By Jowell Shek @ Ooosh Coworking
Prepare for Market Rebound
As a startup enabler and a community that strives to grow together with startup founders, we are always on the lookout for the support that startups can benefit from. This article is written during the coronavirus, hence businesses are going through trying times and productivity is low. Instead of panicking, some are planning ahead for a big bounce back once the market starts to resume. If you are operating an SME and have thought of upgrading or transforming your business processes via technology adoption, the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) launched by the Hong Kong government would be a good place to look into. This post is written to answer all your burning questions about the TVP. Consider this a Starter Guide, if you will, for the TVP:
1. Eligibility and Application Process 2. What you will get 3. Project Completion and Evaluation 4. Tips from Ooosh
1. Eligibility and Application Process
Q: Am I eligible for the TVP? A: You are eligible as long as you are a non-listed company in Hong Kong with substantive business operations at the time of application. Meaning that “shell” business registrations will not be regarded as eligible. Q: Can I apply for more than one project? A: Unfortunately not. You can only apply for one project at a time. Q: What is the application process like? A: After you submit your project application, there will be a preliminary screening. During the preliminary screening, the ITC may seek clarification or supplementary information from you. After that, they will process your application. Note that there is no timing/duration indication on each assessment procedure. Remember, prior approval must be obtained before the project commences, and you are required to provide a breakdown of the costs to be directly incurred for the purpose of and during the approved period of the proposed project. Q: What are the assessment principles? A: Your project will be assessed according to the following: - Relevance to business - Reasonableness of budget - Reasonableness of implementation details (Require concrete indications of expected impact and outcome from the project) - Do not engage their blacklisted service providers (Yes. They have a list of those.) Q: Any examples of typical funded projects? A: We got you. You may access a full list of typical projects here. (page21 Annex B) Q: How do I know whether my application was successful or not? A: Successful applications will receive a letter and invitation to enter a funding agreement, while unsuccessful applications will be informed with rejection reasons.
2. What You Will Get
Q: How much will be funded? A: According to the 2020 budget, the maximum funding amount can be expected to be at around $600,000, and around 75% of your project to be funded. 25% of approved funding will be payable upon signing a funding agreement and the balance payment will be disbursed upon receiving and acceptance of a final project report. Q: What are the fundable items in my project? A: Here are a list of items fundable: - Technology Consultancy - Purchase, rental or subscription of customized equipment / hardware / software and tech services / solution that forms an essential part of the project. (As long as they are not available off the shelf, they are considered customized) - Off-the-shelf equipment/hardware: these include desktops, notebook, printers, scanners, mobile phones as long as they are essential to the project. However, these should consist of more than 50% of the project cost, or else the committee might not approve the application. - Software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project. - Cloud / SaaS solutions (up to 12 months of costs) - Audit fee, with maximum funding of $3000. (Note: Your project must be audited by an auditor for funding requests exceeding $50,000) Q: How about items that are not fundable? A: Below are a list of items that are not fundable: - Rental - Staff salary, allowances, and training - Equipment, hardware, software, and services for normal operations - marketing and branding expenses - transportation and accommodation - financial expenses (interest payments for loans) Q: Is there a funding principle? A: Yes. The project follows a “Lowest Price Wins Contract”: - For funding less than $50,000 - 2 competitive quotations - between $50,000 and $300,000 - at least 3 competitive quotations - between $300,000 to $1,400,000 - at least 5 competitive quotations - $1,400,00 or above - Open Tender