A Nordic country with a high quality of life, a prosperous economy and an innovative spirit, Finland has a lot to offer foreign businesspeople. Do you dream of starting a business in Finland? Here's what you need to know.
Why do business in Finland?
Finland offers a wealth of opportunities for those wishing to start a business here. Its economy, based mainly on free enterprise and private ownership, tops most international league tables measuring business competitiveness. The country was ranked first for its economic performance and quality of life by the Legatum Prosperity Index, which measures the prosperity of countries around the world.
Like many Nordic countries, the quality of life in Finland is excellent, and all the conditions are in place to encourage businesses to set up and succeed. Highly industrialised, Finland has a GDP per capita of $55,217 (Source: World Bank data) and a population of 8 million.
Europeans looking to do business in Finland will find a highly skilled workforce, a favourable environment for start-ups and a dynamic market. What's more, as a member of the European Union (EU), Finland is very welcoming to foreign investors and workers, whose arrival is encouraged as it is good for the economy.
→ Good to know: in order to reside in Finland for more than 3 months (EU citizen), you need to register your right of residence. Citizens of non-EU or non-Nordic countries, meanwhile, must obtain a residence permit on the basis of entrepreneurship.
Which sectors should you invest in in Finland?
Finland stands out for its development of cutting-edge technologies and its active promotion of start-ups in the following areas:
- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Clean technologies and biotechnologies
- New-generation technologies in general, for which Finland is a leading accelerator.
The country is also competitive in the manufacturing sector. It is one of the biggest exporters of wood-based products in the world (Source: EU Parliament News) and the forestry industry plays a major role in the Finnish employment market. Other growth sectors in Finland are the metal industry (the country has mineral reserves), engineering, electronics, and telecommunications. The Teknologia trade fair for the metal and engineering industries is an annual event held in Helsinki, which brings together many professionals in this field.
How do I set up a business in Finland?
Studying the local market
Businesses linked to the industrial sector, start-ups, or financial investments ... Regardless of the type of project you are planning to undertake in Finland, carrying out a market study and drawing up a business plan is an essential preliminary research stage before opening a business in Finland.
Market research covers a number of important aspects, including:
- Assessing competition and market share
- Identifying the target audience for the new business
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the future Finnish company
- Identifying the opportunities and threats surrounding the business project
- In-depth analysis of the project environment (political and socio-economic framework, legal framework, trade-related regulatory issues, technological issues, climate issues, etc.).
The business plan
The business plan is also an essential component of an investment or start-up project in Finland. This document may include the following elements:
- An investment programme, describing the expenditure required to implement the project
- A forecast (expected income and expenditure)
- Possible financing options, such as self-financing or bank loans
- A projected cash flow plan, which details expected cash flow on a monthly basis for one year
- A projected balance sheet, which gives an overview of the projected financial situation
- A project's break-even point (the level of revenue needed to cover costs and break-even).
Before starting a business in Finland, you need to be aware of the financing options available in the country:
- Obtaining a bank loan from a Finnish bank, which requires you to present a sound business case
- Obtaining a loan guarantee from Finnvera, a financing company owned by the Finnish government
- A start-up allowance (Starttiraha), provided by the Finnish government. You can apply for a start-up allowance to launch a business in Finland, to meet your financing needs to a maximum of 750 euros per month for a period of 6 to 12 months. The conditions for obtaining this business financing aid include being a full-time entrepreneur and registering as a resident in Finland.
Get help from professionals
In Finland, everyone can benefit from free advice on entrepreneurship from a range of organisations, including:
- New business support centres
- ELY centres (for economic development, transport, and the environment)
- TE agencies (for employment and economic activities)
- Yritys-Suomi, an online portal for companies in Finland.
These organisations can provide support and advice to entrepreneurs who are starting up or taking over a business in Finland. You can also call on the Chamber of Commerce for advice about business start-ups etc., in Finland.
In addition, starting a business in Finland may require the services of a translation agency, to translate the documents you need to set up your business and establish yourself in the country. Sworn translations, legal documents, financial documents, marketing documents, website translations... At Optilingua, our teams of professional translators offer you their services in a wide range of specialist sectors. With translations in Finnish and many other languages, our agency can help you with your multilingual business exchanges in Finland.
FAQ about starting a business in Finland
With its highly qualified workforce and high-quality infrastructure, Finland offers excellent prospects in terms of economic and commercial performance. As a member of the EU and the euro zone, Finland offers strategic access to the European market, and is particularly accessible to European entrepreneurs.
High-potential investments in Finland include the wood, metal, engineering, electronics, and telecommunications manufacturing industries. Finland also stands out for its technological advances and its support for start-ups in ICT, clean technologies, and biotechnology.
Finland's wealth can be measured by its stable political and economic situation, its highly skilled workforce, its very high quality of life, its constant technological innovation, and also by its many natural resources (forests, reserves of minerals such as copper, gold, nickel, zinc, etc.).
Add new comment