Hong Kong Government Anti-Epidemic Funding That Can Help You Get You Through the Crisis

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Have you experienced the following due to the recent pandemic?

  • Loss of revenue
  • Staff layoffs

Hong Kong and the world is hurting, but now there is hope, support & more importantly, financial funding!

Hong Kong businesses that have experienced an economic downturn may be eligible for a share of the $500 million Innovation and Technology Bureau (D-Biz) funding scheme.

Here’s some quick facts:

  • Cap of HK$100,000 per IT solution
  • HK$300,000 per enterprise
  • 12 categories of IT solutions accepted
  • Must have valid BR with business commenced before 1 Jan 2020

To know if you qualify, select below and submit your details today. Applications start the 18th May, quotas are limited, so be quick!!!!!

Turn this crisis into an opportunity!

Distance Business Programme (D-Biz)

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Distance Business Programme (D-Biz)

Many of our clients, especially those in ‘non-essential’ industries, have made their best efforts to move to a ‘work from home’ or remote basis. There are several benefits to work from home policies, namely that we can all contribute to the reduction of the virus’ spread, but it also comes with numerous challenges. Our blog here goes into more detail about how you can effectively work from home, but many of the most impactful solutions involve setting up new IT solutions that, at the end of the day, can be a big investment.

Thankfully, the government has recently announced its plan to provide funding for enterprises who have moved their operations to remote premises, calling it the “Distance Business Programme” or “D-Biz Programme” in short. The goal is to support businesses with the adoption of various digital technologies that can get them back up and running as we ride out the virus working from home.

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Who's eligible?

All private enterprises bar listed companies, statutory bodies and NGOs are eligible to apply. The only other stipulation is that you must have a Business Registration Certificate and have substantial business operation in the industry in which you are applying.

Funding Amount

For each IT solution and the relevant training expenses for the employees, the funding ceiling is HK$100,000 (with funding for the relevant training expenses capped at 10 per cent of the IT solution cost). Each enterprise may receive total funding of up to HK$300,000 to undertake a project to be completed within six months.

An enterprise will be disbursed a payment of 30% of the funding amount after the application has been approved. Upon completion of the project and after the supporting documents are accepted, the remaining funding amount will be disbursed to the enterprise.

What is the scope?

The budget will be used for a wide variety of digital and IT solutions that encompass the following and more:

  • Online shopping and e-commerce
  • Online ordering and delivery services including that in the food industry and more
  • Online customer services and engagement tools like booking systems, online consultation and more
  • Tools for digital customer experience like chat boxes and live support
  • Digital marketing
  • Digital payment and mobile point of sale machines
  • Online or cloud based financial management systems
  • Online or cloud based human resources management systems
  • Cloud storage and remote access services
  • Virtual meeting and conference calling tools
  • Virtual team management tools
  • Cybersecurity services
  • Any other online or cloud based business support systems that improve workflow and operational efficiency.

Application Period: 18 May 2020 (Details to be announced)

Sensitive

Who's eligible?

All private enterprises bar listed companies, statutory bodies and NGOs are eligible to apply. The only other stipulation is that you must have a Business Registration Certificate and have substantial business operation in the industry in which you are applying.

Sensitive

Funding Amount

For each IT solution and the relevant training expenses for the employees, the funding ceiling is HK$100,000 (with funding for the relevant training expenses capped at 10 per cent of the IT solution cost). Each enterprise may receive total funding of up to HK$300,000 to undertake a project to be completed within six months.

An enterprise will be disbursed a payment of 30% of the funding amount after the application has been approved. Upon completion of the project and after the supporting documents are accepted, the remaining funding amount will be disbursed to the enterprise.

Sensitive

What is the scope?

The budget will be used for a wide variety of digital and IT solutions that encompass the following and more:

  • Online shopping and e-commerce
  • Online ordering and delivery services including that in the food industry and more
  • Online customer services and engagement tools like booking systems, online consultation and more
  • Tools for digital customer experience like chat boxes and live support
  • Digital marketing
  • Digital payment and mobile point of sale machines
  • Online or cloud based financial management systems
  • Online or cloud based human resources management systems
  • Cloud storage and remote access services
  • Virtual meeting and conference calling tools
  • Virtual team management tools
  • Cybersecurity services
  • Any other online or cloud based business support systems that improve workflow and operational efficiency.

Applications are open from 4 May to 31 October 2020.

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Second Round of the Anti-Epidemic Fund & the Employment Support Scheme (ESS)

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Second Round of the Anti-Epidemic Fund & the Employment Support Scheme (ESS)

Despite the first round of the Anti-Epidemic Fund applications having already come to a close, there’s still plenty of funding opportunities to be had. There are a number of schemes in the pipeline at this point that have been announced by the Government in a recent press conference on the 8th of April. Following the total of HK$150 billion in relief packages announced back in February 2020, there has been a further HK$137.5 billion funding announced for the second round of the Anti-Epidemic Fund.

It intends to combat the anticipations of massive staff layoffs and more in the wake of COVID-19. Applying early can significantly help your company. More than half of the funding for the second round will go towards a HK$80 billion Employment Support Scheme designed to help employers retain their employees without unsustainable financial burden. All employers who are making MPF contributions will be eligible, bar those on the exclusion list.

The first payout is expected in June 2020, so be sure to keep up to date with all the recent updates for the second round of funding on the Government website here!

SME Export Marketing Fund

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SME Export Marketing Fund

Surviving this virus might also mean tapping into new markets and expanding your business. This can’t always be done without a significant amount of capital in the first place, and that's where the SME Export Marketing Fund comes in handy! There was a recent expansion of the fund on 9 April that includes those participating in virtual exhibitions. The cumulative funding ceiling was also increased from HK$400,000 to HK$800,000 per enterprise on 20 January 2020.

Applicants are encouraged to use the online application system, while eligible businesses must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Have a Business Registration Ordinance
  • Have fewer than 100 employees if in the manufacturing industry
  • Have fewer than 50 employees if not in the manufacturing industry
  • Substantive business operations in Hong Kong at the time you make the application
  • Must not hit the funding ceiling if previous funds have been received from the EMF.

The scope covers:

  • Trade fairs and exhibitions outside of Hong Kong,
  • Business missions outside of Hong Kong,
  • Any local trade fairs and exhibitions which target overseas markets
  • Advertisements and promotional activities that target overseas markets
  • Funds to cover the setup and maintenance of websites and applications which help the expansion into overseas markets.

Learn more about the SME Export Marketing Fund here along with guidelines on applying.

Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD)

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Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD)

The BUD fund has been around since 2012, but has recently received an increased budget in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The goal was to allow Hong Kong enterprises of various scales to improve, upgrade and restructure their business operations and technologies in order to make them more competitive on an international level.

From 9 April 2020, enterprises may now receive funding of up to HK$4 million in order to undertake business in Mainland China and other countries which have signed free trade agreements with Hong Kong. All businesses registered in Hong Kong are eligible to apply, regardless of whether they already have an international presence or not.

Learn more about the BUD fund here, as well as application forms and more here.

We at First Page want to see you and your businesses succeed. The digital landscape is one of the best places to allocate your budget, whether it be SEO solutions, efficient advertising or simply new technologies that allow businesses to operate remotely with ease. We understand that many of these require capital investments that might seem out of reach, but with the help of government funding there’s always a way.

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