A recent Entrepreneurial Poll reveals a significant downturn in the financial well-being of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Finland. According to the survey, 19% of SMEs report their financial situation as either poor or very poor, marking the highest level since the question was first posed in May 2022.

The poll, conducted between April 3 and 15, 2024, by Entrepreneur's Verian, collected responses from 1,076 SME representatives.

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In 2023, Finnish startups experienced a significant reduction in funding, down from the previous year's record highs, reflecting a broader trend of economic slowdown affecting startup investments across Europe and the United States. According to the Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA), total growth funding for Finnish startups was approximately €871 million, a sharp decline from the €1.7 billion raised in 2022.

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Office workers at a desk in Helsinki in July 2020. The Finnish Startup Community has reiterated its concern about a government plan to set a time limit for the re-employment of unemployed foreign workers in Finland. (Olivia Ranta – Lehtikuva)

START-UPS in Finland continue to worry about a government proposal for tough re-employment requirements on foreign employees, reports YLE.

The Finnish government is moving forward with a bill decreeing that foreign specialists must leave the country if they fail to re-employ themselves within six months and other holders of work-based residence permits within three months after becoming unemployed.

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Atradius, a global credit insurance company, indicates a troubling rise in bankruptcy claims in Finland for the early months of 2024, suggesting the peak of the bankruptcy wave is yet to come. Juhani Laitala, the Country Manager for Atradius Finland, however, expresses hope for a positive shift post-summer.

Based on the number of compensation claims processed by Atradius Finland in January and February 2024, which saw a near 40% monthly increase compared to the previous year's average, the company forecasts an upsurge in bankruptcies during the first half of the year.

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An employee cutting a sample off a semi-finished metal product at the SSAB mill in Raahe, Finland, in November 2021. Raahe was one of two options considered by the steel manufacturer as the location of a fossil-free steel mill. On 2 April, though, the company said it has decided to build the mill in Luleå, Sweden. (Timo Heikkala – Str / Lehtikuva)

THE DECISION by SSAB to choose Sweden over Finland as the location of its fossil-free steel mill has kindled discussion in Finland.

SSAB announced last week it will invest about 4.5 billion euros in building a fossil-free steel mill in Luleå, Sweden, rather than in Raahe, Finland. Its completion will signal the shutdown of the current blast furnace-based production system, shaving seven per cent off the carbon dioxide emissions of Sweden.

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Neste Express Helsinki Mannerheimintie's cold station in Helsinki, on March 27, 2024, had run out of 95-octane fuel. The energy company Neste updated its list on Wednesday of its service stations experiencing shortages of certain fuels. LEHTIKUVA

The business climate in the Helsinki region remains bleak, with companies predicting poor performance in terms of revenue, profitability, and employment over the next three months, according to the latest Economic Pulse survey conducted by the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce. This somber outlook persists from December, showing no signs of improvement.

A significant 39% of businesses surveyed indicated that the wave of political strikes expected in 2024 could diminish their ability to offer employment opportunities.

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Glasses of beer and wine on a table in a restaurant in Helsinki in January 2014. Helsingin Sanomat has drawn attention to the difficult situation of restaurants in the Finnish capital, highlighting that bankruptcies in the sector surged by 70 per cent year-on-year in 2023. (Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva)

STATISTICS point to a rapid decline of the restaurant sector in Helsinki.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday revealed that the number of restaurants that went bankrupt in the capital city increased by 70 per cent year-on-year in 2023, from 41 to 71, according to data collected by Asiakastieto.

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Fortum's Loviisa nuclear power plant's power lines. LEHTIKUVA

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Tulikivi will supply crushed soapstone from its quarries as a byproduct to enhance a new thermal energy storage system developed by Polar Night Energy for the Finnish district heating company, Loviisan Lämpö. This pioneering initiative, set in Pornainen, marks a significant leap towards sustainable energy solutions in district heating.

The project revolves around the construction of an industrial-scale Sand Battery, a novel technology devised by Polar Night Energy,

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In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry led a fleet of U.S. warships into Japan, a nation that had lived in self-imposed isolation for over two centuries. Perry's mission, backed by the technological might of his black ships, was clear: to force Japan to open its ports to international trade. Perry's arrival and the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854 forced Japan to open its doors to the world, marking the end of its isolationist policies and the beginning of its integration into the global economy. 

Parallel to Japan's coerced opening, another Asian giant faced its reckoning with the West.

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Mikael Pentikäinen, the managing director of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, was photographed at an event where business interest groups unveiled their joint objectives for the electoral term in Helsinki in February 2023. A recent survey by the federation shows that businesses are broadly satisfied with the government programme and policy measures taken to implement it. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

ALMOST TWO-THIRDS, or 64 per cent, of business owners are satisfied with the makeup of the current government, reveals a survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

Conducted in February, the survey also found that 60 per cent of business owners are satisfied and 26 per cent dissatisfied with the government programme. Well over half, or 58 per cent, of the respondents stated that they are satisfied and 32 per cent that they are dissatisfied with government actions.

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