SBF-YBLN Hope Fund’s support reaches wide range of companies

The $5million fund set up by next-generation corporate leaders has approved applications from 40 local enterprises; gets boost from CIMB partnership

A S$5 million fund pooled from a group of next-generation family offices to support struggling local SMEs has attracted applicants from a wide range of industries, with more than half coming from the wholesale, trade, as well as food and beverage sectors. There were also applicants from the manufacturing, education services and media entertainment fields.

The fund provides short-term working capital loans of up to S$50,000 for 12 months for local SMEs that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. To date, it has approved applications from 40 companies, with almost $2 million disbursed. It aims to benefit over 100 businesses eventually.

Launched in February, the “Helping Our Promising Enterprises” (HOPE) Fund is an initiative of the SBF Young Business Leaders Network (SBF-YBLN) in partnership with the Goldbell Evolution Network (GEN), a private debt investment platform owned by Goldbell Financial Services.

SBF YBLN was launched in September 2018 as a platform for young entrepreneurs, next-generation business owners and corporate leaders to come together and respond to the ever-changing global environment.

A timely boost as crisis worsens

The HOPE Fund received a boost in April when it announced a S$50 million funding partnership with CIMB Bank Berhad, Singapore Branch and Goldbell Financial Services.

Under the tie-up, SMEs who utilise the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund will have priority access to financial assistance schemes from CIMB Bank. The partnership came about in response to growing demand in recent weeks for funds as more businesses fought to stay afloat in the face of the worsening crisis.

“We believe that as situations change, the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund should also evolve in tandem in order to remain helpful and relevant for SMEs. The collaboration with CIMB Singapore will provide local businesses looking at short-term and/or long-term financial solutions with more options. Through such a tie-up, we believe we can more effectively help our promising enterprises tide over this challenging period with the support of CIMB with an extended loan quantum and tenure,” said Mark Lee, Sing Lun Group CEO and spokesperson for the HOPE Fund.

Mr Victor Lee, CEO of CIMB, said that companies that received the initial $50,000 loan form the HOPE Fund can now get up to $5 million in funding under this initiative. “Given today’s situation surrounding this global pandemic, coupled with the recent economic shocks, SMEs will be looking at a period of at least 18 months to survive the adverse business impact. This partnership enables us to cater to the immediate and long-term financial needs of SMEs by synergising our capabilities as a bank and leveraging the strengths of SBF-YBLN and Goldbell Financial Services,” he said.

Paying it forward

A key feature of the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund is the deferment of loan principal and interest to the third month onwards. It also strives to approve loans quickly and disburse the funds within 24 hours of the loan approval. This will help alleviate the pressure on SMEs as they deal with the severe economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.

The six founding companies of the HOPE Fund – Apricot Capital, Goldbell Group, Ho Lee Group, Paradise Group, Sing Lun Group and Soilbuild Group – are mostly led by next-generation leaders who feel a responsibility to help others in the local business community.

“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 the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997,” said Mr Lees.

“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.”

Added Alex Chua, CEO of Goldbell Financial Services: “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.”

The SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund will complement a host of support measures for businesses unveiled by the Government in this year’s Budget as well as two subsequent packages.

SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund 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

Successful applicants of the SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund will enjoy CIMB’s preferential rates and terms. This includes:

  1. 2% facility fee waiver
  2. Preferential interest rate at 2.88% p.a. interest rate for C-19 (versus 3% p.a.)
  3. Preferential interest rate capped at 3.75% p.a. interest rate for Biz Assist (versus up to 7% p.a.)
  4. 4-month SBF-YBLN HOPE Fund interest rebate to SMEs capped at S$1,000

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 can contact [email protected]