Questions and answers on corona funding from ELY- centres

The division of tasks between the funding provided by ELY Centres and Business Finland will be determined by each applicant company's headcount. ELY Centres will allocate their funding to companies with a maximum of 5 employees at the date of submission, while Business Finland will provide funding to companies that exceed this number. When calculating the number of employees in accordance with the division of labour between the funders, the number of employees who have been laid-off at the point of application is also taken into account.

Who can apply for funding
The financial situation of the company applying for funding
Amount of funding
What can funding for a situation analysis be used for?
What can funding for development measures be used for?
What does de minimis aid mean?
Applying for funding and reporting
 

Who can apply for funding

Q: Who is the funding for?
A: The funding is intended for companies operating in Finland (oy, ay, ky, osk, private entrepreneurs), where a maximum of 5 persons work at the time the application is submitted (including the entrepreneur and entrepreneurs), whose business is suffering due to the coronavirus situation. As an exception to this general rule, the examination of the size of the company may also take into account, for example, the number of laid-off employees in the company.

  • In addition, the funding is also intended for those private entrepreneurs (proprietorships) who, in contrast to the general rule, employ more than five people.
  • The activities of foundations and associations can only be accepted as business activities in exceptional cases when considering funding. The prerequisite is that it is clearly business for profit. Sports, ideological associations, recreational activities or other similar activities are not eligible for funding. 
  • Companies operating in Åland are not eligible for this funding.

Q: Can solo entrepreneurs receive funding?
A: Solo entrepreneurs are not eligible for this funding. They can apply for aid from municipalities in relation to the coronavirus situation. Applications are to be directed to the municipality in which the company is located. The amount of this aid is EUR 2000. The aid is granted to cover the expenditure incurred by a solo entrepreneur in carrying out their business activities. Municipalities will provide information on the opening of the application process.

Q: Can seasonal businesses receive funding?
A: Seasonal enterprises are covered by this funding provided that they employ a maximum of 5 persons at the time of application, including the entrepreneur(s) themselves. If, at the time of submitting the application, the seasonal enterprise does not employ persons other than the entrepreneur, the applicant is considered to be a sole entrepreneur and the company is not covered by this funding.

Q: Are there any restrictions as regards the company's line of business?
A: Funding is possible for companies in all other sectors except those that according to the standard industrial classifications (TOL 2008) are primarily engaged in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and the processing of agricultural products.

The financial situation of the company applying for funding

Q: How is the financial situation of the company examined?
A: The funding is targeted at companies that had the prerequisites for profitable business before the situation caused by the coronavirus. The company must also be deemed to have the prerequisites for profitable operations in the future. The assessment of the profitability of operations is done through overall consideration, in which the financial key figures of the company, among other things, may be taken into account. In addition, this assessment may include information obtained from various public and private registers on the payment defaults of the company and its responsible persons as well as the payment of taxes and other statutory payments. Naturally, the starting point for granting discretionary funding is that the recipient has properly fulfilled his or her obligations. However, in exceptional cases, funding may be granted if the neglect of obligations is only minor and a payment plan has been drawn up for their fulfilment. In the case of this exceptional disruption, it is possible to take into account, for example, the fact that a payment arrangement has been applied for from the Tax Administration with regard to tax debt.

Amount of funding

Q: How much funding can one receive?
A: A grant of up to EUR 10,000 to carry out a situation analysis, not exceeding 80% of the eligible costs on which the project is based. Costs of up to EUR 12,500, including indirect costs, can therefore be accepted in the decision.

  • A grant of up to EUR 100,000 to carry out development measures, not exceeding 80% of the eligible costs on which the project is based. Thus, the decision may cover no more than EUR 125,000 of costs, including indirect costs.
  • Therefore, in both cases of funding, 20% of other funding in addition to the grant is required from companies. Other funding may include, for example, the company's income or loan financing. Under the subheading "Private funding", the funding plan for the project to be filled in in the application contains the sections "self-financing, Finnvera Oyj and other funding", in which the funding required in addition to the grant must be entered.
  • The financial contribution required in addition to the grant for the situation analysis is therefore EUR 2,500, if the company is granted a maximum grant of EUR 10,000. The financial contribution required in addition to the grant for development measures is EUR 25,000, if the company is granted a maximum grant of EUR 100,000.

What can funding for a situation analysis be used for?

Q: What measures can be financed with funding for a situation analysis?
A: A situation analysis allows a company to review and plan

  • its business operations,
  • new business activities,
  • the organising of production and services during and after the market and production disruption caused by the coronavirus.
  • The application for payment must include a final report on the activities carried out in the project.

Q: What costs can be presented as regards carrying out the situation analysis?
A: Eligible costs that can be covered by the funding include:

  • imputed salary costs of the people working for the company, agency workers are not eligible for the funding
  • indirect costs (e.g. employer contributions), which amount to 50% of imputed salary costs

Q: At the time of application, an employee is, for example, laid-off, on sick leave or parental leave, but he or she intends to participate in carrying out the situation analysis. Can the employee be considered eligible for funding?
A: An employee who is laid-off, on sick leave or parental leave may be eligible for funding, if they return to work and participate in carrying out the situation analysis and operative planning. However, the funding recipient is obliged to monitor the use of the person's working time in the execution of the situation analysis, so that it can be reviewed if necessary.

Q: How is the working time of persons working in the company taken into account when considering the granting of a situation analysis?
A: When counting the number of persons as the basis for funding, it is possible to take into account the total working hours of several persons participating in a project, so that the required average minimum working time (30 hours/week) may consist of the combined working hours of two or several different persons.

Q: At the time of application, the company employs a maximum of four persons in addition to the entrepreneur, but all employees are laid-off. Can the entrepreneur still be considered eligible for funding in this case?
A: Yes, if the average working time of the entrepreneur exceeds 30 hours per week.
 

What can funding for development measures be used for?

Q: What can funding for development measures be used for?
A: Funding for development measures may be granted for broader development activities that will improve the company's capabilities during and after the market and production disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These measures can be related to e.g.:

  • refocusing the business,
  • developing the company's subcontracting chain,
  • organising the company's production in new ways,
  • product and service development, as well as
  • strengthening the expertise within the company.
  • The application for payment must include a final report on the activities carried out in the project.
     

Q: What costs can be presented as regards development measures?
A: Eligible costs that can be covered by the funding include:

  • the actual salaries of the company personnel working for the project, including the actual salaries of entrepreneurs
  • the costs incurred in the use of external services and experts, including staff training services. (Note! Machines and equipment or other investments will not be accepted).
  • external expert costs of up to EUR 60,000 can be accepted
  • raw materials and semi-finished products related to product development in the production of prototypes
  • indirect costs calculated on the basis of salaries (including employer's contributions) up to 50% 
  • The application for payment must include a final report on the activities carried out in the project.

Q: Are purchases from stakeholder companies in one's inner circle acceptable?
A: Purchases from the company's inner circle are not acceptable. As a rule, a party belongs to the company's inner circle if:

  1. it owns at least a 20% share of the applicant company
  2. it is a stakeholder company with at least a 20% share of ownership of the applicant company
  3. the party is a key person who belongs to the management of the company or is a family member of a key person

Q: Can funding be granted for investments?
A: Corona funding will not be granted for investments such as machinery, equipment or construction. Neither will funding be granted for intellectual property investments such as patents or software licences or for the attainment of other similar user or production rights.

Q: Are the salaries of management, owners and family members acceptable?
A: They are eligible costs, if the persons concerned are actually working on the project.

Q: At the time of application, an employee is, for example, laid-off, on sick leave or parental leave, but he or she intends to participate in carrying out the project. Can the employee be considered eligible for funding?
A: An employee who is laid-off, on sick leave or parental leave may be eligible for funding, if they return to work and participate in carrying out the project. However, the funding recipient is obliged to monitor the use of the person's working time in the execution of the project, so that it can be reviewed if necessary.

Q: Can funding be granted for the process of establishing an online shop?
A: Funding can be granted in the planning or development phase of an online shop, in which case, the company can use the funding to acquire external expertise. In addition, funding may be granted for the procurement of expert services needed in the planning of online marketing, but not for the practical implementation of marketing. Funding cannot be granted for e-commerce investments after the planning or development phase (e.g. e-commerce platform).  Business Finland has example material available on the content of the online commerce project, which should also be utilised in applying for funding from the ELY Centre.

What does de minimis aid mean?

Q: The funding is de minimis aid. What is de minimis aid, what is it based on?
A: De minimis aid refers to public business subsidies, the amount of which the European Union has deemed as so low that it does not distort competition or affect trade between EU Member States. This leads to the denomination of de minimis aid i.e. aid of minor importance.

Q: Which parties grant de minimis aid?
A: The aid is granted from municipal, joint municipal or state funds, but it may also be granted entirely by the EU. Ministries, regional councils, ELY Centres, Finnvera and Business Finland, for example, may also grant de minimis aid.

Q: What is the maximum amount of de minimis aid, and for which period is it calculated?
A: It is aid of up to EUR 200,000, granted to the company during three consecutive tax years. For companies operating in the road transport sector, de minimis aid may not exceed EUR 100,000. The company must ensure that the combined amount of de minimis aid granted through various decisions does not exceed the permitted maximum amount.

Q: How are groups or multi-site companies dealt with as regards de minimis aid?
A: Various companies in a group may receive de minimis aid, but the group as a whole is limited to one and the same permissible maximum amount. The de minimis aid received by different offices of the company is also added up.

Applying for funding and reporting

Q: Can one apply for funding for a situation analysis and development measures using the same application?
A: No, two different applications are necessary. In order to make full use of the situation analysis for the purpose of carrying out development measures, it is advisable to apply for funding for development measures only after the situation analysis has been carried out. Starting with a situation analysis is recommended, but it is possible to immediately apply for funding for development measures as well.

Q: I have submitted an application to the ELY Centre, but I noticed that the application must be supplemented. How do I proceed?
A: You can send a request to the ELY Centre about this via email: poikkeusrahoitus.ely@ely-keskus.fi. Remember to attach your business identity code as well as the journal number of your application to the request.

Q: Has my application gone to a wrong bureau?
A: No. The ELY Centre handling your application can be other than you local ELY Centre.

Q: In which order are the applications processed, and how long does the process take?
A: The applications are processed in the order of their arrival. You can monitor the progress in the Regional administration e-services, where you can see when the process for your application starts and when the decision has been made.

Q: The TE Office has granted a pay subsidy to the company as regards the salary of an employee. Can I still receive this funding for the same salary costs?
A: According to the criteria for granting pay subsidies and start-up grants, the payment of the subsidy is prevented by public subsidies received for the same purpose. If ELY Centre funding is granted for a person's labour input, the company is not entitled to a pay subsidy or a start-up grant for the duration of the project funded by the ELY Centre. The applicant shall immediately notify the TE Office that granted the pay subsidy or start-up grant of the funding received from the ELY Centre.

Q: Do I need to do something after I have received the funding decision in order to receive the prepayment?
A: If you marked to the application that you apply for the prepayment, and you have also given your account number, the prepayment will be on your account on average in 2-3 bank days.

Q: How do I apply for the final payment of a project, and how do I report on the use of the funding I have received?
A: The guidelines as well as the form for the payment are under preparation. The reports are made for the final payment. We are currently preparing more specific guidelines.

Updated

Contact details

ELY Centres' phone service 3. - 13.8.2020 Tuesday to Thursday 9 - 12, tel. 0295 024 800

poikkeusrahoitus.ely(at)ely-keskus.fi

The Enterprise Finland telephone service (Monday to Friday 9 - 16.15), tel. 0295 020 502