Government Support

The Hong Kong Government's support for SMEs and startups aims to help transfer your business vision into reality and take your business to the next level. There are a number of government funding schemes available to support your business.

Bodies Supporting Startups

Create Hong Kong

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The CreateHK is a dedicated agency set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau on 1 June 2009 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government policy and effort regarding creative industries, focuses Government’s resources catering for the promotion and speeding up of the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, and works closely with the trade to boost the development of creative industries.

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Cyberport

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Cyberport is a creative digital community with a cluster of technology and digital content tenants. With a vision to establish itself as a leading information and communications technology (ICT) hub in the Asia-Pacific region, Cyberport is committed to facilitating the local economy by nurturing ICT industry start-ups and entrepreneurs, driving collaboration to pool resources and create business opportunities, and accelerating ICT adoption through strategic initiatives and partnerships.

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Hong Kong Productivity Council

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The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) is a multi-disciplinary organization. It promotes productivity excellence through the provision of integrated support across the value chain of Hong Kong firms, in order to achieve a more effective utilization of resources, to enhance the value-added content of products and services, and to increase international competitiveness.

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Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

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Comprising Science Park, InnoCentre and Industrial Estates, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body dedicated to building a vibrant innovation and technology ecosystem to connect stakeholders, nurture technology talents, facilitate collaboration, and catalyse innovations to deliver social and economic benefits to Hong Kong and the region.
 
Established in May 2001, HKSTP has been driving the development of Hong Kong into a regional hub for innovation and growth in several focused clusters including Electronics,Information Communications Technology, Green Technology, Biomedical Technology,Materials and Precision Engineering. We enable science and technology companies to nurture ideas, innovate and grow, supported by our R&D facilities, infrastructure, and market-led laboratories and technical centres with professional support services. We also offer value added services and comprehensive incubation programmes for technology start-ups to accelerate their growth.
 
Technology businesses benefit from our specialised services and infrastructure at Science Park for applied research and product development; enterprises can find creative design support at InnoCentre; while skill-intensive businesses are served by our three industrial estates at Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Yuen Long.

TecONE
TecONE, a one-stop service centre which starts operation in July 2014 sets to provide technology SMEs comprehensive advisory services in relation to public funding schemes, industry support programs, HKSTPC support services, bank finance and angel investment. Talks are organised at TecONE to facilitate technology SMEs to learn more about various resources available in the community. You can read more information here.

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Hong Kong Trade Development Council

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The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) offers a variety of platforms and business-matching services, connecting small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong with business partners from all over the world. HKTDC also has resources for start-ups here.

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Invest Hong Kong

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Invest Hong Kong works with overseas and Mainland entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals that wish to set up an office – or expand their existing business – in Hong Kong. It offers free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.

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Creativity and Design Funding Opportunities

CreateSmart Initiative (CSI)

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Target Industry:

Creative Industries

Purpose:

To promote and speed up the development of local creative industries so as to build Hong Kong into Asia’s Creative Capital

Eligibility:

Applicants should normally be locally registered institutions / organisations, including local academic institutes, industry support Organisations, trade and industry associations, professional bodies, research institutes and companies [The applicant should be a body or company established or incorporated under the Hong Kong laws including the Companies Ordinance (Cap 32)]. CreateHK and other Government departments are also eligible to apply. Project elements which are covered under the scope of Film Development Fund, Film Guarantee Fund, and other dedicated Government funding schemes, and those which will receive or have received funding from other Government or known sources will NOT be considered

Support/Funding Details:

a) No limit is imposed on the maximum amount of grant to be granted, but projects involving funding support of $10 million or above would have to be submitted to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for consideration

b) Funding support is normally given as a grant and be disbursed by instalments

c) The CSI will fund projects with objectives that are in line with our strategic direction to drive the development of the creative industries, namely:

(i) Nurturing a pool of creative human capital which will form the backbone of our creative economy;

(ii) Facilitating start-ups and development of creative establishments;

(iii) Generating demand for innovation and creativity and expanding local market size for creative industries;

(iv) Promoting creative industries on the Mainland and overseas to help explore outside markets;

(v) Developing creative clusters in the territory to generate synergy and facilitate exchanges;

(vi) Fostering a creative atmosphere within the community; and

(vii) Promoting Hong Kong as Asia’s creative capital

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Design-Business Collaboration Scheme (DBCS)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To promote the interest and investment of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in relation to utilizing design and transforming design activity into tradable deliverables that manifest exploitation and deployment of intellectual property, which may comprise patent, copyright, trademark or industrial design

Eligibility:

Local design company or academic institution and the SME will be co-applicants in a project application under the DBCS. Either of them, with the consent of the other party, is eligible to lodge an application under the DBCS. The co-applicants should not be related in terms of ownership or management

Support/Funding Details:

a) Funding support for each SME is subject to a limit of $100,000, for four projects at most. This limit applies to all SMEs irrespective of the time they participated in DBCS. For instance, if an SME has previously been approved a project with funding support of $30,000, it can still apply for not more than three projects to exhaust the remaining $70,000. However, if it has previously been granted $100,000, it will no longer be eligible to apply as it has already exhausted its funding limit

b) Basically the funding support takes the form of a matching grant calculated based on 50% of the approved project cost or HK$100,000, whichever is the lower. However, since each SME is subject to a funding limit of $100,000 for four projects at most, the amount of grant to be approved will depend on the balance in the funding limit of the SME. The SME should be the sole party to contribute the matching fund in cash, in the form of cheque and bank pay-in slip or other traceable form. The grant will be disbursed upon the project completion

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Environment Management Funding Opportunities

Carbon Audit Pilot Fund

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Target Industry:
  • Office-based operations (priority on import/export, wholesale trade, financing and insurance, and business services)
  • Retail
  • Catering
  • Others (Hotel, Logistics, Information and Communication Technology, Industrial, Engineering or organizations at the discretion of the Project Management Committee
Purpose:

To encourage and sustain concerted industry effort on carbon audit and reduction to shape a low carbon economy, as well as to facilitate the development of related environmental industries

Eligibility:

Any company registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) that falls within the specified business sectors with business operation in Hong Kong can apply for grant under the Carbon Audit Pilot Fund

** Specified business sectors include:

i) Office-based operations (priority on import/export, wholesale trade, financing and insurance, and business services);

ii) Retail;

iii) Catering; and

iv) Others (Hotel, Logistics, Information and Communication Technology, Industrial, Engineering or organizations at the discretion of the Project Management Committee (PMC)

Note: Companies from other sectors may also apply and they will be considered by the PMC on a case by case basis

Support/Funding Details:

a) Funding will be provided on a matching basis. Fund successful applicant can receive a grant of up to 50% of the approved cost of carbon audit. The ceiling amount is HK$ 30,000 for each application

b) Each funded project should be completed within 6 months

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Cleaner Production Partnership Programme (CP3)

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Target Industry:

Chemical products/Food and beverage/Furniture/Metal and metal products/Non-metallic mineral products/Printing and publishing/Paper or Paper product manufacturing/Textiles

Purpose:

To encourage and facilitate Hong Kong-owned factories in Hong Kong / Guangdong to adopt Cleaner Production (CP) technologies and practices. They could make positive contribution to a cleaner environment by reducing emissions. For example Minimize Air Pollutant Emissions, Improve Energy Efficiency, Reduce and Control Effluent Discharge and Reduce Production Cost

Eligibility:

1) Any company registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) operating a factory in Guangdong which is owned by any of the following:

- a Sino-foreign equity joint venture or a co-operative joint venture established in the Mainland to which the company is a party; or

- a wholly-owned foreign enterprise established in the Mainland with capital from the company; or

- a People’s Republic of China enterprise which is a party to a subsisting agreement with the company in relation to any of the three forms of processing and assembly operations or compensatory trade(三來一補)

2) Any company registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) operating a factory in Hong Kong

3) Companies registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) operating a workshop in Hong Kong which involves polluting processes such as paint-spraying and curing, solvent cleaning of metal parts and components, and vehicle engine testing, etc. may apply for Demonstration Projects and their eligibility will be determined by the Secretariat on a case by case basis in consideration of the polluting processes involved

Support/Funding Details:

a) On-site Improvement Assessment Projects : HKPC, in conjunction with other Environmental Technology (ET) service providers, will provide guidance and conduct on-site assessment for participating factories to identify and analyze the problems they face and propose practical improvement solutions. Successful examples and experience in the application of CP technologies and good practices adopted by the participating factories will also be collated and reported for sharing purposes.

*The on-site improvement assessment project should cover at least the following scope:

- review of the production processes of the factory;

- evaluation of usage of raw materials, energy consumption and sources of air pollutant emissions;

- identification of potential cleaner production (CP) measures and the expected benefits;

- prioritization of potential CP measures into "no/low cost" measures, and measures with "medium/high costs"; and

- implementation plan of recommended CP measures

**Project Funding : The funding support will be 50% of the consultancy fee for an on-site improvement assessment project subject to a ceiling of HK$25,000 per project

***The project should be completed within 3 months upon commencement. This period includes submission of the assessment report to the Secretariat of the Programme

b) Demonstration Projects : To help factories overcome any confidence barrier they may have in investing in cleaner production (CP) technologies, demonstration projects will be funded under the Programme to demonstrate the effectiveness, actual cost involved and potential financial return of CP technologies/practices through installation of equipment and/or modification of production processes. Focus of the demonstration projects is on improving energy efficiency, reducing air pollutant emissions or effluent control / reduction

* Project Funding : The cost of each demonstration project will be shared between the participating factory and the Funding on a fifty-fifty basis. The ceiling of the funding support is HK$300,000 per project

** The project should be completed within 9 months upon commencement. This period includes submission of the assessment report to the Secretariat of the Programme

c) Verification of Improvement Projects : This service will be critical to the success of the whole programme, as it will help reinforce the participating factories' confidence in investing in CP technologies and, through reporting and sharing of the verification results, inspire other factories to follow suit. Verification project is a project in which the factory can hire the service of HKPC as a Verification Service Provider to verify the cost-effectiveness of an improvement project. The improvement project must be related to improving energy efficiency, reducing air pollutant emissions or effluent control / reduction

*Service Scope: The scope of the verification service is to verify the effectiveness of the improvement project in terms of enhancement in energy efficiency and/or reduction in pollutant emissions. It will involve on-site measurement to collect operational data of the improvement measures for evaluating its effectiveness in reducing energy consumption or pollutant emission reduction

**Project Funding : Participating companies can apply for funding support up to a ceiling of HK$20,000 to pay for the service fee for independent verification of the effectiveness of their improvement projects

*** The service should normally be completed within 2 months upon commencement. This period includes submission of the verification report to the Secretariat of the Programme

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Financing Loan or Insurance Opportunities

Export Credit Insurance

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To provide a wide range of insurance facilities to Hong Kong exporters of both goods and services who trade with overseas buyers on credit terms, usually of up to 180 days. The facilities cover two main types of non-payment risks for goods exported and services rendered arising from buyer risks and country risks

Eligibility:

Exporters with business registration in Hong Kong

Support / Funding details:

a) Of the wide range of policies the Corporation offer, the most popular is the Comprehensive Cover Policy, which applies to the export and re-export of goods from Hong Kong, and to the offshore shipments of goods manufactured outside Hong Kong, on credit periods of up to 180 days. Tailor-made facilities or variations on the standard cover are available. Medium and long term cover may also be offered to cover exports of capital goods for credit periods of up to 5 years or even longer if required. In addition, the Corporation offer tailor-made policies that cover exports of services, each designed to meet the specific requirements of different service sectors

b) Apart from insurance cover, the Corporation provide risk assessment and monitoring services to exporters, offering advice on the extent of credit which it is prudent of them to offer their buyers. The Corporation draw on a computerised worldwide database of buyers whose credit-worthiness is regularly monitored by our underwriters. The credit information is derived from an international network made up of credit information agencies, banks and other credit insurers

* Insurance policies issued by the Corporation are accepted by the banking community as useful collateral for discounting export bills. The protection accorded to a policyholder may be extended to the policyholder's bank by a letter of authority, which enables claims to be paid directly to the bank and can be instrumental in helping policyholders obtain the banking facilities they need

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Microfinance Scheme

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To offer Micro Business Start-up loan and Self-employment loan to assist people who wish to start their own businesses and become self-employed. The Scheme will provide supporting services including mentorship and entrepreneurial training to business starters and self-employed persons on a need basis in order to enhance their ability in running business and also help them to resolve problems in their daily business operations

Eligibility:

1) Individual aged 18 or above and holder of Hong Kong Identity Card (with the right of abode, right to land or right to stay in Hong Kong without restrictions) or a One-way Permit

2) Not subject to any bankruptcy order or proceedings at the time of application

3) Business may be conducted in the form of sole-proprietorship, partnership or limited company incorporated in Hong Kong

4) If the business is owned by more than one person, all partners and business owners must be co-borrowers (The maximum number of borrowers is three)

* Micro Business Start-up loan: For the purpose of establishing a new business or conducting an existing business which has been established for less than 5 years (counting from the date of the first business registration)

^ Self-employment loan: For conducting a self-employment business

Support/Funding Details:

a) Micro Business Start-up loan: Aims to assist people who wish to start their own businesses, the maximum loan amount is HK$300,000

b) Self-employment loan: Aims to assist people who wish to become self-employed. The maximum loan amount is HK$300,000

* Interest Rate: Not higher than 9% per annum or 8% per annum if a satisfactory third-party guarantee is provided

** Loan Tenor: 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years or 5 years

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SME Financing Guarantee Scheme

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To help small and medium-sized enterprises and non-listed enterprises obtain loans from participating lenders such as banks for meeting their business needs so as to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment. Under the Scheme, the HKMC will provide guarantee coverage on 50%, 60% or 70% of the facility amount to eligible enterprises

Eligibility:

Eligible enterprises must have business operation in Hong Kong and be registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310). They must also have business operation for at least one year on the date of guarantee application, and have good loan repayment record. Listed companies, lending institutions and affiliates of the lender are not eligible for the Scheme

Support/Funding Details:

a) Each enterprise or each group of enterprises can borrow not more than HK$12 million under the Scheme and the maximum loan tenor is five years. In general, the Scheme mainly covers loans with interest rate up to 10% per annum. But it will also consider applications with interest rate exceeding 10% per annum on a case-by-case basis. Enterprises should consult their lenders as the interest rate level is decided by the lenders

b) The Scheme guarantees both term loan and revolving credit facility. An enterprise can borrow a term loan and a revolving credit facility at the same time. There is no limitation on the proportion between the two types of facilities. The loans must be used for providing general working capital for the enterprises' business operations, acquisition of equipment or assets in relation to the enterprises' business or refinancing any facilities with a guarantee issued under the Scheme or under the Special Loan Guarantee Scheme operated by the Trade and Industry Department

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SME Loan Guarantee Scheme

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) secure loans from participating lending institutions (PLIs) for: acquiring business installations and equipment; and meeting working capital needs of general business uses

Eligibility:

Enterprises, except for lending institutions and their associates, which meet the following criteria are eligible to apply -

1) Registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310) and with substantive business operation* in Hong Kong; and

2) A SME under the definition of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the HKSARG), that is, a manufacturing business which employs fewer than 100 persons in Hong Kong; or a non-manufacturing business which employs fewer than 50 persons in Hong Kong**. In this connection, "business" refers to any form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, professional, calling or other activity carried on for the purpose of gain, but shall not include any club except a club within the meaning of the Business Registration Ordinance which provides services for the purpose of gain. Under the Business Registration Ordinance, "club" means any corporation or association of persons formed for the purpose of affording its members facilities for social intercourse or recreation and which

a) provides services for its members (whether or not for the purpose of gain); and

b) has club premises of which its members have a right of exclusive use.

* The applicant should have substantive business operations in Hong Kong. In this connection, an enterprise holding a shell business registration or having most of its main business operations outside Hong Kong will not be regarded as having substantive local business operations. For details, please refer to the " Guideline on the requirement of "substantive business operation" under the Special Loan Guarantee Scheme and SME Loan Guarantee Scheme" promulgated by the Trade and Industry Department (TID)

** "Number of persons employed" include individual proprietors, partners and shareholders actively engaged in the work of the company; and salaried employees of the company, including full-time or part-time salaried personnel directly paid by the company, both permanent and temporary, at the time of lodging applications under the SGS

Support/Funding Details:

The amount of guarantee for an SME is 50% of the approved loan, subject to a maximum amount of $6 million. The guarantee can be used to secure loans for either business installations and equipment or working capital , or a combination of both. The guarantee period is up to a maximum of five years, counting from the first drawdown date of the loan If an SME has fully repaid the business installations and equipment loan(s) or working capital loan(s) backed up by the guarantee under the Scheme, the SME is eligible for the respective guarantee amount one more time, subject to a maximum amount of $6 million

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Market Development Funding Opportunities

BUD Fund (Enterprise Support Programme)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To provide funding support to individual Hong Kong enterprises in undertaking projects to develop brands, upgrade and restructure their business operations and promote sales in the Mainland market, so as to enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their business development in the Mainland market

Eligibility:

All non-listed enterprises registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310) with substantive business operations in Hong Kong are eligible to apply, irrespective of whether they belong to the manufacturing or service sector or whether they already have any business operations in the Mainland

Support/Funding Details:

a) Funding will be provided on a matching basis, i.e. the Government will cover a maximum of 50% of the total approved project cost and the enterprise has to contribute no less than 50% of the total project cost in cash. During the tenure of the BUD Fund, each enterprise may obtain funding for a maximum of three approved projects. The cumulative funding ceiling per enterprise under the BUD Fund is $500,000

b) Expenses directly related to the project (e.g. machinery and equipment, venue rental, engagement of consultant, organisation of or participation in promotional activities, etc) may be funded. Daily or routine operating expenditures of the enterprise (e.g. salary of existing employee(s), office rental, general administrative and office expenses, etc) will not be funded. Please refer to the “Guide to Application for the Enterprise Support Programme” for details

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BUD Fund (Organisation Support Programme)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To provide funding support for non-profit-distributing organisations to undertake projects which can assist Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors in developing their brands, upgrading and restructuring their business operations, and promoting domestic sales in the Mainland so as to enhance their overall competitiveness in the Mainland market

Eligibility:

All non-profit-distributing organisations are eligible to apply for the Organisation Support Programme. Non-profit-distributing organisations refer to organisations which do not distribute profits to their directors, shareholders, employees or any other persons, and operate as support organisations, trade and industrial organisations, professional bodies or research institutes. Applicants must be either statutory organisations or organisations registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Support/Funding Details:

a) The maximum amount of funding support for each approved project is $5 million, or 90% of the approved project expenditure, whichever is the less. The Applicant has to contribute the remaining 10% of the project expenditure, which may be in cash, in kind or in the form of sponsorship

b) Activities under the projects may include seminars, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, research studies, technology demonstration, database, support facilities, service centres, etc. The maximum duration of a project will be three years

c) In general, expenses that are directly related to the project (e.g. equipment, venue rental, printing, etc.) may be funded. Overhead expenses, expenses for entertainment and meals, etc. are generally not funded unless explicit approval is given

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General Support Programme (GSP)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

To contribute to the upgrading and development of our industries as well as fostering an innovation and technology culture in Hong Kong

Eligibility:

1) Non-profit making trade or industry associations or chambers of commerce

2) Public body e.g. Hong Kong Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, Hospital Authority, etc;

3) Charitable organisation registered under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance;

4) A local university or other tertiary/post-secondary institutes by statute;

5) District Council; or

6) Local unincorporated or incorporated company under the Companies Oridinance

Funding Details:

a) All projects normally require sponsorship of no less than 10% of the total project cost from private sector companies not relating to the applicant organisation in terms of ownership or management and/or from other sources of contribution e.g. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), District Councils, charitable organisations, statutory bodies, individuals etc

b) Projects to be supported under GSP may include conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, promotional events, studies and surveys, youth activities, events or projects to support platform building / upgrading of industry, etc. In general, the GSP will not support projects for promotion of products/services of a specific commercial entity

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Patent Application Grant (GSP)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To encourage local companies and inventors to capitalise their intellectual work through patent registration

Eligibility:

1) All locally incorporated companies, Hong Kong permanent residents or Hong Kong residents permitted to remain in Hong Kong for not less than 7 years who have never owned any patents in any countries or territories before will be eligible

*For individual applicant, the applicant must be the sole inventor or one of the joint inventors of the invention

^For individual applicant, the applicant must be the sole inventor or one of the joint inventors of the invention

Support/Funding Details:

a) For an approved application, a grant of not more than HK$150,000 or 90% of the sum of the total direct cost of the patent application (including the cost for patent search-cum-technical assessment) and the administration fee charged by HKPC which is approximately equal to 20% of the total direct cost involved in patent application, whichever is the lower, will be provided. Since the grant will also be used to cover the administration fee charged by HKPC, the maximum amount of grant which could be used for the patent-search-cum-technical assessment and other direct costs of patent application should be around $120,000, out of a maximum grant of HK$150,000

b) Funds are only released to the implementation agent through which the patent application is processed. The grant is for covering the cost for patent search-cum-technical assessment and the administration fee mentioned above, as well as other direct costs involved in the patent application process. Examples are attorney fees, consultant fees and filing of patent applications. Other expenses, including any costs incurred before the date of approval of the application and the renewal fee of granted patents, are not fundable. The grant is non-transferrable and will be valid for 3 years from the date of approval of the application. The grant may not be sufficient to cover the patent application expenses, and individual applicant/applicant company has to bear the remaining balance

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SME Export Marketing Fund

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Target Industry:

SMEs which are export-oriented

Purpose:

To help small and medium enterprises expand their businesses through participation in export promotion activities

Eligibility:

1) Businesses which are registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310) and fulfill Government's definition of the SMEs, as follows,

(i) Any manufacturing business which employs fewer than 100 persons in Hong Kong; or (ii) Any non-manufacturing business which employs fewer than 50 persons in Hong Kong

2) SMEs must have substantive business operations in Hong Kong. An SME holding a shell business registration (BR) or having its main business operation outside Hong Kong will not be regarded as having substantive local business operation and hence, the relevant applications will be rejected. Applicants will be asked to provide sufficient business proof if deemed necessary. The Trade and Industry Department (TID) will also reject those applications submitted by SMEs using different BRs to circumvent the grant ceiling

Support/Funding Details:

a) The maximum amount of grant for each successful application will be 50% of the total approved expenditures incurred by the applicant or $50,000, whichever is the less. The cumulative amount of grant that an SME may obtain from the EMF is adjusted from $150,000 to $200,000 with effect from 10 June 2013

b) The EMF provides grant to SMEs for their participation in trade fairs/exhibitions and business missions outside Hong Kong, as well as local trade fairs/exhibitions which are “export-oriented”. Such export promotion activities must be organised by bona fide organisations/companies and directly relevant to the business of the applicants. The form of SMEs' participation must be as exhibitors of the trade fairs/exhibitions or as delegation members of the business missions

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Research and Development Funding Opportunities

Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

What is ESS?
  • It is a major funding initiative under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), which is designed to encourage the private sector to invest in research and development (R&D).
  • Funding support of each approved project is up to HK$10 million and will be provided on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis.
  • Project period should not be longer than 2 years.
  • The funding recipient company will own all intellectual property rights arising from the project.
  • Recoupment of Government's contribution is not required.
  • Benefit-sharing of commercialised R&D results would be non-mandatory.
  • Project with an approved project period of 12 months or longer can apply for financial assistance under the Internship Programme to hire additional staff. Each project can hire up to 2 interns.
  • The funding recipient company can also apply for the Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme to receive a cash rebate of up to 30% of the company’s expenditure in the project.

Eligibility:

A company will be eligible to apply if:

  1. it is incorporated or registered in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance;
  2. it is not a government subvented organisation*; and
  3. it is not a subsidiary of any government subvented organisation*.

*Government subvented organisation means organisation that receives grant from the Government on a recurrent basis. The grant contributes towards the organisation's operational expenses, in exchange for its service to the public. The recurrent grant may account for the bulk of the organisation's income or may just be a token contribution/sponsorship forming a small percentage of the organisation's total income.

What are the vetting criteria?

Project applications will be considered by an assessment panel comprising independent experts in the innovation and technology sector. Funding has to be justified on the following components:

  • Innovation and Technology Component;
  • Technical and Management Capability;
  • Financial Considerations;
  • Commercial Viability of Project Deliverables; and
  • Relevance with Government Policies or in Overall Interest of the Community.

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Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

To enhance the level of collaboration on R&D between organizations in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. Projects funded by the TCFS will have to demonstrate an element of Guangdong/Hong Kong cooperation (e.g. collaboration between research institutes and enterprises in Guangdong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong)

Eligibility:

1) A R&D Centre set up under the ITF; or

2) A designated local public research institute (viz. local universities, Hong Kong Productivity Council Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, Clothing Industry Training Authority and Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology)

Funding Details:

http://www.itf.gov.hk/l-eng/Forms/itf-tcfs-guide_2013.pdf

a) Collaborative Projects: For collaborative projects, the industry co-applicant should contribute no less than 50% of the total project cost (or no less than 30% in the case of R&D Centre projects) within the project period. The IP rights generated maybe owned by the industry co-applicant if it has contributed more than 50% of the total project cost within the project period

b) Platform Projects: All platform projects would require industry sponsorship from at least two private sector companies to cover at least 10% of the total project cost within the project period. The companies should not be related to the lead applicant in terms of ownership or management. The sponsorship can either be in cash or in-kind or a combination of both. The intellectual property (IP) rights generated from the project will be owned by the lead applicant which can be a R&D Centre1 or a designated local public research institute, viz. local universities, Hong Kong Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, Clothing Industry Training Authority and Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology

c) There are three categories of projects for applications under the TCFS, namely:

i) Category A - projects which are solicited, vetted and funded solely by Hong Kong:(Category A1) – projects solicited, vetted and monitored by the R&D Centres; and (Category A2) – projects solicited, vetted and monitored by ITC

ii) Category B are projects which are solicited, vetted and funded solely by Guangdong/Shenzhen

iii) Category C are projects which are jointly solicited, vetted and funded by Guangdong/Shenzhen and Hong Kong: (Category C1) – projects jointly funded by Guangdong and Hong Kong; and (Category C2) – projects jointly funded by Shenzhen and Hong Kong

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Innovation and Technology Support Programme (ITSP)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

Support technology related R&D projects in HK

Eligibility:

a) A R&D Centre set up under the ITF; or

b) A designated local public research institute (viz. local universities, Hong Kong Productivity Council Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, Clothing Industry Training Authority and Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology)

c) A company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance and has substantial connection to Hong Kong which is looking for funding of exploratory and forward-looking projects.

Support/Funding Details:

Collaborative Projects: For collaborative projects, the industry co-applicant should contribute no less than 50% of the total project cost (or no less than 30% in the case of R&D Centre projects) within the project period. The IP rights generated maybe owned by the industry co-applicant if it has contributed more than 50% of the total project cost within the project period

Platform Projects: All platform projects would require industry sponsorship from at least two private sector companies to cover at least 10% of the total project cost within the project period. The companies should not be related to the lead applicant in terms of ownership or management. The sponsorship can either be in cash or in-kind or a combination of both. The intellectual property (IP) rights generated from the project will be owned by the lead applicant which can be a R&D Centre1 or a designated local public research institute, viz. local universities, Hong Kong Productivity Council, Vocational Training Council, Clothing Industry Training Authority and Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology

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Internship Programme (GSP)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

To recruit graduates from local universities as interns to assist in the R&D projects

Eligibility:

For organisations undertaking research and development (R&D) projects funded by Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF)

Support/Funding Details:

a) Each ITF project can engage up to 2 interns at any one time;

b) The maximum internship period is 24 months;

c) The internship allowance is HK$12,000 for graduates with a Bachelor degree and HK$14,000 for graduates with a Master or higher degree

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Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

To reinforce the research culture among business enterprises and encourage them to establish stronger partnership with designated local public research institutions

Eligibility:

1) Projects under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) (ITF projects); or

2) Projects funded entirely by the companies and conducted by the designated local research institutions (“Partnership projects”)

Support/Funding Details:

A cash rebate equivalent to 30% of a company’s expenditure

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The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To establish or support schemes and experiments with a view to attracting, inspiring or nurturing social entrepreneurship to develop innovations that aim at creating social impact and build social capital for supporting poverty relief in Hong Kong.

Eligibility:

The Fund is open to all interested parties, including individuals, NGOs and profit-making organisations, if they could provide innovative ideas to address the problems of poverty and social exclusion in Hong Kong. For profit-making organisations, there will be a ceiling on the percentage of profits that could be distributed to the shareholders. The undistributed profits should be re-invested in the services/ projects supported by the Fund for addressing poverty issues in Hong Kong.

Support/Funding Details:

Being a catalyst for social innovation, the Fund provides visionary individuals and organisations with diverse resources in support of research, capacity building and the entire life cycle of innovative programmes, from idea incubation and seed funding to implementation and eventual scale-up.

Mostly through Innovative Programmes administered by its strategic partners, the intermediaries, the Fund will sponsor, among others, social innovations for supporting poverty relief that could benefit those members of the public in Hong Kong who are generally residents of Hong Kong without conditions of stay and may be in need of assistance in poverty alleviation and help prevent social exclusion.

Please visit the website of the SIE Fund for more details and the websites of individual intermediaries through relevant hyperlinks for details of their respective Innovative Programmes and funding options.

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SME Development Fund

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To provide financial support to projects carried out by non-profit-distributing organisations operating as support organisations, trade and industrial organisations, professional bodies or research institutes to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong's SMEs in general or SMEs in specific sectors.

Eligibility:

- Non-profit-distributing* organisations operating as support organisations, trade and industrial organisations, professional bodies or research institutes are eligible to apply.

- Applicants shall either be a statutory organisation, or an organisation registered under the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

- Project in receipt of other public funding will not be funded.

* A non-profit-distributing organisation is defined as an organisation of which profits are not distributed to its directors, shareholders, employees, or any other persons.

Support/Funding Details:

The maximum amount of funding support for any approved project will be HK$2 million, or 90% of the total project expenditure (whichever is lower). The applicant organisation will have to contribute the remaining amount, which may be in cash, in kind or in the form of third-party sponsorship.

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University-Industry Collaboration Programme (UICP)

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Target Industry:

Technology Development

Purpose:

To stimulate private sector interest in R&D through leveraging the knowledge and resources of universities. The emphasis is on close collaboration between private companies and universities in Hong Kong

Eligibility:

An application has to be submitted with a private company engaging in commercial activities as the applicant and a local university as the partner. The company has to be a company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance and has substantial connection to Hong Kong

Support/Funding Details:

There are three schemes under UICP:

a) Teaching Company Scheme: The Teaching Company Scheme aims to foster university-industry partnership by supporting local companies to take on graduate students from local universities to assist in proprietary R&D work. Graduate student(s) will be placed in the participating company to undertake research on a specific issue for a period of no more than two years. The university will provide teaching guidance for the student(s) in handling the project. The Scheme will cover half of the studentship of the graduate students. The maximum contribution from the ITF to the monthly studentship for each graduate student amounts to $7,500. As the project should last no more than two years, the maximum ITF funding for the studentship for each student would be $180,000

b) Matching Grant for Joint Research: The Matching Grant for Joint Research aims to foster private companies to collaborate with universities in proprietary R&D projects. Projects that focus on routine applications of existing technologies or on the provision of bureau services will not be funded. Substantial contribution to a project is expected from the university. The university's researchers should be the core project team members and should conduct a major part of the R&D work of the project. Hence, it is expected that most of the project cost is to cover the university's project related expenses. The participating company has to bear no less than 50% of the project cost in cash;

c) Industrial Research Chair Scheme: The Industrial Research Chair Scheme aims to assist universities and industry to develop research efforts in the natural science or engineering fields that respond to industrial needs and not yet developed in Hong Kong but for which there is good development potential in the longer term. A distinguished researcher in the university will be invited to be the chairholder to lead the project for a finite duration. Same as the Matching Grant for Joint Research, the university's researchers should conduct a major part of the R&D work of the project. Hence, it is expected that most of the project cost is to cover the university's project related expenses. The participating company has to bear no less than 50% of the project cost in cash

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Social Innovation Funding Opportunities

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund)

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The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund) connects the community with businesses, NGOs, academics and philanthropies to provide budding entrepreneurs with a wide range of resources to help them develop innovative ideas, products and services that serve unmet social needs. In FY 2015/16 the SIE Fund has provided funding to 25 ventures to help social entrepreneurs actualise their innovative ideas and their empathy for the underprivileged. Besides, an on-line platform has been built at the Fund’s website to share stories of “HK social innovators” with the aim of inspiring more visionary persons to start their own ventures.

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Training Scheme

New Technology Training Scheme(NTTS)

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Target Industry:

All

Purpose:

To assist companies that wish to have their staff trained in a new technology

Eligibility:

Any non-government subvented organisation in HK or Any permanent resident in HK

Funding Details:

a) Type A: Overseas training courses or working attachments, training grant up to 50% of the total training cost;
b) Type B: Local training courses in New Technologies, the training grant can be up to 50% of the training cost;
c) Type C: Tailor-made training courses for individual company

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