SME

Export group

For whom?

Team Finland 4Exporters funding is intended for joint export projects involving at least four SMEs which are seeking cost-effectiveness by having a joint export manager.

What?

An export ring is an effective way of beginning and maintaining an export operation. The aim is to help companies to begin exporting and to create new sales and marketing channels.

When?

Team Finland 4Exporters funding is intended for joint projects involving Finnish SMEs. Such projects

  • improve the capacity to internationalise of companies entering the export markets,
  • promote the launch of a new export business or the opening up of a new market area,
  • increase exports to old market areas,

The funding is granted on condition that the companies have sufficient capacity for engaging in continuous international business operations.

  • diversify the structure of exports,
  • promote the market entry of enterprises and new innovations,
  • or otherwise foster the internationalisation and international competitiveness of companies.

What can the funding be used for?

Export groups generally involve joint projects between 4-6 SMEs, in which the companies' products, services, or other internationalisation goals are mutually complementary. The aim is well-managed and cost-effective entry into a selected market area. Each export group is run by a jointly appointed export manager who is an expert in the sector and market area in question. An export group serves as a means of internationalisation just as effectively for service industry companies as for manufacturers.

What are the funding requirements?

The company is an SME registered in Finland, which is seeking to grow and internationalise.

  • The company has a credible basis for continuing to run a profitable export business.
  • The company has no significant outstanding tax liabilities and/or payment default entries and is on the prepayment register.
  • The company has sufficient funding to cover the project and other operating costs. When planning self-financing, the company should note that Tekes grants are paid in arrears on the basis of actual and paid costs, unless otherwise indicated in the decision. Tekes can pay up to 60 percent of the grant in advance, after Tekes has made its funding decision. Such an advance can be paid if the company's share of the grant is over EUR 20,000.
  • Before applying for a Finland 4Exporters grant, the company should check the total amount of funding it has received that is subject to the de minimis rule.
  • Contrary to the previous practice, the domestic content of the products is no longer a criterion.
  • The company may not simultaneously receive other public funding for internationalisation in the project's target area.
  • Participation in the export ring is limited to two years.
  • Companies involved in a project in the same area for the past two years are not entitled to participate in the export ring.
  • Tekes does not provide funding to entities operating under a business name.
  • Companies based in Åland are not eligible for funding.

Export network grants are particularly aimed at Team Finland's focus areas, which are:

  • the environmental and clean technology sectors
  • the biotechnology sectors
  • the ICT industry and digitalisation
  • the service sectors
  • the health and well-being technology sectors
  • the creative industries
  • education exports
  • other new, innovative projects in high-tech industries

Funding levels

Amount of funding

The maximum eligible consultancy costs for a company participating in an export network project are EUR 14,000, in addition to which the company can reclaim a maximum of EUR 1,000 of its own travel expenses.

The grant percentage is 50% of the collective project costs of all of the SMEs. If the companies' share differs from this, the percentage of consultancy costs covered by the grant will be based on the percentage share agreed with the companies (minimum of 10% and maximum of 49%), in which case the grant paid to the company can be over EUR 15,000. The total project grant is determined by the number of companies participating, based on the standard share of EUR 15,000/company.

The minimum funding approved for a joint project is generally EUR 5,000. (Calculated by aggregating all grants awarded for parallel applications.)

When planning self-financing, the company should note that Tekes grants are paid in arrears on the basis of actual and paid costs, unless otherwise indicated in the decision. Tekes can pay up to 60 percent of the grant in advance, after Tekes has made its funding decision. Such an advance can be paid if the company's share of the grant is over EUR 20,000.

Before applying for a Finland 4Exporters grant, the company should check the total amount of funding it has received that is subject to the de minimis rule.

Eligible costs

  • Consultancy costs: incl. fee, operational costs, cost of assistant and small-scale purchases of expert services
  • Company's travel expenses (flights, hotel, taxi) in accordance with the state's travel regulations
  • Auditor's fee

Only costs incurred after the funding application has been made can be accepted as part of the grant.

In 4Exporters projects, a separate project plan is required and it must be attached with the application. Acceptable project plans also include consultancy agreements, which contain an overall project plan and company-specific plans. The consultancy agreement may not take effect before the start of the project. Tekes recommends that consultancy agreements include an escape clause which the companies and consultants can apply to cancel the agreement if Tekes refuses funding.

The minimum funding approved for a joint project is generally EUR 5,000. (Calculated by aggregating all grants awarded for parallel applications.)

Application process

Applications for Team Finland 4Exporters export network grants must be made in a coordinated manner, and parallel applications for the same project must have a common name.

  • Apply for funding via Tekes' online services.
  • Instructions for filling in your application (pdf) updated on 18 March 2016

We recommend that you contact the project application adviser before submitting your application:

Sari Paavilainen
tel. +358 2950 22638
sari.paavilainen(at)tekes.fi

Tytteli Karvonen-Juntura
tel. +358 2950 37060
tytteli.karvonen-juntura(at)tekes.fi

Tapio Kinnunen
tel. +358 2950 26063
tapio.kinnunen(at)tekes.fi

Eeva-Liisa Tepsa
tel. +358 2950 37000
eeva-liisa.tepsa(at)tekes.fi