From cash flow to marketing, help for businesses flow in amid virus outbreak

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LOCAL crowdfunding platform FundTier is the latest to join a number of companies in offering support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, which have faced pressures from the ongoing virus outbreak.

On Monday, Fundtier announced it is offering S$1 million in loans to local SMEs that are keen to use a mobile marketing solution by its strategic partner, Dodoca Information Technology (S).

Each business using the Dodoca Integrated Mobile Marketing Productivity & Solution could get a loan of up to S$10,000. The loan would be interest free for up to six months.

FundTier will also absorb all administrative fees.

In addition to a loan, Dodoca will offer a 30 per cent discount on the original price of the package.

“Given the current Covid-19 situation in which many SMEs have been badly hit, it is timely for SMEs to explore upgrading their marketing and productivity capabilities in order to stay competitive,” FundTier co-founder Christopher Chan said.


FundTier was founded by five former bankers from lenders including StanChart, UOB and DBS in August 2015. It previously operated under the name Ricco Capital.

Separately, Singaporean property tycoon John Lim’s family office, JL Family Office, ARA Asset Management and Straits Trading Company said loans from a fund they set up have been applied for by more than 100 businesses in Singapore, seeking a total of more than S$6 million.

The trio had set up a S$5 million fund earlier this month to extend short-term loans to local SMEs, in a bid to help those that might be facing temporary cash-flow problems as a result of the virus outbreak.

Of the 110 loan applications, close to 60 per cent met the eligibility criteria, said ARA, JL Family Office and Straits Trading in a joint statement on Monday.

The fund has disbursed its first loan, which went to a vegetarian food chain. The loan was approved in less than 48 hours and the funds were issued within 24 hours, according to the statement.

Almost 30 per cent of the loan applications came from SMEs in the retail, and food and beverage (F&B) sectors, which have been hit by “significantly lower” patronage.


ARA Group CEO John Lim said the “overwhelming response” to the fund “attests to the need for SMEs struggling during this period to find alternative sources of cheaper short-term funding”.

The fund has also received a S$3 million contribution from Singapore-based tycoon Gordon Tang – who is a majority shareholder of Singapore-listed property developer SingHaiyi Group – and his family.

Celine Tang, Mr Tang’s wife and the managing director of SingHaiyi, said: “The Tang family has been through numerous business cycles ourselves, and we fully empathise with fellow business owners who feel the stress and pressure during economic downturns.”

Since Feb 15, local businesses had been able to apply for loans of up to S$50,000 for up to a period of six months from the fund, through online crowdfunding platform Minterest.


The interest rate is pegged at 0.5 per cent per month. There is also a 2 per cent processing fee charged by Minterest to cover loan administrative expenses.

To be eligible, the companies must be GST (goods and services tax) registered and be majority-owned by Singaporeans and/or Singapore permanent residents. They must also have been in operation for the past 12 months.

The article was contributed by Business Times.

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