, or purchase, rent or subscribe to customised hardware, software and technology services, among other things.
2. Connect with mentors and acquire resources for social enterprises with the SIE Fund
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) provides resources to organisations that address poverty and social exclusion through innovative solutions. The SIE Fund is allocated through a number of different intermediaries which administer programmes in the priority areas of Capacity Building and Innovative Programmes.
Some of the initiatives under the SIE Fund include Impact Incubator, which connects social enterprises with resources to develop business schools, and Fast Forward, a structured 3-month programme to support early stage social enterprises in growing and scaling their impact on poverty alleviation in Hong Kong.
3. Protect your company’s invention by securing your IP rights with the Patent Application Grant
Intellectual property (IP) is a core asset of every business and has the potential to become one of the most valuable assets of your business when managed properly. Under the Patent Application Grant, the Innovation and Technology Commission with Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) assists local companies and individuals to apply for patents of their own inventions. All applications for functional patents and inventions with technological elements and industrial application are eligible. Under this grant, a company can receive a grant of up to HK$250,000 or 90% of the sum of the total direct cost of the patent application and the administration fee charged by the HKPC, whichever is lower.
Want to learn more about the different categories of IP and how you register a trade mark?
4. Fight economic downturns with the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme (SGS)
Afraid that your business has got everything going for it only to be badly hit by the next economic downturn? This is a valid concern, given that SME loan applications fell by 37% in the first half of 2016 amidst the economic slowdown. The government has helpfully put together various resources and funding schemes to support SMEs in exactly this type of scenario.
One of these funding schemes, the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme (SGS) provides loan guarantee to SMEs to aid them in securing loans from participating lending institutions (PLIs), which includes commercial banks, for acquiring business equipment or meeting general working capital needs. Under the scheme, the government provides a guarantee to the PLIs so that they can lend money to SMEs which do not have sufficient assets to secure bank loans.
5. Expand your business into markets abroad with the SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF)
The SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) provides financial assistance to SMEs participating in export promotion activities in order to encourage SMEs to expand their markets beyond Hong Kong. For each grant that covers one export promotion activity, your business can get up to 50% of the total approved expenditure incurred or $50,000, whichever is less. Each business may receive up to $200,000 of EMF grants altogether, and there is no limit on the number of applications each business can submit.
Do you tap on any government grants that are missing from this list?
Let us know in the comments below!