Funding Options to Grow Your Projects

By Social Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC), the training and consultancy arm of SE Association to improve the institutional capacity of social enterprises. It offers business advisory to social enterprises the same way Enterprise Development Centre (EDCs) offer advice to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The aim of SEDC is to build up the institutional capability of social enterprises by working alongside social entrepreneurs in nurturing and developing their social enterprises’ business cycle from infancy to maturity, and thereafter integrating with the main-stream business communities.

There are sources of funds available for worthy social enterprises, which have clear social missions to benefit either the marginalised community, environment or social causes.

The funding includes grants and loans from the Government, Foundations, financial institutions, and venture capitalists. It could come in the form of seed-capital where no repayment is necessary, or investment in return for some degree of equity stakes and management rights, to term loans where the principal plus predetermined interests must be repaid.

Some of the grants available to selected social enterprises include:

Employment Funding

    Enhanced OPEN DOOR Fund (ODF)

  • The Open Door Fund (ODF), administered by the Singapore National Employers Federation, subsidises up to 90% of approved project cost, capped at $100,000, to implement job redesign and workplace modification to hire persons with sensory, intellectual, physical or developmental disabilities, or run integration or apprenticeship programmes for such persons.

    ADVANTAGE! Scheme

  • Singapore based or registered companies can up to $400,000 to fund the cost of your company’s efforts to recruit, retain or re-employ mature workers which can include developing and/or implementing re-employment systems. Costs incurred for training, absentee payroll, consultancy, intellectual property rights and equipment are eligible. Retention bonuses or salary support are not covered.


  • Until 31 December 2012, companies can hire new workers on part time or flexible basis with up to $100,000 support from Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), in partnership with the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC). The scheme offers a grant of up to $100,000 to support a company’s efforts in doing so.

  • There are 2 tranches of Flexi-Works!

      Tranche 1: 80% of actual cost incurred, capped at $10,000, to introduce flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, staggered hours, flexi-time, job sharing, telecommuting, and alternative work schedules.

      Tranche 2: $90,000 for recruiting eligible workers, over 29 years of age who have been unemployed for 3 months, on part-time or flexible work arrangements.

Startup Funding

Comcare Enterprise Fund (CEF)

  • The CEF is a seed fund that provides up to 80% of the total project cost (capital expenditure and up to the first two years’ operating costs), capped at $300,000 to support social enterprise start-ups that provide employment and training opportunities for needy disadvantaged Singaporeans. Business Challenge

  • Winners of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and SPRING Singapore Business Challenge receive up to $65,000 to commercialise the innovative products and services.  Participate in teams of 2 to 6 members, all below the age of 26 years.

    Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Start-ups (YES! Start-ups)

  • SPRING matches $4 for every $1 that you raise through self-funding, schools or third-party sources, capped at $50,000.  The grant can be used for business development expenses such as Manpower and operating expenses, Purchase of equipment, software, materials and consumables, acquisition of intellectual property (IP) right, Professional services, and Marketing/promotion activities.  This grant is for first time entrepreneurs, below the age of 26 starting up their business.

    JAM Micro Funding Scheme

  • Media Development Authority provides up to $50,000 funds and mentors/cum investors to nurture start-ups in the interactive digital media (IDM) industry who have breakthrough ideas which can be turned into innovative products or services.  The project must be involve innovation, be technology-related, and must result in innovative products, processes or business models which can be protected by intellectual property (IP) laws; and/or have the potential to be exported regionally and globally.

  • Business Capability Funding

    WoW! Fund

  • Ministry of Manpower gives businesses up to $20,000 (up to 80% of project cost) to introduce work-life strategies such as flexible work arrangements, leave arrangements, and employee support schemes. To be eligible, organisations must be able to show proof of hiring at least five paid employees.

    Business For Families Grant

  • Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) provides funding for businesses become family-friendly and defray the cost of business consultancy, infrastructure costs, training, development, and implementation costs.  MCYS co-shares up to 70% of the costs incurred for approved projects, subject to a cap of $50,000 for businesses with single outlet, and $80,000 for businesses with multiple outlets.

    Environmental Technology Capacity Development Programme (EnviroTech CDP)

  • SPRING Singapore has set aside $6 million to fund the development of new environmental technology capabilities, products and services.  SMEs in the environmental technology industry can build new capabilities that can add new service offerings or significantly improve productivity.  Funding provided is capped at 70% of qualifying costs (manpower, equipment and materials, and professional services) for enterprise-level projects and industry-level projects.

    Intellectual Property Management Programme (IPM)

  • IPM for SMEs Programme provides Singapore-based SMEs consultancy advice and funding support to develop and protect and manage the entire intellectual property life cycle including its creation, ownership, protection and commercial exploitation. IPM is jointly managed by SPRING Singapore and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).

    Tourism Development Assistance Scheme (TDAS)

  • Get a Singapore Tourism Board grant to develop innovative tourism products, create new tours and tour packages, or stage world-class leisure. TDAS provides assistance to cover a percentage of the qualifying cost of the project, which includes professional services, equipment and materials, production costs and test-marketing costs.

  • Community Funding

    Golden Opportunities! (GO!) Fund

  • The Council for Third Age provides project seed-fund for up to 3 years and a maximum of 80% of the project cost, capped at $300,000 to support community-level initiatives that create more opportunities for seniors to remain active, through volunteerism, healthy living, lifelong learning, intergenerational bonding or the development of active lifestyles and social networks.

    Young ChangeMakers Grant (YCM)

  • Provide seed funding of up to 80% of project cost, or $3,000, whichever is lower, and non-monetary support for youths aged 13-25 years to initiate and implement projects which benefit the local community and society.

    Youth Innovation Grant (YIG)

  • The National Youth Council (NYC), supports up to 50% of allowable project budget, capped at $50,000 to support new initiatives that benefit the youth sector. The project should meet an emerging need, benefit and value-add to the youth sector, and contribute to developing a vibrant and supportive environment for youths.

    Community Participation Grant (Arts)

  • This grant supports community arts projects that invite members of the public to participate in the creation process so as to increase arts appreciation and participation. The nature and scope of the project as well as the availability of funds will determine the grant quantum which will usually not exceed 50% of qualifying costs. There is no limit to the number of community participation grant applications that an individual or organisation may submit many applications, however community participation grants awarded to any one particular individual or organisation will not exceed $50,000 in any financial year.

  • Partnership Funding

    Community Foundation Fund (CF)

  • The Community Foundation of Singapore matches high net worth individuals with causes and non-profit organisations that interest them. The CF helps donors who seek independent advice on which causes and organisations to support, and proactively sources innovative projects in consultation with non-profit leaders and other experts so that donors achieve their goals.

    Partnership Funding For Arts Businesses (PFAB)

  • National Arts Council covers 30% of qualified expenses (professional fees, direct production cost, and marketing) for the presentation, production or distribution of high quality arts projects by for-profit companies. The total sum of the PFAB grants awarded to any organisation will not exceed $100,000 per project (up to a maximum of 2 awarded projects) per financial year.

    3P Partnership Fund (Environment)

  • The National Environment Agency (NEA) assist organisations, companies and individuals from the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors to work together to develop innovative and sustainable environmental initiatives that promote environmental ownership amongst the local community.  Projects should be oriented towards one or more of the NEA’s outcomes, namely Clean Air, Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, Clean Water, Towards Zero Landfill, Dengue Fever Surveillance & Control, Singapore Litter-Free, Food Hygiene, Clean Public Toilets and Other Public Health.  The 3P Partnership Fund works on a co-payment basis.  First time applicants would receive no more than 50% of the proposed budget based on the merits of the project.  Past achievements and track records in implementing environment-related initiatives will be taken into consideration.

  • Innovation Funding

    New Initiative Grant (New Ideas for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy)

  • Provides seed money (up to 80% of project cost capped at $200,000) for start-ups or existing organisations with new initiatives that meet community needs in Singapore and are strong in volunteerism and/or philanthropy. The grant can cover manpower, rent, equipment, volunteerism and philanthropy-related costs for the initiative for 24 months.

    First Mover Advantage

  • The First Mover Framework by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) gives entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that maximise the use of public assets a head start.  These entrepreneurs, or First Movers, can be given an advantage in the use of public assets to implement their ideas. First Movers can be granted an allocation advantage and/or a price advantage.

  • Thinking of how to start a social enterprise in Singapore, SE Association has prepared a toolkit to guide you through.

    You can download it here.