- Access to finance
- response to COVID-19
- Support for digitalisation
- Attracting investors
- Fostering innovation
- Support of companies' growth
- Support of internationalisation
- Support of SMEs
Business Finland provides funding for companies in Finland.
Some of the funding opportunities are open even for research organisations, municipalities and cities.
Business Finland Venture Capital Ltd (Business Finland) is a state-owned venture capital fund investment company that provides innovation funding and promotes trade, travel and investments.
Business Finland has 16 offices in Finland and 40 global offices. Business Finland was established in 2018 as a result of a merger of two organisations: Finpro, a state-owned organisation that focused on internationalisation, investments and tourism and Tekes, a state-owned innovation-funding organisation.
Business Finland provides a wide range of services for Finnish companies. The main services consist of internationalisation and innovation - funding, advisory services connected to internationalisation and services for the creation and development of ecosystems.
A significant part of the services are provided through programmes that Business Finland has established in areas with significant potential for growth. According to Business Finland's website, the purpose of the programme activities is to 'prompt businesses to benefit from market transitions and to increase understanding of themes affecting the future of business'. In the programmes, Business Finland provides companies with advice on networking, finding new markets and customers, help with joint offerings and connections with international investors.
Two examples of the current programmes are:
1) Digital Trust Finland (2019-2023): A progamme that provides innovation funding, help with internationalisation and support for strengthening ecosystems for Finnish companies operating in critical communications and cybersecurity. Companies using cybersecurity solutions can apply for funding. Also Smart Finance actors (e.g. banks, insurance companies, payment technology companies or financial management companies) and companies that are part of the MyData network that focuses on personal data sharing issues can be part of the programme. The budget is €100 million.
2) Smart Energy Finland (2018-2022): A programme that helps Finnish companies, research organisations, municipalities and cities to benefit from the business opportunities that arise from the changes in the transport sector. The programme seeks also to attract international actors of the transport sector to Finland. The budget is approximately €50 million.
Between March and June 2020, Business Finland was commissioned to grant business development aid for SMEs and mid-caps negatively affected by COVID-19. Funding was granted for two types of projects: feasibility studies or development projects. This COVID-19 related business development aid was discontinued on 8 June 2020 and replaced by a financial support for business costs. This new support instrument is not administrated by Business Finland.
- National funds
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment governs the activities of Business Finland through the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.
According to Business Finland's impact report from 2019, in 2018 Business Finland received 6,060 applications which led to €565 million in awarded funding. Most of this funding (€451 million) was awarded for companies, the rest for research; 65% of funding was given to the services sector, 28% to industry and 7% to other sectors.
Projects completed in 2018 generated approximately 3,000 new innovations and 1,300 patents or patent applications.
Growth figures (accumulated growth between 2014 and 2017) of SMEs funded by Business Finland were:
- 20% increase in turnover;
- 24% increase in exports;
- 22% increase in value added.
A survey conducted by Confederation of Finnish Industries EK from 2018 illustrates that Finnish SMEs consider services provided by Business Finland to be important for them.
According to the study, the following services provided by Business Finland matched particularly well with the needs of SMEs:
- support for marketing and sales (38% of SMEs considered this service to be central for their business activity);
- support with international networking (38% of SMEs considered this service to be central for their business activity);
- international services provided by regional Business Finland units (19% of SMEs considered this service to be central for their business activity).
According to a study by Confederation of Finnish Industries EK from 2018, 28% of the companies that had used services provided by Business Finland were not satisfied with the service provided. The group that was particularly critical was companies at early or growth stage that sought internationalisation. According to Confederation of Finnish Industries, Business Finland should focus more on companies that aim for international markets (Confederation of Finnish Industries, 2018).