Minister of Economic Affairs: Regional development, businesses and circular economy the key priorities of economic and industrial policy

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 17.9.2019 19.18 | Published in English on 18.9.2019 at 15.28
Press release
Katri Kulmuni

“The decisions we make will make our regions and businesses better equipped to perform, and they will enable determined progress towards a carbon-neutral society,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Katri Kulmuni, commenting on the outcome of the Government budget session.

Regional development will increase vitality throughout Finland

The Government Programme includes investments in regional development, which will support different regions, metropolitan areas, regional cities and sparsely populated rural areas. In its budget session, the Government agreed on additional financing of EUR 26 million for the implementation of these Government Programme objectives.

A supplementary appropriation of EUR 15 million is reserved for 2020 for contractual cooperation with cities and regions, and EUR 5 million for regions’ own development initiatives. It was also agreed that regional transport subsidy will continue, with a supplementary appropriation of EUR 6 million to be allocated on a permanent basis.

Innovation financing will reshape the business sector and create new jobs

“We want to diversify the Finnish business sector and thereby promote the creation of new jobs. Investments in grants to promote research, development and innovation support these efforts,” Minister Kulmuni explains.

With these measures, the RDI investments can be raised to four per cent of GDP, as agreed in the Government Programme.

The agreed grant authorisations of Innovation Funding Agency Business Finland totalled EUR 327.5 million, and loans nearly EUR 147 million for 2020. The grant authorisations include an increase of EUR 35.5 million, as stated in the new Government Programme. In addition, an appropriation of EUR 67 million will be allocated to the financing offered by Business Finland in the form of grants, of which EUR 55 million will be used to accelerate business-driven innovation and EUR 12 million to production aid in the audiovisual sector.

“Investment in innovation allows us to renew our business structures and enable companies to grow and internationalise,” says Minister Kulmuni.

Financing allocated to Business Finland will be increased by EUR 1 million to establish Creative Business Finland to boost the growth of creative industries.

International growth programme will drive internationalisation and business growth

“The internationalisation of companies will create new business activity and new jobs, and attract investments in Finland,” Minister Kulmuni emphasises.

Preparations for the international growth programme included in the Government Programme have begun. The budget proposal of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for 2020 includes an additional investment of nearly EUR 13 million in the programme.

Of the additional appropriations, EUR 5 million will be allocated to strengthening the internationalisation resources of Business Finland and EUR 1.5 million will be allocated to Business Finland for awarding grants intended to accelerate the internationalisation of companies.

As part of the additional financing for international growth, an SME growth accelerator programme will be launched, with a grant authorisation of EUR 4 million reserved for 2020. The objective of the programme is to support SMEs, particularly in Southern and Western Finland, where the financial support available is smaller than in Eastern and Northern Finland due to the scarcity of EU funding.

Determined steps towards a carbon-neutral economy                                     

“To promote the Government’s climate objectives, support for the transition to low-emission and energy-efficient technologies will be provided,” says Minister Kulmuni.

The Government will implement a biogas programme to promote the use of biogas in transport and in energy production. An additional appropriation of EUR 5 million will be reserved for the biogas programme for 2020.

A circular economy investment and innovation subsidy will be introduced for a fixed term to promote the circular economy. The Government decided to reserve a supplementary appropriation of EUR 25 million for this purpose for 2020.

Measures to boost tourism will have a positive employment and regional impact

The objective of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is to double the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in Finland by 2028.

The Government decided to allocate a supplementary appropriation of EUR 5 million to tourism to help companies in the tourism sector to reach the goals set.

“The additional financing requires a firm commitment from the sector’s companies to contribute to the achievement of our goals.  Tourism offers opportunities for success everywhere in Finland, therefore measures to boost tourism can significantly increase vitality across regions,” Minister Kulmuni concludes.

Inquiries:
Kari Jääskeläinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. + 358 44 058 1030
Arttu Karila, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7230