The Monetary Authority of Singapore, Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), AMTD Group and its affiliated AMTD Foundation announced the launch of a S$6 million MAS-SFA-AMTD FinTech Solidarity Grant to support Singapore-based fintech firms amid the challenging business climate caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The grant will help fintech firms maintain their operations, and enable them to continue to innovate and grow. The grant complements the S$125 million support packageannounced by MAS on 8 April 2020 to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and fintech sectors.
AMTD has provided an initial S$2 million to support the Singapore fintech ecosystem. MAS will provide an additional S$4 million from the Financial Sector Development Fund (an existing MAS-backed fund to promote Singapore as a financial center), taking the total grant amount to S$6 million. Applications for the grant will open on 18 May 2020 and will be available until 31 December 2021.
Calvin Choi, chairman and CEO of AMTD Group, and founder and chairman of AMTD Foundation, 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.”
Two parts to the grant
The Grant comprises two components. First is to help local fintechs keep operating.
S$1.5 million Business Sustenance Grant (BSG). 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. The short- term assistance will help fintech firms sustain their operations and retain their employees. The BSG is fully funded by AMTD’s contribution.
Chia Hock Lai, president of SFA, said, “The Business Sustenance Grant helps fintech firms to plug their short term financing gaps while Business Growth Grant enables them to grow and sell through the APIX platform.”
The second component is designed to maintain innovation in Singapore.
S$4.5 million Business Growth Grant (BGG). 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 $80,000 per firm for the entire duration of the grant. The BGG enables these companies to continue to innovate in partnership with financial institutions and create opportunities for growth. The BGG is jointly supported by AMTD and MAS.
Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS, said, “By conducting their PoCs on APIX, financial institutions and fintech firms will not need to set up test infrastructure for integration. This will help accelerate project development while still working remotely.”
In addition, the BGG will provide funding for the salaries of undergraduate interns, capped at S$1,000/month per intern. This grant will support around 120 interns in the fintech sector, assuming an average internship duration of 3 to 5 months. The backers hope to encourage fintech firms to continue to offer internships and develop the local talent pipeline.
Fintech firms can apply for both BSG and BGG if they fulfil the eligibility criteria for both grants. SFA will administer and review the grant applications.