Finland, which is known for being the happiest country in the world, is also home to one of the leading startup ecosystems in the world. The Finnish startup ecosystem is supported and driven by leading stakeholders including public and private funding institutions, accelerators and incubators, communities and co-working spaces, events as well as regional business advisors.
Accelerators such as Kiuas, the RedBrick Accelerator and the Aalto Startup Center, are supporting various startups from different industries. There are also industry focused accelerators such as Urban Tech Helsinki, Education Hub Helsinki, Health Incubator Helsinki who are active in these industry verticals.
The community spaces in Helsinki, such as Agrid, Startup Sauna and Maria01, one of the Europe`s top startup campuses, and in Tampere Platform6, provide a physical location for startups to connect and locate themselves in.
Slush,which is one of the most well-known investor-startup events,gathers the startup ecosystem from all over the world to Helsinki. This year the event will take place on 30th November – 1st December and startups can meet many leading investors and connect with the Finnish and Nordic ecosystems through this event. Another key event in Finland is Arctic15 • Series of Best Startup Investor Event, which will be organized in 6-7 June 2024. Lastly, there is also Polar Bear Pitching – Polar Bear Pitching which is organized in Oulu, in the northern part of Finland, where startups have the possibility to pitch to investors while swimming in an ice hole, truly Finnish!
The regional business advisors led by the Cities of Finland including the Capital Region (Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo), Tampere, Turku and Oulu are key also especially through their free-of-charge soft-landing services that they are offering to international startups.
In addition, the Finnish government plays a major role in driving the startup ecosystem through its funding, services for innovative early early-stage companies and support of universities to commercialise their ideas. Business Finland (the government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion) has also designed funding services for companies in different stages of their business development.
Turkish innovative startups, who are looking to scale their business globally, and who are planning to have their headquarters in Finland and are coming outside Europe, can apply for the Startup Permit. Before applying for the actual residence permit from Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), the applicants need to apply for the Eligibility Statement from Business Finland, who will evaluate the innovativeness and scalability of the business idea and business model, team, resources and the possibility for rapid international growth. The application requirements can be found in this website. Please also note that it is not a requirement nor a necessity for the startups to work with external consultants when preparing their applications as the startups are able to find guidance from the Startup Permit website, and/or by contacting the soft-landing services of the cities as well as from Business Finland.
If the applicant receives a positive Eligibility Statement from Business Finland, they can apply for the actual Startup Permit from Migri. The Startup Permit can initially be issued for max. two years, after which it can be renewed.
Startups, who got the startup permit and who set up their HQ in Finland, can apply for the government funding instruments such as Tempo funding – Business Finland to explore the customer need and markets. Later on, there are other funding opportunities for example related to R&D and scaling up the business.
If you are interested to learn more about the Startup Permit, please check the website and make sure that you are compiling with the requirements here. Please also note that Finnish cities are offering free-of-charge soft-landing and business advisory services for international startups where you can get support related to your application as well as after getting your startup permit.
· A Grid