The state of emergency brought on by the covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on Finland’s daily life and business activities. The City of Helsinki’s business advisory service NewCo Helsinki surveyed its new business owner customers to assess how the pandemic has affected their business operations. In total, 647 entrepreneurs answered the survey, which was carried out in late March 2020. Questions aimed to determine how long businesses owners thought they would be able to continue their operations, and if they felt digitalisation offered them opportunities to develop their business. The survey also asked respondents to weigh in on what kind of government support entrepreneurs would need in order for their businesses to survive the crisis.
The survey results indicate that close to half of Helsinki’s entrepreneurs believe that their business operations will only be able to carry on for two months or less.
“This underscores the intensity of their distress and their urgent need for assistance,” says Tommo Koivusalo, head of NewCo Helsinki.
The survey also suggests that only about a third of small and medium-sized business owners believe that digital alternatives will help them make up for lost revenue. In fact, over half of the respondents answered that they feel digitalisation of their products and services will be of little to no assistance in this regard.
“Digitalisation often requires completely new productization of a company’s services, and things like haircuts simply can’t be done virtually,” says Hannele Kostiainen, NewCo Helsinki’s business advisory team’s service leader.
Business owners say they need support
Survey results indicate that entrepreneurs feel they would benefit from a diverse array of public assistance. Rebates or waivers on taxes, YEL insurance contributions and rental payments on commercial premises would be welcome. Direct financial aid to see business owners through the state of emergency period was also emphasized, as were unemployment benefits for entrepreneurs.
When asked about the amount of financial support that would suffice, half of the survey respondents answered that they would need a maximum of 5,000 euros to help them weather the situation. A quarter of respondents estimated that they would need between 5,000 and 10,000 euros.
“We must do everything we can to come up with the required money and support our viable businesses. Many other kinds of support are also needed, if we hope to prevent unnecessary business closures,” Koivusalo says.
NewCo Helsinki’s business advisors are here to help
NewCo Helsinki’s business advisory services are standing at the ready to answer questions and offer support to entrepreneurs who are dealing with the effects of the coronavirus or seeking to develop their business activities.
Ring tel. +358 (09) 310 36360 on weekdays from 9-11 am and 1-3 pm. You can also contact the same number every weekday from 11 am to 1 pm to book a 45-minute remote business advisory session.
And don’t forget to consult our helpful list of the latest Links to important information and services for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic.
NewCo Helsinki’s spring events have been postponed until a later date, but we are looking into the possibility of conducting some of the classes as webinars. Follow our event calendar and social media channels for the latest developments.