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Hong Kong gov’t grants that SMEs can apply for right now

Fintechs and other small businesses in H.K. may be eligible for funding: here is the complete list of schemes.



Photo by SHUJA OFFICIAL on Unsplash

The government of Hong Kong has several financing schemes to support the growth of competitive industries. Since 98% of businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), specifically in the export/import business, considerable resources go into supporting such ventures. 

Each financing scheme supports different aspects of a business. From funding online export activities, to promoting business upgrades, and helping SMEs meet working capital needs, each scheme is tailored to needs of the relevant companies. 

Photo by Samson on Unsplash

The main goal is to support and strengthen business activities through financing and loan guarantees. Which in large part bolsters competitiveness, leading to Hong Kong businesses becoming global market leaders. 

If you’re considering registering your global business in Hong Kong, here’s a list of government funding programs you may be eligible for: 

The SME Export Marketing Fund to Expand Your Operations Across Borders 

Hong Kong’s Export Marketing Fund (EMF) provides financial assistance to SMEs in export promotion activities. The scheme aims to encourage businesses to expand operations across borders.  

What Does the Export Marketing Fund Cover? 

To that end, the fund covers; 

  • Digital marketing activities like Google and Youtube ad campaigns. 
  • Development and improvement of e-commerce and company websites as well as mobile applications. 
  • Cost of exhibiting in international trade fairs or local exhibitions for global markets. 
  • Printed publications for international markets. 

Which Businesses Can Apply? 

The businesses that can apply for this loan must have a physical office in Hong Kong. If the SME is in the manufacturing sector, it must employ at most 100 local residents. While enterprises in non-manufacturing need to have a maximum of 50 locals to be eligible.  

Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash 

Remember the financing scheme covers “export” promotion activities for companies that want to build a global brand and reach new customers. So, in every application, you need to show you’re targeting markets across the border.  

How Much Funding Can You Get? 

Although there’s no limit on the number of applications you can send, cumulative funding is capped. You can apply for up to HK$800,000 in total funding. Half of which can go to the development and improvement of company websites as well as mobile applications. 

How to Apply for the EMF Grant? 

Enterprises can apply for the grant online, by post, or in person. 

The online application process goes as follows: 

  • Step 1- Fill in the government e-form from the portal here
  • Step 2- Upload all documents specified in the e-form and submit the application. 
  • Step 3- Get the “Declaration for Application / Application Record” from the portal, sign it and include company stamp. 
  • Step 4- Submit the Declaration for Application to the SME Export Marketing Fund Branch of the Trade and Industry Department. 

Note: First-time applicants must submit a copy of the signed e-form together with as the declaration. 

The SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to Meet Working Capital Needs 

Small and mid-sized businesses having cash flow problems due to an economic downturn, such as the COVID19 global pandemic, can apply for the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme (SGS). In this financing scheme, the government acts as a guarantor to the lenders.  

This makes it easier for Hong Kong SMEs that don’t have sufficient assets to secure bank loans. Participating lending institutions (PLIs) include commercial banks such as Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. 

Photo by Crystal Kwok on Unsplash 

What Does the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme Cover? 

The objective of the financing scheme is to help enterprises secure loans from PLI’s to buy machinery or to meet general working capital needs. 

Which Businesses Can Apply? 

SMEs applying for an SGS grant need to: 

How Much Funding Can You Get? 

Previously, the lending guarantor limit was HK$20 billion. But early last month, it was increased to HK$50 billion. 

How to Apply for the SGS Grant? 

Each PLI has its own procedure for applying for loans but, generally, the process is as follows: 

Step 1- Apply for a Business Installations and Equipment Loan or a Working Capital Loan from a PLI. 

Step 2- A bank determines whether the enterprise qualifies for the loan. 

Step 3- Once approved, the SME pays guarantee fees to the bank  

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