“Helsinki has a very vibrant business environment. It is somewhat similar to Silicon Valley, everyone knows each other and they are ready to help. The other cool thing about Finland is its relatively small yet very efficient government. It feels that all public services here do really care about your business and want you to focus on your business rather than swamping you in bureaucracy.”
Vlad Ayukaev, Chief of Product Development at Rentmania
“Compared to other cities, Helsinki just works for me. Also Finland has this unique design expertise. That expertise drills not only to the game industry, but also other industries.”
Oleg Paliy, CEO at Games Factory Talents
1868 verified startups
105 VC investors
55k startup employees
Helsinki is the hotbed for world-conquering innovations and an ideal testing ground for bold new ideas. It is the perfect size for startups to test the waters and obtain first references by trying something that would not be possible elsewhere. Access to open data and endless possibilities for business development. Helsinki provides an extremely stable and well-functioning business environment that a startup needs to be successful and a modern and attractive city for entrepreneurs to want to live and work in.
Helsinki is known for its compact and supportive startup ecosystem with an attitude of wanting to help each other and solving global challenges. The local community is extremely well connected both locally and globally and is looking forward to welcoming new entrepreneurs.
Land & Start
SETTLING IN THE CITY
If you are a citizen of an EU Member State, a Nordic country, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit to stay in Finland. You can stay and work freely in Finland for up to three months as long as you have a valid passport or national identity card. For a longer period, you just need to register your right of residence. Non-EU citizens must first apply for a permit to work or conduct business in Finland. If you are currently in your country of residence, apply for the permit at a Finnish embassy or consulate. If you are currently in Finland, you can submit your application to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
For all the up-to-date information on individual (and on business) taxation, check out the Finnish Tax Administration.
In Finland, there are some insurance arrangements you should be aware of. All the information you need is right here. You can also check page 31 of this guide.
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
Great experience comes with great knowledge as well. So, don’t hesitate to contact Helsinki’s key players in the tech scene. Here’s a list that can help you.
Get to know the major accelerators and incubators in the city and grow your business with their help.
The NewCo accelerator is also a great shot for you. Get access to long-term business coaching and funding opportunities.
The sense of community is strong in Helsinki and there are plenty of organizations to help you feel at home and start your business in the city. Check them out below.
- International House Helsinki – https://www.ihhelsinki.fi/;
- Helsinki Business Hub – https://www.helsinkibusinesshub.fi/;
- Employment Services – http://www.te-palvelut.fi/te/en/;
- Business Finland – https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/do-business-with-finland/home/;
- Invest in Finland – https://www.investinfinland.fi/home;
- Finland in your language- https://www.infopankki.fi/en/frontpage;
- On this website, you can find a whole startup partners kit.
Setting up a business in Finland is quick, easy and you can do it online in English. The process takes only 2 to 3 weeks. Just choose a suitable form of enterprise, and register your company in the Finnish Patent and Registration Office’s Trade Register. If you need help in establishing your company, you can always seek advice from NewCo business advisors. Licenses and notifications required of foreign entrepreneurs: click here.
Contact Gallant to get the best help concerning accounting. This accounting firm works closely with the Finnish Tax Authorities.
- TE Office Startup grant;
- Business Finland;
- Business Information System (YTJ);
- Helsinki for Companies;
- ELY Centre;
- Finnish Food Authority;
- Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)
- Finnish Tax Administration
- International House Helsinki (IHH);
- My Enterprise Finland;
- Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI);
- Suomen Yrittäjät;
- Testbed Helsinki;
- National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health;
- Helsinki Startup Facebook Group.
Opening a bank account is a necessary step for you to manage your business’s financial transactions. For advice related to this topic, follow this link.
To be completed.
Access to capital
|Advice about Capital||Major VC’s in the country|
Finnish startups receive the most venture capital per capita in Europe and Finland is home to one of the largest and most active business angel networks.
Startups have great access to capital in Helsinki. Here’s how:
|Finnish startups receive the most venture capital per capita in Europe and Finland is home to one of the largest and most active business angel networks. For more information on venture capital and private equity investors in Finland, check out The Finnish Venture Capital Association. You can get a great picture of the city’s main investors through this list.|
|Finnish Business Angel Network has 650 approved investor members that are actively seeking new growth companies. For a list of all the angels in Helsinki, click on this link.|
Access to talent
The region of Helsinki consistently ranks in the European Top10 for productivity and global competitiveness and Helsinki has the 2nd highest concentration of commercially successful app developers globally (Silicon Valley has the 1st). Find talent for your team through the following links: The Hub io; Talent Pool Helsinki; Helsinki Business Hub.
Helsinki boasts one of the most highly educated workforces in the world. Check this link to find out some of the best universities in the city.
Helsinki keeps welcoming new startups. See the ones that have been joining the ecosystem since 2019.
Hot startups & scaleups
Diversity and Inclusion
‘Freedom’, in Helsinki, means being able to risk and knowing that, should you fail, we’ve got your back. Be free to learn and grow, but also to love, feel safe and find the perfect balance in a city where no one is left on their own and where creativity is always fostered. Women entrepreneurship is one of Helsinki’s flags. From groups to programs, many initiatives in the city promise to give a great boost to all-female lead businesses. Check a list of links that can help you regarding this topic: The Women Entrepreneurs of Finland; Finish Female Entrepreneurs take care of business; Women entrepreneurs.
Helsinki in the Media
NewCo gathers 100+ startups for international growth
More than 100 startups from Helsinki’s metropolitan area are aiming for growth with NewCo’s program. Learn more about this accelerator right here.
"Only change is permanent at Enfuce”
From Finland, a rapidly growing global company: Enfuce. Monika Liikamaa, CEO and CO-Founder, speaks about her journey as an entrepreneur and reveals an inspiring success story that you can read here.
Increasing Helsinki’s employees' physical activity. The city accepted the challenge
With the help of six health and wellbeing startups, Helsinki co-created an “innovation challenge” that put the spotlight on physical activity. Get to know about the initiative on this article.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CITY
Helsinki’s roads are all a path to paradise. Surrounded by beautiful green areas and islands, this seaside city welcomes us to a relaxed and easy-going living rhythm. And the best part is you can get to know everything by walking or biking. Explore the forests, have a nice dinner, enjoy the public saunas, and be amazed by the city’s architecture. It’s all here.
ACTIVITIES & CASE STUDIES
To provide consistent, quality information, the City of Helsinki produces more than 200 events annually, explicitly targeted towards entrepreneurs and startups. Event production is an ongoing part of the city’s services that has expanded year by year. Check Arctic15, for instance. It’s a matchmaking business event with a focus on relevant topics related to the startup and tech scene. And your opportunities grow bigger with SHIFT, an event where innovators come together with decision-makers to rethink and boost your business. All in all, events have been recognized as a well-functioning tool in providing companies with relevant information while also providing a platform for networking and, most importantly, for growth.