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New S$6m grant scheme to support Singapore fintechs

A NEW S$6 million grant scheme to support Singapore fintech firms has been collectively rolled out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and AMTD Group and AMTD Foundation (AMTD) on Wednesday, amid the challenging business climate due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The grant will help fintech firms in Singapore maintain their operations, and enable them to continue to innovate and grow. It complements the S$125 million support package announced by MAS on April 8 to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and fintech sectors, said MAS, SFA and AMTD in a joint statement. 

AMTD has provided an initial S$2 million to support the fintech ecosystem in Singapore, while MAS will provide an additional S$4 million from the Financial Sector Development Fund, taking the total grant amount to S$6 million.

The latest grant comprises two components.

The first is a S$1.5 million Business Sustenance Grant (BSG) that is fully funded by AMTD. Under this scheme, eligible Singapore-based fintech firms can receive a one-time grant for up to S$20,000 to cover day-to-day working capital expenditures, such as salaries and rental costs. This short-term assistance will help fintech firms sustain their operations and retain their employees, said MAS, SFA and AMTD. 

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The other component of the grant is a S$4.5 million Business Growth Grant (BGG), jointly supported by MAS and AMTD. Eligible Singapore-based fintech firms can receive up to S$40,000 for their first proof of concept (POC) with financial institutions on the API Exchange (APIX) platform and S$10,000 for each subsequent POC, subject to a total cap of S$80,000 per firm for the entire duration of the grant.

The BGG, to be jointly supported by AMTD and MAS, enables these companies to continue to innovate in partnership with financial institutions and to create opportunities for growth.

To add, the BGG will also provide funding for the salaries of undergraduate interns, capped at S$1,000 a month per intern. This grant will support around 120 interns in the fintech sector, assuming an average internship duration of three to five months.

Fintech firms can apply for both BSG and BGG if they fulfil the eligibility criteria for both grants. The SFA will administer and review the grant applications.

"The BSG helps fintech firms to plug their short-term financing gaps, while the BGG enables them to grow and sell through the APIX platform. These will help save jobs while making our fintech firms competitive for the post Covid-19 economic recovery world,” said SFA president Chia Hock Lai. 

MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty added: "There is a surge in demand in the financial services industry around the region for solutions to address the need for remote digital services amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Fintech firms have a great opportunity to step up actively during this period to provide these solutions." 

Calvin Choi, chairman and CEO of AMTD Group, said: “As an active financial institution focusing in the Asian region, we see the immediate need for the private sector to foster closer partnership with fintech firms to formulate tailor-made solutions to cater for the increasing demand for digital services and greater opportunities to scale up."

Applications for the grant will open on May 18, 2020 and will be available until Dec 31, 2021. Further information can be found on the SFA website

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