Business Establishment in Finland


Finland, officially known as the Republic of Finland, is located in the Northern part of Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Bothnia. Norway is located in its North, Sweden in Northwest and Russia in East. Its capital and largest city is Helsinki, which is also an attraction site for tourists. Finland is the 8th largest European country, which is also a member of European Union (EU). Finland is a quite stable country, which is evident from its high performance in many metrics of national performance, such as economic growth, human development, education and civil liberties. The national currency of Finland is Euro (EUR) which replaced Finish Mark (FIM) back in 1999.

Official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Current population of the state is 5.43 million people. The business environment of the country has been rated to be best in the world and it attracts many foreign investors.

Finland – from the perspective of residence

The operating environment of Finland is extremely stable and easily predictable. The country is a member of EU and the only Nordic nation with Euro (EUR) as its national currency, along with a low corporate tax rate of just 20%, which has resulted in a greater number of businesses to come and set up in the country and enjoy high returns on their investment.

Besides these, there are also some other worth-mentioning benefits which are listed below:

  • If you are willing to move permanently to Finland, then you don’t have to get permission from the Finnish Patent Registration Office to establish your start-up. Your nationality does not affects the entrepreneur’s residence permit, instead it demands on the place of permanent residence.
  • Finland enjoys a very reliable infrastructure.
  • It has a vibrant start-up scenario because of low corporate tax rates and access to European market.
  • Business environment is very predictable and stable.
  • Education is free.
  • Corruption is negligible.
  • Population is lesser, i.e. approximately just 5 million people.
  • Country always welcomes foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
  • Environmental concerns are given a proper attention and environmental conversation is highly practiced.
  • As a permanent resident, you will be under cover of various varieties of insurance benefits.

 

Entrepreneur Settlement Visa

In Finland, anyone can setup a business if one has the permanent residence in Finland or any other European Economic Area (EEA) nation. If you are willing to move to Finland, with an intention of starting up a business, and you are citizen of EU country, Nordic Nation, Switzerland or EEA nation citizen, then you don’t require a residence permit. Contrary to this, if you are not a citizen of the above depicted regions, then you must acquire a resident permit to start a business in Finland.

Residence Permit for Entrepreneurs

If you wish to be a business owner in Finland, then you must get an entrepreneur’s resident permit and you have to work personally at your business in Finland.

You are considered to be an entrepreneur in Finland, only if you are:

  • Individual working on a managerial position in any kind of company.
  • A start-up entrepreneur.
  • A sole proprietor or a private trader with an isolated and individually owned start-up.
  • A partner in a general partnership.
  • A member of a co-operative who has unlimited responsibilities.
  • An actively involved partner in a limited and termed partnership.
  • A Managing Director (MD) or an official member of Board of Directors (BoD) in a limited liability company.

If you reside permanently in Finland, you are required to go to the Trade Register of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, prior to applying for the residence and work permit, get your company operations registered. You do not have to get permission from the Trade Register, if you relocate to Finland.

Finnish Start-up Permit

In order to setup your entrepreneurial business in Finland, you should apply for the start-up residence permit which is specifically designed for the start-up entrepreneurs. You must have a proper business plan. There are 2 major steps in the application process:

  • Get an eligibility statement for your start-up business from the Business Finland.
  • Fill out an application form for start-up residence permit and visit the Finnish Diplomatic Mission / Finnish Immigration Service Office.

There is nothing complicated in the procedure of getting the permit. The Finnish start-up permit is mandatory for foreign entrepreneurs to make it possible for them to establish a start-up in the country and become a part of country’s lucrative start-up environment. This start-up scheme is for entrepreneurs belonging to countries other than European Union.

Before applying for the residence and work permit at Finnish Immigration Service, your business plan must get approved by Business Finland. This authority investigates if your business strategy, team and capital depict potential for growth and development. The necessary information, relevant to your start-up, can be sent to Business Finland, electronically. After getting successful in the assessment made by the Business Finland authorities, you will get an eligibility statement which should be attached with the application of permit. The start-up permit can be issued for a maximum of 2 years only, which further can be extended depending upon the progress of your start-up. It does not include investment capital or financial resources.

Who is eligible to apply for the Finnish Start-up Permit?

In order to be eligible for applying to the permit, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Team of at least two start-up founders with excellent capabilities.
  • Must have an innovative business plan.
  • Willing to found a rapid growth business in Finland.
  • Commitment to your business and eventually transform it to establish a company.
  • Secure adequate financial support
  • Have a significant holding in your business.
  • Have adequate resources and financial capital for business’ early stage development.

Evaluation Criteria specified by Business Finland

Business Finland expects some specific requirements from your business plan, resources and your team. These requirements are given below:

  • A team, who is aware of the needs their business idea wants to meet.
  • A team, that is aware of their target market, profits model and has some effective concrete plans to grow their business on international scale.
  • A team, that has an idea of the size of consumer base and the potential of their business.
  • A team, versatile in nature.
  • The value earned in the new establishment should contribute in Finland’s economy.

At the time of application submission, it is not necessary to have the financing capital of your business, but a sufficient amount of financial means must be indicated.

Setting up a Finnish subsidiary or a branch of any international business does not form a valid basis for the permit.

Procedure for Finnish Start-up Permit

For applying to the Finnish Start-up Permit, you should follow the steps given below:

  • Acquiring Eligibility Statement from Business Finland
  • As depicted earlier, before applying to the Finnish Diplomatic Mission or the Finnish Immigration Service Office, eligibility statement from the Business Finland is required. As of now, there are not any specific deadlines for submitting the application.
  • Come up with a business idea, give it a detailed outline for your business strategy and development plan, keeping in view the instructions provided in the Template for the Eligibility Statement Request (rtf)
  • Submit your application and the other mandatory documents to Business Finland, electronically at: https://asiointi.businessfinland.fi/suojaposti

 

  • Submission of application to the Finnish Immigration Service
  • After getting a favorable Eligibility Statement from Business Finland, you are eligible to apply for the start-up permit to Finnish Immigration Service. The eligibility statement is valid for 2 months, from the date of issuance. It must be attached to the application of entrepreneur’s residence permit.
  • Under no circumstances, you can be provided with a start-up residence permit by the Finnish Immigration Service without a positive feedback about your business plan from Business Finland.
  • It is possible to apply electronically for the entrepreneur’s residence permit via the Enter Finland Service. After applying online, confirm your identity by going to the nearest Finnish Diplomatic Mission and show the necessary original documents, this must be done with in the duration of 3 months after online submission of application. The application is not processed until you have not presented yourself at the government office.
  • Do not forget to track your application on the Enter Finland online account regularly. If any clarity is required you will be queried about it through your account.
  • Alternatively, if you are not able to make an online application then you can fill out the form on paper by getting the print out of application form available online on Finnish Immigration Service website, attach the required documents (valid passport, passport photo, color copies of passport pages that contain your personal information, document that you are legally residing in the country, an form MP_1) and submit it to the nearest located Finnish Diplomatic Mission.
  • You will be charged for the permit application, pay the required amount while you are submitting the application form.
  • Setting up a company in Finland
  • If you establish your business in Finland, then you get to enjoy a number of versatile benefits from its entrepreneurial ecosystem. For instance, you will then become able to apply for the Tempo funding by Business Finland. The criteria applicable for the funding is quite similar to that of the start-up permit.     Therefore, the application process is easier and fast, provided that if there are no significance changes in your business plan. To qualify for the Tempo Funding facility, Business Finland requires you to have 30,000 EUR equity investment by 3rd party investor. There are also some other funding plans in addition to Tempo Funding.
  • In general, setting up and running a business in Finland is great. Environment of country is stable, businesses are appreciated to take part in export and the corruption is controlled. It is not surprising that many international countries are investing in Finland. Finland also enjoys a healthy and natural environment. It has a wonderful forest cover across the country, which is almost two-third part of the country. Moreover, the pollution is minimal as people are more concerned about conserving environment.
  • Tempo Funding:
  • The Tempo Funding service is for the registered start-ups operating in Finland for less than 5 years. Business Finland generally provides temp funding facility to the promising start-up which are more innovative in nature and have potential in getting a part in export markets.
  • With the help of Tempo Funding, the start-up company can get the feedback from potential customers, examine the functionality of their business idea, study demand in some other export market and implement its initial steps quickly.
  • A company can avail this funding only when:
  • It knows the needs and requirements the business idea meets.
  • The major role players in the business show commitment towards it.
  • It has adequate funding for its initial operations and early development.
  • It has approximated the size and the business potential of the consumer base.
  • It has identified the target market, earning model for increase in company’s profit and concrete plans to expand the company on international level.
  • The company’s organizational structure must have a versatile team and there must be at least 1 full-time employee for the development of business.

You can apply for the funding via the Business Finland’s online service. Prior to submitting the application, it is recommended that you contact this institution and present your business plan via the Team Finland Service Forum. This is very helpful and important as it will help you not only getting a funding service but also fasten your application process.

The funding received can be utilized in many better ways such as, you can use it to test for the demand of a new product or some service in the market, before getting it engaged in international market. For example, you can synthesize some sample products or provide some demo services to the potential customers and can investigate their needs.

The maximum amount that can be granted under Tempo Funding scheme is 50,000 EUR. Generally, this amount caters for 75% of the overall production cost of the start-up. After your funding is approved, Business Finland pays 70% of the granted amount which can be maximum up to 35,000 EUR. The rest 30% of the grant money is paid on the basis of the operating costs reported by the company, at the end of the project.

For further information regarding, Tempo Funding, you can visit:

https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/for-finnish-customers/services/funding/startup/tempo-funding/

Here, all the necessary details regarding eligibility, application guidelines, expectations and many more.

Results

After receiving a Finnish start-up permit, you can also work as an employee for another employer without any need of getting a separate residence permit for an employed individual. However, your major concern about stay in Finland must be entrepreneurship. If your permit is about to expire, then you can apply for the extension, prior to applying for extension in permit, you must find out if you have the right to work in Finland, while your application is being processed.

Finland is a good place to carry out your business operations steadily, for international firms and self-employed people alike. A lot of guidance and help is available, processes are simple and consultancy can be provided. More than 6500 Finnish businesses have been established by foreigners which gives an impact that the environment is feasible and supportive for expats and entrepreneurs from other nations.

Talking about the competitiveness and innovation, Finland is one of the leading nations worldwide for everyone who is looking for setting up a business. Finland’s technological exports including other high-tech sectors is astonishing.  The stable support in development and research, in terms of GDP and active workforce, is best in the world. In short, establishing a business in Finland is very attractive and rewarding.

Most of the employees in Finland are occupied by agreements that include the minimum salary expectations for different sectors. These are defined legally binding salary rates that are applicable to every employee, Finnish and foreign too.

Being a resident of Finland, you are expected to be a tax payer to the state and local authority. Municipal tax rate is fixed, which depends upon the municipality. The state tax depends upon the income. Workers also pay for the employment pension schemes and also for unemployment insurance contributions, which are deducted from their salaries every month.

Entrepreneurs are also required to have a pension insurance, while they are not under the cover of accident insurance, so it is better for them to have a voluntary accident insurance policy. In the event of un-employment, entrepreneurs may be eligible for a basic allowance from Kela, which is a social insurance institution of Finland. Furthermore, they can also become a part of Entrepreneur’s Unemployment Fund for unemployment benefits.

In addition to that, entrepreneurs can get maternity/paternity, parental, rehabilitation and sickness allowance.

According to the Occupational Health Act, it is mandatory for employers to arrange occupational health care services for their employees. Self-employed persons can make some voluntary arrangements to receive health services.

It should be noted that Entrepreneurs in Finland are entitled to health care and compensation benefits from Kela. It caters for a maximum of 60% of occupational health care cost and 50% of required and reasonable medical care costing up to a certain limit. For more information, you can visit Kela website.

Perks of residing in Finland

Summing it up, residing in Finland is advantageous and the benefits that one can realize while being a permanent resident of Finland.

  • Finnish educational system is considered to be one of the best in the world. Teachers are well-qualified and adequately prepared. Education is totally free. Students are not charged for books or other necessary school supplies. Moreover, schools also supply one meal every school day.
  • Finland has well reputation globally and not negatively impacted by global crisis. Unemployment rate is quite low, and the average annual salary of Finnish workers is 45,000 EUR.
  • Corruption is not violent.
  • 2/3 of the country is covered by forests. There are many lakes in the country too.
  • Finnish people are well aware of environmental affairs and they are keen on conserving the resources and keeping their country clean.
  • As an entrepreneur, if you are unemployed, you qualify for the funds from Kela. Moreover, entrepreneurs can also get maternity, paternity, rehabilitation, medical and parental allowance.

For more information, regarding the entrepreneurship settlement visa of Finland, you can visit the Finland government’s website.