Support areas

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 2022–2027

The Government Decree on the Support Areas Referred to in the Act on Regional Development and Implementation of the European Union’s Regional and Structural Policy in 2022–2027 (467/2022), which will entered into force on 22 June 2022, divides Finland’s support areas into support areas I and II.

Support area I covers all municipalities located in the major regions of East and North Finland, that is the regions of South Savo, North Savo, North Karelia, Central Ostrobothnia, Lapland, Kainuu and North Ostrobothnia. In addition, the municipalities of Imatra, Parikkala, Rautjärvi and Ruokolahti in the region of South Karelia, and Miehikkälä and Virolahti in the region of Kymenlaakso belong to support area I. 

Support area II covers the following municipalities: Jämsä, Joutsa, Luhanka, Keuruu, Multia, Kannonkoski, Karstula, Kinnula, Kivijärvi, Kyyjärvi, Pihtipudas, Saarijärvi and Viitasaari in Central Finland; Alavus, Kuortane, Ähtäri, Alajärvi, Evijärvi, Lappajärvi, Soini and Vimpeli in South Ostrobothnia; Hartola, Heinola, Padasjoki and Sysmä in Päijät-Häme; and Kuhmoinen, Juupajoki and Mänttä-Vilppula in Pirkanmaa.

Support areas 

The maximum amount of investment aid

Support areas
Small enterprise
Support area I 40 % 30 % 20 %
Support area II 35 % 25 % 15 %
Areas outside support areas 
(Support area III)
20 % 10 %  

Further information hanna-maria.urjankangas(at)