The outbreak of covid-19 has major impacts on businesses. The Finnish government and the cities are reacting to the situation with different measures to ease the situation for the entrepreneurs. The government is investing up to 15 billion € to support the companies. 1 billion € is reserved for direct subsidies for companies. In addition, labor market organizations have agreed in collaboration with the government to make temporarily lay-offs more flexible and unemployment security stronger.
“We are taking determined steps to support companies in this exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic. By making additional financing available through Finnvera, Business Finland and ELY Centres, we are making companies better equipped to pull through,” says Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs.
Government decided to streghten the direct support for companies on 26.3.2020. From the 1 B€ direct subsidy, 700 million euros are reserved for the Business Finland grants and 300 million for the ELY centre subsidies.
We are updating an article, where businesses can find information about the funding, and counseling opportunities, and links to different parties that are helping the entrepreneurs to cope in the current situation.
Entrepreneur’s guide for the coronavirus era
14.5 Startup Refugees has published a comprehensive guide for employees during the coronavirus era. The guide answers to the following questions:
1) What to do when the money runs out?
2) What to do with employees?
3) How to manage business now and in the future?
4) Tips for restaurant, café and bar owners
5) Links to get more information
Introduction of a new cost support mechanism for companies
On 13.5. 2020 Government decided to implement a new support mechanism, directed towards companies with notably lowered turnover due to COVID crisis. Support is allocated to companies and sectors most severely affected by coronavirus.
The aim is to prevent companies from going bankrupt and layoffs. The new support mechanism aims to speed up the recovery process of companies and prevent layoffs from becoming permanent.
The new support mechanism law is currently under fast preparation by TEM and the Ministry of Finance. Eligibility criteria and other requirements are under preparation.
The government also decided that applications for ELY Centers and Business Finland support will be discontinued. All the applications during the application period will be processed for coronavirus-related support. After that, normal financial instruments will be back.
More Helsinki City support
The City of Helsinki will support sole traders suffering financial losses resulting from coronavirus crisis by a one-time payment of 2000 euros. The application period for the grant is from March 16 to August 31, 2020.
Companies and entrepreneurs that have provided the City of Helsinki with products/ services can now ask for early payment.
Also, commercial tenants affected by corona can apply for rent exemptions from 1st April to 30 June.
The Government is preparing a new, 120 million € support package for restaurants
The government gave a suggestion for the parliament about a law to support the re-employment of restaurant staff and to reimburse the costs associated with closing down restaurants. The idea is to support the costs, caused by closing down restaurants.
This law is currently under preparation.
The City of Helsinki is also actively seeking solutions to help the many businesses that find themselves in dire financial circumstances due to the covid-19 coronavirus. The city’s opening decisions in this effort are designed to keep the hardest hit companies from developing immediate cash-flow problems. Helsinki has announced its first phase of measures to relieve the burden of firms and organisations that have lost business due to covid-19.
Read more >
On 27.3.2020 Helsinki annouced series of payment waiwer and refunds to compensate for coronavirus closuser. More information >
Business Espoo is also offering information and counseling for entrepreneurs on how to overcome the crisis. Read more about the services >
Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council has decided 30.3.2020 to open a fund for applications to reduce the impact of corona epidemic. Applying opens as soon as possible. The support is funded by the funding received from the Ministry of Economic affairs and employment for the development of the region and from the own funding of the Regional Council. This crisis funding is not meant for single company for development of its business, but for projects that has strong collaboration and networking.
More information on the Regional Council’s website >
Additional EUR 12 billion available for business financing through Finnvera
The Government has prepared a proposal to increase Finnvera Oyj’s domestic financing authorisations from the current maximum of EUR 4.2 billion to EUR 12 billion.
Under its current authorisation, Finnvera Oyj is able to raise its business financing by EUR 2 billion. The increase in its authorisation to EUR 12 billion will now make an additional EUR 10 billion available to companies. In addition, the state will increase its coverage of Finnvera’s credit and guarantee losses from 50% to 80%. This allows Finnvera to take bigger risks in these present conditions of economic uncertainty. Finnvera website >
Business Finland funding under covid-19
Business Finland’s grant authorisations will be increased to permit immediate business support measures.
On 19 March 2020, Business Finland launched two new financial services to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. These services are intended for SMEs and midcaps operating in Finland whose business is suffering from the coronavirus situation.
Financial services are intended for at least tourism and auxiliary tourism services, creative and performing industries and all sectors where subcontracting chains are affected. The funding is intended for companies to explore and tap into new business opportunities in emergency conditions. The first funding decisions will be made immediately on 20 March 2020.
Business Finland website >
Haaga-Helia, University of Applied Sciences, is helping small companies by offering free consultation for applying the business support related to the covid-19 situation, from Business Finland. More information in Finnish >
A substantial increase for companies’ business development support
ELY Centres’ grant authorisations for business development projects will be increased by EUR 50 million.
The additional authorisation will be used to support SMEs particularly in the service sector but also in other sectors as necessary to manage and prevent the effects of the coronavirus. Ely Centres’ support can be applied by companies who employ 1-5 employees, but not self-employed entrepreneurs (there is separate support for them prepared by the municipalities). The support is meant for companies to whom the covid-19 situation has caused market or supply failure, but have conditions for a profitable business in the future and who are aiming to innovate and strengthen their know-how.
Ely centres website >
To the application >
Support for self-employed from municipalities
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has prepared in cooperation with the Association of Finnish Municipalities funding instrument for self-employed entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can apply for funding from the municipalities for the fixed expenses to help them over the exceptional time. The conditions of the support are the same for all municipalities. The 100 million euro support is funded by the government. The requirement for the support is that the business has been profitable before the break caused by coronavirus. The support program is temporary and lasts for 6 months. Applications can be sent after all the details of the support have been agreed upon.
More resources for business advisory services
Financial resources of EUR 500,000 will be allocated to the Talousapu financial assistance service for entrepreneurs. In addition, a national model to help entrepreneurs facing financial and payment difficulties will be implemented.
“These are the measures we have now taken to support companies facing hardship due to the coronavirus, but needless to say, more support will be required. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and make the necessary decisions quickly,” Minister Lintilä says
Infromation about the Talousapu >
Actions to ease the employers’ responsibilities
Central labour market organisations have agreed in collaboration with the government about easements for the employers.
Entrepreneurs will get temporary right for the unemployment benefit. This applies also to self-employed and freelancers. Entrepreneurs will need to reason, how corona virus is affecting their business, to be entitled for the benefit.
Five own risk days of the unemployment benefit are removed temporarily. In addition the duration of the employment before the unemployment is reduced to 13 weeks from the current six months. This applies to employments which have started after 1.1.2020.
The minimum duration of the co-operation negotiations are reduced to five days.
The employers’ pension contribution is reduced by 2.6 percentage in the private sector starting latest from June and lasting until the end of the year. Pension contributions are also being postponed with three months.
Finnish Tax administration information
Tax administration is updating information on how the coronavirus situation affects the filing and paying of taxes and our taxpayer services.They have also prepared instructions for businesses and entrepreneurs who have difficulties filing and paying their taxes on time. Read more >
FAQ by Federation of Finnish Enterprises
Federation of Finnish Enterprises has published a list of frequently asked questions and answers related to corona virus. The website includes information everything from quarantine and lay-offs to taxation and financing. Federation of Finnish Enterprises website >
Support and services for startups
Newco Helsinki is continuing their work and keeping all business advisory sessions with a remote access.
Maria01 has collected a COVID-19 Survival Guide for Startups and Growth Companies in Finland, which you find here >
12 Finnish investors share their advice for startups in covid-19 crisis
Slush gathered thoughts and advice from 12 Finnish investors to startups, and why not other companies as well, to adapt to this exceptional situation.
“Many of today’s unicorns have been founded or built during recessions or downturns – resource scarcity can be a source of creativity and pivoting,” says Inka Mero, Founder and managing partner of Voima Ventures.
We at Helsinki Business Hub are here for you
We will continue serving you the best possible way and supporting you with planning, preparing and finding the right partners, so you can move forward, whenever the timing is right.
Though we are working remotely, we do it as a team and in tight collaboration with the whole Greater Helsinki ecosystem. This ensures you find the best business opportunities for your needs. You can reach us via several digital channels and we are more than happy to see you and keep working with you virtually.