Very soon it is Q4 of 2020, and both 2019 and 2020 are unusual years. BizMagnet TVP consultant consolidates information and attempts to predict the trend of TVP (Technology Voucher Programme) in 2021. No matter you applied for government fund such as TVP and BUD Fund before, it is time for you to prepare next year budget plan. Understand more about business government subsidy to help the business.
Longer TVP application time
In the past, it spent about 16 weeks from TVP application submission to approval. Also, after project accomplishment, the applicant company should submit the “final report” and the audit report. It took around 6-8 weeks for the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) to disburse the grant once ITC accepted the reports. Please remember that it was an old time table.
However, due to COVID-19 epidemic, the ITC officers have to work from home (WFH) and this arrangement lengthen the application time significantly. Some case applicants waited for about 6 months (26 weeks). As the pandemic is full of uncertainty, we are not going to estimate when the WFH arrangement ends.
From 1st June, the TVP office relaxed the regulation and allowed immediate project commencement after application submission. We thought it a trick feeds two birds with one scone. First, it relaxes accumulated application cases due to the WFH arrangement. Second, as the government doesn’t guarantee a full or partial grant for commenced projects, the relaxation can filter some government fund frauds and misconducted TVP agents.
Because a TVP project should complete within 12 months, the total time of TVP process will be shorter than that before Jun 2020 if applicant companies commence during application vetting. However, if the applicant decides to start after approval due to risk, cashflow, budget etc, BizMagnet can say that the total required time will increase by around 3 months.
Tighter budget for TVP projects
After Nicholas Yang, the then Secretary for Innovation and Technology, left the seat, BizMagnet found a totally different working style from the new secretary Alfred Sit. For example, “Distance Business Programme” (D-Biz) was criticized that the grant was much lower than expected. 1 Some submitted budget were classified as “high end” of the market price, and the authority demanded further explanation. TVP fraud is not uncommon even there was investigation media report.2 Alfred Sit, the then Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, came without innovative technology experience, may have some dedicated tasks. BizMagnet estimates that the TVP grant is no longer as ease as before.
Prohibit to bid rigging and fraud
As above, the new secretary already mentioned D-biz had to be tight, and TVP is no longer so ease. Kind of administrative analysis, the government may intend to beat the prolonged bid rigging issue to gain some popularity.3 No problem if applicant companies, TVP suppliers and TVP consultant act legally. Bid rigging and government fraud with false instrument must not be accepted. We expect that next year (2021) quite a lot of TVP suppliers will have adverse records and be rejected. TVP applicants should be really careful when they choose service providers.
2020 is an exceptional year. BizMagnet TVP consultant forecasts the above 3 main changes of trend. Government fund could be a good support in adversity.
Further reading: TVP successful cases 2020
- Coronavirus: Hong Kong to pump an extra HK$1 billion into IT scheme to help firms survive pandemic, SCMP(2020), https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3090788/coronavirus-hong-kong-pump-extra-hk1-billion-it
- 5億科技券 供應商涉違例代索報價 有公司稱有成功個案 創科署﹕不應牽涉採購程序, 明報 (2017), https://www.mingpaocanada.com/tor/htm/News/20171211/HK-gaa1_r.htm (Chinese only)
- 遙距營商計劃淪提款機？ 四IT供應商涉虛假報價, 香港01(2020), https://www.hk01.com/01%E5%81%B5%E6%9F%A5/506838/ (Chinese only)