As of today, 20 April, the City of Helsinki is taking applications for operating support to cover financial losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Helsinki grants a non-recurring operating support of 2,000 euros to sole entrepreneurs for the period 16 March – 31 August 2020. The financing for the operating support derives from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Applicants can also apply for the support retroactively.
The objective of the coronavirus support for sole entrepreneurs is to help make the sole entrepreneur's business operations more sustainable, during and after the epidemic. The support is intended to cover costs arising from the entrepreneur's business activities; it is only valid for managing the acute liquidity crisis caused by the epidemic.
The support can be granted to a full-time entrepreneur who is engaged in economic activity in Finland exclusively, but the legal form of activity or source of financing is irrelevant to the funding. A sole entrepreneur is defined as an entrepreneur or self-employed worker, who has no employees on payroll. This includes freelance entrepreneurs.
Prerequisites for application of support
- The support is intended for full-time sole entrepreneurs, regardless of the legal form of the company.
- The prerequisites are met, if you are insured under the self-employed persons’ pension insurance (YEL) or you have an annual entrepreneurial income or invoicing of at least 20,000 euros. If you have started your business activities less than six months ago, then you have to prove that the revenue stream, if uninterrupted, would have accrued invoicing of 20,000 euros over a time period of 12 months.
- A sole entrepreneur cannot have employees on payroll when applying for support. If you had employees before 16 March 2020, but have dismissed them (not laid them off), you are entitled to the support. If the company has other people with YEL-insurance, who are de facto working at the company, then you can apply for support from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
- The financial situation and turnover of your business activities have deteriorated significantly after 16 March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Significantly means that the turnover has dropped by more than 30 per cent, if it has remained stable during the previous 12-month period.
- The business activities have been profitable based on the 2019 financial statements or the tax return. If you have tax liabilities, then you must have a plan in place for the repayment of the debt that has been approved by the Tax Administration. The sole entrepreneur’s report of an exceptional situation in 2019 can be taken into consideration in the profitability evaluation.
- Your business activities must have the potential to become profitable after the coronavirus epidemic. You must also report how you plan to use the support money. The support cannot be used for paying the entrepreneur's salary. It must be used, for example, for rent, acquisitions or other equivalent expenses. The business activities must also continue after the coronavirus epidemic.
The sole entrepreneur support is entrepreneur-specific. If the sole entrepreneur has several companies in which they work alone, then support is granted to the company that is the entrepreneur's main occupation. The operating support for sole entrepreneurs can also be applied for in the entrepreneur’s home municipality (according to the YTJ Business Information System) alone.
The support for sole entrepreneurs can be applied for in parallel with unemployment benefits, which have been temporarily extended in Finland to entrepreneurs. The 2,000-euro support for fixed expenses does not affect this payment of unemployment benefits.
The municipalities report the support that they grant to sole entrepreneurs to the Tax Administration.
The support applicant must acknowledge that when the municipality approves the application, it creates an agreement between the applicant and the municipality, as referred to in Section 7 (3) in the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers. The recipient of the support must, based on the agreement, pay back excess support or support that they have received erroneously or unfoundedly. In cases of misappropriation, the municipality may demand that the support granted is repaid. If necessary, the recipient of the support commits to provide the granting party with the necessary information to ensure that the support has not been applied for in contravention of the conditions for the support.
The municipality that has granted the support and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy have the right to retroactively inspect how the support money has been used.
Apply for support here
You can apply for the sole entrepreneur's operating support in Helsinki through the asiointi.hel.fi service or directly here. Application instructions can be found in the service, which can be accessed here.