7 Hong Kong Government Funds That are Great for Startups

The pandemic had a profound effect on Hong Kong Business. Regardless of whether you’re in the restaurant business, run a digital marketing agency, or a startup, the impact was huge. Many businesses are both losing existing customers and finding it hard to take on new ones. Only the businesses which adapt to the situation quickly and effectively will manage to weather the storm. However, those that do will almost certainly come out stronger and ahead of the competition. To help you in tough times, we will cover seven Hong Kong government startup funding resources in this post.

So what steps should a business owner in Hong Kong take to fight to prepare for tough times? While there are numerous articles and guides out there regarding working from home effectively and adopting support marketing techniques, many require you to deploy new IT solutions and modernise your business.

This can take a hefty amount of capital. In this economic downturn, many businesses might be unable to afford upfront. Government funding is the solution to this. Find out more about seven government funds to give your business a capital boost. A capital boost can give your business the investment it needs to ride out troublesome times.

1. Distance Business Programme (D-Biz)

The Distance Business Programme (or D-Biz) is aimed squarely at helping businesses adopt a variety of digital technologies that help them modernise and run more efficiently on a remote basis. Whether that means cloud storage, remote desktop access software or even just online payment systems, D-Biz funding will be instrumental in helping businesses transition to a work-from-home system without too much disruption and economic losses.

What is the budget?

The budget sits at a cumulative total of HK$300,000 per enterprise for a total of 500 million overall.

Who is eligible?

All private enterprises with a valid Business Registration Certificate can apply, excluding listed companies, statutory bodies, and NGOs funded by the government.

Find out more information as well as application details here.

2. SME Export Marketing Fund

The SME Export Marketing Fund is to help businesses expand into overseas markets. It covers everything from trade fairs and exhibitions outside of Hong Kong to advertisements and promotional materials that target these markets.

What is the budget? 

There is up to HK$800,000 available for each successful applicant.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must have a Business Registration Ordinance, fewer than 100 employees if in the manufacturing industry, or 50 if not.

Find out more about the SME Export Marketing Fund and how to apply here.

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

The BUD Fund was introduced in 2012. Recently it enjoyed a new cash injection that allows businesses to receive larger grants. The goal is to enable businesses to improve, upgrade and restructure their organization for more efficient and sustainable operations. It promotes the use of new technologies and IT solutions that will make the business more competitive and viable on an international playing field.

What is the budget?

Enterprises and successful applicants may receive up to HK$4 million in funding now to conduct business in countries that have signed free trade agreements with Hong Kong.

Who is eligible?

All businesses in Hong Kong are eligible to apply.

Learn more about the BUD Fund here.

4. Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme for Manpower Demand Management (ReTAAS)


The objective of the ReTAAS scheme is to provide financial assistance to retail enterprises looking to adopt technology for manpower demand management. The scope of the scheme includes solutions such as POS systems, setting up e-commerce shops, inventory systems and more. Through the funding, the government hopes to boost the productivity of Hong Kong enterprises.

What is the budget?

The funding will be done on a matching basis whereby the government will cover a total of 50% of the project cost. Two projects may be approved, bringing the total funding amount per business to a maximum of HK$50,000.

Who is eligible?

All enterprises registered with the Business Registration Ordinance in Hong Kong are welcome to apply.

Read more about ReTAAS here.

5. Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS) 

The Enterprise Support Scheme (or ESS) is managed by the Innovation and Technology Fund and is aimed at promoting private enterprises to invest in research and development. The objective is to nurture technology startups, attract the investments of foreign companies and create an environment in which plenty of technology-driven jobs are created to expand the economy. Note that this funding scheme cannot be used for the benefit of in-house operations and general financing.

What is the budget?

Funding will be provided on a matching basis. Businesses can be given grants of up to HK$10 million per approved project.

Who is eligible?

All companies in Hong Kong are welcome to apply given that they are incorporated and registered in Hong Kong and that they are not already subsidised by the government.

Learn more about the ESS here.

6. Technology Voucher Programme (TVP)


One funding scheme which can be used to upgrade your business operations and transform its productivity is the Technology Voucher Programme (or TVP). Apply for this if you think your business could benefit from new technologies such as CRM systems, cloud software and network security which ramp up your performance and competitiveness within the wider market. This fund has been adjusted in light of the pandemic with the funding ratio having been increased from two thirds to three quarters and the maximum number of approved projects from four to six.

What is the budget?

Each applicant has a funding ceiling of HK600,000.

Who can apply?

All businesses registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance are eligible to apply. However, those already funded by the government are not eligible.

Learn more about the TVP here.

7. Reindustrialisation And Technology Training Programme (RTTP)

The RTTP is a funding scheme dedicated to improving the skills and knowledge of your employees when it comes to Industry 4.0 technology. Various technology training courses with providers that have 2 or more years of experience are supported. Receive both public and tailor-made courses depending on the scope of your grant, and improve the efficiency of your business through its most valuable asset: your employees.

How much funding will there be?

The funding will be provided on a 2:1 matching basis. Reimbursement for the cost of the training courses can be applied for after the courses have been completed.

Who can apply?

All businesses that are registered under the Hong Kong Business Registration Ordinance can apply.

Read more about the courses available and how to apply on the RTTP website here.

As a digital marketing agency, clients are our lifeblood. We want to make sure that each and every client of ours can thrive even under a delicate economy. If you need advice related to any of these government funding schemes, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today.