Startup Growth Strategy Guide: Leveraging Singapore Government Grants


March 23, 2024
 min read
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Fueling Startup Growth: Leveraging Government Grant for Small Business 

For ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders, developing a robust growth strategy for scalability and expansion is paramount. However, securing the necessary capital to execute those expansion plans is often a significant hurdle - especially for new startups and small businesses. This is where utilising a government grant for small businesses can be a game-changer. 

By tapping into the right grant opportunities, startups and SMEs in Singapore can gain a substantial injection of funds specifically earmarked for strategic growth initiatives. From investing in new technology and tools to hiring top talent and expanding into new markets, well-structured grant programs remove financial barriers hampering acceleration.

At Devhaus, we've helped scores of companies identify, apply for, and maximise utilisation of startup funding through grants administered by Singapore's government agencies. Let’s explore key factors to developing a compelling growth strategy positioning your business for grant success.

Defining Strategic Growth Objectives

The first critical step is clearly defining what "growth" looks like for your specific company. This ensures your growth strategy - and grant applications - remain sharply focused on relevant, measurable targets rather than ambiguous "increase revenue" goals. 

Growth is a process driven by strategy. It is  is achieved through multiple strategies implemented in various stages. Each subsequent strategy amplifies the achievements of the previous strategies. The misconception that there is a quick fix to sustainable growth is refutable. 

Common Growth Objectives 

When formulating a strategic growth plan, it's crucial to have well-defined objectives that align with your businesses’ specific vision, capabilities, and market positioning. 

Revenue Expansion

Driving top-line growth through increased sales is a universal objective, but simply stating "increase revenue" is too vague. Strategies need to quantify revenue goals like achieving $X million in Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or $Y Million Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) run-rates within set timeframes. 

Customer Acquisition

For many startups, accelerated customer/user growth is pivotal for rapidly capturing market share or building a critical base to unlock network effects. Growth plans should specify measurable targets like acquiring 1000 new customers per month/quarter or  lowering customer acquisition costs below $200. This requires optimising marketing funnels, demand generation capabilities, conversion touchpoints, and customer onboarding experiences.

Operational Scalability

As startups experience rapid growth, maintaining output and quality while scaling resources becomes challenging. This spurs objectives around achieving non-linear efficiency gains through automation, systemization, and optimising core workflows. 

Metrics could include increasing transaction volumes by 75% without adding headcount, or reallocating 10% of resources from low-value tasks to higher priorities. Cloud infrastructure, process mining, digitization, and RPA frequently enable such scalability plays.

Market Penetration

Claiming market share from competitors by enhancing value propositions, vertical/horizontal expansions, or geographic moves. 

For startups with innovative or disruptive offerings, aggressive strategies to claim market ownership become paramount. This may entail attacking incumbents' market share through superior value propositions, pricing tactics, or innovative models. Conversely, growth could stem from opening new verticals or regions where incumbents are absent or unprepared. 

Innovation Leadership  

Investments in R&D and product development for new IP that disrupts categories or tenures competitive advantage.

On the R&D front, some startups' expansion centres on developing groundbreaking intellectual property that disrupts product categories or solidifies sustainable competitive advantages. Objectives emphasise accelerated product roadmaps with quantitative targets like releasing 4 new product lines within 3 quarters or even achieving $100 million revenue from new inventions.

Whichever objectives are prioritised, growth strategies must have distinct, quantifiable KPIs that define successful execution. Without such success metrics, efforts risk lacking focus and measurability – both crucial for strategic execution and positioning when pursuing government grant funding.

Growth Strategy Examples 

A well-crafted growth strategy often incorporates a combination of approaches tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of the business. It's worth examining certain organisations that experienced substantial growth by implementing seemingly minor tactics that ultimately yielded remarkable results. 

The key takeaway is that sometimes, even small, targeted strategies can have a profound impact on an organization's growth trajectory when implemented effectively and within the appropriate context. 


Zapier's business model revolves around integrating various tools and applications, enabling seamless communication and automation across a user's tech stack. 

Zapier's ingenious solution was to leverage content marketing and create a vast resource library centred around the very tools and applications it integrates with. Whenever a new integration was added to Zapier, the team seized the opportunity to build authority and attract new audiences by publishing detailed guides and tutorials on the company's blog.

The blog's content spanned a wide range of topics, each meticulously crafted to cater to the specific needs and interests of different tool users. Articles like "How to Quickly Append Text to a Note in Evernote or OneNote from Your Browser" and "How to Automatically Generate Charts and Reports in Google Sheets and Docs" demonstrated Zapier's expertise and provided valuable insights to their target audiences.

An article from Zapier 
Zapier has established itself as a content hub for all integrations and tools to build authority through search. 

This strategic approach allowed Zapier to subtly position itself as a content hub for users of various tools and integrations, effectively amplifying its reach and appeal. Within just three years, Zapier's blog grew from obscurity to over 600,000 readers, with the potential for further growth as new integrations are continuously added to the platform.


In the era before digital networking, professionals relied on physical business cards to maintain connections – a process that became cumbersome and outdated with changing contact information. LinkedIn revolutionized this concept by introducing an online platform for managing professional networks while leveraging the "six degrees of separation" principle to facilitate growth.

Early adopters likely recall receiving these emails: "So I [someone you know] found you while exploring the network. Let's connect directly; I'm happy to help you with requests and forward things incoming. It will probably make both of our networks bigger."

This cycle perpetuated itself as new users joined, and their contacts received the same email, enticing them to sign up. LinkedIn found that, on average, four such emails were needed before a user would join the platform, capitalising on the fear of missing out (FOMO) among professionals.

The strategy proved immensely successful, propelling LinkedIn's user base from 500,000 in 2004 to an impressive 2 million by 2006, demonstrating the power of network effects in driving exponential growth.

Businesses should continually explore innovative ways to tap into their existing customer networks, fostering a cyclical effect that draws in new users and expands the overall user base.

Evaluating Growth Trajectory Factors

Not all growth strategies are created equal based on your startup's business model, target markets, and internal core competencies. These factors influence which approach has the highest probability of delivering results:

Business Model's Scalability Potential

E-commerce, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and digitally-driven models generally have higher scalability potential compared to traditional brick-and-mortar or professional services models. This is because they can leverage technology and digital platforms to reach a broader customer base with relatively lower marginal costs.

For example, in the e-commerce space, businesses can rapidly expand their reach by optimising their online presence, leveraging marketing automation, and streamlining logistics and fulfilment processes. SaaS companies, on the other hand, can scale their customer base by enhancing their software offerings, improving user experiences, and implementing efficient customer acquisition and retention strategies.

To capitalise on their scalability potential, businesses with e-commerce, SaaS, or digitally-driven models should focus their strategies on:

  • Continuous product/service innovation and improvement
  • Aggressive customer acquisition and retention efforts
  • Expansion into new markets and segments
  • Leveraging data and analytics for personalization and optimization
  • Investing in automation and streamlining processes

By aligning their growth strategies with their business model's scalability potential, organisations can maximise their chances of success and capitalise on market opportunities effectively.

Moreover, the Singapore government aids the start ups and SMEs through specific grants designed to help them scale their operations and tech stacks. 

Market Demand + Dynamics

The state of market demand and industry dynamics play a pivotal role in shaping growth strategies. These factors can dictate whether businesses should prioritise expansion, optimization, or diversification.

In high-demand, upswing markets characterised by rapidly growing consumer interest and adoption, businesses should prioritise expansion strategies. This could involve:

  • New market or segment penetration: Capitalising on the rising demand by extending products or services to untapped geographic regions or consumer segments.
  • Disruptive innovation: Introducing game-changing products or business models that can capture a significant share of the growing market.
  • Capacity building: Investing in infrastructure, human resources, and operational capabilities to meet the surging demand effectively.

However, in mature markets with stabilised demand, optimization and diversification strategies become more prudent. During these phases, businesses should focus on:

  • Process optimization: Streamlining operations, reducing costs, and enhancing efficiency to maintain competitiveness and profitability.
  • Product/service enhancement: Continuously improving offerings to differentiate from competitors and provide superior value to customers.
  • Diversification: Exploring adjacent markets, product lines, or business models to unlock new revenue streams and hedge against market saturation.

Experienced consultants can provide valuable insights into market dynamics, consumer behaviour, and industry trends, enabling businesses to make informed decisions about their growth trajectory. By aligning strategies with market realities, businesses can effectively navigate changing landscapes and seize opportunities for sustainable growth.

Competitive Landscape

If a business has a truly unique and defensible offering, such as a patented technology, a disruptive business model, or a strong brand equity, it should prioritise aggressive growth and market ownership strategies. 

Growth strategies for businesses with unique offerings may include:

  • Rapid market expansion into new geographic regions or customer segments
  • Aggressive marketing and branding campaigns to build awareness and loyalty
  • Strategic partnerships or acquisitions to solidify market position
  • Continuous innovation to maintain differentiation and stay ahead of the competition

On the other hand, if a business operates in a highly competitive market with multiple players offering comparable products or services, the focus should shift towards cost optimization and operational efficiency. In such scenarios, the ability to deliver superior value at competitive prices becomes the key differentiator.

Experienced consultants can provide valuable insights into the competitive landscape, helping businesses assess their positioning and develop strategies that align with their unique strengths and market realities. Regular competitive analysis, market research, and customer feedback are also essential to stay informed about industry dynamics and adapt growth strategies accordingly.

Strategic growth objectives and trajectory factors are interrelated. The insights derived from this analysis phase inform whether you should pursue growth opportunities more capital intensive like new market penetration or lower net new investment approaches like optimization and customer base expansion in existing segments. With this framing, you can now prioritise which grant programs align to capital needs.

Aligning Grants to Capital & Growth Needs  

While grants help raise non-dilutive capital, some programs provide more funding suited for large-scale investments like R&D and expansions, while others offer targeted amounts for very specific growth initiatives like process automation or marketing technology acquisition.

Devhaus guides startups through planning growth strategies and therefore, evaluating which grant types offer the greatest ROI based on their formulated growth strategies. 

Innovation/R&D Grants

Funds innovation initiatives like product development, software engineering, and advanced technology adoption. Ideal for startups pursuing ground-breaking or highly technical products/services.

Business Capabilities Transformation Grants

Covers strategic projects like implementing AI/automation, upskilling workforce, process reengineering, new systems adoption - geared for greater operational scalability.

Project Funding Grants

Larger funds allocated for market entry, new business unit establishment, geographic expansions, M&A, and other major investment growth projects.

Productivity Solutions Grants

Offset costs for adopting specific productizing tools and solutions to enhance marketing/sales capabilities, streamline workflows, or digitise operations.

For growth strategies necessitating larger-scale capital raises for transformative projects, portfolio diversification of complementary grant types is recommended. For more focused, concentrated growth objectives, Devhaus helps identify and secure specific programs catering to those precise initiatives - maximising grant efficiency.

Crafting A Compelling Grant Strategy 

While many startups understand the benefits grants provide for minimising capital risks and funding shortages, they often struggle with developing robust grant application strategies aligned to requirements.

Government agencies scrutinise applications through two overarching evaluation lenses: Strategic Relevance and Execution Viability. The Devhaus approach centres each grant pursuit around addressing both criteria seamlessly.

Strategic Relevance

Here your innovative growth plans must illustrate direct alignment with specific grant program's objectives (market penetration, business transformation, R&D commercialization, etc). Articulating the startup's value proposition, target markets, and differentiated IP/capabilities builds credibility.  

But robust strategies go further through:

  • Quantifying Growth Potential: Clearly map grant-fueled initiatives to financial projections like revenue ramp, cost savings, job creation, productivity improvements using justified assumptions
  • Measurable KPIs: Define specific growth metrics and success benchmarks used for milestone tracking - market share, new product adoption rates, cycle-time reductions, etc.
  • Risk Analysis: Identify potential challenges and mitigation plans from data gaps, supply constraints, execution barriers, competitive response risks.

Execution Viability

This demonstrates your operational capabilities for responsibly utilising and maximising grant funds aligned to the proposed strategy. Key factors evaluated include:

  • Project Plan Integrity: Specific workstreams, timelines, outputs, RACI matrices, and change management plans evidence strategic diligence.
  • Resource Allocation: Having the right talent, assets, infrastructure either existing or grant-funded is crucial. Show balanced resourcing.
  • Governance Model: Reporting cadence, KPI dashboards, progress tracking, and audit structures instil confidence for oversight.     
  • ROI Sustainability: Viable plans for outcomes enduring past the grant term illustrate responsible investment thesis.

Devhaus strategists are well-versed in grant criteria, providing startups expert guidance for developing compelling strategies and plans tailored to unique evaluator emphases across myriad programs. This maximises both approval rates and funding alignment.

Learn more about the Grants via the video with our VP of Advanced Services, Dom

Optimising Startup Grant Impact & ROI

Of course, the true success measurement of any grant isn't just the award itself, but tangible results generated through strategic utilisation and execution. At the crux, grant capital must accelerate growth in alignment with defined objectives - be it capturing market share, accelerating sales cycles, or enhancing productivity.

This is where the growth strategy expertise of advisors like Devhaus proves invaluable. We couple outcome-driven grant pursuits with parallel execution roadmapping, customised to each startup to ensure Grant approval and achieve the defined goals.

Growth Enablement Through Best-in-Breed Martech Stacks

Devhaus specialises in architecting cutting-edge marketing technology ecosystems aligning granular data, behavioural intelligence, and multi-channel engagement capabilities. This amplifies marketing ROI and customer acquisition power for startups pursuing aggressive user growth and top-line expansion.

Digitization and Automation for Scalability

By deploying intelligent process automation and robotic process automation platforms, legacy manual overheads are systematically eliminated. The resulting efficiency gains accelerate throughput and bottom-line growth potential.

Advanced Analytics and Growth Intelligence

Sophisticated data pipelines and visualisation platforms unlock thorough business intelligence. This fuels smarter decision-making, precise audience targeting, and optimal capital allocation across growth programs.

In essence, Devhaus bridges the gap between securing funds and actually deploying them to facilitate transformational growth through strategic execution services, marketing enablement, and digital capability acceleration.

 An illustration made by Devhaus showcasing the growth ecosystem and the best in breed tech stacks 
The Devhaus martech enablement growth ecosystem 

With a comprehensive playbook of linking strategy, grant asset acquisition, and multiplier technology implementation - startups under Devhaus advisement realise accelerated growth, sustainable results, and unmatched funding ROI. 

Position Your Startup for Grant Success

While financial constraints pose risks to startup growth trajectories, Singapore's wide array of government grants provide tremendous opportunities to propel ambitious expansion plans.

However, securing approval from highly-selective overseers requires well-constructed growth strategies positioning your venture as a government co-investment vehicle fueling innovation, job creation, productivity gains, and broader economic stimulation.

Outcomes and Impacts

  • Easily grow your business in the new market to increase leads, sales, and revenue
  • Focuses on building a strong foundation for your brand, which in turn increases brand equity in a new market
  • Build trust and authority with your customers, and develop a strong reputation to be competitive in the market

Our core strength lies in the ability to configure future-proof "growth stacks" of martech and data infrastructure, empowering our clients to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape with confidence and precision. Through these meticulously crafted growth stacks, we enable series-extending revenue momentum by expanding channels and creating seamless omnichannel experiences that resonate with customers on a profound level.

Discover how Devhaus can guide your business from forming a compelling growth strategy through execution support augmented by grant funding.  Book a complimentary 30-minute consultation to explore grant eligibility for your startup today!

Book a Grant Funding Consultation with Devhaus. 

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