In the current funding period (2021–2027), structural funds will allocate funding for a range of development and investment projects run by companies. The projects can be related to production, internationalisation or competence, for example, and they must have a significant impact on the company’s operations, renewal, growth and competitiveness. Employment aspects will also be considered when granting funding. Other matters taken into account in funding decisions include the low-carbon nature of the project, as well as elements with a positive impact on the climate and environment.
A maximum of 50% can be granted as support for development measures. In investment projects, the share of such support is 10–35%. The share of support differs depending on the project’s content, location and any other relevant matters.
In addition, Business Finland grants funding for companies’ research, development and innovation activities. Business Finland’s funding is available to companies, research organisations and public service providers. Small and medium-sized enterprises seeking growth through internationalisation are the main target group.
The act on discretionary government grants for business development (758/2021) entered into force on 1 November 2021. Support has since been part of the funding granted in the Innovation and Skills in Finland 2021–20217 regional and structural policy programme.
Before submitting their application, applicants are encouraged to contact the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment’s national SME funding advisory service (+358 295 024 800) or the personnel in charge of business funding at the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. This will give them an idea of the project’s eligibility for funding before submitting the application.
Most of the funding for business development and investment projects comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Business funding for rural areas
Support for the development and investment needs of micro companies can also be sought from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. However, the support comes from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The criteria for funding resemble those for support granted from the European Regional Development Fund or national funds. Further information about business support for rural areas is available on the website of the Finnish Food Authority. Business support for rural areas (ruokavirasto.fi)