Pic: AP.

Singapore: Government launches SME and start-up-friendly loan of up to $218,000

A GOVERNMENT-OWNED enterprise agency in Singapore has launched unsecured working capital loans of up to US$217,851 for small-medium enterprises and start-ups in the country to help boost business.

SPRING Singapore, which helps to promote local enterprises, announced the new US$1.5 billion (SG$2 billion) SME Working Capital Loan program on Wednesday.

The unsecured loan means borrowers do not need to provide collateral, but are typically preferred if they have high credit ratings. The loans will be particularly helpful for new tech start-ups who are just beginning to take off in the industry.

In order to be eligible, SMEs must be registered and operating in Singapore, and have a minimum of 30 percent local shareholding, according to the press release.

Additionally, the company must have a group annual sales turnover of not more than about US$72 million (SG$100 million), and cannot have more than 200 employees.

SPRING added that the loans will assist SMEs with larger working capital needs in getting an additional financing channel, as they are often ineligible for traditional loans.

Assistant chief executive of SPRING Singapore, Chew Mok Lee, said the program aims to help viable SMEs meet their cash flow needs, as well as stay on track with their individual journeys.

Other start-up-friendly loans include offers from OCBC Bank, DBS Bank and UOB, whilst some companies turn to crowdfunding sites to gain capital.