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GROW partners Singapore’s Startup SG Founder program and launches Asia pre-accelerator

May 4, 2020

AgFunder‘s agrifoodtech accelerator GROW has been named as an accredited mentor partner (AMP) for the early-stage investment and mentoring scheme under Singapore’s startup promotion initiative, Startup SG. The announcement comes as GROW launches its Pre Accelerator program to help agrifood entrepreneurs who are taking their first steps towards setting up their own businesses. [Disclosure: AgFunder is the parent company of AFN.]

Startup SG – which is run by government agency Enterprise Singapore – offers a number of programs which provide assistance to tech entrepreneurs and startups in the city-state.

Startup SG Founder is one such program, specifically targeting first-time entrepreneurs. Successful applicants receive a grant of S$30,000 ($21,200). They are required to commit S$10,000 ($7,050) that they’ve sourced themselves to match the grant. They also stand to receive capital and mentorship from investors which are Startup SG Founder AMPs.

Interested entrepreneurs have to apply through one of the program’s AMPs, who will assess submissions based on factors such as the feasibility of their business model, strength of their management team, and potential market value.

If the AMP assesses that the entrepreneur qualifies under the program’s eligibility criteria, it can recommend the applicant to Enterprise Singapore and suggest appropriate milestones for the staggered disbursement of the grant.

The Startup SG Founder program is open to citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. Applicants must hold (or propose to hold) at least 30% equity in the business which will benefit from the grant. They must not have incorporated or registered a company previously, and their business concept must not have received funding from any other government agency.

Those who have their applications approved are required to “commit full-time” to the company and not be in any other employment from the time they accept the offer from Startup SG.

AMPs can invest in the companies they mentor up to a maximum equity shareholding of 50%.

AgFunder is also an appointed partner under Enterprise Singapore’s Startup SG Equity program, which is aimed at growth-stage startups.

This scheme allows the Singapore government to co-invest in startups alongside appointed partners from the private sector. 

‘Deep tech’ startups in areas such as agrifood, advanced manufacturing, and biopharma can secure up to S$8 million ($5.65 million) in funding through Startup SG Equity. Government-affiliated bodies and appointed partners co-invest in each deal at a ratio of 7:3, respectively, up to the first S$500,000 ($353,000), and 1:1 thereafter.

To add to the building of local capabilities in the ag and food tech ecosystem, GROW recently launched its Pre Accelerator program. 

This three-part program is designed to guide agrifoodtech entrepreneurs through a structured process to develop their startups, with support for validating business concepts, building their first product, generating initial traction, and applying to accelerator programs.

Image credit: GROW

“Starting at a very early stage, this program will aid aspiring ag and food entrepreneurs to learn key ‘lean startup’ and entrepreneurship concepts, frameworks, and tools, along with powerful industry insights from the GROW team,” said Vandana Dhaul, head of accelerator operations at GROW.

Applications for the Pre Accelerator are open until May 31. Successful applicants will be invited to GROW Build – an intensive workshop that delves deeper into building and scaling an agrifoodtech startup.

Eligible applicants will be recommended for the Startup SG Founder grant, and will be provided mentorship and coaching through GROW. 

Interested entrepreneurs can find out more about the GROW Pre Accelerator here.

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