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[BUD funding] A must-read for expanding in Hong Kong and overseas! What should I pay attention to when applying for the BUD special fund?

“Special Fund for Brand Development, Upgrading and Transformation and Expanding Domestic Sales Market”, referred to as the BUD Fund, has been well received by SMEs since its launch. So far, BUD has benefited more than 2,600 companies.

Applying for the BUD has many advantages for enterprises. In addition to the wide range of funding, it also provides opportunities for enterprises to explore overseas markets. The government has also used the BUD program to engage with 20 mainland and overseas markets to help Hong Kong enterprises upgrade and transform.

What to pay attention to before applying for BUD, please read the following BUD funding instructions:

Introduction to BUD Fund

In June 2012, the Hong Kong SAR government launched a BUD special fund worth HK$1 billion.

It is committed to providing subsidies to small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong, including start-ups, to enhance their competitiveness and seize economic opportunities.

With the implementation of the country’s “Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, the Belt and Road Initiative and other policies, BUD effectively assists Hong Kong enterprises to expand the mainland market (hereinafter referred to as the “Mainland Plan”) and the markets of economies that have signed free trade agreements with Hong Kong (hereinafter referred to as the “Free Trade Agreement Plan”).

Eligibility for the BUD Program

According to government information, companies interested in applying for BUD, as long as they are non-listed companies registered in Hong Kong in accordance with the Business Registration Ordinance and have substantial business operations, are eligible to apply for funding.

Moreover, there are no restrictions on the industries that enterprises are engaged in. Even if they have already operated in the Mainland and FTA economies before applying for the BUD, they are all eligible to apply for funding. The BUD accepts applications throughout the year.

Up to $4 million for BUD applicants

In 2018, the government injected 1.5 billion Hong Kong dollars into the BUD project; in 2020, the scope of BUD funding was expanded to the ASEAN market and included in the “Free Trade Agreement Plan”; in the same year, it was planned to apply for BUD The funding ceiling was changed from $2 million to $4 million.

The BUD Special Fund is funded on a 1:1 matching basis. BUD funds up to 50% of the total approved expenditure for an individual project, in other words, the business is only required to cover half of the project’s expenditure.

When each enterprise applies for the “Mainland Plan” and “Free Trade Agreement Plan”, the maximum amount for each application is $1 million, and a maximum of 40 approved projects can be subsidized. The total cumulative subsidy is up to $4 million.

Areas covered by BUD’s Free Trade Agreement Program

BUD helps companies break out of Hong Kong, and the “Free Trade Agreement Scheme” covers multiple markets, including the ten ASEAN countries, the four EFTA countries, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Georgia.

The ten ASEAN countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

As for the European Free Trade Association, it includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Bud Special Fund supports three categories

BUD supports companies in enhancing their competitiveness in three areas:

Branding: Assisting companies to formulate brand strategies and establish brand images in the Free Trade Association region or the Mainland, and can register trademarks for brands or products, and subsequent brand promotion is also within the scope of the application.

Technology Upgrading and Transformation (Upgrading): Regardless of the company’s product innovation, upgrading of technical equipment, improvement of management system, production automation and other projects to improve business models, all meet the application scope.

Expanding diversified marketing (Domestic Selling): Enterprises can develop or rebuild websites, specify online marketing strategies and promotions, and establish sales channels, including search engine optimization (SEO), Facebook advertising, etc. All meet the application scope.

BUD application process

Enterprises can submit applications on the BUD special fund website, and the BUD executive agency will conduct a preliminary review and send a notification to the applicant enterprise by email within 2-4 weeks.

Generally speaking, the notice will ask for additional information and reply within 14 days.

The BUD executive agency will inquire about business operations and application content by phone.

The BUD application documents will be submitted to the government committee for approval, and the program management committee will finally confirm the results.

The process takes about 2 – 3 months.

The above information is for reference only. If in doubt, we welcome your enquiry.

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