The MRA Grant in Singapore is designed to help Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to expand their business to overseas countries. Expanding overseas has many benefits such as gaining recognition that will increase your brand’s reputation, increased exposure to Foreign Investment Opportunities, it diversifies company markets, it can mean fewer business restrictions and potentially lower operating costs especially when expanding to a country with a more favourable business environment.
While expanding to the international markets is exciting and the process is formidable because it takes time, planning, and most importantly it is a costly endeavour to set up a company in another country. The Singaporean government has seen that the benefits on establishing SMEs overseas and have created the MRA grant program to help SMEs expand internationally. But what is the MRA? Who is eligible and how does one apply?
Market Readiness Assistance
Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) is a government aimed to support SMEs based in Singapore that wishes to expand their operations and companies into new international markets. An eligible SME can receive support of 70% of eligible cost, provided that it is capped at a maximum of S$100,000 per new market.
This covers overseas market promotions capped at S$20 000, overseas business development capped at S$50 000 and overseas market set-up which is capped at S$30 000.
Who is Eligible?
In order to be eligible for the grant the following criteria’s should be met. Firstly, the company should be registered or incorporated in Singapore. The second requirement pertains to the entry criteria for the new market, the target overseas country where the applicant has not exceeded S$100,000 in overseas sales in each of the last three preceding years. Third, there must be at least 30% local shareholding. The Group Annual Sales Turnover of not more than S$100 million or the company’s Group Employment Size should not be more than 200 employees. Lastly, it should be a company whose business that is ready to undergo an overseas expansion successfully.
Companies however should also consider the following few things before applying. The applicant’s company should not have incurred any expenses relating to the overseas expansion project it has plans to apply the MRA funding for. Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas market.
How does one Apply?
One thing to note in terms of application is that no retrospective applications will be accepted. An application is retrospective if there is a signed engagement letter with the third-party consultant, the first payment to the third-party consultant has been made and/or the business has commenced the project with the third-party consultant.
The business must submit an application for the MRA grant no earlier than 6 months before the start date of the project it is beginning overseas. It is important to understand that the MRA processing time frame sits between 8 to 12 weeks so businesses are encouraged to begin the submission of the required information ahead of time. This process has no compulsory application fees.
The application itself can be done through the Business Grants portal.