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RDI loans in disruptive circumstances

 

The application period for Business Finland's temporary RDI loan for disruptions has been extended until 15 October 2021. The  loan for business disruptions is intended to provide funding for research, development and innovation (RDI) projects. Funding can be applied for by SMEs and midcap companies operating in domestic or international markets, and foundations and associations engaged in significant business activities, that employ at least six full-time wage earners. Through RDI projects, recipients of funding can modernize their products, services or production methods, thus improving their business preconditions and competitiveness.

Who is eligible for funding?

Funding is intended for limited liability SMEs and midcap companies whose business activities have been significantly affected by disruptions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Applicants must be able to indicate to Business Finland how the coronavirus crisis has disrupted their business activities or what kind of a threat the crisis presents, and how these challenges can be resolved by means of an RDI project. Business Finland’s funding is subject to discretion. Funding can also be applied for by foundations and associations that were engaged in significant business activities before the coronavirus situation.

The business activities of funding recipients must be of such a size that they can carry out an RDI project of at least EUR 150,000 and repay the RDI loan from business income.

When assessing the impact of funding, special attention will be paid to the employment effects of the funding on Finnish society. Therefore, applying organizations must have at least six full-time salaried employees in Finland. This includes any employees who have been temporarily laid off, but not owners who work in their company without any pay (see FAQ).

Who is the funding not intended for?

  • General partnerships and limited partnerships
  • Large corporations (excluding mid-caps)
  • Registered sole traders and companies employing 1-5 people
  • Agricultural companies in primary production
  • Private entrepreneurs (commercial names) that Business Finland cannot finance according to legislation
  • Companies that were classed as 'undertaking in difficulty' as per the EU definition on 31 December 2019. With the amendment of the decree at the start of July 2020, companies that became 'undertakings in difficulty' between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 can nevertheless apply for a temporary RDI loan. Business Finland uses overall consideration when assessing the application, and it assesses how the company's overall financial situation affects its ability to conduct a profitable business.

What can the funding be used for?

Funding for two types of situations


1. The coronavirus situation has disrupted the business activities of an applicant operating in domestic and/or international markets, and the goal of the RDI project is to directly resolve the disruption or business threat experienced by the applicant as a result of the coronavirus situation.


2. The coronavirus situation has disrupted the business activities of an applicant seeking international growth, while the goal of the RDI project is not to directly resolve the disruption or business threat experienced by the applicant as a result of the coronavirus situation.

What may the funding not be used for?

The funding may not be used for a project for which the company has received development funding for disruptive business circumstances in grant form from Business Finland. However, a company that has received assistance can apply for temporary RDI loan funding to continue the development process started in the assisted project (e.g. for piloting and R&D) after the assisted project has ended. Loan funding may also be granted alongside development funding in disruptive circumstances, but in such cases, the actions must concern different targets than the grant project.

The funding cannot be used for:

  • Compensation for losses caused by the covid -19
  • Operational production costs, training costs for personnel, or sales and marketing  
  • For investments (equipment investments can exceptionally be accepted through depreciation, provided that the investment is a necessary part of the RDI project, e.g. piloting)
  • For development, which does not seek a solution with a sufficient novelty value or competitive edge, or which does not comprise research, development and innovation activities
  • Examples of activities not funded by the RDI loan:
    • Customer orders, reference deliveries
    • Deployment of an online shop
    • Procurement and deployment of an ERP system or another similar internal system of the applicant
    • Methods that are universally used in business activities for the development of internal operations
    • Planning and investigation activities preceding the design and opening of a new facility/place of business, and initial investments preceding the start of operations
    • Construction

How much funding can you get?

The minimum loan for businesses in disruptive circumstances is EUR 100,000. The amount of the loan for a company, a foundation or an association operating in the domestic market may not exceed EUR 500,000, and the maximum amount of funding for projects of companies, foundations and associations seeking international growth will be assessed according to their needs.

Business Finland's loan covers 50-70% of the approved project costs, depending on the project type as described above. The company must cover 30-50 % of the costs through its own finances. The applicant must be able to prove to Business Finland that it has sufficient funds for the whole duration of the project. As Business Finland's funding is generally paid retrospectively, the funding receiver must first be able to pay the costs arising from the project itself.

The term of the loan is generally 7-10 years. In general, it is possible to have three years during which no principal is repaid. In the case of loans to companies seeking international growth, the loan period is the same as in Business Finland's normal RDI funding.

At the beginning of the project, 30% of the loan can be granted for the project in advance. The rest of the funding is paid on the basis of the actual costs.

Loans are unsecured, so no collateral is required. If the project is delayed, fails, or produces results that cannot be used in business operations, you can ask Business Finland to amend the loan terms. Primarily, the recipient is offered more time to repay the loan. In some cases, the unpaid principal and interest on the loan can be converted to a grant in whole or in part. In other words, the loan does not need to be repaid. Read more about Business Finland´s loan funding and  loan amendments.  

Eligible costs

The content and goals of the RDI project determine what project costs can be accepted. Costs will be accepted, at the earliest, starting from the date on which the application was received by Business Finland.

Eligible costs are expenditure on research, development and innovation, which is

  • incurred during the life of the project (accrual basis)
  • in the beneficiary's accounts
  • net and excluding VAT.

The salaries of the company's own personnel can be approved as costs in proportion to the amount of work done on the project, as well as the associated indirect personnel costs, overheads, and the services, machinery, and goods purchased in relation to the project. Acceptable costs are defined in more detail in funding terms for companies’ research and development projects, which should be read before submitting an application.

How to apply and report 

Applying for funding

  1. Register as a Business Finland Online Service user. You do not need to apply to be your organization's primary user when you register for the service.
  2. Apply for funding via the Online Service. Select a funding service  "Temporary RDI loan for domestic companies in disruptive circumstances" or "Temporary RDI loan for companies seeking international growth in disruptive circumstances".
  3. Enclose the attachments required with your application, including a project plan, which describes e.g. the RDI project’s concrete goals, the content of activities, resources and description of costs (see instructions), as well as attachments that describe your company’s financial situation, including your company’s monthly cash flow statement during the project.

How to amend your application

You can amend/edit your application via the Online Services, so long at its current status is 'Under review'. You will not receive any separate notifications of the amendment of your application's status, but you can monitor it in the Online Service. Do not send your application again by email, even if the status does not immediately change to 'in progress' in the application service.

You can cancel your application by contacting the record office. Applications cannot be canceled in the Online Service. Your message must include the application reference number and your  organization's name.

What do I do if my funding application is approved?

  1. Read the funding decision and the funding terms and conditions carefully and accept the decision in the Online Service. The funding decision will take effect when the funding decision is accepted.
  2. Organize your project accounting according to the funding terms and conditions from the very beginning of the project. Read the instructions on the Starting a project page.
  3. Implement the project and report on the project implementation and results in accordance with the funding decision and the funding terms and conditions. You can find the reporting periods for your project in your funding decision notification, which is available in the Online Service.
  4. Read the reporting instructions on the Reporting page.
  5. Submit your reports in the Online Service.

 

 

 

 

What is meant by a SME and midcap?

SMEs are companies with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of no more than EUR 50 million or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million. Companies larger than this are classed as large corporations.

Large companies with a turnover of up to EUR 300 million per the latest confirmed financial statements are referred to as midcap companies. Turnover is assessed at the consolidated group level.

Please note: Companies classed as large companies in terms of turnover but which are owned by public entities are never considered midcap companies.

The share of ownership of capital investors and other holdings are not taken into consideration in assessing whether the turnover limit of EUR 300 million is exceeded at the group level.

How to apply for funding

  1. Familiarize yourself with the guidance provided on this page.
  2. View the application questions and apply for funding in the Online Service.
  3. Business Finland will process your application before sending you a funding decision.

How to report on the conclusion of your project

  1. Please read the reporting guidelines when you have received your funding decision.
  2. When the project has been concluded, file a report in the Online Service.

Questions?

Send us an email at info (at) businessfinland.fi and we will answer your questions.