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Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä: Support will be given to entrepreneurs facing hardship

Mika Lintilä Published Date 18.3.2020 12.48 Blog

We are making determined efforts to help Finnish companies suffering from the difficulties caused by the coronavirus.

The supplementary budget to be discussed on Friday includes a package to support entrepreneurs and businesses. The package is adjusted to needs identified so far, and amounts to nearly EUR 5 billion.

I encourage entrepreneurs facing economic hardship to first contact their bank and other financing providers. We will make sure services are provided at a low threshold.

Banks are prepared to discuss arrangements such as loan repayment holidays and repayment rescheduling. Every effort will be made to quickly build a flexible financial system with banks and financial institutions.

Central government funding will be primarily allocated to the most vulnerable sectors.

In all the solutions, the objective of public financing is to help companies overcome the financial consequences of the coronavirus, and to create conditions for profitable business in the longer term.

In the administrative sector of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, business financing is provided by Finnvera, Business Finland, ELY Centres and Finnish Industry Investment.

Finnvera is prepared, if necessary, to double its financing to Finnish SMEs from the current level of EUR 2 billion to more than EUR 4 billion. Finnvera will also extend the use of SME guarantee and start guarantee for purposes such as financing required to address the financial challenges caused by the corona virus. Decisions for sums less than EUR 150,000 can be made within a few days; decision for larger sums may take from one week to several weeks.

Sectors that have been hit hardest by the corona virus include tourism, catering and service sectors as well as the creative industries. Determined steps will be taken to support these sectors.

Sectors that have been hit hardest by the corona virus include tourism, catering and service sectors as well as the creative industries. Determined steps will be taken to support these sectors.

Business Finland’s funding is primarily intended for SMEs. Financing provided by Business Finland may be allocated to the tourism sector and the creative industries. The support package also covers industries where subcontracting chains are affected. Electronic applications may be submitted to Business Finland’s online service from Thursday 19 March onwards, and the first decisions can be made the next day, on Friday.

ELY Centres grant de minimis aid, which is a form of public funding granted to companies, governed by a European Commission Regulation.  The aid may consist of funding or other benefits, such as tax relief, interest rate subsidies, partially or completely free training, or other service offered to a limited group of companies.

According to EU regulations, an enterprise may be granted de minimis aid up to EUR 200,000 over a period covering the current and two preceding tax years. This funding is initially intended to alleviate the acute crisis and prevent large-scale bankruptcies.

Meanwhile, Finnish Industry Investment, together with other investors, is prepared to provide additional financing to private equity funds and its investee companies to cater to any needs arising from the corona virus. Finnish Industry Investment is also prepared to introduce a stability programme for companies that helps to strengthen the financial position of companies, together with private investors.

In addition, the state allocates half a million euros to advisory services and operating models to support the coping of entrepreneurs. The purpose of these measures is to ensure access to mental support and practical advice during these exceptional times.

Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs

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