Preparations for coronavirus-related support to sole entrepreneurs progressing: funding for municipalities and more detailed instructions on application
Municipalities can apply for central government funding to be able to offer support to sole entrepreneurs in the coronavirus situation. Municipalities will make this support available to sole entrepreneurs as soon as possible. Municipalities will inform local entrepreneurs when the application period for support begins. Applications will be accepted until 30 September 2020.
Support to sole entrepreneurs in the coronavirus situation is provided under a decree adopted by the Government on 8 April 2020. The decree lays down provisions on the purpose and conditions of the discretionary government grant to sole entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities have given municipalities more detailed instructions on practical arrangements related to the application.
Support soon available from municipalities by application
The support available to sole entrepreneurs is a lump-sum payment of EUR 2,000, which is intended to cover costs arising from the entrepreneur's business activities. These include, for example, the costs of premises and equipment purchased for business purposes, as well as accounting and office expenses. Eligible costs are those incurred between 16 March and 31 August 2020.
To be eligible for support, the entrepreneur is required to prove that their financial situation and turnover have deteriorated after 16 March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, and that they have the potential for profitable business. A sole entrepreneur means a full-time entrepreneur who is engaged in economic activity in Finland alone and has no employees on payroll. To be considered a full-time entrepreneur, the person must be insured under the self-employed persons’ pension insurance (YEL) or able to produce records of an annual entrepreneurial income or invoicing of at least EUR 20,000. The legal form of activity or source of financing is irrelevant.
According to the most recent policy decision, the support to sole entrepreneurs does not exclude unemployment security, and vice versa. This means entrepreneurs can apply for both the support to sole entrepreneurs and unemployment security. These will not be coordinated; in other words, being eligible for one form of support will not affect entitlement to or amount of the other.
Municipalities will make financial support available to sole entrepreneurs as soon as possible. Sole entrepreneurs can apply for support from the municipality in which their business is registered, i.e. the business domicile registered in the Business Information System. Each municipality organises the application either by electronic means or on paper forms. Municipalities will help entrepreneurs with the application procedures and process applications in the order of arrival.
Funding available to municipalities from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Municipalities can apply for a government grant from Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the purpose of providing support to sole entrepreneurs. The Government is allocating a total of EUR 250 million for this. Funding granted by the Ministry is calculated in proportion to the number of sole entrepreneurs in the municipality.
Municipalities may, at their discretion, assign central responsibility for applying for support to one municipality. In such a case, municipalities will inform entrepreneurs to make sure they will know where to apply for funding.
More detailed instructions and application forms have been provided to municipalities for launching the application process.
Support to sole entrepreneurs is paid for a fixed term. The relevant Government decree will enter into force on 9 April 2020 and it will remain in force until 15 October 2020. The first announcement on support of sole entrepreneurs was published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities on 27 March 2020.
Information to municipalities on how to apply for government grants:
Lasse Laitinen, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7162
Jaana Lappi, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 2658
Anne Rothovius, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 3532
Maija Lönnqvist, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 331 3791
Mikko Ojala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 3506
Information to municipalities on how to arrange the application process and on granting support to sole entrepreneurs:
Jarkko Huovinen, Director of the Regions and Urban Development, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 9 771 2550
Juha Myllymäki, Legal Director, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 9 771 2193
Kai Ketelimäki, Legal Counsel, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 9 771 2088
Information to entrepreneurs on how to apply for support:
Municipalities will provide more details regarding the application as soon as possible