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COVID-19 Survival Guide for Start-ups: Get as much help as you can

Recognising COVID-19’s unprecedented effects on businesses, the Hong Kong Government has rolled out a series of relief measures with relatively optimised application details and fast-track approval procedures. 

Key relief measures and other support

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1. Free rent for six months

Tenants and start-ups at Hong Kong Science Park, Cyberport and industrial estates are receiving a six-month rental waiver.

2. Enhanced BUD Fund

The Hong Kong government has further enhanced the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund), allowing enterprises to flexibly make use of the total funding of up to HK$4m to expand into new markets.

      3.  50% off on exhibition fees

      Companies participating in exhibitions organised by the HKTDC will be subsidised 50 per cent of the exhibiting fee, subject to a cap of HK$10,000. 

      4.  Free support for upgrading and transformation

      HKTDC’s free-of-charge T-box programme helps SMEs and start-ups explore the four transformation goals: branding, e-commerce, new markets and manufacturing relocation.

      5.  Subsidies for adopting IT solutions

      The Distance Business Programme (D-Biz) supports enterprises to continue their businesses and services during the pandemic by adopting IT solutions. Each enterprise under the scheme may receive total funding of up to HK$300,000.

      6.  Subsidies for 5G deployment

      Under the Subsidy Scheme for Encouraging Early Deployment of 5G, the government will subsidise 50 per cent of the actual cost directly relevant to the deployment of 5G technology in an approved project, subject to a cap of HK$500,000.
 
      7.  Subsidies for hiring fintech talent

The FinTech Anti-epidemic Scheme for Talent Development provides financial assistance to local fintech companies to create new jobs. Each eligible company under the scheme may receive a maximum subsidy of HK$120,000.

8.  Government-guaranteed loan

The Special 100% Loan Guarantee under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme is applicable to all sectors. The loans are guaranteed by the government. The maximum loan amount per enterprise has been increased to HK$4m and the principal moratorium arrangement has been extended to the first 12 months.

9.  Enhanced measures to support exporters

Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation has launched new enhanced measures to support Hong Kong exporters, helping them to reduce risks and alleviate their financial burden.

10.  Wage subsidies to employers

The Employment Support Scheme provides financial support to employers to retain their employees. Wage subsidies are calculated on the basis of 50 per cent of wages, subject to a wage cap of HK$18,000 per month for a period of six months.

11.  Government-funding schemes

The government offers over 40 funding schemes and support to businesses in order to facilitate their growth and development.

Jason Chiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Startup Council, urges all start-ups to take advantage of the government’s and the start-ups ecosystem’s relief measures. In addition, start-ups should also seek help from their business partners. “Start-ups need to strengthen their relationships with their partners, explore opportunities for further co-operation and check if they can offer you businesses. They could even help you think of ways to reapply your products to respond to current needs,” he says. “If you have mentors or investors, seek their advice.” 

Check out other key pieces of advice here:

For all the latest information on SME and start-up support, visit www.hktdc.com/sme

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