This guide to starting a business in Helsinki is meant to walk you through the basics of becoming an entrepreneur in the beautiful city of Helsinki.
Finland Over the past few years, governments around the world have prioritized helping immigrant entrepreneurs, after having seen across the board that immigrants help to create more businesses as do native citizens.
When the world economic crisis ravaged the countries of the world, many people began to look outside their home countries for opportunities, and Finland rose as one of the best alternatives for immigrating entrepreneurs.
Finland — an attractive proposition
It should be no surprise that Finland is such a highly recommended place to start a business. Forbes magazine recently announced the results of a study into the best places in the world to start a company and Finland placed 5th.
The reasons cited included an extremely low level of corruption combined with an exceptional level of government transparency. Additionally, the Finnish economy is one of the best in the world for competitiveness and company growth.
Helsinki — the logical choice
Helsinki, Finland’s vibrant capital, is, of course, the obvious choice for entrepreneurs because it is the country’s cultural, social, and economic hub. However, doing business in Helsinki does require a few considerations, and we’ll touch upon them below.
The first thing you must do before you conduct any business in Helsinki is to overcome the language barrier. Even if you can manage to interact only with English-speaking clients, there are aspects of the business that you will not be able to perform without speaking a bit of Finnish. For example, registering your company and paying taxes, etc. require interactions in Finnish. How to survive in Helsinki without Finnish Language Skills
Admittedly, Finnish is an extremely difficult language to master, so If becoming fluent in Finnish is beyond your abilities, you will need to hire a translator or bilingual employee to handle the things that require a solid handle on the language.
The next step to conducting business in Helsinki is to develop a detailed and sound business plan. Conducting business in Helsinki has some innate caveats, for example, if you attempt to open an Air Conditioning Repair shop in a city where the hottest temperatures rarely exceed 30 degrees Celsius, you might run into money troubles rather soon.
A Plethora of Resources
If you visit online resources, such as those provided by infofinland, you can get a better handle on the type of peculiarities you might encounter when setting up your business there. Nevertheless, many of the economic principles that apply to conduct business in Helsinki are the same everywhere else in the world.
For instance, you will need to conduct market research and write a business plan according to the resulting data for most businesses, you will have to calculate the minimum capital requirements, etc.
However, there are a few particulars that are specific to Helsinki. To give you an idea, before setting up your business in any official capacity, you will have to present yourself to the “Patentti Ja Rekisterihallitus“ or Finnish patent and registration office, to register your business and any applicable patents.
You will also need to get a Y-tunnus or business ID number. The Y-tunnus registration falls under the competency of the Vero or tax.
The Vero is an extremely useful resource for small to medium enterprises who are looking to start-up business in Helsinki. Vero is maintained by the Finnish Tax Authority and conducts a variety of Taxation related information, categorized by type of business and economic sector.
Additionally, you will have to acquire mandatory business insurance. During the first 4 years of your business, you will receive a 22% subsidy reduction to your quotes to allow for a smoother initial phase of operation. This is important because new businesses in Helsinki typically pay 20% in Value Added Tax and an additional 13 to 35% corporate tax.
Finland understands the benefits of startups and takes it seriously. You can apply for funding if you have all your pieces (idea, business plan, etc) put together. You can get up to 70% of the total cost to start up your business. Sometimes, you may receive 100% of the entire cost to start the business. Information regarding startup grants is available online.
Starting a business is hard work, there is a popular quote by a serial entrepreneur named Elon Musk, it goes:-
Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.
Don’t be afraid to start your own business. Every successful entrepreneur was afraid to start in the beginning. You are not an exception. Besides, Helsinki is a wonderful city for business due to its economic stability. Still, it does have a few hurdles you must overcome.
Thankfully, the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, to lure new businesses and enterprises to the city, can help you conduct market studies and analyze your business plan’s viability before you commit to any sizeable investment.