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 testbeds offers endless possibilities for business development. Helsinki provides an extremely 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.
This City's Cases
Settling as a founder
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, submit your application to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri).
For more information please visit the Finnish Immigration Service website.
International growth entrepreneurs outside of the EU can apply for the Finnish Startup Permit.
Please check the eligibility criteria and apply through Business Finland website.
International House Helsinki
International House Helsinki provides a wide range of information and public authority services to meet the needs of international newcomers in the Helsinki metropolitan area. International House Helsinki offers free advisory and counselling services on employment and relocation issues.
Please refer to Finnish Tax Administration for comprehensive and up to date information on individual and business taxation.
A sense of community is strong in Helsinki and there are plenty of organizations to help you feeling at home and starting your business in Helsinki. You can also refer to the Startup Ecosystem Canvas to get a visual representation.
NewCo Helsinki – https://newcohelsinki.fi/en/
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 Infopankki,
Finland in your language- https://www.infopankki.fi/en/frontpage
Access to capital
Startups have great access to capital in Helsinki. 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. Combining these with a well-functioning government support, Helsinki is an ideal funding environment for entrepreneurs to take their ideas and dreams into business.
Government Grants and Subventions
Business Finland offers various funding services for startups https://www.businessfinland.fi/en/for-finnish-customers/services/funding/startup/in-brief/.
Finnvera provides financing for the start-up, growth and internationalization of companies and for protection against export risks. It supports Finnish enterprises by offering loans, domestic guarantees, venture capital investments, export credit guarantees and other services associated with the financing of exports https://www.finnvera.fi/eng/.
Finnish Startup Grant ensures income for an aspiring entrepreneur during the estimated time taken to launch and establish a full-time business, however for a maximum of 18 months. http://www.te-palvelut.fi/te/en/employers/for_entrepreneurs/services_new_entrepreneurs/startup_grant/index.html.
Venture Capital and Angel Investment
The Finnish Venture Capital Association has more information on venture capital and private equity investors in Finland https://paaomasijoittajat.fi/en/finnish-venture-capital-association/. Finnish Business Angel Network has 650 approved investor members that are actively seeking new growth companies https://www.fiban.org/.
Access to talent
Greater Helsinki boasts one of the most highly educated workforces in the world. The region 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 Hub https://thehub.fi/.
Setting up your Company
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 https://www.prh.fi/en/kaupparekisteri.html.
If you need help in establishing your company, you can always seek advice from NewCo business advisors https://newcohelsinki.fi/en/.