GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

The Hong Kong Government’s support for SMEs and startups aims to help transfer your business vision into reality and take your business to the next level. There are a number of government funding schemes available to support your business.

Information Source: GovHK

Fund For Better Living

The Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living (“FBL”) is a scheme for funding innovation and technology (“I&T”) projects which will make people’s daily living more convenient, comfortable and safer, or address the needs of specific community groups. The FBL with a funding size of HK$500 million is expected to operate for 5 years with effect from 2017-18.

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Improve Productivity

TVP aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. The programme will be implemented on a pilot basis for an initial period of three years from November 2016 with HK$500 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund.

Eligibility:
An enterprise will be eligible to apply if:

  1. it is registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (BRO) (Cap. 310);
  2. it has at least one year of substantive business operation in Hong Kong which is related to the project under application at the time of application; and
  3. it fulfills the Government’s definition of SMEs, i.e. manufacturing businesses employing fewer than 100 persons in Hong Kong; or non-manufacturing businesses employing fewer than 50 persons in Hong Kong.

 

What kind of projects will be funded by TVP?

TVP supports projects in the form of technological services and solutions which could improve productivity, or upgrade or transform the business processes of the applicant enterprise. For funding support under TVP, prior approval must be obtained before project commencement.

How can I use the funds from TVP?
The approved funding from TVP can be used to cover the following:

  1. Technology Consultancy – the applicant enterprise may engage a technology consultant to provide external consultancy for conducting the project under application. The consultant must be a local organization/research institution, or a company/organisation registered in Hong Kong under the BRO.
  2. Purchase, rental or subscription of customised equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project.
  3. Purchase, rental or subscription of off-the-shelf/readily available equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project. In general, the costs of such equipment/ hardware/ software/ services or solutions should constitute no more than 50% of the project cost.
  4. Project auditing for projects with approved funding exceeding $50,000. The maximum audit fee to be counted towards the total project cost is $3,000.

Normal business operating costs will not be funded under TVP.

What is the funding amount?
Funding up to $200,000 for each eligible enterprise will be provided on a 2:1 matching basis. The applicant enterprise must contribute no less than one third of the total approved project cost in cash. Subject to the cumulative funding ceiling of $200,000, up to three projects from an enterprise may be approved. To ensure proper focus on project implementation, an enterprise is not allowed to undertake more than one TVP project at the same time. Expenditure items under an approved TVP project shall not receive funding support from other local public funding sources.

Is there any restriction on the project duration?
Each project should normally be completed within 12 months.

How to apply for funding?
An enterprise should register as a user and submit its application through the Technology Voucher Programme Funding Administrative System (https://tvp.itf.gov.hk). In case of difficulties, applicant enterprises may approach the TVP secretariat for assistance in submitting applications through the TVP website.

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Research and Development Funding Opportunities

What is ESS?

  • It is a major funding initiative under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), which is designed to encourage the private sector to invest in research and development (R&D).
  • Funding support of each approved project is up to HK$10 million and will be provided on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.
  • Project period should not be longer than 2 years.
  • The funding recipient company will own all intellectual property rights arising from the project.
  • Recoupment of Government’s contribution is not required.
  • Benefit-sharing of commercialised R&D results would be non-mandatory.
  • Project with an approved project period of 12 months or longer can apply for financial assistance under the Internship Programme to hire additional staff. Each project can hire up to 2 interns.
  • The funding recipient company can also apply for the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme to receive a cash rebate of up to 30% of the company’s expenditure in the project.

 

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To enhance the level of collaboration on R&D between organizations in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. Projects funded by the TCFS will have to demonstrate an element of Guangdong/Hong Kong cooperation (e.g. collaboration between research institutes and enterprises in Guangdong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong)

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ITSP supports midstream/downstream research and development (R&D) projects undertaken mainly by universities, R&D Centres, industry support organisations, professional bodies and trade and industry associations. ITSP invites applications for funding every six months or so.

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The Internship Programme aims to encourage university graduates to pursue a career in innovation and technology (I&T) and nurture more I&T talents. The Internship Programme consists of the following two sub-programmes:

1. Internship Programme (Innovation and Technology Fund) (“IP-ITF”)
Under IP-ITF, organisations undertaking research and development (R&D) projects funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) can recruit graduates from local universities as interns to assist in the R&D projects.

  • Each ITF project can engage up to 2 interns at any one time.
  • The maximum internship period for each intern is 24 months.
  • The maximum monthly internship allowance is HK$14,000 for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree and HK$16,500 for graduates with a Master’s or higher degree from a local university.

 

2. Internship Programme (Incubatees and SME tenants of the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) and Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited) (“IP-SPC”)
To step up our efforts in supporting private sector investment in R&D and nurturing more I&T talents, the ITF Internship Programme has been extended to cover incubatees and small and medium enterprise (SME) tenants of HKSTPC and Cyberport (“IP-SPC”). Incubatees and SME tenants of HKSTPC and Cyberport, with incubation/tenancy duration covering the proposed internship period, are eligible to apply for funding to recruit interns to assist in R&D projects in their companies.

  • Each eligible applicant company can engage up to 2 interns at any one time.
  • The maximum internship period for each intern is 24 months.
  • The total internship period for each applicant company should be no more than 48 months.
  • The maximum monthly internship allowance is HK$14,000 for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree and HK$16,500 for graduates with a Master’s or higher degree from a local university.

 

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The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund), as a catalyst for social innovation in Hong Kong, connects our community with different sectors, including businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to create social impact through innovative solutions that address poverty and social exclusion. Mostly through intermediaries, the Fund provides visionary individuals and organisations with diverse resources in support of research, capacity building and the entire life cycle of innovative ventures, from idea incubation and seed funding to implementation and eventual scale-up. The ultimate goal is to foster an ecosystem where social entrepreneurs can thrive and innovative ideas, products and services can benefit society by meeting underserved needs, unleashing underutilised talents and more.

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The SME Development Fund (SDF) provides financial support to non-profit-distributing organisations to implement projects which aim to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs)* in general or in specific sectors. Applicants should either be statutory organisations or organisations registered under the laws of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Projects which are or will be in receipt of other Government funding support will not be considered.

*SMEs are defined as any manufacturing businesses which employ fewer than 100 individuals in Hong Kong, or any non-manufacturing businesses which employ fewer than 50 individuals in Hong Kong.

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Creativity and Design Funding Opportunities

Purpose:

To promote and speed up the development of local creative industries so as to build Hong Kong into Asia’s Creative Capital

Support/Funding Details:

  • No limit is imposed on the maximum amount of grant to be granted, but projects involving funding support of $10 million or above would have to be submitted to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for consideration
  • Funding support is normally given as a grant and be disbursed by instalments
  • The CSI will fund projects with objectives that are in line with our strategic direction to drive the development of the creative industries, namely:
  • Nurturing a pool of creative human capital which will form the backbone of our creative economy;
  • Facilitating start-ups and development of creative establishments;
  • Generating demand for innovation and creativity and expanding local market size for creative industries;
  • Promoting creative industries on the Mainland and overseas to help explore outside markets;
  • Developing creative clusters in the territory to generate synergy and facilitate exchanges;
  • Fostering a creative atmosphere within the community; and
  • Promoting Hong Kong as Asia’s creative capital

 

Eligibility:

Applicants should normally be locally registered institutions / organisations, including local academic institutes, industry support Organisations, trade and industry associations, professional bodies, research institutes and companies [The applicant should be a body or company established or incorporated under the Hong Kong laws including the Companies Ordinance (Cap 32)]. CreateHK and other Government departments are also eligible to apply. Project elements which are covered under the scope of Film Development Fund, Film Guarantee Fund, and other dedicated Government funding schemes, and those which will receive or have received funding from other Government or known sources will NOT be considered

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Market Development Funding Opportunities

To strengthen our support to Hong Kong enterprises in developing the Mainland market, the “Mainland Programme” under the “Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales” enhanced with effect from 1 August 2018:

  •  Increase cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise:  From $500,000  to $1 million
  •  Increase individual project funding ceiling:  From $500,000  to $1 million
  •  Increase maximum number of projects per enterprise:  From 3 projects to 10 projects

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The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will launch the ASEAN Programme of the “Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestics Sales” on 1 August 2018 to provide funding support to individual non-listed Hong Kong enterprises to enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their business development in the ASEAN markets*. Funding is provided to enterprises on a matching basis with cumulative funding ceiling of $1 million for a maximum of 10 projects.  The funding ceiling per project is $1 million.

*ASEAN comprises Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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The SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) aims to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their markets outside Hong Kong by providing financial assistance to SMEs for participation in export promotion activities.

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Social Innovation Funding Opportunities

The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) connects the community with businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to provide budding entrepreneurs with a wide range of resources to help them develop innovative ideas, products and services that serve unmet social needs. In FY 2015/16 the SIE Fund has provided funding to 25 ventures to help social entrepreneurs actualise their innovative ideas and their empathy for the underprivileged. Besides, an on-line platform has been built at the Fund’s website to share stories of “HK social innovators” with the aim of inspiring more visionary persons to start their own ventures.

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