Labour and other resources are unevenly distributed and for this reason there are differences in business opportunities between regions. The Government may designate least developed areas as support areas. Enterprises may receive higher aid for investments in the support areas than elsewhere in Finland. The aid is provided by ELY Centres.
The support areas are designated on the basis of the criteria laid down by the EU. Population density, GDP, unemployment rate and specific geographical features are used as the main criteria.
Support areas and aid levels 2014 - 2021
The major region of Eastern and Northern Finland is a support area on account of low population density. It comprises the regions of South Savo, North Savo, North Karelia, Kainuu, Central Ostrobothnia, Northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland.
In accordance with the population share laid down for each Member State by the European Commission, the population of the support areas in the rest of Finland may total about 100,000.
This aid is channelled as aid for areas of structural change and prolonged decline. In these areas there is a need for higher aid for SMEs and support schemes for large enterprises are also required. The European Commission has designated support areas according to the proposal of Finland.
Eastern and Northern Finland comprise support area I where the aid levels are highest. Support area II comprises the municipalities of Salo, Somero, Kannonkoski, Karstula, Kinnula, Kivijärvi, Kyyjärvi, Pihtipudas, Saarijärvi, Viitasaari and Konnevesi. The rest of Finland belongs to support area III where the aid levels are lowest and large enterprises are not eligible for any aid.
Maximum investment aid levels 2014-2021
Support area I
(Eastern and Northern Finland)
Large enterprises 15%
Medium-sized enterprises 25%
Small enterprises 35%
Support area II
(Salo sub-region, Saarijärvi-Viitasaari sub-region and Konnevesi)
Large enterprises 10%
Medium-sized enterprises 20%
Small enterprises 30%
Support area III
(Rest of Finland)
Large enterprises -
Medium-sized enterprises 10%
Small enterprises 20%
Further information hanna-maria.urjankangas(at)gov.fi