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Talent Explorer funding

Gain new knowledge and expertise to help advance in a new global market.

For whom?

The Explorer funding service is intended for small and medium-sized enterprises and Midcap companies (maximum group-level turnover of 300 million euros) in all sectors, with the exception of industries excluded from de minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fisheries and aquaculture).

Companies that are seeking new export markets for a product, service or business model by hiring an international talent. The company may be in its early stages of internationalization or already operate internationally. 

The company must also have an innovative product or service idea or business model which it needs expertise in order to export to new international markets. The target market and/or customer segment investigated in the project must be new to the company.


Talent Explorer funding can be used to hire an international talent in order to obtain new information and expertise to help your company make progress in a new international market. The funding is intended only for the costs of hiring an expert. The maximum amount of funding granted by Business Finland is 20,000 euros and may cover up to 50% of the expert's employment costs (salary costs and including indirect employee costs and possible travel expenses) for the first 6 to 12 months. In other words, the maximum project cost is 40,000 euros. A company or a group of companies may receive Talent Explorer funding for a total of three times.

One of the goals of Talent Explorer funding is to bring international experts to Finland. Therefore, the Talent Explorer expert works from Finland, but travelling and short-term stays in the target market are possible. The person must be subject to Finnish labor legislation, he or she must be covered by Finnish social security and the taxes on the salary must be withheld in Finland.

You can find help for finding an international talent from Business Finland's Talent Boost program.

When to apply?

Talent Explorer is a suitable funding service, when  

  • your company is in its early stages of internationalization, or you wish to obtain more expertise and knowledge to help your company grow internationally by utilizing a hired international talent to analyze a potential export market for your current product, service or business model

  • your company needs the help of an expert to plan international operations and survey new target markets 

  • your company’s financial situation is solid and has already secured its part of the funding 

  • There are enough resources and a wide range of skills available for development. We do not award funding to single-person businesses. At minimum, your  team must consist of, for example, one full-time person and two half-time persons in Finland.

  • The company's product must be at least in the piloting phase.

When not to apply?

Your company cannot receive Explorer funding, if

  • you are a large enterprise, a private trader, a public or non-profit organization or a company registered in Åland
  • your company has tax liabilities, for which it has not made or adhered to a payment plan
  • your company's rating Alfa is below A
  • your company's industry is not eligible for de minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fishing and aquaculture)
  • your company has exceeded its de minimis quota
  • the financing is intended to be used for your company's operational activities, such as sales or marketing
  • your company's main sector is retail 

What can the funding be used for?

Explorer funding can be used to hire an international talent to support your company's international operations. The hired expert may be an individual with specific experience or expertise related to your company's potential new export market, such as a foreign national who has graduated from or is a graduate thesis student at a Finnish university or university of applied sciences.

Examples of activities targeted the funding

Hiring an expert for carrying out various activities to promote internationalization in a new export market, such as

  • Internationalization plan and strategy
  • Survey of business opportunities, pre-conceptualization
  • Market survey of an existing product in a new international market and survey of localization needs.
  • Data for the purpose of market survey can also be collected through trial marketing. Expert work related to trial marketing may be accepted as project costs, provided that the scope of trial marketing is clearly specified: the target markets and customer segments must be defined prior to the launch of trial marketing, and the maximum duration of the trial is 2 months.
  • Analyses of markets and the competitive landscape
  • Survey of retailers and distribution partners
  • Analysis of compliance with regulations and standards and international product protection for existing products. Costs arising from tests and applications or expansions of trademarks or product protection will not be funded.

What is the funding not intended for?

  • Your company's current employees' salary costs or travel expenses, materials, supplies, rents and machinery and equipment purchases.

  • Sectors which are excluded from de minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fisheries and aquaculture).

  • Outsourced expert services.

  • Costs incurred in supporting exports or export marketing.

Amount of funding

Funding is applied in advance and the project start date may not be earlier than the date the application is submitted to the electronic system. The maximum amount of Explorer funding granted by Business Finland is 20,000 euros and may cover up to 50% of the employment costs (salary costs and possible travel expenses) for the first 6 to 12 months of work performed in Finland by the hired expert. Your company must pay a minimum of 50% of the employment costs of the hired expert. In other words, the maximum budget for an Talent Explorer application is 40,000 euros.

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.

This funding constitutes a grant which your company does not need to repay.

Funding will be paid after the project has ended and the final report submitted. In the final report, your company must report to Business Finland on how the goals agreed in the funding decision were achieved. The funding period is typically between 6 to 12 months. The maximum duration of projects is one year.

There are also development grants by ELY Centres. It can be awarded to SMEs for a development project under a broader internationalization strategy, which may include, for example, the salary of a new key person, attendance at fairs or trips related to internationalization measures. Development grants are not available in Uusimaa.

De Minimis grant

Talent Explorer is de minimis support, defined by the European Commission for small development projects. The maximum sum of de minimis aid that can be granted to one company over the current and two previous fiscal years is €200,000. The company must assess how much de minimis funding it has received in previous years at the application stage. Such aid is granted by a range of public organisations in addition to Business Finland, such as Finnvera and the ELY Centres.


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