The Group Explorer funding service is intended for business groups to assess joint business opportunities in export markets.
The Group Explorer funding service is intended for business groups to assess joint business opportunities in export markets. The funding may be granted to groups of 4-10 companies that are eligible for support and have a joint offering or other strong interest to work together with an identified business opportunity. A group must include at least 4 independent companies, at least half of which are SMEs. A group may include companies belonging to the same group of companies, as long as the above condition is met.
The project is evaluated as a whole, the criteria for evaluation are
For SMEs, the funding is a de minimis grant of 50% of approved purchased services. For large companies, the level of support is 40%. The recommended project duration is one year.
In addition to providing funding, Business Finland can assist in identifying suitable service providers in the target markets and in Finland. The Expert Search service can also be used to find export market experts.
Group Explorer is a suitable funding service, when
Business group funding cannot be granted if any of the aforementioned situations apply to one or several companies.
The business group can use the funding to, for example:
The business group may use the funding for purchased services, including:
Other costs are accepted by a calculated coefficient of max. 20% of eligible purchase cost. Other costs may include interpreting, travel, salary, freight and catering costs, as well as rent for events. These deferred expenses do not need to be itemized and need not be recorded in the project accounts.
The funding may not be used for:
The beneficiary must arrange its accounting so as to facilitate the itemization of costs incurred from the project for outsourced services, and the verification of their connection with accounting and the cost statement.
The amount of funding is between EUR 2,500 and EUR 20,000 per company. Business Finland's de minimis grant for SMEs covers 50 percent of the total costs, and the SME must cover the remaining 50 percent. The grant for large and mid cap companies is 40 percent, and the company must cover the remaining 60 percent.
This funding constitutes a grant which the company does not need to repay. No financing is paid in advance. The enterprise must have sufficient funding to cover the costs of the project and other business costs. When planning self-financing, it must be taken into account that Business Finland financial support is paid retrospectively against actual and paid costs, unless otherwise stated in the decision.
Group Explorer is a form of de minimis aid as defined by the European Commission. The maximum permissible sum of de minimis aid to a company is 200,000 euros over the current and two previous fiscal years. Separate instructions have been issued on de minimis funding, and applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with these.
When applying, the company must assess its received amount of de minimis funding in previous years. The company is responsible for monitoring that its de minimis quota is not exceeded. In addition to Business Finland, de minimis aid is granted by many public organizations, such as Finnvera and regional ELY Centres.
For ease of processing the applications, each company in the business group must file its application within two weeks after the first application filed by a member of the group.
Applications belonging to the same project must share an identical name. The business group should ask the Business Finland contact person for a "Group Explorer ID" when applying.
Funding is applied in the Business Finland Online Service.
State which service provider you will use on the project
During the application phase, companies must have a preliminary understanding of the service provider for the expert services. In particular, the project manager should be known already during the application phase. The service provider may be changed during the project if this is necessary to achieve the project's aims.
Please note that the companies and their service providers may not be linked as associated companies (see further details in section 7.8 of the De Minimis Funding Terms and Conditions).
Enter your company's share of the costs in the cost estimate
In the application's project cost estimate, indicate only applicant company's share of services to be purchased.
A computational share of 20% of other costs may be accepted in the budget.
Other costs include overhead, travel, material and equipment costs, rents and machinery and equipment purchases, and machinery and equipment depreciation and leasing costs (incl. cloud services). The funder will approve such costs up to 20% of the amount of purchased services. These costs need not be reported to the funder, nor do they need to be included in the beneficiary's project accounting.
The business group shall determine the division of costs between its member companies. The amount of funding applied from Business Finland is 50% (large companies 40%) of approved costs. Individual companies need not include a company-specific project plan in their applications; instead, the project's content is described in the application form. The business group's joint project plan must be included as an appendix to each of the applications.
Describe your company's objectives
In the application, the company must specify between 2 to 5 goals, the achievement of which is tracked by the funder. Possible goals include the following:
No, it cannot be used to fund retail businesses. The company must make the products or services it sells.
If the entire group wishes to switch consultants, the change of consultant can be realized by submitting an application through the online service. Any of the companies may prematurely quit the project if they so desire. The group can continue with the Group Explorer project if there are at least four companies left. Please contact your Business Finland contact person before making any changes.