How to apply for operating support for sole entrepreneurs

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2020-04-17 16:15

The City of Espoo opened the application process for operating support for sole entrepreneurs on Friday 24 April 2020 at 2.00 pm. Prospective applicants should prepare well in advance.

The operating support for sole entrepreneurs is a one-off payment of EUR 2,000, intended to cover the costs that arise from business operations during the coronavirus situation. The City of Espoo is currently building a system that enables smooth and quick processing of a large number of electronic applications. The application service will require strong Suomi.fi identification to ensure the secure processing of the applicants’ personal and financial data. Thousands of applications are expected, as there are more than 10,000 sole entrepreneurs registered in Espoo.

Sole entrepreneurs may apply for the support until 30 September 2020, and support may be granted for costs that arise between 16 March 2020 and 31 August 2020.

A helpline for operating support for sole entrepreneurs:
tel. 09 816 40500. The helpline is open from Monday to Wednesday between 8:00 and 15:00.

Outside these hours you can use the chatbot Bertta on the Business Espoo website. Bertta can answer the most common questions.

How to prepare to apply for operating support 

This support may be granted to persons who have no employees and who engage in some form of full-time economic activity in Finland, regardless of its legally defined form or its source of financing. In other words, it may be granted to all sole entrepreneurs regardless of their type of business (private trader, limited partnership or limited liability company, and light and freelance entrepreneurs).

Do the following:

1. Start by checking your company’s domicile in YTJ, the Finnish Business Information System .
You can apply for support from the City of Espoo if your company is domiciled in Espoo in the Finnish Business Information System.

2. Basic information required for the application:

  • Business ID (if you have no business ID, use the entrepreneur’s personal identity code)
  • Company name
  • The company’s domicile (home municipality) registered in the Finnish Business Information System
  • Contact person/Entrepreneur
  • The entrepreneur’s personal identity code
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • YEL insurance number
  • Company address
  • Bank account, IBAN
  • Date when business activities began​

3. Description of business activities

4. Confirmation of the information that entitles you to receive operating support (for the documents to be attached to the application, see section 7):

  • Full-time entrepreneurship
  • Company profitability before the coronavirus epidemic
  • Deterioration in the finances of the business due to the coronavirus epidemic after 16 March 2020 = at least 30% decrease in turnover.

5. De minimis aid
Documentation of potential de minimis aid granted to you earlier.

De minimis aid means small public subsidies for companies, subsidies deemed so small by the European Union that they do not distort competition or affect trade between EU Member States. A company may be granted a maximum of EUR 200,000 of de minimis aid over a period of three consecutive fiscal years. For companies operating in the road transport sector, the maximum amount of de minimis aid is EUR 100,000. If the aid you have received was de minimis aid, this will be stated on the aid decision. A company must ensure that the total sum of de minimis aid granted to it by several decisions does not exceed the maximum permitted amount. Further information is available on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment website (available in Finnish and Swedish).

6. A plan for stabilising business activities: how you are planning to use the support
Provide a free-format description of how you are planning to use the support, for example a list of costs that could include premises, equipment, accounting and office expenses. Any amounts paid to the sole entrepreneur as salary cannot be included in these expenses.

7. Obtain the required supporting documents in advance

  • Financial statement for 2019 / the latest financial statement or tax return for 2019 / the latest tax return
  • Copies of accounting records and/or bank statements to verify the development of sales and costs in 2020. In most cases, it makes sense to wait until the completion of the accounting documents for March or April.
  • A tax debt certificate or a tax debt payment plan

These documents must be sent as PDF files.

8. Send your application using the electronic form. The application period will continue until 30 September 2020.
We are prepared to receive a large number of applications.

Definition of a sole entrepreneur

A sole entrepreneur refers to a full-time entrepreneur who is engaged in an economic activity on their own in Finland, irrespective of the legal form of the activity or its method of financing.

The operating support for sole entrepreneurs may be granted to a private trader, limited partnerships, general partnerships, limited liability companies and cooperatives. The support is also available to “light entrepreneurs” who are self-employed and work like an entrepreneur without setting up a company. A sole entrepreneur refers to an individual who is engaged in an economic activity on their own without paid employees. The support is also available to a freelancer if they work as a private trader (as a business operator or self-employed person), in a partnership (general or limited partnership), a limited liability company or a cooperative.

Conditions for receiving the operating support for sole entrepreneurs

  • A sole entrepreneur is able to show that their financial situation has weakened and their turnover has decreased significantly due to the coronavirus. In other words, the company’s sales income and accounts receivable have reduced by over 30 percent while costs have remained almost unchanged.
  • The support is available for costs that arise between 16 March 2020 and 31 August 2020.
  • The support is temporary, and you can apply for it once until 30 September 2020.
  • The support is discretionary and will not be granted to a company that had financial difficulties before the coronavirus crisis or to a company that has tax debts (unless the entrepreneur has drawn up a payment plan together with the Finnish Tax Administration before submitting the application. We will also accept a payment schedule you have set up with an enforcement officer or a document proving that you have requested a tax debt payment arrangement).
  • The purpose of the support is to cover business-related costs such as premises, equipment, accounting and office expenses. Any amounts paid to the sole entrepreneur as salary cannot be included in these expenses.
  • You can apply for the operating support for sole entrepreneurs even if you have also applied for the temporary unemployment benefit that is already available to entrepreneurs. Further information on the TE Services website.