Frequently asked questions
This page contains the most frequently asked questions about Business Partnership Support and answers to these questions.
This page contains the most frequently asked questions about Business Partnership Support and answers to these questions.
Business Partnership Support is granted for commercially viable, long-term business operations in developing countries. The financial grant is intended for implementing the research, training and piloting phases of a project as well as developing existing business operations. Typical eligible project expenses include travel, accommodation, labour and daily allowance expenses. Eligible expenses include expenses incurred from the registration date onwards in accordance with the project budget enclosed with the discretionary government transfer decision. For more information about eligible expenses, please read the conditions of Business Partnership Support.
The applicant must be the implementer of the project (e.g. establishing company or importer) and the project must be significant to its operations. The applicant cannot only act as a consultant in the project. The applicant must have adequate experience and commercial expertise in the project industry. In addition, the applicant must have sufficient economic and human resources to implement the project. If the applicant is a consortium formed by more than one operator, each member of the consortium shall apply for support by submitting an independent application and project budget. Each member of the consortium will receive a separate discretionary government transfer decision.
Educational institutions, research institutes and non-governmental organisations may act as an independent applicant or organiser of a support activity project in a Business Partnership Support project:
An NGO/educational institution/research institute may also provide expert or consulting services to a company, in which case any expenses related to its work must be included in the company’s project budget. In other words, if an NGO/educational institution’s activities serve only a company’s project directly, e.g. a company is provided with training services, these activities are deemed to be consulting services.
Applications for Business Partnership Support can be submitted through the government’s e-Service around the year.
Finnpartnership processes your application and gives the Ministry for Foreign Affairs a statement on the project to support the decision-making process. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs publishes discretionary government transfer decisions in the e-Service. It takes approximately 3–5 months from the submission of the application to receive the decision.
The share of Finnpartnership’s Business Partnership Support of eligible expenses is determined by the OECD/DAC classification and/or the States of Fragility list. High alert fragile states include all the ‘extremely fragile’ countries on OECD’s States of Fragility list, i.e. Afghanistan, Burundi, South Sudan, Haiti, Iraq, Yemen, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Chad, as well as Jordan and Ukraine.
In the processing of Business Partnership Support, the list valid on the project’s registration date shall apply. If a target country is excluded from the list of OECD DAC when Business Partnership Support is still payable, the reimbursement request must be submitted and processed and the payment must be made before the exclusion of the target country enters into force. Thus, the applicant must also take into account the time it takes to process the reimbursement request. If a project is targeting both a UMIC and a LMIC simultaneously, the lower support percentage shall apply.
Projects that target upper middle income countries (UMIC) are expected to have direct development impacts. Employment, taxes or export revenue created by the project do not alone suffice as development impacts in UMICs. Direct development impacts include creating jobs for groups that struggle to find employment. This includes employing the poor, providing a product/service intended for the poor, and the centralisation of business activities in poor regions. You can find examples of direct development impacts here. Every project and related information are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Business Partnership Support is granted for projects with one of the following objectives:
Business Partnership Support is not granted for projects that are on the exclusion list.
Business Partnership Support is not granted for export projects (incl. identification of an export-related agent or distributor). Business Partnership Support may be granted for specific project phases of an export project if the project involves long-term transfer of knowledge/expertise, such as a long-term service and/or operation agreement that forms a partnership between a Finnish operator and a local operator. In that case, support may be granted for e.g. the identification of a business partner or training of local service personnel.
Business Partnership Support may be granted for the research and training phases of a project involving import to the EEA from a developing country. These phases include the identification of import partners, improving the product quality and fair-trade or similar certification of the imported goods, and training of the local partner. Like in other Business Partnership Support projects, expenses from the project’s operational business activities, such as freight costs, are not covered by the subsidy.
Go to the ‘Notices’ section to check that you have received an acknowledgement of receipt for your application. You will receive the acknowledgement of receipt within 1–3 business days of submitting the application. Please note that the status of the application can only be viewed in the e-Service. You will receive no confirmation of the receipt of your application by email.
If the Ministry for Foreign Affairs requests for more information in the e-Service, you are required to provide the supplementary information directly in the e-Service. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs posts an acknowledgement of receipt in the e-Service, which states the project’s registration date. If support is granted for the project and the applicant’s expense budget is approved, expenses which are incurred after the registration date and are within the expense budget are eligible for support. The applicant assumes the risk for all project activities undertaken before the discretionary government transfer decision is made.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will indicate the project’s registration date in the acknowledgement of receipt posted in the e-Service. The registration date is the date on which the correctly completed application form and the required appendices were submitted through the e-Service. The registration date is important, because expenses incurred after that date may be eligible for support. Business Partnership Support is not granted to cover expenses generated before the project’s registration date.
The applicant will be notified of the discretionary government transfer decision only in the e-Service. The applicant will also be provided with an Excel file containing the approved project expenses. You can find the decision and any attachments on the ‘Notices/Approval’ tab in the ‘Submitted Applications’ view. To view the decision, click the ‘View PDF’ button. Click the ‘Download notification and attachments’ button to see the attachments. The applicant should check the status of their application in the e-Service regularly. You can also enable email and/or SMS notifications of received documents in the e-Service. At the request of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finnpartnership does not release information on the details of its project statements.
Due to the public nature of Business Partnership Support, the name of the applicant organisation, the name, business ID, size, region and financing method of the Business Partnership Support recipients, as well as the amount of support granted and the number of supported projects organised by the applicant are public information.
You can find the decision and any attachments on the ‘Notices/Approval’ tab in the ‘Submitted Applications’ view. To view the decision, click the ‘View PDF’ button. Click the ‘Download notification and attachments’ button to see the attachments.
Business Partnership Support covers expenses incurred during the research, piloting and training phases of projects aiming to establish business operations in developing countries. Typical eligible project expenses include travel, accommodation, labour and daily allowance expenses.
Eligible expenses include:
Expenses related to the launch of the company’s business operations (excluding training of personnel and development of local business) are not considered eligible expenses. For example, expenses related to recruitment are considered normal operating phase expenses and are therefore not eligible. Normal operating expenses of the business are not eligible for support. For more information and examples of eligible expenses, see the conditions of Business Partnership Support.
Expenses incurred on or after the submission of the application and the registration date are considered to be eligible expenses. The registration date is the date on which the correctly completed application form and the required appendices were submitted through the e-Service.
Eligible travel expenses consist usually of the main travel expenses, such as plane, train, boat or bus fares, necessary taxi fares in the target country (or in Finland in so far as they are equivalent to public transport fares), hotel charges, and daily allowance (approved by the tax authorities) during foreign travel in the target country or another country relevant to the project. Travel expenses are calculated on the basis of the least expensive travel class. Eligible hotel charges are restricted to the maximum charges approved according to the valid State Travel Regulations.
The applicant may utilise their own internal labour resources for the preparatory phases of a project in a developing country if this work is performed in the target country, Finland, or another country relevant to the project. The expenses may be related e.g. to identifying business partners, pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, business plan development, and the training of employees in the developing country. Only the actual working time of the applicant’s personnel on business days (Mon–Fri) is eligible for support. The maximum support amount is EUR 500 per day and it is based on the person’s regular monthly salary, as detailed in the employment contract (not including e.g. fringe benefits). Labour expenses are not covered if the company’s own employees and/or owners do not receive a monthly salary (e.g. a newly established business). Dividends, wage dividends, owner withdrawals or other similar payments are not eligible for support. In such instances, however, travel, accommodation and daily allowance expenses may still be eligible. The working day agenda must be specified in the application phase for each day and verified at the time of payment. The support recipient is responsible for monitoring how working time is used. Work carried out in Finland or another country related to the project cannot be supported in the target country more than once if the work’s nature remains unchanged. Work related to normal, everyday activities in the project, e.g. expenses related to the running or set-up of machinery, are not covered.
The limit for eligible expert fees for external experts/consultants is EUR 520 per day for junior consultants and EUR 910 per day for senior consultants. Actual expert fees may exceed these maximum limits but these are the limits for fees covered by Business Partnership Support. External experts may be consultants, lawyers or interpreters utilised in connection with feasibility studies, market studies, business plans, and social and environmental impact assessments. In addition, external experts may be used for providing personnel training or developing existing business operations in the target country. Expenses from the use of legal services are acceptable for consulting and writing contracts. The employees of a local partner do not count as external experts. However, target country studies carried out by an operator considered to be the support recipient’s long-term partner in the developing country may be supported at project stages 1 to 3. The audit fee incurred for the audit required for payment requests is an eligible expense. The project’s general accounting and financial management expenses are not eligible.
In addition to travel, daily allowance and accommodation expenses as well as salaries and emoluments, eligible expenses in the piloting or demonstration of technology and solutions include labour expenses related to planning, localisation, training, other technical support, and installation work. Other eligible expenses include rental fees (equipment and facilities) that are necessary for the conducting of the pilot. Reasonable device investments, construction expenses and freight expenses are eligible on a case-by-case basis, if the pilot product or similar solution remains in the ownership of the support recipient or its local long-term partner for at least the duration of the validity period of Business Partnership Support, and where such expenses are relevant for the project.
Business Partnership Support does not cover e.g. the following expenses:
You can find more information about the conditions here.
In the event that the project plan and/or budget changes, the company should request authorisation for the change by submitting a notification of amendment via the e-Service. If Finnpartnership/the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has not approved the changes to the project plan and budget, the changes in question may not be accepted when payment is requested or the changes may only be partially accepted.
Business Partnership Support is valid for 24 months from the notice date of the discretionary government transfer decision. Extensions cannot be granted on Business Partnership Support. You can find the notice date under ‘Notices’ in the e-Service.
Business Partnership Support is paid after the expenses have been incurred, paid and completely audited in accordance with the expenses included in the approved project budget. Business Partnership Support is paid in one or two instalments. Finnpartnership processes reimbursement requests in the order of receipt. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for making the payment.
It is not possible to apply for an extension on granted Business Partnership Support. The recipient must request reimbursement of the financial grant by filing a reimbursement request before the expiry date.
Business Partnership Support can be paid to the recipient once the recipient of the support has sent the commitment to adhere to the terms and conditions of Business Partnership Support. Support recipients are to submit the correctly filled in commitment form in the e-Service as soon as possible after being notified of the decision but no later than when they submit the first reimbursement request. Business Partnership Support is paid in one or two instalments. The reimbursement request and its appendices are submitted through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ e-Service. The request for payment consists of:
In connection with every payment request, the applicant shall submit a progress report that describes the project’s activities and use of funds (if the support expires without payments being made, the applicant shall provide a short description of why the project has not been carried out). In addition, the recipient is obliged to report on the project’s progress by responding to two follow-up surveys. The first follow-up survey is sent to the company by email no later than within one year of the expiry of the subsidy. The second follow-up survey is sent to the company by email no later than within one year of the first survey. Finnpartnership will send the recipient the reporting form.
Recipients of Business Partnership Support are encouraged to communicate about the operating environments in emerging markets and the development challenges which they aim to tackle, the progress of their projects, including both successes and challenges, and the results of their work. Support recipients are recommended to communicate the fact that their project has received Business Partnership Support under the development cooperation fund of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
It is prohibited to use the logo of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or Finnpartnership in any project-related communications.