Business development aid

The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) grant business development aid for companies’ development and investment projects from the assets of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021−2027 – EU Regional and Structural Policy Programme. Projects chosen to receive funding must be applicable to each of the ERDF programme’s special objectives (File opens in a new tab) and meet the requirements for granting business development aid, regarding which more information is available regionally:

and in Finnish on the ELY Centres’ websites (Link to external website).

The ELY Centres’ regional funding guidelines (Link to external website) specify the funding principles and define in more detail how investments can be supported regionally.  Because different regions have different appropriations available for business development aid, investments cannot be supported in each region. Read more about the ELY Centres’ regional funding guidelines to identify access to funding for the development project in your region. 

Supported activities

The focus is on projects implemented by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Aid will be granted for projects that are assessed to have a significant impact on companies’ growth or modernisation, internationalisation, innovation activities or competence development, productivity, digital business or adaptation to climate change, advancement of carbon neutrality, and energy or material efficiency. 

To apply for the aid, companies must have a business ID. The aid cannot be applied for in the name of a company to be established or for groups of companies.

Business development aid is discretionary. The aid can be granted for identified and clearly outlined development projects that differ from companies’ regular activities. Reasonable costs that are significant for project implementation and eligible for support can be accepted as project costs. The total financing of the project and the financing of the company’s other operational activities must be in order.

During this programme period, the aid can also be granted as lump sum compensation for SMEs seeking growth when companies are investigating the opportunity of launching new growth business. For projects eligible for lump sum compensation, one or more concrete and measurable target or output will be set during the application stage. The aid will be paid based on verifiable outputs in accordance with the approved project plan.

Applying for business development aid

Business development aid must always be applied for before starting the project in question. Applications must be submitted in electronic format in the EURA 2021 system (Link to external website). 

Applying for funding through the EURA 2021 system requires the use of e-Identification. A person who has the right to sign for their company as registered in the Trade Register or the Business Information System can act on their company’s behalf. If an application is signed by a person who does not have the right to sign for their company, a person with the right to sign for the company must request authorisation in the service (Link to external service) by selecting the “Rakennerahastohankkeen asiakirjojen valmistelu, käsittelyyn jättäminen ja tietojen hallinnointi” (Preparation of documents for structural fund projects, submitting for processing and data management) authorisation to enable logging in to the EURA 2021 system, filling in the application, signing documents and submitting the documents to the authorities for processing.
More detailed instructions on the properties and use of the EURA 2021 system are available in Finnish in the EURA 2021 operating instructions (Link to external website). The system offers help and guidance for completing the application. 

Active project funding calls are currently available in the system by selecting the ERDF, business development aid, your project’s municipality and the ELY Centre as the authority under “Rahasto” (Fund). Read the content of the funding call carefully before completing the application. Your application will be processed more quickly if it is completed correctly and includes the required attachments.

Advisory services and further information

Before submitting your application, we recommend that you contact advisory services for SME funding or your region’s business specialists to identify the opportunity to receive funding for your project. 

Advisory services for SME funding will also help you with electronic applications and services. 

Funding for SMEs – ask for advice from a specialist, call +358 295 024 800.

Contact details of the ELY Centres’ business specialists (Link to external website)