Since the Distance Business Programme (“D-Biz”) was announced, FastLane has been very busy helping people with their applications. Unfortunately, we noticed that many applicants have not been able to receive full funding support under D-Biz, and are also not taking advantage of the various other funding schemes offered by the Hong Kong government, such as the Technology and Voucher Programme (“TVP”). In this article, we look to explain what TVP is, and what you must know when applying for it.
What You Will Learn:
1. What is TVP?
TVP is a Hong Kong government programme designed to help subsidise local entities (except listed enterprises) improve their long-term competitiveness. This programme aims to do so via financing use of technological services and solutions to improve applicants productivity, upgrade or transform their business processes.
2. What are the eligibility requirements under TVP?
Applicants must fulfill the following requirements:
- Has been registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310); or
- Is incorporated and registered in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622); or
- Was established in Hong Kong by relevant ordinances as statutory bodies; and
- Is not a listed company in Hong Kong, and is not a government organisation or subsidiary of such; and
- Has substantive business operations in Hong Kong at the time of application
3. What is TVP’s funding scope?
TVP is applicable to any project that emphasizes technological services and solutions which improve productivity, or upgrades or transforms a business’ processes. For instance, appointment scheduling systems, cloud-based accounting solutions or even point of sales systems are allowable solutions under TVP’s funding scope.
When applying under TVP, applicants must be able to demonstrate that their project deliverables will have a direct impact on their Hong Kong business operations by providing a breakdown of their project costs. The following costs can be covered:
- Technology consultancy whereby the applicant engages an external consultant to recommend technological services / solutions to be adopted
- Purchase, rental or subscription of off-the-shelf / readily available equipment / hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project
- Project auditing for projects with approved funding exceeding HKD 50,000
Unfortunately, normal business operating costs cannot be funded under TVP. Such costs include:
- Rental of office premises
- Staff salary and other related expenses
- General office equipment / hardware, software and technological services or solutions for normal business operations
- Maintenance, warranty and insurance of existing and newly purchased equipment
- Non-technology related professional service fees
- Marketing and branding expenses
- Transportation and accommodation
- Financing expenses
- Administrative overhead
4. What is the length of a TVP project and how much funding can one receive?
If approved, TVP applicants are eligible to receive up to HKD 600,000 in funding, provided on a 3:1 matching basis. TVP applicants must contribute an initial payment of at least 25% of the total approved project cost in cash. Upon completion of the project, applicants must submit a final project report which details the outcome and expenses incurred in relation to this project. If this final report is accepted, the Hong Kong government will make a final payment to the applicant.
It is important to recognize that while up to 6 projects can be approved (subject to a cumulative ceiling of HKD 600,000), applicants are not allowed to undertake more than 1 TVP project at a time. In addition, each project should be completed within 12 months, unless an exception has been granted.
5. What are the TVP application procedures?
Unlike D-Biz, TVP accepts applications throughout the year with interested parties able to submit their applications online.
It is common that the TVP assessors may request applicants for further information to support their application. In these situations, if an applicant has not provided further information within 1 month of the assessor’s request, their application will be rejected.
Please note that the actual processing time of an application varies, as it is dependent on the amount of applications received, the complexity of each application, and the comprehensiveness of the information provided.
6. How are TVP applications assessed?
Each eligible application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, on its individual merits. Assessors will inspect each application to determine:
7. What are the auditing and monitoring requirements under TVP?
To make sure that the approved funds for a TVP project are used properly, applicants must provide an audited statement of income and expenditure if they are approved for funding of HKD 50,000 or more.
Applicants must engage an independent, Hong Kong certified public accountant (“CPA”) in the audit of these financial statements. As a result of the audit, auditors are expected to produce an audit report whereby they will express their audit opinion on whether the applicant has complied with the terms and conditions of their TVP funding agreement. They are also required to disclose any material non-compliance that was identified.
If an applicant fails to comply with these audit requirements, the assessors may decide to cease disbursement of any funding support. In such cases, the assessor can also request the applicant to return, and repay all funding received.
The FastLane Group is dedicated to helping SMEs in all aspects. Not only do we regularly provide updates and insights on the development that impact the Hong Kong SME community, we can also provide assistance in relation to Hong Kong government programmes.
As a Hong Kong CPA firm, FastLane is qualified to provide audit services in relation to your TVP obligations and can help you adopt various technology solutions that can improve your business functions. Please contact the FastLane Group for assistance!