Support for management of sudden structural changes and development of international capabilities of SMEs
On 18 March, the Government granted Naantali and the Kemi-Tornio region EUR 600,000 and EUR 1.1 million, respectively, for the management of sudden structural changes. At the same time, the Lahti region was granted the remaining portion of the EUR 1.065 million additional funding already proposed to it. In addition, South Finland and Western Finland received funding to develop the international capabilities of SMEs.
In October 2020, the Ministerial Working Group on Promoting Employment agreed on the operating model for managing sudden structural changes and the criteria to assess such situations. On the basis of an overall assessment, cases that meet the criteria will become subject to additional Government measures and receive funding.
“The funding now allocated by the Government aims to generate added value to implement the structural change measures and increase their effectiveness in Naantali, Kemi-Tornio and Lahti. With the help of this funding, the regions can renew their economic structure and create new jobs,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
“It is important to allocate funding to areas of structural change, but we must also ensure that development funding is available to companies looking to grow. Many SMEs in Southern and Western Finland have the potential to internationalise and the Government has now allocated EUR 3 million to support such efforts,” Lintilä adds.
Naantali to receive EUR 600,000 to manage structural changes
Neste Oyj has decided to shut down its oil refinery in Naantali by the end of March 2021. With the closure of the refinery and the restructuring of related operations, approximately 370 jobs will be lost, of which 230 are in Naantali.
The necessary measures have been launched in the region, and in autumn 2020 Lintilä appointed Panu Routila, Patria Oyj’s Chairman of the Board, as rapporteur for the industrial future of the Naantali region. Routila will submit his report to Lintilä in the next few days. A key factor for the renewal of the area and creation of business is to find a new purpose for Neste’s buildings and determine the operators.
The additional state funding for Naantali consists of a regional development grant of EUR 200,000 and a business aid authorisation of EUR 400,000, which will be used for investment and development projects of SMEs that will create new jobs.
EUR 1.1 million to Kemi-Tornio to manage structural changes
Outokumpu Oyj is reducing its operations and has cut around 230 jobs in the Kemi-Tornio region. Local operators have formed a group to assess the situation and formulate an action plan to re-employ the workers and promote the vitality of the region.
Recently, there have also been positive news from the region. The decision by Metsä Group to build a bioproduct mill in Kemi has a widespread and positive impact on the region’s economy. However, it will also increase the need to promote the availability of skilled labour and to strengthen the capacity for renewal within business and industry. It is essential to transform the structural change into a positive renewal.
The additional State funding allocated to the Kemi-Tornio region consists of a regional development grant of EUR 800,000 and a business aid authorisation of EUR 300,000.
Remainder of additional funding for sudden structural change distributed to Lahti
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has granted to the Lahti region EUR 1.065 million for the sudden structural change caused by the closure of a bus body manufacturing plant by Scania’s subsidiary SOE Busproduction Finland Oy. The Government already allocated part of the funding, EUR 400,000, in regional development funds on 4 February 2021. On 18 March, the remainder of the total funding was distributed, EUR 100,000 as business aid authorisation, EUR 365,000 as ESF grants and EUR 200,000 as ERDF business aid authorisation.
EUR 3 million to SMEs in Southern and Western Finland to develop international capabilities
The Government has allocated EUR 1.7 million to the ELY Centre of Häme to develop the international capabilities of SMEs in Southern Finland and EUR 1.3 million to the ELY Centre of Central Finland for the same purpose in Western Finland.
The funding is meant for business development grants under the SME growth accelerator programme. The objective is to support, in particular, the capabilities of small companies looking to grow and internationalise.
The funding will be allocated in full to Southern and Western Finland because the amount of structural funds available in these regions is small relative to the number of SMEs with growth and internationalisation potential. The programme is also to be implemented in Eastern and Northern Finland under the Structural Funds programme.
Information on the content, aid criteria and application of aid for eligible projects under the growth accelerator programme is available on the website of ELY Centre.
Jenny Hasu, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 40 658 3510
Petra Stenfors, Senior Specialist (funding for sudden structural change), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. + 358 29 504 7282
Sirpa Hautala, Ministerial Adviser (support for internationalisation of SMEs), Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 063 684