SPRING Singapore functions under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It is the agency tasked to assist firms under Singapore company registration in their efforts to grow and build trust in the country’s products and services.

To fulfill its role as the lead enterprise development agency, SPRING works with partners in helping enterprises in various areas such as technology and innovation; capability, financing, and management development; and market access.

SPRING is also the national accreditation and standards body. As such, it is at the forefront of the development and promotion of an internationally-recognized infrastructure for standards and quality assurance. SPRING likewise is responsible for supervising overall general consumer goods safety in Singapore.

The Technology Enterprise Commercialisation Scheme (TECS)

The TECS is a competitive grant for startup businesses given to the best applications based on the commercial and technical merits of the proposals. The applications are evaluated by a team of highly-credentialed reviewers. There are two types of grants available: The Proof of Concept or POC grant and the Proof of Value or POV grant, depending on the current development stage of the particular idea/concept or technology.

TECS was borne out of SPRING’s commitment to the development and growth of globally competitive and innovative enterprises. It is the catalyst in Singapore company formation. TECS makes sure that startup companies are formed and developed based on a scalable business model with strong technology and intellectual property as foundation.

There is no question that great risks are involved in the research and development (R&D) of highly innovative and possibly market-changing technology IP. Thus, successful applicants get a big boost in their efforts to commercialise their proprietary technology ideas through the early-stage funding provided by SPRING.

TECS Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a TECS grant, the proposed project or idea must:

  • clearly demonstrate how technology/science is applied;
  • be an innovation of breakthrough proportions (could be an entirely new or distinctly different technology that can potentially replace or create a new market, niche, or purpose; or stir excitement in an existing market;
  • riskier and more distant from the market;
  • lead to/build on IP/proprietary know-how; and
  • be viable commercially.

For Startup Companies

Startups applying for a grant must meet the following criteria:

  • registered for less than five (5) years at the time of award;
  • with local share-holding of at least 30%;
  • the annual sales turnover of the company’s group under $100M or the group’s employment size is 200 workers or less;
  • physically present and has undergone the Singapore company registration process; and
  • must have at least one (1) house research scientist/engineer (RSE).

For Research Scientists and Engineers (only POC projects accepted)

Those applying for POC grants must meet the following criteria:

  • currently involved in public sector research organization work, but not including IHLs or Institutes of Higher Learning; and
  • willingness to exhibit entrepreneurial commitment towards the commercialization of any IP that results from the project’s successful completion.

Qualifying Projects

As previously mentioned, applications for a TECS grant may either be for a Proof of Project (POC) or for a Proof of Value Project (POV).

Proof of Concept Projects

To apply for a POC grant, the idea must be at the conceptualisation stage and the scientific/technical viability still requires proof. The innovative scientific or technological concept to be proven must be clearly explained, and applicant needs to show entrepreneurial commitment by continuing commercialisation work even after the project is successfully concluded. As much as 100% (or up to a maximum of $250,000) of qualifying costs for every project will be funded.

Proof of Value Projects

To apply for a POV grant, a viable technical/scientific concept or proof of concept must be available, and the applicant wishes to do more R&D work or to develop a working prototype in order to validate the commercial merits of the established idea. The technology concept being built on must be clearly shown, as well as proof of interest from a 3rd party investor or a potential customer, and the required business competencies to complete the project.

The proposed project must fall under any of the following categories:

  • electronics, photonics, and device technologies;
  • chemicals, advanced materials, and micro/nanotechnologies;
  • information and communications;
  • biomedical sciences, but not including drug discovery; and
  • water technologies.

Qualifying Costs

Supported qualifying costs include basic manpower, professional services, software and equipment, IP rights including materials and consumables, and other operating expenses subject to approval. Note that at the time of submission of proposal, the project must not have started; and unless otherwise justified, the work is to be performed by the applicant/company in Singapore.

For more information on the TECS grants including the application process, visit the SPRING Singapore website.

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