Where to find support for my business?
The financial losses caused by the coronavirus have been significant for many Finnish entrepreneurs. Researchers and artists in particular have on several occasions challenged society to take responsibility for the well-being of artists. Problems in the art funding system burden artists even under normal circumstances.
According to a survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce in March 2021, companies consider the government’s Corona measures to be confusing. Of the approximately 2700 companies that responded to the survey, 67 percent felt that the government’s actions in managing the corona have been fairly or very confusing and unpredictable. Grants have been awarded, but very many entrepreneurs have been left alone and without advice.
Cost subsidies have enabled but also caused resentment
In the third round, the conditions for support were changed, among other things, regarding the minimum amount of support. The company could thus receive an aid of 2000€ if the other conditions for aid were met, even if the amount of aid was calculated to be less than 2000€. The main reason for the rejection of applications in previous rounds was that the aid was below the threshold of 2000€.
This change has particularly served solo and small entrepreneurs. The majority of applicants were companies with less than ten employees, and they also received the most support. Most support was sought from the catering and accommodation sectors.
The situation remains serious
According to the Finnish Entrepreneurs’ Survey, 13 percent of companies are ain payment difficulties due to the corona epidemic and 10 percent are considering closing. Five percent of companies face the threat of bankruptcy. As many of 63 percent of entrepreneurs say their businesses are suffering in some way from the corona crisis. In more than half of the companies, sales have fallen and in a fifth more than 30 percent. Throughout the corona crisis, the most severely hit have been catering business, accommodation, arts, entertainment, recreation, passenger transport, education, and a part of the trade sector.
According to a survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce, one third of companies believe that their turnover will increase by 1-50 percent towards the end of the year. However, a third expects revenue to remain unchanged and a third to decline.
If you face financial challenges
The first piece of advice for entrepreneurs is to get in touch with their own bank and other financiers of the company. Financiers in various forums have talked about the possibilities of negotiating instalment breaks and flexibility in payment periods. Several entrepreneurs have also hoped for and received support from their landlords.
Rents are a significant item of expenditure for entrepreneurs, regardless of income. It has been a particularly difficult time, e.g., for entrepreneurs in the catering business who have not been allowed to continue their operations with restaurants being closed for long periods of time. Some of the landlords of business spaces have come towards entrepreneurs, for example by reducing rents or giving them a completely free period.
Landlords may also have agreed on different support packages with companies. Assistance may also have been provided through other means, such as supporting entrepreneurial marketing.
Combined financial advice
Kasvurahoitus (www.kasvurahoitus.fi) has compiled comprehensive up-to-date information for small and medium-sized companies if there are challenges in business. The information has been compiled from the following topics:
- How do I cope with the financial distress caused by Corona?
- Where can I get help or funding for a difficult situation?
- Decisions of the Finnish government concerning companies
- Deferrals and facilitations of payments
- Instructions for applying for business support
- Where can I get help applying for support?
The Talouskuutio website (www.talouskuutio.fi/korona-tuet/) also contains information on various forms of support.
The government has financed companies through the state funded Finnvera, Business Finland, ELY centers, municipalities, and Industry Investment, as well as the State Treasury. Some of the funding has already ended, such as support for solo entrepreneurs (2000€) from municipalities. Entrepreneurs were also granted the right to unemployment insurance. The law entered into force on the 8th of April 2020 and was in force until 30th of June 2020.
Grants to small and medium-sized stock companies
Business Finland’s normal financial services are available to stock companies. They are intended e.g., for SMEs operating in Finland, which employ 6-250 people. Read more:
Grants to small and other forms of companies
ELY centers fund companies that employ 1-5 people. Read more:
Growth funding: https://www.kasvurahoitus.fi/korona-opas/
Chamber of Commerce Survey: https://kauppakamari.fi/tiedote/kauppakamarikysely-hallituse-koronatoiminta-yritysten-mielesta-sekavaa-ja-ennakoimatonta/
Cost support: https://www.kasvurahoitus.fi/korona-opas/kustannustuki-yleistuki/
Unemployment security: https://www.tyj.fi/jos-jaat-tyottomaksi/yritystoiminta-ja-tyottomyysturva/
Katja Heikkinen and Reetta Raitoharju
Originally posted on the 25th of May, 2021