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Starting a business in Finland

27 October 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 07 June 2012

The Finnish administrative authorities aim to help entrepreneurs starting a business in the country in all areas. Many companies located in Finland do business in other Nordic countries, as well as the Baltic countries and Russia. Finland offers an advantageous market position for some 80 million people.


Legal requirements

The pursuit of some trades is restricted in Finland. These restrictions can be found in the Companies Act.

Companies Act or the Act on the Right to Pursue a Trade

Legal forms for businesses

There are a number of different business forms. The business form influences the amount of tax paid, the division of responsibilities and how actions between the company and its owner are treated. It is worth investigating which form is the most suitable for your business.

Selecting a business form

The most common business forms are:

  • sole trader;
  • general partnership;
  • limited partnership limited liability company;
  • cooperative.

Business activities and related rules

There are different rules for the different business forms, relating to the number of founders, the need for capital when commencing activities, division of liability, flexibility of activities, business continuity, distribution of profit and loss, and taxation.

Business rules

Some trades require a licence.

Licensed trades

It is worth familiarising oneself with the rules and regulations relating to businesses before setting up a new business.

Acts and decrees

Business plans and evaluation

When setting up a new business, it is worth preparing a business plan to explain the enterprise's activities.

Business plan

There are different templates that can be used to design business prerequisites and viability. An electronic tool for preparing a business plan can be found on the Enterprise Finland website.

Business plan template

To succeed, a new business needs a sound commercial strategy and secure financing.

Access to finance — Finland

Some standard requirements to be completed when setting up a business are the same as when opening a branch.

Branches — Finland

Administrative procedures

Joint service point

A joint service point is a "one-stop shop" where you can easily complete all the forms required to set up a new business online.

Enterprise Finland web service

Registering a company

Business registration

The company must be given a business name before the documents for setting up a new business are prepared and the business is registered. This will be the company's insignia and it must be clearly different from existing company names.

New companies are registered in the Trade Register of the National Board of Patents and Registration (PRH). Companies can send their information for the registers maintained by the PRH and the Finnish Tax Administration on one form:

  • Trade Register ;
  • Prepayment Register ;
  • Employer Register ;
  • VAT Register.

For further information about registering a business:

Setting up a business (Enterprise Finland web service)

Entrepreneurship in Finland (Expat Finland)

Trade Register


Start-up notification

Company start-up forms

Social security

An entrepreneur's statutory social security includes a pension plan. An entrepreneur may improve his pension and other social security benefits by means of voluntary insurance and pension payments.

Entrepreneur's social security

An entrepreneur must insure himself against retirement, unemployment and death.

Entrepreneur's pension insurance (YEL)

As the employer, the company is obliged to pay withheld tax from salaries paid and to pay the withheld tax and employer's social security contributions to the tax office.

Social security contributions and withheld tax

Tax registration

Companies pay direct and indirect taxes for their business activities, such as value-added tax (VAT) and excise duty.

Company taxation

Companies that pursue a trade, agriculture or other profitable activity are registered in the prepayment register.

Prepayment Register

Special procedures

The national ministries grant business licences. In some cases, a licence is not required, only written notification from the business owner.


Virtual Finland is a multilingual website where non-Finnish nationals can find information about Finland.

Virtual Finland

Finnfacts helps companies with international communication, publishes material on industry and business life, and organises visits to Finnish companies for journalists.


Source: Your Europe

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