A man with computer. Photo: Marja Väänänen

Around 5,000 Helsinki-based sole entrepreneurs have received operating support due to coronavirus

City of Helsinki started on 20 April accepting applications for the operating support for sole entrepreneurs. The support is a lump-sum compensation of 2,000 euros for sole entrepreneurs to cover costs caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the business activities. Around 5,000 entrepreneurs have already received operating support from the City. This means that Helsinki has distributed around 10 million euros to sole entrepreneurs, to cover damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The objective of the coronavirus support to sole entrepreneurs is to solidify the financial foundation of the entrepreneur’s operations during and after the epidemic. The operating support is meant only for covering expenses of the regular entrepreneurship and the support is valid only for covering the acute liquidity crisis caused by the epidemic.

“There are many sole entrepreneurs in Helsinki. Many of them work in the services sector, but also in the creative branches and as different kinds of experts. The COVID-19 epidemic has had a major impact on small-scale entrepreneurs in the services sector. After the epidemic, Helsinki still needs sole entrepreneurs to serve the people of Helsinki and to work as sub-contractors for bigger companies, so it is important that all those who meet the requirements receive the support”, says Service Manager Toivo Utso at Economic Development.

Sole entrepreneurs can apply for support if the financial situation and turnover have plunged considerably, more than 30 % due to the coronavirus pandemic since 16.3.2020, the entrepreneur income for last year is at least 20,000 euros and the operations have been profitable before the coronavirus pandemic. The support can be granted to a full-time entrepreneur who is engaged in economic activity in Finland alone. A sole entrepreneur is an entrepreneur or self-employed worker, who has no employees on payroll.

City of Helsinki aims for fast processing of applications

Quickly accepting applications and paying the support to the entrepreneurs have been big and important pushes for Helsinki. For example, during the first day of accepting applications, the City at one point received more than 100 applications per hour, which means that the need for help has been considerable during this exceptional time. To help with the processing of the applications, personnel was transferred from other parts of the city organisation, for example, from the libraries, which were closed due to the epidemic in April-May. Part of the 60 people who helped with the processing of the applications worked full-time, while others did so alongside their own duties.

For example, Planner Mirkka Kesti-Helia from the Economic Development's Labour Force and Migration unit moved during the Mayday week within the unit to help with the sole entrepreneur coronavirus support project. As things had quietened down in her own work at employment affairs and the Helsinki supplement, it was quite natural that she started working partly in the sole entrepreneur support project.

“It has felt great to be able to help and do concrete things to ease the coronavirus blow. Especially on the telephone support line, it has become obvious just how important the support is to the entrepreneurs. I will keep working with the applications as long as it is needed, or when my own duties require my full attention. I am also sure that I can use the results of the development work on the search and processing undertaken in this project at a later stage;” tells Mirkka Kesti-Helia.

Quick and easy application a nice surprise to the applicant

The clarity of how the support can be applied for has been praised among the sole entrepreneurs of Helsinki.

"Applying for the 2,000-euro entrepreneur support and receiving the decision quickly worked great. I filed the application on Tuesday and the affirmative decision came on Friday. Filing the application was easy as well. The city sent a message saying that a couple of appendices were missing, I sent them and when I asked if that was everything, I got a quick “yes” response. The money was on my account the following week”, appreciates SydänSyli's Sirpa Korpiola, who offers zone therapy and doula services.

The operating support for sole entrepreneurs is granted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the home towns of the companies are responsible for the distribution of it to the companies. The corresponding application process is valid in other Finnish municipalities as well, but support can be applied for only in the municipality in which the company is registered.

In Helsinki, it is still possible to apply for the sole entrepreneur’s support. The support can be applied for retrospectively until 30 September, and the support can be paid for the period between 16 March and 31 August 2020.

How can I apply for support?

You can apply for the sole entrepreneur's operating support in Helsinki through the asiointi.hel.fi service. In the service, you can also find the instructions. The e-services can be accessed at asiointi.hel.fi/yksinyrittajantuki or directly through this link.

More extensive instructions on how to apply for support: https://newcohelsinki.fi/en/sole-entrepreneurs/