Information kit on services for entrepreneurs and companies during the coronavirus pandemic

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2020-03-31 10:02

The coronavirus pandemic has caused major challenges for businesses. The experts of Business Espoo are here to help you. We can tell you about opportunities to get support and help you find solutions. If necessary, we can refer you to the legal and financial experts in our network.

The entire Business Espoo staff is ready to fully support local entrepreneurs in solving the challenges posed by the coronavirus. For now, we are serving entrepreneurs and companies using remote connections, by email and by phone. All face-to-face appointments at our office in A Grid, Otaniemi, will be held by phone instead.

We have cancelled or postponed all our events this spring. We will start holding webinars from week 14 onwards. Stay tuned for our event ads.

Book an remote appointment with the business advisor of your choice for personal brainstorming and advice 

You can book an hour-long remote appointment with the business advisor of your choice for personal brainstorming and advice. We can tell you about different sources of support, help you find information and work on solutions. Use our handy online booking system to book an appointment, and we will email you a link to a meeting. Alternatively, we can also talk with you on the phone. Book an appointment with a business expert

The service is provided by EnterpriseEspoo which is part of the Business Espoo network. The service is free of charge and confidential. 

Contact:
Business Espoo
Tel. 050 513 0321, email: info@businessespoo.fi 
businessespoo.com

Tips and useful information for entrepreneurs on how to overcome the crisis

If you are an entrepreneur, consider whether you could serve your customers remotely or outdoors or offer home deliveries, open an online store or allocate your resources to something new.

You can bounce your ideas off the business experts of EnterpriseEspoo. They will also advise you on everything related to the crisis. Book a remote appointment. They can for example support you in drawing up cash flow statements.

  • A tip from an EnterpriseEspoo business advisor: Update your cashflow calculation. Make two version 3-6 months ahead with current and your worst case scenario. You will have a clear picture of cash sufficiency and it will also play part in consecutive financing negotiations. 
  • When you find your cash funds shrinking, contact your local bank immediately. Many banks offer fixed term relief for financial pressure by issuing grace for mortgage and business loans. Financial institutions are prepared for increased demand and flexibility within the boundaries of the governing law. Read more in a news article by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises (Suomen Yrittäjät) (in Finnish).

Also read the comprehensive “everything an entrepreneur needs to know about the coronavirus” website of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises. We particularly recommend the questions and answers section as a reliable source of information on employment relationships, agreements and finances affected by this exceptional situation. 

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE)

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has put together questions and answers on business financing. Read more on the MEAE website

MEAE press releases on the coronavirus:

  • Measures taken within the administrative branch of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to address the situation caused to companies by the coronavirus, MEAE press release on 18 March 2020 (in Finnish) 
  • Government supports businesses with an extensive economic package – additional financing of EUR 10 billion made available to companies through Finnvera, MEAE press release on 20 March 2020


Support and advice on business financing

You can apply for funding from Business Finland as usual. Funding is granted and also paid as usual. Business Finland has adjusted its funding services by speeding up the process so that companies can receive funding faster than before. It also offers grace periods on loan repayments and extended project timelines. Business Finland funding for business development in disruptive circumstances is intended for SMEs and mid-cap companies operating in Finland whose business is affected by the coronavirus situation. Mid-cap companies are large companies with a turnover or group-wide turnover of up to EUR 300 million.

Finnvera’s primary form of operation are loan guarantees. In other words, banks finance companies while Finnvera grants guarantees for loans. Read more about Finnvera’s services in the exceptional situation.

Financial help is also available free of charge from the Enterprise Finland Talousapu counselling service, tel. +358 295 024 880. The helpline serves from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 16:00.

The Government has prepared an extensive package to support companies and to alleviate the negative effects of the coronavirus epidemic. ELY Centres will be granted EUR 50 million to be used on business development projects. The additional funding will be used to support SMEs negatively impacted by the market and production disruptions caused by the coronavirus. This funding will be available throughout Finland. The goal is to have this funding open for application starting from week 13. The ELY Centres will announce this on their website. Watch their constantly updated website (in Finnish).

Finnish Tax Administration

The coronavirus pandemic may cause tax difficulties for entrepreneurs, companies and accountants. Because of this, you can request an extension to your tax return filing deadline. If you file late due to a justified special reason, you may not have to pay a late-filing penalty. For example, illness counts as a special reason. If your company is in financial difficulties, you can request a payment arrangement for the company’s taxes. You can request an arrangement with new, eased terms starting from 25 March. Please note that you can also request a change to your prepayments in MyTax if your company’s profits for the year seem to be less than expected. Read more on the website of the Finnish Tax Administration.

TE Offices’ services to companies in situations of change

Employees who are dismissed become clients of TE Offices’ change security service already during the period of notice. The change security service provides them with support for job-seeking and offers coaching and training that promotes employment. The TE Offices and other business service organisations also offer business services for those interested in setting up a business.

Further information:
TE Office services for entrepreneurs
Change security from the perspective of employers (in Finnish)
Change security experts in the Uusimaa TE Office (in Finnish)
Lay-offs (in Finnish)

Espoo Marketing organises digital matchmaking opportunities for startups and scaleups during spring

Espoo Marketing continues to help Espoo-based and Finnish startups and scaleups by matching them with international corporations and investors also during the coronavirus situation. Espoo Marketing will, for example, organise digital matchmaking opportunities during the spring. Detailed information will be published on this page as soon as possible.

Espoo Marketing’s Launchpad platform has become an ever more integral part of the matchmaking work as the company has shifted its focus from physical encounters to digital matchmaking due to social distancing. 

By signing up to Launchpad, you ensure that you are visible to Espoo Marketing’s clients and your company is found when Espoo Marketing has a suitable opportunity for you to connect with international corporations or investors, opportunities open up to develop your business, or Espoo Marketing has other needs to find companies.

For example, Espoo Marketing used Launchpad to find the right startups and scaleups to three Slush 2019 side events the company co-organised with Mercedes-Benz in Espoo. Sign up to Launchpad.

Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce instructions for employers

The Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce has put together a coronavirus information kit on its website concerning things such as quarantine and the obligation to pay remuneration, terminating an employment relationship, disruptions of work, annual leave, sick leave, lay-offs, prevention of illness, suspected infections and data protection. Instructions of the Chamber of Commerce (in Finnish).

Webinars and training

Even though we are going through some challenging times right now, you can still develop your skills by watching webinars and studying from home.  

Omnia offers a large number of online courses. Read more at the Omnia online store: kauppa.omnia.fi/ (in Finnish)

The Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce also offers training.
 
The Federation of Finnish Enterprises regularly organises training and coronavirus information events. You can watch the webinars held so far on the Federation’s website in Finnish:

  • Koronatietoisku työntajalle (“coronavirus information for employers”) includes general instructions on proper conduct at the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic and matters related to employment relationships, such as quarantine, pay, remote work, lay-offs and the co-operation procedure. The video provides advice on situations where an entrepreneur falls ill and answers some questions related to business operations, such as financial hardship and B2B and B2C operations.
  • Kaikki koronasta yksinyrittäjälle (“all about the coronavirus for sole entrepreneurs”) is a webinar that focuses on sole entrepreneurs’ business operations.
  • Koronatietoisku sotehy-yrittäjille is a webinar for entrepreneurs in the social welfare, health care and health and wellness sector.
  • Tervehdytä, keskeytä vai lopeta? (“rehabilitate, suspend or terminate?”) is a webinar that focuses on the timely recognition of a crisis and rehabilitation of business operations (the first steps, social security, taxes and debt adjustment and corporate reorganisation), suspension and termination of business operations.
     

Materials from and a recording of Visit Finland’s What’s Up with Travel Trends seminar. The opening remarks for example addressed a survey conducted in the hospitality sector concerning the effects of the coronavirus.

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The City of Espoo publishes and constantly updates information on the coronavirus epidemic on its website: espoo.fi/coronavirus.