Need a laptop to work from home? Singapore SMEs can get govt subsidy

April 17th, 2020 | by Alfred Siew
Need a laptop to work from home? Singapore SMEs can get govt subsidy
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PHOTO: Simon Steinberger from Pixabay

If you are a Singapore small and medium enterprise (SME) forced to have your staff work from home during this pandemic, there is a government subsidy to help defray the costs of buying a laptop and the accompanying software.

The Singapore government will subsidise up to 80 per cent of the cost of preapproved remote working packages that bundle a laptop with software such as Microsoft Office 365.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) put out the offer this afternoon, as part of its productivity grants that help cope with Covid-19.

Valid until the end of this year, the deal is meant for SMEs registered in Singapore and with shares of at least 30 per cent held by Singaporeans or permanent residents.

It is also part of a Resilience Budget unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on March 26, which aims to help the country weather the economic fallout from the global health crisis.

So far, there are two pre-approved packages – from Singtel and M1 – that SMEs can apply for subsidies for.

So far, only M1’s solution appears to be on a government website for IT solutions for SMEs. The offer from the telecom operator includes the following:

Brand: Lenovo S340 or equivalent (laptop)
Processor: Intel Core i5 8th Gen or higher
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Business Security Services – 1 year
Full suite of Office 365 Business Premium services
On Site Deployment and setup for laptop

M1 website

Including tax, the bundle costs S$2,126.40. With 80 per cent funding from the government, the cost drops drastically. If you’re an SME boss who now have to get your staff to work from home, as is the case right now in Singapore, this surely helps.

Note that each SME can buy up to three laptops. Also, there are penalties for scams, so be honest about assistance that’s extended to those that need it.

If you’re interested, you have to get a quote from a supplier and submit that on the government’s business grant application website. Don’t sign up and pay for the packages before applying for the grant.

7 Comments

  1. Jocelyn Goh says:

    The cap on the laptop cost is $1500, thus they only subsidise $1200. For M1 to quote $1800, we need to pay $600 for the laptop plus the MS license + gst is $700+.

  2. kireltang says:

    M1 is also offering Home Access Programme for individual family (https://eservice.imda.gov.sg/das/homepage#) with Govt subsidies but the offer is not attractive at all.

  3. Danny says:

    I think Singtel package is more worth it but I am not a big fan of HP. I have use 2 HP laptops before and it last 2 years max. My Yoga Lenovo 14inch is still running since 2014 and have not had any major problems. Unless Enterprise Singapore and IMDA look into the matter on M1 pricing, if not I think it’s not worth wasting money either with Singtel or M1 laptop bundles no matter how attractive the grant is.

  4. pengtatt says:

    Thanks Ronnie and Alfred for providing info. Luckily I check on this site. I also feel that the bundle is over priced. Is there a way, we don’t get laptop from M1 and Singtel and still get approval for the grant?

  5. Donnie Lee says:

    I have applied for this grant using a quotation from M1 and have just received an approval. I need to point out that the details given by this article is not entirely correct. For the grant, the quote is divided into the Microsoft subscription portion $187.29 (before gst) and $1800 (before gst) for laptop. In reality, the grant covers 80% of the subscription portion without gst but only 80% of up to $1500 instead of $1800 for the laptop! That means the grant is only $187.29 x 80% + $1500 x 80% = $1349.83. That works out to be only about 63.5% not 80% of the package.

    Also, I am trying to get the details from M1 about the exact model and specs of the laptop I am getting which turns out to be highly elusive. What I gathered so far is that the model is Lenovo S340 which I found out from the Lenovo website, looks like a not very high end model that can price as low as $919 inclusive of gst. I am still trying to get the full specs from M1 after 2 days! Clearly if we are charged $1800 (excl. gst) and given something half the price, even with government grant, this cannot be right.

    For anyone reading this and thinking to apply for the grant, I would advise you to push them for the details.

    • Alfred Siew says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Donnie. I went back to check the release from IMDA again and it did say that the subsidy would cover up to 80 per cent of the bundle. So, you got only 80 per cent of up to S$1,500 for the laptop instead of the full price (S$1,800)? Good to hear feedback from the ground. Thank you.

    • Darren Delong says:

      Good point! Thanks for sharing. Many local companies simply mark up their services and products to greedily take Government’s money.

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