Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF)
ITF is established by the Government with the aim of increasing the added value, productivity and competitiveness of Hong Kong's economic activities. The Government hopes that, through the ITF, Hong Kong companies could be encouraged and assisted to upgrade their technological level and introduce innovative ideas to their business. ITF is administered by Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) and is open to application from all sectors. Apart from funding research and development (R&D) activities, ITF also supports non-R&D projects like conferences, surveys, training and the like that promote innovation and technology.
There are different programmes under ITF. Testing and certification organisations may choose to apply for the appropriate programme according to their needs.
TVP was launched in November 2016 on a pilot basis to subsidise SMEs in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. With effect from 27 February 2019, the Technology Voucher Programme has been converted into a regular funding programme under the Innovation and Technology Fund. The funding ceiling per applicant has been increased from $200,000 to $400,000, and the eligibility has also been expanded to cover companies incorporated and registered in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance and statutory bodies set up in Hong Kong (except government subvented organisations and their subsidiaries). A series of other enhancement measures have also been introduced.
A major funding initiative designed to encourage the private sector to invest in R&D. It provides funding of up to $10 million to each approved project on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. The recipient organisation will own all intellectual property rights arising from the project.
ITSP supports R&D projects undertaken mainly by designated public research institutes and R&D Centres. It focuses on supporting two types of projects –
- Platform Projects: applied R&D projects which are industry-oriented and have potential for commercialization.
- Seed Projects: projects which are exploratory and forward-looking in nature.
The Programme supports R&D projects undertaken by private companies in collaboration with local universities and public research institutions. It provides matching funding support for approved projects. The maximum project duration is 3 years.
The Scheme provides further financial incentives to encourage private enterprises to participate in R&D. Under the Scheme, enterprises conducting applied R&D projects supported by ITF or in partnership with designated local public research institutions will enjoy a cash rebate equivalent to 40% of their investments.
GSP supports non-R&D projects that contribute to the upgrading and development of local industries, or help to foster a culture of innovation and technology. Conferences, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, promotional events, studies and surveys, etc. are within the scope of GSP.
As part of the Technology Talent Scheme, RTTP subsidises local companies on a 2:1 matching basis to train their staff in advanced technologies, especially those related to "Industry 4.0". The Vocational Training Council administers the RTTP and serves as its Secretariat.
Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme (PASS)
The PASS, launched by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB), provides funding support for non-profit-making projects aimed at increasing the exchanges and co-operation of Hong Kong's professional services with their counterparts in external markets, promoting relevant publicity activities, and enhancing the standards and external competitiveness of professional services in Hong Kong.
A wide range of professional services sectors, including "technical testing and analysis services", are eligible for funding under PASS. Non-profit-distributing organisations operating as support organisations, trade and industry organisations, professional bodies or research institutes can apply. There are no particular restrictions on the types of projects eligible under PASS, and each approved project will be funded for up to 90% of the total eligible project cost, or $3 million, whichever is lower.
TID's Funding Schemes
The Trade and Industry Department (TID) has launched various funding schemes to assist enterprises, including small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), in enhancing their competitiveness.
The "Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales" (the BUD Fund) was set up in June 2012 to help Hong Kong enterprises in exploring and developing the Mainland market. The Fund aims to provide funding support to local enterprises and non-profit-distributing organisations to assist them in exploring and expanding the Mainland market through developing brands, upgrading and restructuring operations, and promoting domestic sales in the Mainland. To capture the economic opportunities arising from the fast-growing markets in Asia and some developing economies, since August 2018, the geographical scope of the BUD Fund was extended to cover the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets, and some enhancement measures of the Fund were introduced.
The BUD Fund (Enterprise Support Programme) provides funding support for individual Hong Kong enterprises in exploring and developing the Mainland (via "the Mainland Programme") and the ASEAN (via the "ASEAN Programme") markets. The Hong Kong Productivity Council acts as the Secretariat to assist in implementing the Programme.
The scheme provides financial support to non-profit-distributing organisations to implement projects which aim at enhancing the competitiveness of non-listed Hong Kong enterprises in general or in specific sectors. It is a merger between the previous SME Development Fund and the BUD Fund (Organisation Support Programme).
The maximum amount of funding support for each approved project is HK$5 million, or 90% of the total approved project expenditure, whichever is the less. Activities under the projects which may be supported by TSF include seminars, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, research studies, award schemes, codes of best practices, databases, service centres, support facilities and technology demonstration, etc.
This scheme aims to help SMEs expand their markets outside Hong Kong through participation in export promotion activities like exhibitions, trade fairs, trade missions, as well as advertising in trade publications targeting export markets and eligible trade websites. The maximum amount of grant for each application is 50% of the total approved expenditure, subject to a ceiling of $100,000. The maximum cumulative amount of grant which an SME may obtain is $400,000.
This scheme aims to help SMEs secure loans from the participating lending institutions (PLIs) for business installations and equipment and working capital. Under the scheme, the Government acts as a guarantor for up to 50% of the loans approved by the PLIs. The maximum amount of loan guarantee for each SME is $6 million and the guarantee period is up to 5 years.