Briefing on enhancement proposals for enterprise funding schemes announced in the 2018-19 Budget held today
The Trade and Industry Department (TID) held a briefing session today (March 5) to introduce to the trade proposals to enhance funding schemes in support of enterprises, as announced in the 2018-19 Budget, and to exchange views with the attendees.
Speaking at the opening of the briefing session, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said, "The Government has put in tens of billions of dollars over the years to support the development of enterprises, in particular small and medium enterprises. The 2018-19 Budget proposed to inject a total of $2.5 billion to increase the cumulative grant ceiling per enterprise of the Enterprise Support Programme under the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) and expand its funding scope to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets. The cumulative grant ceiling per enterprise of the SME Export Marketing Fund will also be increased.
"These enhancement proposals will greatly strengthen our support to enterprises and provide practical assistance in their market development, in particular in the Mainland and ASEAN markets. The enhancement proposals will also cater for the needs of start-ups, aligning with the Government's policy objective of encouraging start-ups and innovation. I appeal to the trade to make good use of these supporting measures for business development."
Extracts of the 2018-19 Budget Speech relevant to support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and enhancement to the funding schemes are as follows:
- Injecting $1.5 billion into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund);
- Injecting $1 billion into the SME Export Marketing and Development Funds;
- Extending the geographical scope of the Enterprise Support Programme under the BUD Fund from the Mainland to include the ASEAN countries. The respective cumulative funding ceiling for enterprises undertaking projects in the Mainland and ASEAN markets will be $1 million;
- Increasing the cumulative funding ceiling for enterprises under the SME Export Marketing Fund from $200,000 to $400,000, and removing the existing condition on the use of the last $50,000 of grants;
- Extending the application period for the special concessionary measures under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme to February 28, 2019;
- In the five financial years from 2018-19, providing a total of $250 million additional funding to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for assisting local enterprises (SMEs in particular) in seizing opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the Bay Area development, promoting the development of e-commerce, and enhancing Hong Kong's role as a premier international convention, exhibition and sourcing centre.
Over 200 participants attended the briefing session today, including members of relevant government advisory and vetting committees, representatives of major local trade and industrial organisations, SME associations, supporting organisations, professional bodies and start-up and trade associations. The participants welcomed the Government's proposals in general.
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