Starting up is really hard, especially as a young Singaporean with limited experience. Resources are tight and lacking business connections just compounds the problem. How can one build a stable, scalable and successful company?

Fret not. As serial entrepreneurs, TRIVE understands the growing pains that Singaporean entrepreneurs face. That’s why, with our combined partnerships with government agencies and supportive private entities, TRIVE has a list of pay-it-forward free and subsidised resources that Singaporeans can tap intoSingaporean-style. 

Our list has been divided into two categories, one of which is open to all Singaporeans and the other available exclusively to Startup SG Founder Grant recipients of TRIVE.

For all Singaporeans citizens and PRs

I. Pro-bono $30k Startup SG founder grant

Do you have a tech startup idea that you want to grow and validate? Get the S$30k Startup SG Founder Grant via TRIVE, absolutely free without payment or sweat equity.

To date, TRIVE has supported 20 Singaporean startups in obtaining this grant and aims to target 250 more in the next 30 months.

The grants are managed by our interns from the TRIVE Analyst Program, who have taken a leave of absence (LOA) from their studies to manage this programme.

II. NEXT50.sg free mentorship network

Feeling lost and unsure of how to take your startup forward? Don’t know how to fundraise? Or perhaps you need some quick advice on the technical aspects of your product?

The NEXT50.sg initiative has gathered a network of over 85 quality mentors from various business and technical backgrounds. The network’s name alludes to Singapore in the next 50 years and is an initiative to build up the new generation of Singaporean entrepreneurs for the country’s economic future.

To date, NEXT50 mentors have done over 1,700 free 1-to-1 advisories for Singaporean entrepreneurs on the following subjects:

  • Business model assessment
  • Product market fit
  • Go-to-market strategies into Southeast Asia
  • Reviewing and improving pitch deck
  • Structuring companies and subsidiaries
  • Accounting structures
  • Hiring strategies
  • Fundraising strategies up to Series A
  • Business continuity considerations
  • Entrepreneur personal development
  • Reviewing business agreements
  • Founder issues (partnership agreement, conflict resolutions etc)
  • Investor relations
  • Review product technologies

Soothe your FOMO. Get inspired, educated and connected with these mentors in this opportunity exclusive to Singaporean founders.

III. UpCode Academy subsidised programming courses

In order to build a Smart Nation, Singapore needs its people to understand the language of computers. TRIVE has also received much feedback on the lack of coding skills among its startups and large firms alike.

Enter UpCode Academy—one of TRIVE’s major investment portfolios. UpCode Academy is a Singapore born-and-bred coding academy that teaches part-time courses to upskill Singaporeans in programming.

The trainers are industry practitioners and the curriculum has been designed with a tinge of MOE pedagogy. If you are raised in Singapore, you will feel right at home learning at UpCode.

UpCode Academy is also CPE-certified. This means that it is a recognised private institution that can issue certificates for your course completion. Not all coding schools are CPE-certified as the certification requires companies to fulfill very stringent standards.

Best of it all, Upcode Academy’s programming courses are subsidised. If you are a tertiary student in a local ITE, Polytechnic or University, or if you are an NSF, you are eligible for 100% subsidy! If you are above 40 like me, you can obtain a 90% subsidy. Now, you cannot make any excuses for not giving these courses a chance.

IV. TRIVE fundraising public masterclasses

What does it take to be effective in fundraising? How does one pitch successfully to VCs? What metrics are considered by VCs in scaling?

Learn the trade secrets of TRIVE as a Venture Capitalist through its public masterclasses. Our signature masterclass is “Understand fundraising documents for early-stage entrepreneurs”. Through the masterclass, you can find out about Term Sheets, Shareholder’s Agreements, Convertible Notes and SAFE Agreements—all fundraising documents that are used in Singapore. You’ll also learn about the clauses and the intention of investors when those clauses are put in place.

The public masterclasses are taught by TRIVE’s partners, who will impart their experiences and knowledge of fundraising. The masterclasses are applicable only to Singaporeans 35 and below. In addition, tertiary students and recent graduates are offered a 60% subsidy for this course.

V. Startup-related articles on christopherquek.com

Doing a shameless plug here but have you ever wondered what goes on on the ground in the startup ecosystem in Singapore and the region? I have written over 100 articles across various platforms, with bylines on Tech in Asia, e27, BEAM and now at UpCode. These articles are conversations and interviews with various ecosystem players in Singapore and the region.

The most relevant articles to Singaporeans looking to start up can be found in the Startup Advisories, Entrepreneur Stories, Heartware Singapore, Asian Tech Ecosystems, Science and Technology Development Singapore and Engineering in Singapore categories.

For those who are new to the scene, this will give you an insight on the on-goings of the startup ecosystem.

For recipients of TRIVE’s Startup SG Founder Grant

VI. Complimentary co-working Space at JustCo

JustCo has kindly offered a pay-it-forward support of sponsoring 2 free hotdesking seats (worth S$798 a month) for each successful TRIVE SG Founder Grant recipient. JustCo is one of Singapore’s largest co-working spaces with over 14 locations locally and more in the region.

On the company’s website, JustCo CEO, Kong Wan Sing, explains why operating out of JustCo has great benefits, “The beauty of the JustCo business model is that it integrates and connects members into one community, while at the same time, providing them the option of working independently. At JustCo, we are championing the movement of the sharing economy, which encourages and fosters collaborations to boost innovation and productivity.”

TRIVE’s SG Founder Grant recipients will be offered hotdesking space at JustCo Marina Square, a 60,000 square feet location.

VII. A range of business benefits

One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs face is operating on a tight cash flow. Proper budgeting and planning are critical in maintaining financial health. As such, entrepreneurs often scrimp on outsourcing professional services that could otherwise have helped in maximising business efficiency.

To resolve this matter, TRIVE has brought together a full range of exclusive business benefits that TRIVE grant recipients have access to. Our business partners have provided special rates and discounts that are start-up friendly, perfect for a budding start-up on a tight budget.

These business benefits (worth >S$50,000) include corporate secretary, digital marketing, HR, cloud services, employment insurance and hiring outsourced tech talents in Vietnam.

VIII. Startup Media Feature on BEAM

Reaching out to the masses and getting plugged into the startup community can be a challenge for new entrepreneurs who do not know how to create awareness about their startup. TRIVE hopes to empower entrepreneurs by providing them with the publicity and outreach that they need to succeed. 

Under TRIVE’s incubation, you and your startup will get an exclusive feature through an article written specially for and about you. The article will introduce your startup, you as a founder, and your personal journey as an entrepreneur.

This article will be posted on BEAM.biz, an Asian entrepreneurship-focused events and media platform that TRIVE has strategically allied with. This article will be posted and shared on TRIVE’s social media, ensuring that your startup gets both media coverage and a kickstart for social media hype.

Check out TRIVE’s startup features on BEAM that we have written so far here.

IX. Access to angel network funding

Free though it is, the $30k grant funding I mentioned above will not last your start-up for long. It is also too early to raise funds from VCs if you do not have scalable traction. To get your start-up moving, seeking angel investment can be the next best solution.

Landing angel investment, however, is no easy task, especially when you lack experience in raising funds.

The good news is that TRIVE has been building up a list of angel investors and syndicated groups to help accelerate your startup’s growth.

TRIVE will help match angel investors with relevant experience to your start-up and facilitate warm introductions between you and those investors.

Extend your runway by meeting potential investors early to give them a preview of your product. Even if your start-up is not ready for angel investing, the early exposure gives a good reference point when you seek funding from them down the road.