Application instructions and forms
The more carefully you complete the application, the quicker it will be processed.
Business Partnership Support is a grant by the Finnish Foreign Ministry for Finnish organizations’ projects in developing countries. Applying for Business Partnership Support is done online.
The dropdown menus below are intended to provide you with the information you need to apply for Business Partnership Support, and they include the forms and guidelines for submitting the application. Please read through all the sections carefully before submitting the application. Tips for finding and bringing forth development impacts of your project can be found in the Know your impact guide.
Find out more about Business Partnership Support and what type of projects it can be granted for.
Finnpartnership’s application workshops provide training on everything you need to know about business partnership support and applying for it.
Before filling in the application form, please read the terms and conditions of Business Partnership Support and instructions regarding its use:
Finnpartnership recommends opening our step-by-step instructions to help with the application process:
Applications for business partnership support can be applied for year-round. Finnpartnership processes the applications and provides the Ministry for Foreign affairs statements to support their decision-making. The Ministry delivers the discretionary government grant decisions on granting the support to the online service. The applicant will receive the decision in approximately 3-5 months.
Allow for sufficient time for submitting the application. The electronic registration of an application using the online service takes at least 1-2 business days. The applicant may begin the implementation of the project at their own risk once they have received an acknowledgement of receipt from the Ministry through the service. The project’s registration date is provided in the acknowledgement of receipt. In the event that support is granted for the project and the applicant’s cost budget is approved, costs which are incurred after the registration date and are in accordance with the cost budget are eligible for support.
Business Partnership Support is applied for by submitting electronic forms and their appendices to the governmental online service using the customer’s personal account. The account is created using a Suomi.fi-ID. Instructions for the use of the Suomi.fi service for foreign companies are available here.
Identification for the Online service
Access to the Online service requires identification. Please consider granting mandates on behalf of your company and choosing the matters that the mandate concerns. In order to use Suomi.fi identification on behalf of the company, a mandate is needed (please note that also private entrepreneurs need to grant mandate to themselves to represent their company). Therefore, the company needs to grant the Applying for subsidies (Finnish: Valtionavustuksen hakeminen) mandate to the person who will be handling the Business Partnership Support application process on behalf of the company. Suomi.fi service is run by Digital and Population Data Services Agency (The Finnish Digital Agency), which is also responsible for customer support for the service. If you have any questions about the Suomi.fi service, please contact Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s Customer Service for Organisations (phone +358 295 53 5115 (mon-fri 10am to 3 pm; email: email@example.com).
- Start the application process by reviewing the step-by-step instructions for applying for business partnership support (pdf)
Basic Information Sheet
1. Basic Information Sheet (filled in the Online service)
In addition to the sheet, you must also provide as appendices
– Trade Register extract (no more than three months old)
– two most recent financial statements (which include the information for the three most recent financial periods).
If financial statements are not available, instead attach the CVs of the owners / key personnel of the project.
Fill in the Basic Information Sheet in the Online service according to the step-by-step application instructions. Log in to the online service using your Suomi.fi-ID, fill in the Basic Information Sheet and upload the appendices. The application is not sent until you click the “Submit application” button in the service. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will review the Basic Information Sheet within 1-3 working days and will send an acknowledgement of receipt to the online service. The acknowledgement of receipt can be found under “Notices”. Separate notifications on the acknowledgement of receipt are not sent, for example, to the applicant’s email address. If the Basic Information Sheet is incomplete, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will notify the applicant about a need for supplement in its acknowledgement of receipt. The supplementary information/attachments should be submitted to the online service with the Notification of Amendment form. The basic information notice submitted through the online service is valid for 6 months after being submitted. Applicants may use the same basic information notice for multiple Business Partnership Support applications.
Business Partnership Support application
In addition to the application you must also provide as appendices:
2.1. Budgeted project expenses (in Excel format) (mandatory)
2.2. Development impact questionnaire (mandatory)
2.3. Affirmation required by the Employers’ Sanctions Directive* (mandatory)
2.4. Form on non-applicability of de minimis restriction (optional, see further information on the “What is Business Partnership Support?” page).
Fill in the application form according to the step-by-step application instructions. Log in to the governmental e-service using your Suomi.fi ID and fill in the application form and upload the required appendices. N.B. The application is not sent for registration until you click the “Submit application” button in the service. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will review the Business Partnership Support application within 1-3 working days and will send an acknowledgement of receipt to the online service. The acknowledgement of receipt shows the project’s registration date and also confirms that the application was successfully received. If the application is incomplete, the Ministry will use the e-service to notify the applicant that supplementary information is needed. The supplementary information/appendices are done in the online service.
* The Employers’ Sanctions Directive prohibits employment of third-country nationals illegally staying in the country to combat illegal immigration. If the Government grant can be used for wage and salary costs, the applicant must provide the State aid authority with an affirmation that during the preceding three years, the Government grant applicant or the applicant’s representative has not been finally sentenced for unauthorised use of foreign labour or for employer’s violation of the Aliens Act, or that a financial sanction has not been imposed on the Government grant applicant by a final decision for recruiting employees illegally staying in the country.
Do you need help filling in the application? The below is a collection of tips on what should be paid attention to when completing the application.
1 Project aim and content
1.1 Establishing a subsidiary/joint venture
If the project studies the establishment of a subsidiary/joint venture, describe, for example:
• What is included in the operations of the subsidiary/joint venture (describe the operations)?
• What is your rough estimate on the turnover of the company being established?
• How many people do you believe the company will employ?
• When could the subsidiary/joint-company be established?
• What city or area will the subsidiary/joint-company most likely be located in?
In the event that the aim is to establish a joint venture enterprise:
• Who would be the potential shareholders of the joint venture?
• What is your estimate or plan on how the ownership shares would be distributed in the joint venture?
If the project is to study creating a subcontracting relationship, the following should be discussed in the application:
• What type of subcontracting partner is being sought?
• What will the agreement signed with the partner include?
• What will the responsibilities of the subcontractor partner include?
• What products/services will be acquired through subcontracting?
• Is the project about contract manufacturing (products are manufactured entirely by local partner) or will the project also utilise other subcontracting services in the target country in addition to the primary subcontractor, or alternatively will some of the components be produced internally?
• What is the intended contract period?
• When will subcontracting activities begin if everything goes according to plan?
• Will the subcontractor’s work methods or production processes be adjusted or improved? If yes, in what areas and what methods will be used to adjust or improve work methods or production processes?
• Will investments be made into the subcontractor’s premises, equipment, working conditions or other similar areas?
• Is the intention to monitor partner operations in regards to, for example, production quality?
• Will the working conditions of the employees of the partner be audited/monitored?
• Will training be provided to the local partner? If so, what subjects will the training include?
If the project aims to licence technology, the following should be discussed in the application:
• What type of licencing agreement is intended to be created with the local partner (what are the most significant contract elements)?
• What rights will the licence include?
• Who are the potential buyers of the licence?
• Who will sell the licences (support applicant, local partner, joint venture to be established, or another operator)?
• What is the intended licencing contract period?
• Will the licensee report to the support recipient or to another operator, to whom? If so, on what topics and how often?
• Will training the local personnel be included in the licencing agreement?
If the project is an import project, the following should be discussed in the application:
• What products will be imported from the target country?
• Where / to where (geographically) will the products be sold?
• What types of operators will the products be sold to?
• When would importing begin if the research phase progresses as planned?
• What quantity/how many of the products could be imported from the target country annually?
• Is the goal to acquire a certain quality, environmental or other similar qualification for all/some products?
• How likely is it that the local partner will be trained in the project (product manufacturers/suppliers)?
• What would the potential training include?
• Will employees in the target country be instructed, for example in manufacturing, in some way? If so, how detailed are these potential instructions and what do they include?
1.5 Matters pertaining to several of the above project types
• Describe your current operations
• To date, what operations has the applicant had in the target country in question?
• What is the status of the current project studies?
• In what region of the target country will the project take place? Is the project directed at rural areas or smaller growth centres?
• How will the operations in the project (e.g. subcontracting relationship or local joint venture) be divided between the applicant and the local partner?
• To whom/what types of operators will the products/services that are created in the project be sold (examples of most significant customer segments).
• And where will the products/services geographically be sold to?
• What is the basis of the turnover estimate of the target country operations (e.g. the company to be established).
• A rough estimate of the volumes of the products to be produced, i.e. how many units of each product is to be produced annually?
The schedule of the main phase of the project:
• According to your estimation, when do you believe would be the earliest that a subsidiary/joint venture would be established with a local partner?
• When could business operations begin in the target country?
• Will training be provided to local personnel?
• If several target countries are indicated in the application, are the associated target countries alternative locations for establishing a single company and/or establishing long-term cooperation, or is the aim to launch business operations / create partnership agreements in more than one target country, if possible?
• If the project targets a developing country/developing countries with a higher average income, what are the direct development impacts in the target country resulting from your project? If the support applicant has had a net loss for two consecutive years, it would be beneficial to describe potential plans to correct the financial situation (what are the planned actions and their schedule?).
2 Notable for different project phases
2.1 Identifying a partner
When the project is to begin identifying a local partner, it is useful to discuss the following in the project description:
• What type of partner is being sought (what industry, what expertise is required, what size of an organisation, what is expected of the partner etc.)?
• What type of agreement is intended to be signed with the local partner? How long a partnership is being sought? If your project has already identified a local partner, it is useful to provide a brief description of the company in the project description (industry, location, most significant market areas and customers, how many employees, turnover and profit/loss etc.).
2.2 Preliminary project assessment and project study
In the preliminary project assessment and project study phases, market research reports and other analysis that provides the basis for decision-making on becoming potentially established in the target area on the long-term may be taken into account (is it feasible to start the planned business operations, in what way should it be done, what partners are needed for it, what factors in the operating environment and legislation of the target country should be considered when planning business operations etc.). The only difference between the preliminary project assessment and project study phases is that typically more information is already available during the product study phase than during the preliminary project assessment phase, where there is possibly less knowledge on the target country’s operating environment or the requirements for viable implementation of the project. For example, if you have already visited the target country to study requirements and you already have preliminary information on the requirements to implement the project, you are likely to already be in the project study phase.
2.3 Drafting a business plan
In the event that the support is being applied for to prepare a business plan, it is useful to state in detail for which unit/business (e.g. operations of a subsidiary that is to be established, beginning subcontracting activities) the business plan is being drafted. The application may also include the main headings / most important sections of the business plan that will be drafted.
2.4 Assessing environmental and social impacts
If the support applied for is aimed at evaluating environmental and social impacts, it is beneficial to state in the application in detail what unit / business function’s environmental and social impacts are being studied and all the areas the study is to evaluate.
2.5 Training phase
For the training phase, Finnpartnership needs to know who is to be trained (e.g. personnel of subsidiary/joint venture, personnel of subcontractor/licensee company) and what areas the training in question will cover.
2.6 Piloting technology and solutions and demonstration projects, also as a part of the activities of international organisations
If the project intends to pilot technology/solutions, it is useful to describe the following in the project description:
• Why is the piloting or demonstration project being implemented?
• To what extent and in what ways does it affect the implementation of the project and the associated decision-making on establishing a company or contractual relationship?
• Is the project about testing technology or a solution in the conditions of the target country or, for example, demonstrating functionality of the technology in practice as demanded by a customer, for example?
• What is to be learned from the pilot?
• What exactly is being piloted (what technology or solution, or is the pilot only for a specific portion of the solution, for example)?
• How is the piloting to be implemented in practice?
• What share (percentage) of the pilot is testing technical solutions vs. measuring customer satisfaction/demonstrating possibilities to them?
• If support is being sought for equipment or construction costs associated with a piloting / demonstration project, who will own the associated pilot equipment or similar asset and for how long (support applicant, local partner, customer, another operator)?
2.7 Vocational education
If the project is a vocational education project, the following should be discussed in the application:
• What does the planned vocational education concept include?
• Will a separate curriculum be established, a current one modified etc.?
• What is its scope (incl. estimated duration of education curriculum)?
• How will the students be selected?
• Will the education offered be free of charge for the students?
• When is the first planned education programme to be implemented if everything goes according to plan?
• Who will be the instructors? Will they be trained? If so, in what? Will the education programme be operated in the facilities of a partner/existing educational institution (or another operator) or are new premises to be bought/leased for the programme?
• Who will have ownership of the physical assets associated with the education programme (e.g. premises, equipment, etc.)?
3 Previous business partnership support projects
If you have previously been granted business partnership support for another project or projects, it is beneficial to include the following on the project(s) in the project description:
• What is the current status of the associated project (what has been done up to this point)?
• Has the aim of the project remained the same?
• When do you think business operations in the target country can be started?
• What are the next steps?
Where can I find the ID for the content, subject ID or intervention code? What about the intervention ID needed for the supplementary information notice?
- The locations of the codes needed for processing and their uses are listed in the table below:
- If the problem is not resolved, you can contact Finnpartnership at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +358 (0)9 348 434.
- Confirm from the “Notices” section that you have received an acknowledgement of receipt notice for your application. If the Ministry notifies you using the service that it is necessary to supplement the application, the supplementary information is submitted by adding the requested information/appendices to the Supplementary Information form (see instructions below), which is submitted through the online service.
- The project’s registration date is provided in the acknowledgement of receipt. In the event that support is granted for the project and the applicant’s cost budget is approved, costs that are incurred after the registration date and are in accordance with the cost budget are eligible for support. The applicant assumes the risk for all project activities completed before the governmental aid decision is made.
- If necessary, Finnpartnership will contact the applicant during the processing period and provide the applicant with the opportunity to offer further information.
- Finnpartnership will prepare a statement regarding the application and submit it to the Ministry, which will make the decision on granting the Support.
- The decision is delivered to the online service. The decision and its associated attachments are available for review on the Submitted applications-screen under the “Notification/Permit” tab. The actual decision is accessed by clicking the “View PDF” button. The attachments can be viewed by clicking the “Download notification and attachments” button.
If necessary, the Ministry will send a request for supplementary information to the applicant’s online account. Finnpartnership may also request that additional information be submitted to the online service during processing.
The information requested to supplement an existing basic information sheet or application is to be submitted using the Notification of Amendment form. The form can be found in E-Services.
Supplementing the basic information sheet
Supplementing the basic information sheet is done in E-services.
Supplementing an application
If the supplementary information notice is for the Business Partnership Support application, “supplement application” should be selected in the Notification of Amendment form. The case ID that was issued for the application must also be provided. You can find this ID in the online service. It was sent within the acknowledgement of receipt notice, which is in the applicant’s online account.
Organisations that are granted discretionary government grant must commit to following the terms and conditions of business partnership support. Organisations are to submit the appropriately filled in commitment form in the governmental online service within one month of being notified of the decision.
Once you are logged in to governmental online service, ensure that the “Development cooperation cases” tab is visible and click on that. Select the correct support type which is Business Partnership Support and by clicking Business Partnership Support you will see the instructions for filling in the commitment form.