(Yicai Global) April 14 -- Shanghai’s investment fund for small and medium-sized tech enterprises has seen a record number of applications this year as the city expanded the eligibility criteria to include businesses adversely hit by the Covid-19 epidemic.
Some 11,807 companies applied for the city’s SME Technology Innovation Fund, 62.7 percent more than last year and the most ever, online news outlet The Paper reported today. Over half of these are first-time applicants, it added.
The electronic information, biomedical and advanced manufacturing fields made up 59 percent of applicants, according to statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Commission. Applications from mobile network firms, whose numbers have increased significantly during the outbreak, were up 74 percent.
By including Covid-19-affected sectors, the commission expects to widen its scope by 30 percent to cover around 3,500 companies. The application deadline was March 16. Those who qualify will be granted funds in May. Last year, Shanghai supported 1,675 firms to the tune of CNY167.5 million (USD23.7 million).
Set up in 1999 by the State Council, the country’s cabinet, the Innovation Fund is made up of a national grant run by the Ministry of Science and Technology and also a local government-level grant run by regional science and technology administrations. They invest in innovative startups and those working in priority and strategic areas through free funding, discounted loans and capital investment.
Previously the Shanghai government issued a special action plan to aid 12 internet-related sectors that have contributed to the fight against Covid-19, including telecoms, fresh produce e-commerce and the industrial internet.
Editor: Kim Taylor