TVP - FAQ
- What is Technology Voucher Programme (TVP)?
Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) is a funding scheme under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) that aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.
- How should I make an application?
You can submit application through the Technology Voucher Programme Funding Administrative System. In case of difficulties, applicant enterprises may contact ITC for assistance in submitting applications through the TVP website.
- Can I submit more than one application under the TVP at any one time?
You can submit only one application under the TVP at any one time. A new application may only be submitted by an enterprise after completion of an earlier approved project and submission of the final project report.
- How to obtain more information about TVP?
You can obtain more information about TVP at
||Technology Voucher Programme Secretariat,
Innovation and Technology Commission,
Unit 1275, 12/F, Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre, 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong
||(852) 3523 1170
||(852) 3523 1189
- What is the role of project coordinator in the application? Are there any requirements to become the project coordinator?
The project coordinator of the application will act as the main contact point between the applicant enterprise and ITC. In order to ensure the smooth implementation and completion of the project, the project coordinator should be able to fully represent the applicant enterprise and be conversant with the operation and business processes of the applicant enterprise. As such, the project coordinator must be a responsible personnel of the applicant enterprise.
- Who are eligible to apply for funding under TVP? Can trade associations or non-governmental organisations apply?
Enterprises applying for funding under TVP must fulfill the following requirements –
- Registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) (“BRO”);
- Has at least one year of substantive business operation in Hong Kong which is related to the project under application at the time of application; and
- Fulfill the Government’s definition of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), i.e. manufacturing businesses employing fewer than 100 persons in Hong Kong; or non-manufacturing businesses employing fewer than 50 persons in Hong Kong, at the time of application of a TVP project.
Any organisations fulfilling the above requirements may also apply for the TVP. The Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) reserves at all times the right to determine whether an enterprise is eligible to apply for a TVP grant.
- Is an enterprise holding a “shell” business registration or having most of its main business operation outside Hong Kong eligible for applying TVP?
An enterprise holding a “shell” business registration or having most of its main business operation outside Hong Kong will not be regarded as having substantive business operation in Hong Kong and hence is not eligible for applying TVP.
- Another company of my partner has successfully applied for TVP. Can another project of our partnership apply for TVP as well?
Related enterprises, i.e. enterprises registered as different business under the BRO but having the same individual(s) holding 30% or more ownership in such enterprises, would be treated as one single enterprise for the purpose of calculating the cumulative funding amount (i.e. subject to the cumulative funding ceiling of $200,000). Applicant enterprises are required to indicate in the application form as to whether any of their related enterprises have applied for or received funding support under TVP at the time of application.
- Our company is going to launch an IT project and has been granted subsidies from other public funding. However, with the huge project size, we still need quite a large amount of funding. Can we apply for TVP as well?
The applicant enterprise shall not apply or accept other direct subsidy from local public funding for expenditure items under the approved project.
- Our company has many ideas but not enough funding to implement. Is there any chance that all of our projects will be approved by ITC in one go?
Subject to the cumulative funding ceiling of $200,000, up to three projects from an enterprise may be approved. To ensure proper focus on project implementation, an enterprise is not allowed to undertake more than one TVP project at the same time in parallel. A new application may only be submitted by an enterprise after completion of an earlier approved project and submission of the final project report.
- If our company missed the chance for application at this stage, when can we apply for TVP funding again?
TVP is open for application throughout the year subject to the availability of funding under TVP. The Programme will be implemented on a pilot basis for an initial period of three years from November 2016 with HK$500 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund.
- Will members of a trade association or an enterprise be counted when determining its number of employees?
According to Annex A of the Guidance Notes for Applications of the TVP, "number of persons employed" shall include proprietors/partners/shareholders actively engaged in the work of business, and all salaried employees of the applicant enterprise at the time of submitting the application. Those employees, including both full-time and part-time salaried personnel, no matter permanent or temporary, must be directly paid by the applicant enterprise. In general, only the staff but not members of a trade association or an enterprise would be counted when determining its number of employees.
- We note that applicant enterprises are required to provide supporting documents to show at least one year of substantive business operation in Hong Kong. As such, what kinds of documents will be accepted as valid supporting document?
Applicant enterprises are required to provide supporting documents to show at least one year of substantive business operation in Hong Kong which is related to the project under application at the time of making the application. Typical examples of supporting documents include commercial contracts, invoices, receipts, audited account, etc. For example, applicant enterprises may submit two invoices as supporting document if these invoices can reflect the business nature of the enterprise and with dates covering at least one year (i.e. if one invoice was issued on 1 January 2016, the other one should be issued on 31 December 2016 or later).
- What kinds of project will be funded by TVP?
TVP supports projects in the form of technological services and solutions which could improve productivity, or upgrade or transform the business processes of the applicant enterprise. A list of typical technological services and/or solutions covered by TVP is at Annex B of the Guidance Notes for Applications. Applicant enterprises are welcome to propose other technological services and solutions which could achieve the objectives of TVP. We shall consider the merits of such applications on a case-by-case basis. For funding support under the TVP, prior approval must be obtained before project commencement.
- What is the scope of TVP funding?
TVP funding could cover:
- Technology Consultancy – for the purpose of a TVP project, ‘consultant’ refers to the company/organisation providing external consultancy to the applicant enterprise for the project. To encourage proper consideration of the local setting in the formulation of technological solutions for the SMEs, the consultant must be a local organisation or research institution, or a company/organisation registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) ("BRO") at the time of application. The applicant enterprise should provide the expected deliverables from the engagement of the consultant, as well as breakdown of the payment to this consultant including manpower cost and any other related cost for the purpose of the project.
- Purchase, rental or subscription of customised equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project.
- Purchase, rental or subscription of off-the-shelf/readily available equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions that form an essential part of the project. Subscription-based technological services or solutions (e.g. cloud-based services) would be permitted provided the cost to be incurred only covers the project duration. In general, the costs of such equipment/hardware/software/ services or solutions should constitute no more than 50% of the project cost. Otherwise, the TVP Committee would be consulted to decide whether to approve higher cost of such equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions.
- Project auditing for projects with approved funding exceeding $50,000. The maximum audit fee to be counted towards the total project cost is $3,000.
- Will TVP funding cover general office equipment, professional service fees or administrative expenses?
TVP will not fund the following normal business operating costs:
- rental of premises;
- staff salary and other related expenses including but not limited to contribution to the Mandatory Provident Fund, contract gratuities, annual salary adjustment, general fringe benefits (e.g. medical), and allowances (e.g. expenses on housing, travelling, overtime), general training and development;
- general office equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions for normal business operation;
- maintenance, warranty and insurance of existing and newly purchased equipment;
- non-technology related professional service fees;
- marketing and branding expenses;
- transportation and accommodation; and
- administrative overheads.
- Our company has successfully applied for the TVP. Can this approved TVP project apply for the R&D Cash Rebate Scheme (CRS) or Public Sector Trial Scheme (PSTS) under the Innovation and Technology Fund?
TVP projects are not eligible to apply for the CRS or the PSTS.
- What kinds of testing and certification services will be funded by the TVP?
The TVP aims to subsidise SMEs on the use of technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. Similar to other applications, we will consider the merits of applications related to testing / certification on a case-by-case basis. Considerations will be given on how the applicant enterprises engage technological services and solutions in the process of fulfilling the testing/ certification requirements. Annex B of the Guidance Notes for Applications of the TVP provides some examples of management system related to certification:
- Energy management system (ISO 50001)
- Environmental management system (ISO 14001)
- Information security management system (ISO/IEC 27001)
Enterprises are more likely to involve usage of technological services and solutions in the process of fulfilling the certification requirements of the above management systems. The above management systems only serve as some examples. Applicant enterprises are welcome to propose other technological services and solutions which could achieve the objectives of the TVP (i.e. to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform the business processes).
- Can project deliverables (i.e. the technological services or solutions to be adopted in the project) be used outside Hong Kong?
While we do not impose restrictions on the locations for using the project deliverables, project deliverables should be used materially for the applicant enterprise’s business operations in Hong Kong.
- How will ITC process the applications?
Upon receipt of an application, ITC will check its eligibility and conduct a preliminary screening. ITC may also seek clarification or supplementary information from the applicant enterprise if necessary. Eligible applications will be considered by the TVP Committee (the Committee) while ineligible applications will be returned to the applicant enterprise by the Secretariat. The Committee is composed of members from the business sector, technology sector, professional services sector and relevant Government departments and its composition can be found here. Applications supported by the Committee will be submitted to the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology (CIT) for approval of funding.
- What are the assessment criteria?
Each eligible application will be assessed based on individual merits and considered on a case-by-case basis. The assessment criteria of TVP projects include –
- relevance of the proposed project to the applicant enterprise’s business – the project should have good prospects of enhancing its competitiveness through improving productivity, business development/expansion, cost reduction or efficiency enhancement, upgrading/improving/transforming business processes;
- reasonableness of the budget – assessment with reference to market prices of the technologies in question as known to the TVP Committee or ITC will be made. Individual items of expenditure must also be essential and directly related to the implementation of the project;
- reasonableness of the implementation details – consideration may include whether concrete and quantifiable project deliverables and outcomes have been set. The implementation details should also be realistic taking into account factors such as the complexity of the technology and the project duration; and
- adverse record of consultants and/or service provider(s) as known to the TVP Committee and ITC if available.
If a project is worthy of support in principle, the level of funding may be adjusted with reference to the costs of the project approved by the TVP Committee.
- When and how will we know the result of our TVP application?
Applicant enterprises will be informed of the result in writing. The actual processing time will be subject to the amount of applications received at the time, complexity of individual applications, comprehensiveness and clarity of the information provided, etc. Successful applicant enterprises may be required to revise the application to fulfill the conditions for approval set by the TVP Committee and/or ITC, if any. Similar to other ITF projects, basic information of the approved projects will be posted onto the ITC website.
- What are the common reasons for past applications not supported by the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) Committee?
Each eligible application will be assessed based on individual merits and considered on a case-by-case basis. Some common reasons for applications not supported by the TVP Committee include:
- cost of the off-the-shelf/readily available items constituting a substantial portion of the total project cost (according to the Guidance Notes for Applications of the TVP, purchase, rental or subscription of off-the-shelf/readily available equipment/hardware, software and technological services or solutions that forms an essential part of the project should constitute no more than 50% of the project cost); and
- application involving only little or no technological elements and hence not consistent with the objectives of the TVP.
- Our company has awarded a contract to a supplier for the provision of certain equipment. Can we purchase the equipment for the TVP project from them directly?
No. Applicant enterprises should ensure that all procurement for goods and services are carried out in an open, fair and competitive manner and the appointment of reasonable qualified suppliers or service providers. In general, applicant enterprises should adhere to the following procurement procedures –
- for every procurement of equipment or other goods or services in relation to or for the purposes of the Project, the aggregate value of which does not exceed HK$50,000, written price quotations from at least two suppliers or service providers shall be obtained;
- for every procurement of the equipment or other goods or services in relation to or for the purposes of the Project, the aggregate value of which exceeds HK$50,000 but does not exceed HK$300,000, written price quotations from at least three suppliers or service providers shall be obtained;
- for every procurement of the equipment or other goods or services in relation to or for the purposes of the Project, the aggregate value of which exceeds HK$300,000 but does not exceed HK$1,430,000, written price quotations from at least five suppliers or service providers shall be obtained; and
- for every procurement of the equipment or other goods or services in relation to or for the purposes of the Project, the aggregate value of which is more than HK$1,430,000, there shall be open tendering. Channels which are easily accessible by the general public shall be used to publicise the tender notices.
For a-c, full justifications must be given if the minimum number of quotations was not obtained from the market. If the lowest bid is not selected for a-c, prior written consent must be obtained from ITC and full justifications must be given.
The applicant enterprise must provide full justifications of shortlisted or awarded supplier(s) or service provider(s), including but not limited to the company profile, year founded, number of staff, etc., upon the request of ITC. ITC reserves the right to eliminate any supplier(s) or service provider(s) and request the applicant enterprise to exercise the procurement process again should there be any doubts regarding their technical capability and/or track record on similar projects.
- Our mother company is a supplier of some equipment required for our TVP project. Can we order from our mother company directly?
Though applicant enterprises can engage consultants, service providers and suppliers of its choice, to avoid conflict of interests, applicant enterprises must not engage a consultant/service provider/supplier, the owners, shareholders, management of which are the owners, shareholders, management of the applicant enterprise or their relatives. Applicant enterprises or any person/staff authorised by the applicant enterprises to handle or in any way involved in the quotation or tender exercise should have no actual or potential conflict of interest, and should not participate in the procurement process if otherwise. Applicant enterprises are required to report cases of conflict of interest, including actions taken, to ITC in writing.
- Our company needs many new equipment/software for the TVP project. Are there any rules we should follow when procuring these items?
The procurement of equipment/hardware/software/other assets or consultancy services is subject to the following rules:
- The title and interest in new equipment /hardware/software and other assets purchased with funds under the TVP shall vest with the applicant enterprise;
- Unless prior written approval from ITC is obtained, the applicant enterprise is required to keep all equipment/hardware/software/other assets funded under the TVP for at least one year after project completion or termination of the project, and shall make such equipment/ hardware/software/other assets available for inspection by ITC or representatives of the Government / Government’s authorised agencies upon request. The applicant enterprise shall not transfer, sell or dispose of the equipment/hardware/software/other assets within the period as specified above without prior approval;
- All items purchased, procured or leased with funds under the TVP should be licensed products and would not infringe any third party intellectual property rights; and
- The risk in using the equipment/hardware/software/other assets or consultancy services will be borne by and remain with the applicant enterprise.
- Our company bought some new computers last year which are suitable for the TVP project. Instead of purchasing new ones, can we use these computers for the project and claim reimbursement from TVP?
Purchases, maintenance, warranty and insurance of existing and newly purchased equipment for normal business operation of the applicant enterprise will not be funded under TVP. Besides, TVP funding will not be provided for expenditures prior to project approval or incurred outside the project period.
- Our TVP project urgently needs a piece of equipment that costs HK$5,500. So we purchased it in cash and got a proper receipt. How can we claim reimbursement from TVP?
The applicant enterprise shall purchase, procure or lease the equipment, other goods or services for the project through non-cash methods such as credit card, cheque, bank transfer. The applicant enterprise may procure equipment, other goods or services for the project in cash to meet immediate needs, provided that the total value of any single transaction of the equipment, goods or services or all of the above in relation to or for the purposes of the project shall not exceed HK$5,000 each and the transaction shall be reasonably necessary for the discharge of the obligations and duties owed by the applicant enterprise under the funding agreement, and that two written quotations have been obtained. The applicant enterprise has to certify in writing all these requirements. Any single transaction with a total value exceeding HK$5,000 shall not be made in cash without the prior written approval of ITC.
- Can technology consultants/service providers/suppliers provide loans to enterprises for carrying out TVP projects?
To avoid potential conflict of interest, technology consultants/ service providers/ suppliers may not provide loans to enterprises for carrying out TVP projects.
- Will TVP funding be provided to our company before we commence our TVP project?
There will be no advance payment to the applicant enterprise under TVP. Funding on no more than two-thirds of the actual cost of a project (up to the ceiling approved by the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology (CIT)) will be provided to an applicant enterprise on a reimbursement basis. In this connection, within 2 months after completion of the TVP project, the applicant enterprise should submit the required documents electronically through the Technology Voucher Programme Funding Administrative System to ITC for reimbursement of the approved funding.
- We have got some new equipment that our TVP project needs. Can these be counted as part of our contribution to the total project cost?
Contribution by the applicant enterprise in kind will not be accepted as project cost.
- If my company successfully applied for funding support from TVP, does this mean that we can receive the TVP funding immediately once we have completed the project?
Upon completion of the TVP project, the applicant enterprise should submit the following electronically through the Technology Voucher Programme Funding Administrative System to ITC for reimbursement of the approved funding within 2 months:
- a final project report indicating completion of project, a summary of project expenditures and project deliverables;
- evidence of deliverables (e.g. consultancy report(s), delivery receipt(s), photos, etc.);
- original or copy of receipt(s) certified by the applicant enterprise in relation to the payment for each expenditure item. The name of the payer on the receipts(s) must be the same as the name of the applicant enterprise;
- if the approved funding exceeds $50,000, an audited statement of expenditure for the project from an independent auditor is required to be submitted to ITC; and
- if the approved funding is HK$50,000 or below, applicant enterprises are required to submit a final statement of expenditure and declare that the final statement of expenditure is accurate and all spending is made in compliance with the requirements as set out in the funding agreement. ITC reserves the right to conduct detailed checks on the final statement of expenditure.
Late submission of the required documents may lead to withholding, reduction or cessation of the funding support for the project. In case of difficulties, applicant enterprises may contact ITC for assistance in submitting the final report and supporting documents through the TVP website.
- Our project has encountered some unexpected delay. Can we apply for project extension?
Each project should normally be completed within 12 months. Applicant enterprises should seek prior approval from ITC for any modifications in the project completion date. Request for project extension without increase in the approved funding amount will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicant enterprises should provide full justifications for ITC’s assessment on the reasonableness for the proposed changes. ITC reserves the right to withhold disbursement of any part of funding support to the applicant enterprise and/or withdraw approval of funding in full or in part from the applicant enterprise should there be any changes in the project completion date without prior approval.
- We found a better way to complete the approved TVP project but that would increase the total project cost. Can we request further funding support according to the increased project cost?
Any request for change in project scope, or the total amount of ITF funding for the project will not be entertained. For other changes to the project, the applicant enterprise should submit a change request electronically through the Technology Voucher Programme Funding Administrative System. ITC’s prior approval must be obtained before adopting the proposed changes.
- Due to budget constraint, my company has to terminate the TVP project. Can we partially get the approved funding? Or can we withhold the project and re-launch it with TVP funding support later?
In the event the project is terminated by the applicant enterprise for whatever reasons, the applicant enterprise should notify ITC in writing immediately to explain the reasons for the termination. ITC may at any time terminate all or any part of the funding support by giving written notice to the applicant enterprise with immediate effect.
Under normal circumstances, reimbursement will be made upon submission of all the required documents (including the final project report) and supplementary information and ITC’s acceptance of the final project report.
In case applicant enterprises need to make changes to their application because of unexpected circumstances, any requests for changes to the approved projects, including change of the project commencement or completion dates, consultant or service providers, equipment, and/or budget, will require prior approval by ITC. Depending on the extent of the requested changes and the impact of the proposed changes on the outcome of the project, recommendations by the TVP Committee may be sought before approval by ITC.