Interested in self-employment

The options for work are changing, and new opportunities for self-employment are opening up. In addition to conventional paid employment and entrepreneurship, you can be employed as, for example, a light entrepreneur, freelancer or informal carer. Such varied ways to work also offer you options for preparing for changes in the employment market.

For example, the fields of culture and science may offer you self-employment opportunities as a grant recipient, say, as a researcher or artist. Grants are awarded by the state and private foundations. 

Applying for a grant for making art 

The Arts Promotion Centre Finland Taike awards every year government assistance in grants and subsidies for making art to individual artists, working groups and communities. Government artist grants are intended for professional artists from various fields or critics of different fields of the arts. Artist grants and working grants are intended to be used for artistic work. 

In addition, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland awards target grants for individual projects and grants for mobility for trips abroad to professional artists. Target grants and grants for mobility are awarded also to working groups. 
The special subsidies and operational grants awarded to communities by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland are intended for associations, foundations, cooperatives, municipalities and companies. 

The Ministry of Education and Culture awards government aid for education, science, culture, sports and youth work. Grants are awarded on application and on a discretionary basis. The ministry awards grants mainly to communities. 

Furthermore, in Finland, there are several private foundations and funds that award grants. 

Parties awarding grants have been listed in the Aurora database, providing information on providers of funding for Finnish science, arts and culture. Most parties awarding grants have specific application periods, but some have a continuous application system. 

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Applying for a grant for making scientific work 

If you are doing scientific work or research, you can apply for a grant to secure your income and to cover the costs related to your research. Grants can be awarded to students doing basic degree studies or to postgraduate students. Basic degree students are often granted a one-time grant, whereas the grants awarded to postgraduate students may be long-term grants. Grants may also be awarded to working groups.  

Parties awarding grants have been listed in the Aurora database, providing information on providers of funding for Finnish science, arts and culture. Most parties awarding grants have specific application periods, but some have a continuous application system. 

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Franchising makes it possible for you to set up a business as an independent entrepreneur but with a ready-made model provided to you as a member of a company chain.

By entering into a franchise agreement, you are entitled to use the trademark and business model of the company chain. You pay in return a contractual fee, which may be a flat annual payment or a percentage of either sales or profits. Franchising has been a growing form of entrepreneurship in recent decades, and it has also spread to new sectors in Finland.

As a freelancer, you are not committed to a particular employer long-term and you can work for either one or more work providers at the same time.

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You act as an employee, entrepreneur or you are paid non-wage compensation for your work. You can make a service agreement, which is either a fixed-term employment relationship or you perform the work as an entrepreneur. As a recipient of non-wage compensation, labour law will not apply to you, but your status is considered comparable to that of an entrepreneur.

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As a light entrepreneur, you can do work through billing services, invoicing cooperatives or digital employment service platforms. Your work may include tasks related to home, well-being, entertainment, construction, teaching or information technology.

Billing services  

Your work may consist of a number of short-term job assignments that you perform as a ‘light entrepreneur’, using, for example, a billing service or invoicing cooperative.  

By using billing services, you can issue an invoice for your work without being registered as a company. The billing or salary payment service meets the statutory obligations it pledges.  

Digital employment service platforms 

Your work may consist of a number of short-term employment opportunities that you take up, for example, through the use of digital employment service platforms. Employment service platforms usually provide short-term jobs or project work. They also pay salaries on behalf of work providers and they often also attend to the other obligations of an employer. Usually they offer individual work assignments without an employment relationship, but some platforms recruit people to an employment relationship.

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As an informal carer you employ yourself by taking care of a family member or some other person close to you, who is ill, disabled or otherwise in need of special care and cannot cope alone in his or her everyday life.

You make an informal carer agreement with a municipal authority, which entitles you to informal care support.   

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As a professional athlete, you can secure your income, for example, by making an agreement with a sports club, with a grant, a sponsorship agreement or some other source of income.

Formal or informal voluntary work is unpaid work odone for the public good or provided as kind of neighbourly help.

Voluntary work may give you experience and skills that may help you in finding employment.

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You can employ yourself as an agency worker through a labour hire company.

There are three parties to the rental employment relationship: The employee, the labour hire company and the user company. A company that needs employees may sign a contract with a labour hire company for the hiring of employees. You enter into an employment contract with the labour hire company, meaning that this company is your employer and it pays your salary. You work at the workplace of the user company, and it is responsible for providing work instructions and guidance. As an agency worker, you may be employed by several different user companies at the same time.

As a rule, the same labour legislation applies to agency work as to other employment relationships, but certain provisions specific to agency work are found in the Employment Contracts Act.

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Help is just around the corner if you are thinking about starting a business. Information and advice are easily available.

If you are considering setting up a business, familiarise yourself with the Suomi.fi section for companies, where you can find a wealth of information and advice on entrepreneurship.

The national Enterprise Finland Telephone Service provides guidance to starting entrepreneurs in matters related to establishing an enterprise. We can give you advice on starting a business in a quick and easy manner; our business advisor can advice you, map out your situation and guide you with the next steps.

You can also check My Enterprise Finland, which offers the most important planning tools for start-up business and an existing business.

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From salary earner to entrepreneur

Leaving your stable monthly salary behind and becoming a full-time entrepreneur takes courage but it has been the start of many success stories. As a budding entrepreneur, you may be entitled to a start-up grant or unemployment benefits, if certain requirements are met. The purpose of a start-up grant is to provide an entrepreneur with a secure income at the beginning, when income from the new enterprise is still limited. 

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From unemployed to self-employed

Have you thought about employing yourself? If you start a new company during your unemployment, the TE-Office will determine whether your business activities are full-time or part-time only after the first four months of starting the business. This means that you can receive unemployment security during this period.  If needed, unemployment security can be harmonised with the income you receive from business activities.

Please notice that, as an unemployed jobseeker, you can choose whether to apply for a start-up grant or unemployment benefits for the first four months of your entrepreneurship. If you begin business activities during your unemployment period, the assessment for whether you are a full-time or part-time entrepreneur will not take place within the first four months following the launch of your business. You may be entitled to unemployment benefits if you fulfil all the other requirements for the payment of unemployment benefits as stated in the labour policy. You have to, for instance, apply for and be prepared to accept full-time work, and your job search has to remain valid as agreed with the TE Office.

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Part-time entrepreneurship

If jumping head first to the deep end of entrepreneurship seems a little scary, you could consider part-time entrepreneurship. Trying out entrepreneurship alongside your current paid job also helps you stay financially stable.

If you are not employed as a salary earner or your job contract has been terminated, you may be entitled to adjusted unemployment security as a part-time entrepreneur. Your income as an entrepreneur will be taken into consideration, and the amount of unemployment security will be adjusted accordingly.

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Light entrepreneurship

If you have a good business idea but you’re not too excited about the administrative side of entrepreneurship, light entrepreneurship might be a good option for you. This means charging your work through an invoicing service without registering a business ID. Invoicing services often handle the statutory obligations of entrepreneurs for you. Easy, right?

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From entrepreneur to employer

If your company is fortunate enough to have more work than you can take on, we can also provide advice on hiring your first employee.

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If you consider becoming an entrepreneur, plan on setting up a business, or have already set up a company, you can take part in entrepreneurial training or career coaching.

Entrepreneurial training offers a comprehensive overview of the daily running of a company, and helps you plan your business. In career coaching, you can clarify your thoughts on entrepreneurship as a career option.  Entrepreneurial training and courses for entrepreneurs are also offered as self-motivated studies.  

You can launch your business flexibly while participating in entrepreneurial training. Organised as labour market training, short-term entrepreneurial training develops the students’ business ideas further, and supports the drafting of a business plan.  

In training for the purposes of establishing a business, you can deepen your understanding of issues such as marketing and risks linked with running a company. You can also familiarise yourself with procedures related to setting up a business, and develop your business idea and business plan further. Training for completing the Further Qualification for Entrepreneurs or parts of it is also organised as labour market training. 

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