Do you want to find out if your company meets the requirements for the Market Readiness Assistance grant administered by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) for Singapore SMEs looking to expand their operations overseas? Do you want to know what the guidelines for the MRA grant application are? We have prepared this document specifically to help guide Singapore businesses to utilize the MRA grant and answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Alternatively, if you want MRA grant facilitation services in Cambodia, learn how here.

Table of contents:

  • What is a Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant?
  • Where can I find a guide for MRA eligibility?
  • What are the eligibilities for MRA?
  • What types of companies can be established under Cambodian law using the MRA grant?
  • How do you apply for the MRA?
  • How do I submit a claim for MRA?
  • What must not be done when applying for an MRA?
  • How do I get more information on MRA-funded business setups in Cambodia?
  • How does Aquarii BD help with MRA applications?
  • How does Aquarii BD help facilitate MRA-funded business in Cambodia?

What is an MRA grant?

A Market Readiness Assistance grant is financial assistance for Singapore small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are looking to expand their products and services to overseas markets.

Successful applicants will receive financial support from ESG for up to 50% of eligible costs – capped at S$100,000 per company – until 31 March 2025.

The MRA grant is broken down into three components:

  • Overseas Market Promotion (OMP) (capped at S$20,000)
  • Overseas Business Development (OBD) (capped at S$50,000)
  • Overseas Market Set-up (OMS) (capped at S$30,000)

Aquarii offers advisory and facilitation services for all businesses looking to set up their operations in Cambodia. As an in-market consultancy for Cambodia, Aquarii can advise Singapore SMEs on how they can utilize the MRA grant under the three components – OMP, OBD and OMS – to help defray their costs of setting up their businesses in the Kingdom. Get in touch today to find out more about how Aquarii can help you or view our application & facilitation services here.

Where can I find a guide for MRA eligibility?

You can find our full guide to MRA grant application eligibility here. This content is designed to help you navigate eligibility, overseas market promotion, market entry into Cambodia, overseas development issues, and overseas set-up planning and how to approach and conduct business in the Cambodian market space. Learn more about our services here.

What are the eligibilities for MRA?

There are seven core eligibilities for the Market Readiness Assistance Grant which must be met in order to make an application. These include requirements regarding applicant group sales turnovers, rules surrounding payments made to suppliers, vendors and third parties prior to application, contractual agreements made with the above and that Cambodia is a new market for the applicant country, to name but a few. Below, we break down the core eligibilities for the MRA grant:

  • The business entity must be registered/incorporated in Singapore
  • The applicant has not started work on the project                
  • MRA applicant must own at lease 30% local equity              
  • The applicant’s group sales turnover is less than or equal to S$100m or the applicant’s group employment size less than or equal to 200                        
  • The applicant has not made any payment to any supplier, vendor, or third party prior to applying for this grant             
  • The applicant has not signed any contractual agreement with any supplier, vendor, or third party prior to applying for this grant
  • Cambodia is a new market for the applicant company which means that the company’s revenue in Cambodia has not exceeded $100,000 for any of the last 3 years
    • To Note:
  • Each application is limited to one activity in a single overseas market (e.g. market entry, or participation in a trade fair)
  • Employers eligible for the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits (SFEC) can also qualify for additional subsidies under the scheme.
  • There are no pre-approved vendors for the MRA grant (with the exception of Enterprise Singapore’s list of FTA consultants)

If your company is making an Market Readiness Assistance grant application, you should also consider in-country service providers which will help you better execute your business strategy, which is where Aquarii comes in. Aquarii specializes in helping to facilitate MRA grant applications while offering other services which maximize your potential in a new market. Our market expertise within Cambodia, along with our contacts within its growing business sphere, offer multiple advantages when undergoing the MRA application process. To find out more, you can view our specific MRA grant application-orientated services here or get in touch at the top left of the page.

What types of companies can be established under Cambodian law using the MRA grant?

Cambodian Law on Commercial Enterprise allows for the establishment of the following types of companies:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership – which includes general partnership and limited partnership
  • Limited liability company – which includes private limited liability companies and public limited companies
  • Foreign business entities – which includes representative offices, branch offices, and subsidiaries

Cambodian Law on Investment also offers a type of company called Investment Project which includes Qualified Investment Projects (QIP), expanded QIP, and guaranteed investment projects.

To note, the establishment of a business in Cambodia is governed by the Law on Commercial Enterprise, Law on Commercial Rules and Register which are regulated by the Ministry of Commerce, whereas the establishment of an investment company is governed by the Law on Investment under the supervision of the Council for the Development of Cambodia. The Goyal Government of Cambodia attempted to modernize its business registration procedure by introducing various digital programs and various law amendments in an effort to reduce the cost of doing business in the Kingdom. The following are some of the essential questions when it comes to a business establishment in Cambodia. For more information, use our trusted partners RHTLaw for further information.

How do you apply for the MRA?

Applications must be done through the Business Grants Portal (BGP). To note, companies must submit their applications no earlier than six months after the project start date and retrospective applications are not be accepted. An MRA grant application is deemed retrospective if any of the following take place before the application:

  • If the company signed an engagement letter with a third-party service provider, vendor or consultant
  • If a first payment was made to a third-party service provider, vendor or consultant
  • If the project has already commenced with the third-party service provider, vendor or consultant

The processing time for an MRA grant application is around 6 to 12 weeks from submission, assuming that all of the required information has been submitted correctly. Therefore, we suggest submitting any application as far ahead of time as possible in order to allow for due application processing.

How do I submit a claim for MRA?

All claims must be made through the Business Grants Portal within three months from the project end date and all claims will be disbursed strictly on a reimbursement basis. Also, all claims must include any supporting documents and an independent auditor must verify the expenses.

To note, audit grant fees are capped at S$500 or 70% of the audit fee will be given to companies who engaged an ESG-appointed auditor to verify the expenses.

What must not be done when applying for an MRA?

Before applying for an Market Readiness Assistance grant application, the applicant company must ensure that prior to their application, they have not done the following:

  • An applicant company must not start work with the third-party vendor, who is part of the MRA application
  • Applicant company must not make payment (including initial deposit) to the third-party vendor, who is part of the MRA application
  • Applicant company must not sign a contractual agreement with the third-party vendor, who is part of the MRA application
  • Cash payment to the vendor is least preferred for MRA-approved projects

How do I get more information on MRA-funded business setups in Cambodia?

For in-depth consultancy, companies can tap into local business consultancy knowledge with Aquarii BD, by contacting us today. 

Aquarii offers both advisory and facilitation services to assist our clients in establishing a successful business operation in Cambodia, not just in the registration of their company or application for the relevant permits/licenses.

Aquarii’s clientele is businesses that prefer a trusted conduit that they can consult with for insights/inputs on their business or market entry strategy and model and rely on our facilitator role to identify and coordinate with competent service providers to help establish a successful business operation in Cambodia (beyond just a simple company registration).

How does AquariiBD help facilitate MRA applications?

Through our advisory and facilitation services, we can help to review our client’s business strategy, market entry approach, and target audience, advise on government relations, can obtain competitive quotations from trusted service providers – such as in legal, tax accounting, rental of office space, HR recruitment, event launch, publicity, among others – for their consideration and decision.

Aquarii are experts in the local Cambodian market and our services are dedicated to aiding the development of investment and business in Cambodia.

We have built up a network of partnerships with leading industry service providers and through our preferred partners, Aquarii is able to help aggregate and provide a comprehensive range of services for businesses and investors that are considering establishing a business, investment or partnership in the Kingdom of Cambodia. For more information, view our full list of services here or get in touch to find out how we can help you do business in Cambodia today.

How does Aquarii help facilitate MRA-funded business in Cambodia?

Aquarii does so through a network of contacts and trusted partners in the logistics, distribution and services industry, government ministries and business circles for their relevant insights, inputs, and facilitation. Aquarii does this by:

a)         Market Entry Strategy. To help review the proposed business strategy and approach for the Cambodian market vis-à-vis its current model and provide insights and practical advice on whether adjustments could be useful or necessary for its target audience and desired outcomes. This is an essential step towards helping to assess operations and structure in Cambodia and be better able to determine whether its distribution formula is practical or feasible, as well as the follow-up steps and actions that must be taken to fulfil its business objectives and outcomes.

b)         Entity and Product Registration. To coordinate and facilitate the application for registration of a business entity under the relevant and appropriate license in accordance with Cambodia’s legal, regulatory and compliance requirements including inter alia the application for the necessary FDA permit for its products (estimated to take between 3-6 months as the relevant approving committee meets only once every quarter), and whether such and related permits should be applied by/or its appointed distributor or proxy in Cambodia.

c)         Identification and assessment of fulfilment distributor(s) or local partner(s). To perform background checks and provide a researched assessment of candidates to be fulfilment distributors, local partners or other such capacities or roles that a business envisages for its business operations in Cambodia. This could include a shortlist of such candidates in accordance with the criteria and requirements stipulated.

d)         Aquarii will also assist in the coordination and facilitation of discussions between prospective partners or distributors.

e)         Post-setup follow-ups. To assist with administrative follow-ups and maintain relations with local partner(s), help troubleshoot issues/challenges and provide insights/inputs as necessary. This includes recommending suitable trusted service providers should be desirous of conducting market research/surveys to establish data points on consumer behavior/target audience/brand consciousness/familiarity of similar products/acceptance of similar B2B models, preparing a local marketing and promotion plan for its product/business launch, among others.

Which businesses can I set up with an MRA grant?

There are multiple different types of businesses you can set up using an MRA, if you are interested in finding out more about the types of business and MRA grants in general, get in touch with our team and we can help you further!

If you are interested in learning more about the Cambodian market in order to assess and take advantage of opportunities, the Aquarii platform offers business resources free of charge, as well as a monthly newsletters and publications to keep you up to date on the latest developments in Cambodia.

This will include key points such as Cambodia’s main export products, which are clothing, footwear, travel accessories, machinery & electrical equipment, bike, rice, furniture & lighting equipment, unvulcanized rubber, cane sugar, fruits & vegetables, and others.

To learn more, check out our resources at the top of the page!