A strong and vibrant group of investors helps develop the quality of the growth companies in Finland, as well as the creation of new stable jobs. Private investments support the growth of scalable international companies that solve global challenges through innovation. Making startup investing more appealing for private individuals can benefit society as a whole.

FiBAN was founded in 2010 to solve the problem of lack of funding caused by the financial crises. Today, FiBAN members play a significant role in the Finnish startup ecosystem. Without their investments, many companies would struggle to grow. By investing in early-stage startups FiBAN investors take risks that others avoid, they also provide the know-how, experience, and networks necessary in scaling businesses to international markets. FiBAN investment practices benefit largely both startups and the whole business community in Finland.

“Successful growth companies are the backbone of Finland’s economic future. We, business angels, want companies to succeed. Improving the conditions for investors will benefit Finland with a more versatile economy and better prospects for economic growth.”

Annukka Mickelsson, Chair, FiBAN
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Making Finland the best country
for companies to succeed
at home and internationally

Solutions to talent shortage and brain drain

Finland must react to the ongoing talent shortage and brain drain to secure the prospects of high-performing companies. There is a need to nurture a skilled workforce and provide support for international growth.

  • Finland needs to better facilitate the migration of international talent.
  • Interaction with public authorities such as work permit processes must be sped up and simplified. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office should recognize English as a third official language for documentation and business purposes.
  • The process of opening bank accounts should be simplified and sped up, especially for non-Finnish citizens.
  • Investing in a new company’s capital stock should be possible online and quickly. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office’s current process can take months to complete.

Finland needs its own Startup Ambassador.

  • Finland needs its own Startup Ambassador who can help attract foreign companies and startup investors to Finland in partnership with the Team Finland network. Finland’s national brand should incorporate its reputation as an excellent country for startups.
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The best education in the world provided in Finland

Education in Finland must be up-to-date, answer the country’s economic needs and enable Finland to stay relevant in the ongoing developments in technology.

  • Finland should invest heavily in skills related to digitalization.
  • Entrepreneurial skills should be taught at every level of education.

Public procurements must be opened up for startups

Supporting innovative business practices gives the national economy a competitive edge. Opening public procurements for startups enables important references in commercializing and scaling new products and services.

  • The public sector must give up business practices that compete or will compete with private companies offering similar services. This will amplify private companies’ viability, creating jobs and tax income for the region.
  • Public sector procurements must be more transparent. This improves supervision, information-based management, enables cost savings, and better comparability of data.
  • As is currently the objective, ten percent of all procurements must go towards innovative products or services that use a totally new or significantly improved approach.
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Supporting more investments in R&D

Research and development expenses should be increased to 4% of Finland’s GDP, as the parliamentary R&D working group has suggested. R&D activities must support and activate private investments.

  • This requires that companies locate their R&D activities in Finland and that Finland attracts more international R&D operations.

Top research conducted in Finland must be better applied and commercialized, offering opportunities to nurture new industries.

  • Research to Business – efforts should be increased and startups should be used as vessels to apply research into practice.
  • Patents produced in universities should be used more intentionally.

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Making private startup investing
more appealing and feasible

Startup investing should be made a viable option alongside other forms of investment. Finland needs a more encouraging investment environment that guides the investment of private funds that would otherwise remain in bank accounts into new companies. Public sector action is needed in order to make business angel investing more appealing to individuals.

Neutral taxation

  • To increase appeal, the taxation of private investments should be made similar to the equity savings accounts. This means extending the equity savings account to cover unlisted companies and increasing its limit to €200,000.
  • Tools should be created to ensure that those who have gone abroad continue to want to invest in Finland and that Finland remains an interesting place for capital investment. Exit tax, also known as capital gains tax, increases both the uncertainty of taxation and the risk of double taxation. This discourages entrepreneurs from founding their companies in Finland and can prevent international companies from relocating to Finland.

Solutions for directing assets

Assets in Finland are currently not channeled effectively enough. FiBAN sees that there are three ways to answer this problem:

1. Creating new models and strengthening existing ones to channel private money into growth company investments, such as the co-investment fund.

2. Creating an aftermarket suitable for unlisted companies in Finland would ensure the continuity of funding, releasing money from investments to new targets.

3. Increasing public sector investments into growth companies to enhance private investing.

Capital transfer tax weakens reinvestments – removing this tax would make private investing more appealing

The transfer tax of unlisted companies weakens their aftermarket and thus reflects poorly on the liquidity of investments. Eliminating transfer tax for unlisted companies would increase interest toward unlisted companies as an asset class.

“Increasing interest in startup investing is vital for companies to grow. Currently, access to funding forms a bottleneck, leaving many potential companies either without investments or the raised funding is not large enough to enable faster growth.” Amel Gaily, Managing Director, FiBAN

The Finnish Business Angels Network (FiBAN) is a nonprofit association that supports private investments in unlisted growth companies and grows and develops the profession of business angels in Finland. FiBAN’s investor network has more than 670 members.

More information

Annukka Mickelsson, Interim Managing Director, FiBAN
+358 50 339 0963 annukka.mickelsson@fiban.org

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