Case Study: Example of application for Subsidies and Incentives for Taipei (SITI)

In January 2021, MillionDC applied for Taipei government’s Subsidies and Incentives for Taipei (SITI), for its project We felt that we would easily get this funding since this is well aligned with the government’s goal of attracting more foreign startups in Taiwan but we failed.

Below are some of the lessons, tips, and tricks that we have learned from the entire application process. For starters, those who are applying for this grant must be a registered company in the city of Taipei, not of other cities in Taiwan.

1. Have someone from the Startup Taipei Office review your application, they offer this service for free. You will need to pay them a visit inside the Taipei City Hall office, 1st floor.

– Call them first for review schedule. They will not review your application right away.

– They have two dedicated officers who speak English.

2. Apply for grant for those items that the government will subsidize easily – payroll and rent. This means allotting budget for employees pay and office rent in your project, the rest you will shoulder.

– You cannot apply for 100% funding of every item, has to be shared between you and the government. Maximum split is 50:50, the government will not fund more than 50% of the project or item cost.

– When applying for grant for purchase of equipment, think of it as for research and not for personal use. For example, the government will not fund a laptop purchase even if it is for research, but they will fund CPU, monitor, and camera separately.

– When applying for salary subsidies, make sure that your employees have their labor insurance covered. This labor insurance is part of the required attachment to your application.

– When applying for payment of a contractor, say web developer, make sure you have a quotation from the contractor that has the overview description of your project (or part of it).

– For rent, you’ll need a copy of your contract with your landlord, indicating the rent amount per month. This rent contract should cover your entire project timeline of completion.

3. Everyone will get an interview schedule once your application is accepted as complete application. The reviewers at Startup Taipei will help you identify if your application is complete.

– Two weeks before your interview schedule, the team at SITI has already chosen a panel of judges who will review the content of your application. This panel will be required to send their questions ahead.

– One week before your application, you will receive the questions from the panel. You will need to integrate the answers to the panel’s question in your interview presentation.

– You will be given a specific slide template, not the prettiest type, and you will have to work on it. You don’t need to upload the slides beforehand.

– No one from the panel works directly with the government, they are from the industry, or university professors. In our case, the panel focused on how the project will make money. Looking back, they were trying to see if this project will create jobs as this is a typical government KPI. For example, the SITI team can report to their managers that they have created xxx number of jobs from the grants that they have given out.

The entire process, from drafting, consulting with Startup Taipei, Interview, to result took us six months. We took time writing the proposal. From uploading the complete application in January 11th, we went for interview first week of March. The SITI website releases the results around 25th of each month, and we learned about our case in the week of April 25th. From what we have learned from successful cases, there are more steps before a startup can finally use the subsidy, including opening another bank account just dedicated for receiving the money. From there, successful applicants will need to report on a quarterly basis before they can drawdown the rest of the money.

Download the PDFs

-To see all the items that we listed for this project, including the required documents, download MillionDC Ltd.’s sample PDF copy of SITI application form here

-To see the sample questions from the panel, download MillionDC Ltd.’s sample PDF copy of SITI PowerPoint presentation to SITI here

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