Municipalities prepare to distribute state grants for the self-employed

20.4.: Helsinki-based sole entrepreneurs can now apply for operating support in the coronavirus situation

On 8 April, the Finnish government announced that it would be granting 100 million euros in emergency funding to sole proprietors, along with a further 150 million euros from the supplementary budget. Municipalities will be charged with distributing 2,000-euro grants to self-employed people whose business has been hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

Finland’s municipalities will soon begin taking applications for government grants designed to help sole proprietors and freelancers who need financial assistance in the wake of the covid-19 outbreak. The City of Helsinki has also applied for additional state assistance from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to support entrepreneurs. Applications for the grants and processing of the applications will take place on the city’s e-services portal at asiointi.hel.fi.

Applicants can apply for the support from the municipality in which their business is registered. Grants will be awarded to self-employed people and freelancers to help cover business expenses. Instructions for applying for the one-off payments of 2,000 euros will be published on the City of Helsinki website as soon as the information becomes available.

Who can apply?

Entrepreneurs with a one-person full-time business that is operating exclusively in Finland can apply for the grant, regardless of legal status or means of financing. Sole proprietors are defined as business owners and trade professionals that are not part of a paid workforce, meaning that the definition also extends to freelancers.

Terms and conditions

In order to receive the grant, sole proprietors must be able to show proof of a weakened financial status and a drop in revenue after 31 December due to the coronavirus outbreak. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. The grant cannot be paid to companies that were already experiencing financial difficulties before the pandemic, nor can it be paid to business with tax liabilities.

The money can be used to cover costs incurred between 1 March and 31 August. The grant can only be awarded once, and applications can be submitted until 30 September.

Sole proprietors can apply for the government grant alongside temporary unemployment benefits, which have been extended to the self-employed until 30 June. If the 2,000-euro government grant is used to cover fixed costs, it will have no effect on the unemployment benefit, but if the grant is used to pay the sole proprietor’s salary or something else equivalent to earned income received as compensation for work, it may affect unemployment benefit amounts.

For more information on the options available to struggling entrepreneurs in Finland, see the Business section of the government website’s frequently asked coronavirus questions and the webpage Corona information for entrepreneurs from Suomen Yrittäjät, an interest and service organization for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Coronavirus updates from Helsinki

Photo: Marja Väänänen, City of Helsinki