Singapore Business Federation Young Business Leaders Network (SBF-YBLN) launches S$5 million HOPE Fund

The Singapore Business Federation Young Business Leaders Network (SBF-YBLN) announced today the launch of the SBF-YBLN “Helping Our Promising Enterprises” (HOPE) Fund to support local businesses during this challenging period.

In partnership with Goldbell Evolution Network (GEN), a private debt investment platform developed and wholly owned by Goldbell Financial Services, a seed fund of S$5 million has been established from a group of next-generation Singapore-based family offices.

This fund will be used to provide short-term working capital loans for up to 12 months for local SMEs who have been impacted by COVID-19. The six founding companies who have set up the fund are Apricot Capital, Goldbell Group, Ho Lee Group, Paradise Group, Sing Lun Group and Soilbuild Group.

The SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund will be ready for applications on 26 February 2020 and hopes to benefit more than 100 SMEs.

The objective of the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund is to provide an additional source of accessible and affordable funding for SMEs. A key feature of the HOPE fund is the deferment of the loan principal and interest to start only from the third month onwards. This is expected to support SMEs especially during the upcoming critical months as SMEs focus on recovery and operations. The SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund will also focus on approving the loans expeditiously and disbursing the working capital loan within 24 hours of the loan approval.

Chong Ee-Rong, Chair of the SBF-YBLN, said, “The YBLN community was established to bring partnership and leadership to Singapore businesses. Our country is facing a period of uncertainty and the economy is suffering. How can those who have, lean in, and how can those who need, raise a hand? As young business leaders of Singapore corporations, we take great pride in building successful, sustainable businesses. Equally, safeguarding our eco-system and community is a priority. The SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund is one way that our members can contribute and help tide over our fellow SMEs in need. There is no doubt that Singapore will overcome this trying time. But how we help each other through, will shape our future. We are grateful to the six founding companies who have stepped forward to support the fund, and hope to rally other companies to participate.”

Alex Chua, CEO of Goldbell Financial Services, said, “Partnering the SBF-YBLN for this initiative was a natural decision given their extensive network. As a homegrown enterprise, we are keen to play our part in these trying times and we are glad that we can contribute both financially and through our expertise and the GEN platform. We understand the urgency of the situation and have constructed a credit scoring model for this programme, allowing loans to be approved quickly and to be disbursed within 24 hours from loan approval, subject to the required documentation received.”

Mark Lee, spokesperson for the six founding companies, said, “Most of us are the second or third generation of family brick-and-mortar businesses, and we have experienced first-hand the difficulties of how working capital shortfall affected us directly, either during the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, the SARS epidemic in 2003 and/or the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. We want to help companies with good business models ride through this crisis, give them an opportunity to build a stronger business and at the same time, help preserve jobs for our community. As next-generation business leaders, we believe we have a responsibility to give back and look out for the current generation of local businesses and continue to build a better future together.”

Mr S.S. Teo, Chairman of SBF, said, “In a challenging time like this, we are excited and heartened to see this ground-up initiative from our young business leaders. We hope that more can follow the example of these six inspiring, successful and enterprising young people. They are truly the epitome of the Singapore spirit.

Beyond helping SMEs tide over their short-term financial challenges, SBF has various training and digitalisation initiatives to help these companies strengthen their capabilities and prepare them for the future. We urge our companies to use the downtime to relook their business models, diversify their supply chains, deepen capabilities and invest in employee upskilling so they can turn this crisis into opportunity.”

Key eligibility criteria:
  • Singaporean SMEs incorporated for more than 12 months
  • Minimum paid-up capital of S$25,000
  • Local incorporated companies with at least 30% Singaporean shareholding
Overview of the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund:
  • Loan quantum of S$50,000 per company
  • Interest rate from 0.5% to 0.75% per month
  • Deferment of monthly and interest repayment to start from the third month onwards
Companies interested to provide financial assistance to fellow SMEs and participate in the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund can contact SBF at [email protected] or +65 6827 0858.

Companies who wish to apply for the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund may submit their application here

For applicant companies, GEN will only be charging an S$80 fee to cover administration costs. All interest earned will be passed back to the contributing companies.

Please refer to the the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund’s factsheet and FAQs here.

Thursday, 20 February 2020