by Azhar Katib, founder of WebSell Solutions Ptd Ltd.
Expanding a business be it a young start-up or a well-established one, outside its parent location can be an arduous and expensive foray. For Singapore businesses wanting to grow, overseas expansion may even be a necessity considering the small size, population of this country. Luckily, the government recognizes this and provides funding to businesses big and small to set up their overseas presence through International Enterprise (IE).
The Market Readiness Grant (MRA) administered by IE helps Singapore businesses grow and expand their presence worldwide by giving them the required financial help, opportunities and information to learn more. Here are some details on how you can leverage this Grant to pay for your online marketing costs for overseas expansion.
First, let’s look at the qualifying criteria involved, which are quite favourable for SMEs –
Qualifying criteria and funding support.
- Any small and medium level enterprise that has its headquarters in Singapore is eligible for this Grant
- The company should have an annual turnover of less than 100 million Singapore Dollars
- The support is given to a maximum of two applications in a fiscal year that starts from April of one year to March month of the next year
- 70% of the total cost for all the eligible activities is provided to the business owner to a maximum level of SGD 20,000 in a fiscal year for a single company
What’s covered and not covered under this grant.
Besides funding for activities such as overseas exhibition booth costs and fees for E-commerce portal listings; under this grant, companies can also claim costs incurred for online advertising using search engines and social media. Through this grant, a company can claim 70 % of their cost spent on internet marketing. These activities include search engine optimization, display ads and other forms. Do note that MRA Grant is only applicable for worldwide or global promotion and NOT for local promotion of the business.
So for example, an online business that wants to get clients beyond its native boundaries by promoting and exporting its products to the nearby countries is eligible to get this Grant.
Similarly, an IT firm that wishes to publicize its Web based Application software throughout the world can also claim this Grant.
However, a business that serves a local clientele or say a local restaurant that wants to market to incoming tourists to Singapore by advertising overseas will not be able claim the MRA Grant.
How to claim the MRA Grant.
If you read this far and eagerly await on how to proceed, then here’s the rundown of steps that need to be followed –
- Fill the downloaded form of the grant form from the IE website.
- Request the Online Marketing firm for a quotation by sending the supported documents.
- Mail the completed documents and the form along with the quotation to the official mailing address of IE.
- Wait for a Letter of Offer from IE which may take 2 or more weeks
- Upon receipt of the Offer Letter, you need to confirm it with your signature
- Thereafter, complete the project within 6 month and send your claims to IE for disbursement
For a summarized one page guide on the steps and criteria involved, refer to this Infographic on MRA Grant for easy reference.
So, companies who cannot cope with foreign business development costs now have an option to seek funding and lessen the financial burden that comes along with expansion plans. With funding support and mentoring from government agencies like IE, help is just round the corner.
Azhar Katib is the founder of WebSell Solutions Ptd Ltd., a companyspecializing in online presence management – offering Internet marketing, web design & development services to small- and medium-sized businesses. He’s passionate about content based marketing using search & social media channels that empowers businesses with visibility on the internet. He has a background in IT with over 18 years in architecting systems, project management and application development.