The Finnish State and municipalities have made decisions on how to support entrepreneurs in financial problems caused by the corona epidemic. Here are six steps that can help your business.
1. Financial support for companies
Municipalities, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY-keskus) and Business Finland provide financial support for companies that have problems due to the epidemic. This support does not need to be paid back after the crisis.
Municipalities support solo entrepreneurs.
- The support amount is 2000 euro and it is issued to cover some of the costs of running a business.
- You can soon apply for the funding from the municipality where your business is located.
If your company is located in Turku, Kaarina, Lieto, Sauvo, Paimio, Mynämäki, Nousiainen, Rusko, Naantali, Raisio or Masku, you can apply for the support through the Turku Business Region online service.
You can find information on other municipalities’ support on the website of Varsinais-Suomen Yrittäjät (in Finnish)
Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY-keskus) supports companies with 1-5 employees.
- You can apply for the aid in the regional administration e-services.
- The support is called “Business development aid for the market and production disturbances caused by the coronavirus outbreak”
Please note: You cannot apply for both ELY support and Business Finland support at the same time.
For more information and application instructions: http://www.ely-keskus.fi/web/ely-en/poikkeustilannerahoitus
Business Finland supports companies with over 5 employees.
You can apply for only one of the following support types:
- Funding for preliminary studies on business disruptions
- Development funding for business disruptions
You can apply for the funding in the Business Finland online service.
For more information and application instructions: https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/for-finnish-customers/services/funding/disruptive_situations_funding/
2. Loans for companies
The Finnish government provides funding for companies that are struggling during the corona crisis. This funding is meant for sudden needs of funding caused by the crisis. Be proactive and apply for a loan in time to maintain the financial eligibility of your business.
Start by asking from your own bank about available alternatives. Many banks are prepared for the exceptional situation and currently offer various services.
Try to avoid quickie loans or other high-interest loans. The loans provided by Finnvera (https://www.finnvera.fi/) and banks are more flexible and less expensive.
3. Personal benefits
Unemployment benefit (TE Services):
- If you are an entrepreneur without work, please register as a jobseeker in the local TE Office.
- Due to the corona situation, entrepreneurs who are unemployed, laid off or working part-time can exceptionally apply for unemployment benefit.
- Full-time entrepreneurs can apply for unemployment benefit after becoming unemployed, normally one should register on the first day of unemployment. Keep up to date on the following webpages.
For more information: https://www.kela.fi/web/en/corona-frequently-asked-questions
Housing allowance and social assistance (KELA):
- Contact KELA to find out if you can apply for a housing allowance and social assistance.
- KELA can support you if you fall ill or are in quarantine which affects your business.
For more information: https://www.kela.fi/web/en/customer-service
4. Taxes and other obligatory payments
You can request a payment arrangement for the company’s taxes with eased terms, if your company is in financial difficulties. You can also request a change to your prepayments in MyTax –service if your company’s profits are less than expected. For more information:
Think also other ways to reduce monthly expenses of your company. If you have ordered new products, negotiate with the retailer about payment arrangements or cancel the order if possible. Apply for credit concerning your YEL or TYEL insurance from your pension insurance company.
If you have problems with any payment, the most important thing is to react quickly and openly agree on payment arrangements to avoid penalties. Many arrangements are possible now!
5. Laying off staff
If your company’s business activity has slowed down and you do not have enough work for your employees due to the corona situation you can lay off staff. This means that you as an employer temporarily suspend the work contract with your employee.
This laying off may
- suspend your employees work fully or partially
- be temporary or indefinite
It is important to comply with the collective labor agreements. You should personally give the lay-off notification. If this is not possible you may send a letter or email. This should happen at least 5-14 days before the actual day that your employee will not work anymore. Your employee should register as a jobseeker with the TE Office to get the unemployment benefit.
General information on lay-offs (in English): https://www.tyosuojelu.fi/web/en/employment-relationship/lay-offs
An example of lay-off notification (in Finnish): https://www.tyosuojelu.fi/documents/14660/338901/Lomautusilmoitus/a8741f35-fe01-4aca-a419-3da22f2f6e6a
For more information (in Finnish): https://www.yrittajat.fi/yrittajat/kaikki-koronasta-yrittajalle/a/ohjeet-tyonantajalle/lomauttaminen-ja-yt-laki-621221
6. More time for paying rent
If your business has premises and you are having difficulties paying rent, negociate of postponing or exemption of the rent with your lessor.
If you are a tenant of the City of Turku, you may ask the city to postpone your rental payment by three (3) months. A payment schedule and agreement will be made for the postponed rents with a maximum 24 months payback time.
Call and ask more!
Enterprise Finland Talousapu counselling service: 0295 024 882 (service in English Tuesday 9.00–16.00 and Friday 9.00–16.00 )
Enterprise Finland telephone service: 0295 020 502 (Monday-Friday 9.00–16.15)
Varsinais-Suomen Yrittäjät: Hanna Tarvainen email@example.com, tel. 040 7511166
Southwest Finland’s legal aid support for debt (only in Finnish): https://www.turku.fi/organisaatio/palvelukeskukset/talous-ja-velkaneuvonta
More information online:
Written by: Jenny Honka and Laura Keihäs, Humak University of Applied Sciences