Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Business in Finland

Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Business in Finland
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Finland has one of the best environments for anyone who wishes to either work or start a business. The nature of the jobs in the country and the pay that workers are given at the end of the agreed time for payment, contribute to the good standard of living seen and enjoyed by Finns and foreigners alike. The business environment in Finland is an enabling one and is quite inviting to foreigners who wish to start a business in the country.

While an enabling environment, one can get confused as to where to start when starting a business. To solve that problem, we have curated a step-by-step guide to starting a business in Finland. The goal of this article is to take you through the step-by-step guide on how you can start a business in Finland, either as a foreigner or a Finn but with a focus on foreigners. However, before we do that, we will look at the business environment in Finland.

The Business Environment in Finland

The business environment in Finland is such an encouraging one, both for Finns and foreigners alike. Certain qualities of the country make it quite good for business. These qualities are technology, knowledge, and skills, as gathered from the responses of business owners who were interviewed.

Technology: Finland is a country well-versed in technology. This can be seen in the high industrialization of the country. The country was rated as the world’s most technologically advanced country according to the report given by the United Nations Development Program. They were judged based on TAI (technological achievement index).

Knowledge: the quality of education in the country ensures that individuals who come out from various schools and universities at different levels are highly knowledgeable about what they do. 

Skills: a knowledgeable workforce will automatically translate to a skilled workforce. Hence, the availability of the best hands in the workforce makes it a good place for businesses.

In addition to the above-mentioned qualities, the policies laid out by the Government also help foster a conducive business environment. Some other things that make Finland a good place to carry out business are:

  1. The fairness in the judgment of the governing authorities
  2. Availability of several public and private organizations to advise on starting a business in Finland free of charge, although they only cover general areas.
  3. Access to market for exportation of goods produced in the country.

In general, Finland is a good place for entrepreneurs and other business owners alike to thrive and grow. Now, let’s look at the step-by-step guide to starting a business in Finland.

Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Business in Finland

  1. Conceptualize your business idea
  2. Develop your business idea
  3. Decide on a business name
  4. Choose a Type of Business Model for Registration and Operations
  5. Sourcing for Funds
  6. Register Your Business
  7. Start Your Business
  8. Keep a Proper Record of Your Purchases and Sales/ Services

Step 1: Conceptualize Your Business Idea

Before starting anything, be it a business or any other thing in life, thinking it through is important. The first step is to think about what you want to do. At this point, you ask yourself questions like;

 ‘What kind of business do I want to start?’

‘Who is my target market?’

‘Will I be a producer or a reseller?’

‘What kind of products/services will I offer?’

This is a process where the individual takes the time to go on a mind journey about the business that they want to start. Writing whatever is thought out down is key to having a successful conceptualization process.

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Step 2: Develop the Business Idea

After conceptualizing the idea, the next thing to do is to develop it. This involves the necessary research on the business environment, the specific area, and the kind of business that thrives in that area. All you are doing here is developing the idea that you already have to make it feasible. SWOT analysis can play a huge role here.

The processes involved here and not limited to these two are

  • Seeking advice from legal authorities
  • Choosing your sales medium, either online or offline or both

For seeking advice from legal authorities, some of the organizations that you can discuss with, either over the phone or by paying a visit to their office include but are not limited to

  • New Enterprise Centers
  • State Employment Office
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM)
  • Federation of Finnish Enterprises

These organizations give free legal advice on starting a business as a foreigner in Finland. Although their advice is on a general basis. You can get in-depth advice when you contract with a private agency.

Step 3: Decide on a Business Name

With the business idea in mind and having developed it, you will then decide on a business name. Choosing a name that represents your business and brand is as important as the business. This is because your name is the first thing that any customer will hear or read. It represents you and stands as your identity. Also, be sure to cross-check that the name is not already taken by another business. So, come up with at least 2-3 names just in case the first choice is already taken.

Step 4: Choose a Type of Business Model for Registration and Operations

This involves choosing from the different types of business models available in Finland for the registration and operation of the business. The following are the business model options that you can choose from;

  • Private Entrepreneur (Toiminimi): is formed with only one person
  • Limited Liability Company (Osakeyhtiö, OY): is formed by a natural or legal person. In other words, an individual or a corporation. They can be more than one.
  • General Partnership (Avoin Yhtiö, KY): is formed by a minimum of 2 persons and has no minimum amount of capital.
  • Limited Partnership (Kommandiittiyhtiö, KY): formed by a minimum of 2 persons and must include at least one limited partner. This partner plays the role of an investor in this partnership.
  • Public Limited Company or Corporation (Julkinen Osakeyhtiö, OY): this is a form of limited liability company, however, this type is used by larger companies. A minimum of one person can form it but its share capital has to be at least 80.00 euros.
  • Cooperative Association (Osuuskunta): this type of company is formed by the members of a group. The funds are pooled together by the members of the group and used to solve a need that they have. There have to be at least 3 founders and rules guiding the cooperative.

Depending on the type of business model chosen, then you can talk about the funding.

Step 5: Sourcing for Funds

You can do this after you have chosen what kind of business model to register and operate with. After that, you also have to know the pros and cons of the model you are choosing. After you have done that, then you look at sourcing the funds you need for your business. Where the members need to pool resources together, you go ahead and do that. If it is to be taken from your personal finances, then you do that. If need be for taking a loan, then you find out how to go about it. 

Step 6: Register Your Business

Having gone through steps 1-5, it’s now time to register your business. Registration of businesses is done at the Finnish Chamber of Commerce and the tax regulatory bodies. You can obtain an operations permit and then be informed on how you are to be paying taxes, depending on the type of business model that you operate. 

Satisfying every legal obligation regarding the starting and operating of a business in Finland is very important. This is because Finland is a country that is big on the law. Legal authorities are given priority above all other authorities in the country. Where a need is, hire private lawyers to speak for you and ensure that legal matters are attended to swiftly.

Step 7: Start Your Business

Having satisfied every obligation, both personal and legal, you can then start your business. At this point, you must have selected the location and the vendors that you choose to work with. Also, the online channels that you would want to use and the employees managing those channels. This step is all about the full operations of the business.

Step 8: Keep a Proper Record of Your Purchases and Sales/ Services

Keeping a proper record of purchases you made and the sales of products or services rendered is important. Ensure that you balance your business sheet at the end of the day, week, or month, depending on your choice. This will help you ascertain if you are making a profit or not.

Note: When operating a business in Finland, you must understand the culture of the people in the locality you operate. That involves learning the language, what they abhor and accept, and the appropriate bodies to meet when the need to settle a dispute arises. Also, Finland is a country fair in its judgment, therefore, you have to be fair in your operations and deal fairly with your customers.


Finland is a great place to establish a business, whether as a foreigner or not. There are policies in place that supports businesses and makes it easy to start up one in the country. While it is a good place, the language barrier can pose a challenge. Therefore, taking up Finnish language classes can be a huge boost to your business and foster faster acceptability.

I hope this step-by-step guide to starting a business in Finland is helpful to you. You can also carry out more research for other things tips that were not covered by this article in case you need more clarity or assistance.

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Igbojianya Oluchukwu

Content is the life of anything that works in life. It can be written, visual, audio, or a combination of all forms. It is my duty and pleasure to give you valuable content. I am Igbojianya Oluchukwu, a Content Creator and Writer.