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Increasing help

In 2016 the local government granted some MOP389 million (US$48.7 million) in loans and grants to local SMEs and young entrepreneurs, benefiting a total of 850 firms, according to the latest data released by the Macao Economic Services (DSE).
The government’s financial aid to the city’s young entrepreneurs and SMEs increased by some 5.6 per cent year-on-year in 2016, although fewer applications were approved, with 2015 seeing MOP368 million loans awarded to a total of 871 firms.
DSE data shows the government splashed out MOP21 million more last year than in 2015, on loans and grants to the city’s SMEs and young entrepreneurs via four of its aid regimes.
The four regimes include the SME Aid Scheme, the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme and that for Special Projects, as well as the Young Entrepreneur Aid Scheme.
A total of 953 applications were filed with the DSE for these four aid schemes last year, with an approval rate of 89 per cent. The approval rate rose 11 percentage points year-on-year as the government approved 78 per cent of 1,112 applications in 2015.

Spreading the wealth
A total of 515 of the 560 SME applicants benefited from the SME Aid Scheme last year. The regime - which grants loans of up to MOP600,000 per applicant for different financing purposes - loaned MOP197.6 million throughout last year, registering a slight decrease from the MOP198.2 million granted to 552 SMEs in 2015.
Another aid scheme for SMEs, the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, granted a total of MOP125.3 million in loans to 62 companies last year, up 24.8 per cent per cent year-on-year compared to the MOP100.3 million granted to 61 local small and middle-sized firms in 2015.
This scheme provides each beneficiary with credit guarantees equal to 70 per cent of the loan approved by participating banks.
Meanwhile, a similar scheme for special projects – offering credit guarantees of up to 100 per cent of the amount for SMEs to finance special projects - gave the green light to three projects for MOP3 million last year.

Rescuing young entrepreneurs
For the Young Entrepreneurs Aid Scheme, the government received a total of 318 applications in 2016, approving 270 of them.
In total, it granted some MOP63 million via the scheme last year, down MOP5 million from 2015’s MOP68 million for 287 approved applicants.
The scheme, implemented in August 2013, offers interest-free loans of up to MOP300,000 for young people to start their own business, while the repayment period for successful applicants is up to eight years.
In terms of sector, nearly half of the granted loans via the scheme went to the retail industry, which received around MOP29 million of the total awarded amount. Meanwhile, loans received by F&B establishments and hotels, accounted for around 13 per cent of the total.