SINGAPORE - CNA
Facebook to give S$4.75 million in grants to small Singapore businesses hit by COVID-19

Facebook will give about S$4.75 million in grants to small businesses in Singapore that have been hit by COVID-19, the company said on Wednesday (Sep 16).

About 800 local enterprises that employ between two and 50 people are expected to benefit from the grants, said Facebook in a media release.

Each grant will amount to S$5,500 each, comprising S$3,500 in cash and S$2,000 in optional ad credits.

Applications for the grants open on Wednesday until Sep 22. 

To be eligible, firms must have been in business for more than a year and "experienced challenges due to the pandemic", said Facebook. They need not have any presence on Facebook to apply.

Citing an ongoing study by the World Bank, OECD and Facebook titled the State of Small Business Report, the tech firm said nearly 58 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses surveyed in Singapore reported being concerned about cash flow in the coming months.

The report also showed that small businesses have made "serious efforts to go digital" by moving operations online, added Facebook.

Among small- and medium-sized businesses in Singapore operating on Facebook, 62 per cent said that 25 per cent or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.

Retail sales in Singapore fell 8.5 per cent year-on-year in July as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to plague the sector, an improvement from the 27.7 per cent plunge in June, data from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) showed.

Facebook said it has added ways for small businesses to promote their products online via its social media platforms, including Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping.

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities and the backbone of our economy. They have also been some of the hardest hit by COVID-19, impacting lives and livelihoods for so many Singaporeans - and it is more important than ever for us to move forward together through these challenging times," said Facebook Singapore country director Damian Kim.

"We’ve pulled together these resources to support small businesses here, as we look to play our part in supporting economic recovery and work to emerge stronger from the pandemic."

Globally, up to 30,000 businesses in more than 30 countries where Facebook operates will be able to receive US$100 million in grants, according to its website.

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