Singapore launches $4.2m grant scheme for its fintechs

via FinTech Futures

Singapore has launched a new $4.2 million (SGD 6 million) grant scheme to support its local fintech start-ups during the global pandemic.

The country’s financial regulator – the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – is launching the scheme alongside Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and AMTD Group, one of Asia’s largest independent investment bank.

The MAS is funding the bulk of the grant scheme with a SGD 4 million contribution, whilst AMTD is making up the remaining SGD 2 million.

It follows the MAS’ $87.8 million (SGD 125 million) coronavirus care package last month, which gave Singapore-based fintechs access to a ‘Digital Acceleration Grant’, as well as helping ease some of their office rental costs.

The new grant includes a SGD 1.5 million Business Sustenance Grant (BSG) and a SGD 4.5 million Business Growth Grant (BGG).

The BSG is designed to help fintechs retain employees, offering up to SGD 20,000 to each start-up to cover day-to-day working capital expenditures, such as salaries and rental costs.

Whilst the BGG is specifically designed to help fintechs with innovation. Start-ups can get up to SGD 40,000 for their first proof of concept (POC) with financial institutions on the API Exchange, a global marketplace which also operates a sandbox.

Any further POCs on the API Exchange, which is owned by a non-profit entity formed by the MAS, can get grants of SGD 10,000 with a total cap of SGD 80,000 per fintech.

The BGG will also provide funding for the salaries of undergraduate interns, capped at SGD 1,000 a month for each intern. The organisations, which hope to boost start-up’s talent pipelines, say this will fund up to 120 interns in the fintech sector.

“The BGG will help fintech firms offset their costs,” says the MAS’ chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty.

“By conducting their POCs on APIX, financial institutions and fintech firms will not need to set up test infrastructure for integration. This will help accelerate project development while still working remotely.”

Applications for the grant scheme will open on 18 May 2020, and will be open until 31 December 2021.

They will be reviewed by the SFA, whose president Chia Hock Lai says these grants will make the country’s fintech firms remain “competitive for the post COVID-19 economic recovery world”.