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Finnish Startup Permit: application instructions

Finnish Stratup Permit Eligibility Statement

These instructions are meant only for preparation purposes. Same questions will be in the Enter Finland platform, where the answers should be provided.

In addition to answering the questions, you can attach material that is useful for evaluating your business plan. Creating a pitch deck (max. 5-10 slides) is recommended. Business Finland evaluates eligibility for Startup Permit based only on the information submitted through Enter Finland.

Please read carefully the instructions on the Business Finland website.

1. Business idea and need

Describe your business idea shortly. Short executive summary style description of the business idea. An elevator pitch.

What is a customer need you plan to satisfy? The need should relate to an important and specific client or market opportunity. State clearly the targeted market.

Business idea needs to be innovative with competitive advantage on international markets. The team should share a vision to grow the company to reach at least millions of euros of revenue at global markets. 

The team must show that they have a thorough understanding of the customer needs, segments and how the product or service meets them.

2. Approach

What is your compelling solution to the specific customer need? Describe the product and/or service you plan to provide for customers.

What is your business model and an initial idea of pricing? Describe who your end users and paying customers are, how you approach them, and what pricing model is used.

What is your go to market plan? Describe the target market area(s) and target customer segments of your business.

What is your long-term growth opportunity and plan?

The solution needs to be scalable. 

The applicants must present a credible business model/earning model, which enables the company to reach at least millions of euros of revenue at global markets. 

Team must have done go to market plan including for example information on your target market areas, what are your planned distribution and marketing channels and what are your plans to promote your solution to the chosen target customer segments. 

3. Benefit

What are the benefits that your approach provides to your clients? Describe the concrete and unique benefit the solution provides to your clients. Quantify the benefit.

The solution must have benefits that customers are willing to pay for. 

The solution should not cause any harm to people or environment (DNSH principle).

4. Competition

What are the alternative approaches? Describe other ways to solve the customer need.

Who are the main competitors? Please list with whom you compete.

What are your solution’s competitive advantages? Describe why the customer would choose your solution over the competitors.

The business idea must have significant competitive advantage(s) internationally compared to other solutions in the market. Approaches suitable only to Finnish or other local markets are not eligible.

5. Team plan

Describe your team plan. What is the percentage of ownership and the role of each founder? Describe possible other planned resources, their roles, and competencies. What is the timeline of building up the team?

A team of two founders is the minimum requirement. There is no absolute maximum, but startups with many founders usually find it hard to operate.The usual size of a startup team is up to 2-5 founders. All the founders need to have a significant role in the company and be ready to move to Finland, (if not already).  The team of founders needs to own majority of the (to-be-established) company and work full-time for it. Just owning a startup is not enough to be eligible for the Startup Permit. 

The team needs to have versatile expertise and skills related to the business idea and to run and develop a startup business.

It is beneficial to explain, if the team has, for example investors, advisors and employees, who are involved in the company. The team should have also a plan how to grow the team further. 

6. Current status

Describe what you have done so far and what is ready by now. Do you already have any demos, prototypes, customer contacts, plans for piloting, installed pilots, initial deals, etc.? Do you or your team already have any existing or registered intellectual property (e.g. patents, trademarks, designs, source code, algorithms, business models)? Specify. Who has the ownership and title to the intellectual property?

Have you already established a company working on this business idea? If yes, where and what is the name of the company? What are your plans for it if you establish a new startup in Finland?

Have you participated in an accelerator/incubator, or has someone helped you to create the business plan? If you have a reference in Finnish startup ecosystem, that Business Finland could contact, please mention it here.

Just having an idea is not enough. The team needs to have proof that there is a need for the solution and customers are willing to pay for it. The business idea must be validated with potential customers.

(Describe shortly what have you done so far - how have you validated your business idea, the solution and the product-market fit. )

If the team has already established a company somewhere else, it needs to be moved to Finland with IPRs. A branch office or a daughter company in Finland is not enough. The company needs to be headquartered in Finland and the value created in the new company should accumulate to the Finnish economy (salaries paid and export revenues).

7. First 12 months

What is your plan for the first 12 months of operation? Describe the main tasks and activities of your initial plan. What will be ready after the first year? Be specific.

 

The team must have a realistic plan for the first 12 months of operations of the company. It needs to be credible to be executed by the resources described earlier. The plan should include incorporating a limited liability company, not individually-owned business (“toiminimi”).

8. Initial funding

What is your plan to fund the initial phase of your company? What is your estimated need for funding for the first year of operation? Show a rough cost breakdown. How do you plan to secure the necessary funds?

The team of founders needs to have access to sufficient resources and funding for the company's early stage development. The funding plan needs to be aligned with the first year plan. If the plan is relying on external funding, it is not seen credible if the team’s plan is to start look for investors only once the company is established in Finland.