Singapore has consistently come out on top as one of the top locations in the world for start-ups to begin their journey. One of the reasons is the strong and consistent support shown by the Singapore government to these start-ups through the extensive grant packages to help businesses grow. Even in times of the pandemic, the government has been generous in extending their support to start-ups and businesses in Singapore.
Fitness studios and gyms in Singapore are not left out by the government and the government has continually pushed out grant packages and funding for fitness studios and gyms to support them throughout the pandemic. Just a few months ago in May, SportsSG set aside another $18 million under the Sports Resilience Package (SRP) for eligible businesses and self-employed people affected by the latest Covid-19 guidelines under Phase 2 Heightened Alert (HA). With the recent further tightening of measures from September 27th to October 24th, the Singapore government also made certain enhancements to the existing grant schemes to further support those affected by the tightened measures.
One of the more prominent grants and funding under the SRP that are currently still ongoing would be the Job Support Scheme (JSS). Under the JSS, in which eligible businesses in the sports and fitness industry are automatically enrolled into, businesses receive 50% JSS support from 16 May to 11 July, and 60% from 22 July to 18 August. Gyms and fitness studios received higher JSS support in these periods compared to other sectors as gyms and fitness studios are closed sectors with enhanced safe management measures. Periods of 12 July to 21 July and 19 August to 31 August, the support from JSS was 10%. From 27 September to 24 October, the government further enhanced the JSS support to 25% due to the tightened measures. You can find out more about the JSS here. The sole eligibility criteria for businesses to qualify for JSS is that the business must be making mandatory CPF contributions for their local employees.
Under the SRP there is also the Rental Relief supported by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The Rental Relief is used to provide support towards eligible SMEs and specified non-profit organisations tenant-occupiers of the prescribed properties. For Government-owned commercial properties, the government will grant one month of rental relief for qualifying tenants. For privately-owned commercial properties, the IRAS will disburse a 0.5-month rental relief cash pay-out directly to qualifying tenants as part of the new Rental Support Scheme. Fitness studios and gyms can use this rental relief to reduce cash outflow in a time where their businesses might not be profitable. You can find out more about the eligibility criteria of the rental relief here.
Other grants under the SRP that have been pushed out since the start of the year would be the Sports and Fitness Operating Grant. The Sports and Fitness Operating Grant provided additional support for more than 500 eligible gyms and fitness studios. These eligible entities received a one-time disbursement ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to defray operating costs (subject to prevailing criteria and eligibility for other available support measures). There is also the Enterprise Innovation and Capability Development Grant where after 2 waves of this InnoGrant concluded, 21 enterprises received more than $2M in funding to develop and apply innovative technology solutions to propel their businesses to the next level.
For self-employed professionals in the sports and fitness sector who has experienced an income loss of at least 50% for at least one month compared to average monthly net trade income in 2019 or 2020 (from 16 May to 31 Aug 2021), there was the Covid-19 Recovery Grant – Temporary which applications closed in end Aug. Eligible individuals received a one-off pay out of up to $500. Self-employed fitness professionals, freelance coaches and instructors also could opt for the SEP Project Grant earlier in the year which awarded about $315,000 to 40 projects comprising individual or group participants to help them produce innovative video-on-demand fitness classes.
You can find out more about the full list of grants under the Sports Resilience Package here.
The PSG was pushed out by Enterprise Singapore to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises to take on IT solutions costs and solutions to streamline business operations. PSG Grants can fund up to 80% of these solutions and tools. As announced at Budget 2021, the PSG is extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022. To qualify for PSG, businesses must be; registered and operating in Singapore, purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore, have a minimum of 30% local shareholding with Company’s Group annual sales turnover less than S$100 million, OR less than 200 employees (for selected solutions only). For more information on eligibility and application, click here.
Last but not least, we have the EDG, where the grant funds qualifying project costs like third party consultancy fees, software and equipment and internal manpower cost. Similar to the PSG, it was announced at Budget 2021 that the enhanced maximum support level of up to 80% will be extended from 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022. To qualify for EDG, businesses must be; registered and operating in Singapore, have a minimum of 30% local shareholding, and be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project. The applications will then be assessed by Enterprise Singapore on a case by case basis based on the project scope, outcomes and the competencies of the service providers. You can find out more about this grant here.
All in all, it is safe to say that the grants available for fitness studios and gyms in Singapore are not only extensive, but rather comprehensive as well. With grants ranging from relief in terms of rental of spaces, to grants for IT solutions to increase efficiency of business operations. The government has also made sure to ensure that the self-employed fitness professionals and freelance instructors and coaches are not left out from the mix. If you are a local fitness studio, gym or freelance instructor, we hope that our article has been helpful in summarising some of the government grants that you can find in Singapore!