Comprehensive Guide To Hawkers Development Programme In Singapore

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Comprehensive Guide To Hawkers Development Programme In Singapore

Hawker centers are a quintessential part of Singapore's vibrant culinary culture.

The Hawkers' Development Programme (HDP) was introduced in July 2020 by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), providing training for both budding and current hawkers on how to start their business as a professional hawker.

The HDP comprises of three stages: training, apprenticeship, and incubation. The program aims to equip the next generation of hawkerpreneurs with the business acumen and inspiration to sustain and grow the hawker industry in Singapore.


Hawker centers are open-air complexes that offer affordable food options in Singapore. These centers house numerous food stalls that sell a variety of local and international dishes, making them a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Hawkers play a vital role in Singapore's culinary culture, providing affordable and delicious food options to people from all walks of life.

The Hawkers' Development Programme's Curriculum

Here's a 3-step guide to get you started!

Training Course

The training course is the first stage of the HDP, where certified trainers in culinary and business management coach aspiring and existing hawkers. The Asian Culinary Institute, a Continuing Education and Training (CET) institute of Nanyang Polytechnic, conducts a five-day training program called Core Hawker Entrepreneurship Fundamentals. This program covers the culinary and business aspects of running a hawker stall.

The Core Hawker Entrepreneurship Fundamentals program has four modules:

  1. Following F&B Safety and Hygiene Policies & Procedure (1 Day)
  2. Essential Hawker Culinary Fundamentals (1 Day)
  3. Essential Hawker Entrepreneurship Fundamentals (2 Days)
  4. SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace (1 Day)

Apprenticeship & Mentoring

In the Apprenticeship stage, trainees will work at a Hawker Mentor’s stall to learn specific culinary skills of the hawker dishes as well as learn skills of running a hawker business. Trainees will undergo eight weeks of apprenticeship, and Hawker Mentors will guide trainees to prepare for their Incubation in Stage 3.

The Hawker Mentor will assist the Trainee to develop a profitable hawker dish(es) and business plan for potential operations under either (i) the NEA Incubation Stall Programme or (ii) the NEA Hawker Stall Tender Scheme.

NEA will assess your preferred Hawker Mentor and make a match based on the availability of mentors and other relevant factors plus there is a chance that the trainee may not be assigned a mentor who offers the same dish as their future business.

Incubation Stall Programme

The incubation stage is the final stage of the HDP, where trainees operate their own hawker stall for a year at one of the NEA's designated incubation stalls. During this period, trainees will receive support and guidance from the Hawker Mentor. Trainees will also participate in workshops and seminars organized by the NEA to further develop their culinary and business skills.

In the Incubation stage, trainees will operate a hawker stall at a NEA-managed hawker centre for six months. Trainees will receive feedback on their dishes and business operations from a panel of judges. Successful trainees may receive additional funding to help them set up their own hawker stall.

Stalls secured through NEA's Incubation Stall Programme receive up to a 40% rental rebate for 15 months, as well as preinstallation of basic fixtures and equipment whereas NEA Hawker Stall Tender Scheme stalls do not offer such benefits.

Participants who enroll for the entire HDP (stages 1, 2, and 3) have access to this stage.

Note that participants in the HDP do not necessarily have to apply for NEA's Incubation Stall Programme (ISP).

Benefits of the Hawkers' Development Programme

The Hawkers’ Development Programme provides many benefits to aspiring and existing hawkers, including:

- Comprehensive training in culinary management and business management.

- Opportunities to work with experienced Hawker Mentors to learn the skills needed to succeed in the hawker industry.

- Hands-on experience operating a hawker stall at a NEA-managed hawker centre.

- Access to funding to help set up their own hawker stall.

Roles of Trainees and Hawker Mentors

The trainees in the Hawkers’ Development Programme will learn from experienced Hawker Mentors, who will guide them through the Apprenticeship stage. Hawker Mentors will share their expertise in hawker dishes and business operations, and will guide trainees to prepare for the Incubation stage.

Trainees will also have the opportunity to work with their Hawker Mentor and learn about their day-to-day operations, including food preparation, purchasing and inventory management, and customer service.

Funding: Available Training Grants For Trainees And Mentors

Upon completion of Stages 1 and 2, you will be eligible for the training grant, regardless of the status with Stage 3.

SkillsFuture Credit (SFC): Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) are eligible to receive up to a 90% subsidy from the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) when they register for the Hawker Development Programme (HDP).

To be eligible for the Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES), you have to be aged 40 and over and be a Singaporean.

Otherwise, Singaporeans and PRs aged below 40 can enjoy a 70% subsidy from the SSG.

Eligible course fee grants are available for trainees, along with up to $1,000 per training month for stages 1 to 3. Grant eligibility is contingent upon successful completion of set milestones such as minimum 75% attendance and on-the-job training objectives.

In addition, during Stage 2 and Stage 3, veteran hawker mentors will be rewarded with up to $500 each month for their guidance and mentorship!

Schedule, Fees, and Charges Involved

The Hawkers' Development Programme accepts applications on a quarterly basis.

  • 31 Jan - 6 Feb 2023 (Mon-Fri)
  • Registration opens 7 February, starts 8 - 12 May
  • Registration opens 13 May, starts 14 - 18 August
  • Registration opens August 19, starts 6 - 10 November

Sign up now and secure your place because there is a limited seats available for trainees per programme and full payment is required prior to the start of the programme.

For Stage 1, 5-day intensive training, total course fee of all 4 modules

GST will be applied at a rate of 8% for payments made on or after Sunday 1 January 2023.

Non-SingaporeanSingaporean/PR (After SSG Subsidy)Singaporean Aged 40 And Above (After MCES Subsidy)
Full Course Fee$2,180.20$2,180.20$2,180.20
Nett Course Fee$2,180.20$465.29$190.25
GST 8%$174.41$37.22$15.22
Payable Course Fees$2,354.61$428.07$205.47
Optional Electives
Favourites of Our Little Red Dot (Carrot Cake, Chwee Kway & Chendol)$215.00$69.02$26.02
Char Kway Teow$260.00$83.46$31.46
Hainanese Chicken Rice$260.00$83.46$31.46
Singapore Laksa$260.00$83.46$31.46

Eligibility Criteria for Programme Entry

Participants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.

Remember that you all must be Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents to be eligible.

Participants are required to demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency in the English language, either through Secondary Education or through the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WPLN) score of Level 4 for Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing and Numeracy.

There are no further educational qualifications required for participation in the Hawkers' Development Programme. However, applicants must submit the required documents and meet the minimum enrolment requirements to be considered for admission in the programme.

NEA Assessment For The Applicants

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will conduct an assessment of prospective hawker applicants to decide their eligibility for the 3 phases of the programme. They must provide personal and business details, related documents, and have an interview with NEA.

If you are interested to enroll, register here. Or to register for the Hawkers Development Programme offered directly by Asian Culinary Institute Singapore, visit


The Hawkers’ Development Programme plays a vital role in preserving Singapore's hawker culture and supporting the development of the hawker industry. With the rapid changes in technology and demographics, the Hawkers’ Development Programme has become more critical than ever before to ensure that Singapore's hawker culture continues to thrive.

Enrolling in the Hawkers’ Development Programme offers numerous benefits to participants. It provides them with the necessary knowledge and skills to run their businesses more effectively, including marketing and financial management. Furthermore, the programme offers access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and potential funding sources, all of which can help participants grow their businesses.

Future of the Hawker Industry in Singapore

The future of the hawker industry in Singapore looks promising with the government's commitment to preserving hawker culture and the Hawkers’ Development Programme's continued success. With the increasing interest in hawker food both locally and internationally, the hawker industry has the potential to continue growing and evolving. Through programmes like the Hawkers’ Development Programme, Singapore's hawker industry will continue to thrive and contribute to the country's cultural and economic landscape.

In conclusion, the Hawkers’ Development Programme is a critical initiative that supports the development and sustainability of Singapore's hawker industry. It provides participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to succeed and contribute to the growth of the industry. As the government continues to prioritize the preservation of hawker culture, the future of the hawker industry in Singapore looks promising.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I still receive my training allowance if I fail to secure a stall upon completion of the Apprenticeship stage?

Participants will have to check with the respective Training Providers for details on the training
allowance requirements.

Do I get to choose my hawker mentor under the Apprenticeship stage?

Participants may indicate their preferred hawker mentor, if any, and NEA will assist accordingly. However, depending on the availability of the hawker mentors and other factors, such as the compatibility between the assigned mentors and aspiring hawkers, there is a possibility that participants may be paired with other hawker mentors who sell similar dish that the participants intend to sell.

How did the agencies select the experienced hawkers to be involved in the HDP and are they professionally trained to mentor aspiring hawkers?

NEA worked closely with key stakeholders, such as hawkers’ associations and hawker representatives of various hawker centres, to interest experienced hawkers with successful and sustainable hawker businesses to be involved in the HDP. These experienced hawkers have also expressed interest in mentoring aspiring hawkers. All participating experienced hawkers have undergone training and are
equipped with the skills needed to provide guidance to aspiring hawkers.

Will experienced hawkers who participate in the HDP be compensated for their time and guidance?

Experienced hawkers will be compensated for their effort and time in guiding aspiring hawkers during the Apprenticeship and Mentorship stages of the course.

I am an experienced hawker and I am interested to be a hawker mentor. How can I register my interest?

You may register your interest at

Read also: Comprehensive Guide To Temporary Fair Permit In Singapore

Read also: Navigating Singapore's Budget 2023: What Businesses Need to Know

Read also: Reduced Grant Funding Support For Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), What It Meant For SMEs In Singapore?



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