Changes in Business Finland’s RDI funding due to COVID-19
On 9 July, the Government adopted an amendment to the Decree on Funding for Research, Development and Innovation Activities. The amendment permits the provision of funding for research, development and innovation activities under the temporary state aid scheme established in the context of the coronavirus epidemic and approved by the European Commission. According to the Commission decision, the support may not exceed EUR 800,000 per company.
Companies operating on the international or domestic markets, as well as foundations and associations keen to engage in development activities to improve their business capabilities and to renew operations to remain competitive after the coronavirus crisis can now apply for temporary loans for their research, development and innovation activities.
This means that the total sum of aid granted by Business Finland under the temporary state aid scheme and other forms of support, such as the fixed-term support for business costs, may not exceed EUR 800,000 per company. Aid granted under the aid scheme may be granted in addition to de minimis aid. De minimis aid refers to aid that may be granted to companies by various entities up to a maximum of EUR 200,000 over three fiscal years.
Financing for companies in financial difficulties due to COVID-19
The amendment permits the provision of financing to companies experiencing financial difficulties. The amendment allows Business Finland to grant temporary financing to companies that fail to meet the eligibility requirements ordinarily in force for research, development and innovation funding because of financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
The validity of the decree was extended to correspond to the extended validity of the so-called General Block Exemption Regulation and the Regulation on the de minimis aid until 31 December 2023.
The entry into force of the decree will be phased in on 10 July 2020 and 1 August 2020. Funding under the state aid scheme may be granted until 31 December 2020, and exceptions regarding companies’ financial difficulties will remain in force until 30 June 2021.
Applications for coronavirus related support granted by Business Finland have not been accepted since 8 June 2020, after the Government submitted its proposal on fixed-term support for business costs to Parliament. The standard financial instruments offered by Business Finland will continue to be available.
The second supplementary budget for 2020 includes an increase of EUR 300 million in Business Finland’s lending authorisations to safeguard business development in the coronavirus crisis. After the amendment to the Decree has entered into force, loans could be granted under the temporary state aid scheme.
Maija Lönnqvist, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7105