Starting a business interests me

Would you like to become an entrepreneur? At Job Market Finland you will find information and services to help you get started in entrepreneurship.

Starting a business is one way you can employ yourself. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, you should familiarise yourself with the services for beginner entrepreneurs. Information and advice are easily available.

Advice and information on entrepreneurship

The national Enterprise Finland Telephone Service will advise you on matters related to setting up a business. You will get advice in a quick and easy manner; a business advisor can advise you, map out your situation, and guide you with the next steps.

If you want to familiarise yourself with topics related to entrepreneurship, check out the Web Service where you can find a lot of information about entrepreneurship.

In the free My Enterprise Finland online service, you can draw up a business plan and test your business idea and suitability to become an entrepreneur.

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Financial support for starting a business from TE Services

Once you have decided to start a business, you should contact the TE Office or local government pilot as soon as possible. As a beginner entrepreneur you may receive a start-up grant or be entitled to unemployment security.

With the help of the start-up grant, you will be able to cope better in the early stages of business operations when your company's income is still low.

If you are an unemployed job seeker and start a business, you can choose whether you apply for an unemployment benefit or a start-up grant for the first four months of entrepreneurship. This is because the TE Office will not assess whether you are a full-time or part-time entrepreneur during this time. The assessment will be made once four months have passed.

Please note that you can only receive an unemployment benefit if the labour policy requirements for receiving unemployment benefits are met. This means that you must apply for and be prepared to accept full-time work and keep the job search valid as agreed with the TE Office. Unemployment security may be reconciled, if necessary, with the income you receive from your business.

Light entrepreneurship

If you have a business idea but are concerned about administrative matters related to entrepreneurship, light entrepreneurship may be a suitable option for you. As a light entrepreneur, you invoice your work through a separate billing service, and you do not need to obtain your own business ID. There are different types of billing services, and some of them take care of not only invoicing but also of the entrepreneur's statutory obligations.

From entrepreneur to employer

If there is much work to do in your company and you need help, you will find information and advice on hiring your first employee in the "Being an employer” section.

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You can also start a business in addition to your paid job. This means you are a part-time entrepreneur. Your income comes mainly from your paid job, so you can try entrepreneurship more safely. As a part-time entrepreneur, you can receive additional income or new content for your life.

As a part-time entrepreneur, you should consider the possible impacts of even small-scale business operations on taxation and unemployment security. The impact of your additional income from part-time business operations on the taxation of your income should be determined together with the Tax Administration.

If your paid job ends during your part-time entrepreneurship, you may be eligible for an adjusted unemployment benefit. In this case, the amount of unemployment benefit you receive will be adjusted according to your income from the business.

If you consider becoming an entrepreneur, plan on setting up a business, or have already set up a company, you can take part in entrepreneurial training, career coaching or labour market training.

Entrepreneurial training offers you information on the daily running of a company and helps you plan your business.

In career coaching, you can clarify your thoughts on entrepreneurship as a career option.

In training for the purposes of establishing a business, you can deepen your understanding of, for example, marketing and the risks linked with running a company. You can also familiarise yourself with procedures related to setting up a business and develop your business idea and business plan further.

You can develop your business idea and receive support in the drafting of a business plan in a short-term entrepreneurial training, which is organised as labour market training. You can complete entrepreneurial training and courses for entrepreneurs as independent studies. Training for completing the Further Qualification for Entrepreneurs or parts of it is also organised as labour market training.

You can start your business while enrolled in entrepreneurial training.


Do you have a business idea and are thinking about setting up a business?

Setting up a company enables you to employ yourself and possibly others. Job Market Finland’s entrepreneurship webpages provide advice and support for starting entrepreneurship as well as information on entrepreneurship training and career coaching. You can also find information about what you should take into consideration if you wish to hire an employee for your company and become an employer. 


As a light entrepreneur, you can work and receive pay through invoicing services, invoicing co-operatives, or digital employment service platforms. Your work may include tasks related to home, well-being, entertainment, construction, teaching, or information technology.

As a light entrepreneur, your work may include short-term working opportunities for which you receive compensation through an invoicing service or an invoicing co-operative. 

An invoicing service allows you to invoice your work without having a company and a business ID of your own. There are different types of invoicing and salary payment services, and they carry out statutory obligations related to entrepreneurship on your behalf. However, you should find out what obligations you have as a light entrepreneur. Also check how your income affects matters such as your taxation and opportunities to receive unemployment benefits.

As a light entrepreneur, you can also get short-term work opportunities or project work through digital employment service platforms. The platforms also pay salaries on behalf of work providers and often also attend to the other obligations of an employer. Usually, they offer individual work assignments without an employment relationship, but some platforms may also recruit you to an employment relationship.

Franchising is a form of entrepreneurship that involves setting up a business as an independent entrepreneur but with a ready-made model provided to you as a member of a company chain.

Franchising may be a suitable option for you if you would like to become an entrepreneur, but do not have a ready-made business idea of your own. When you enter into a franchise agreement, you get a right to use the trademark and business model of the company chain. You pay a contractual fee in return for these rights, which may be a flat annual payment or a certain percentage of either sales or the profits you earn. 

Franchising has been an increasingly popular form of entrepreneurship in recent decades. The most typical franchising chains are restaurants, cafés and kiosks, but the model has also been spreading to new sectors in Finland.

If you find that becoming a franchise entrepreneur could be right for you, read more about the model on the websites of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises and Finnish Franchising Association.

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If you are an entrepreneur or employ yourself in another way, the provisions on unemployment security are different for you than for a wage earner.

If you are an entrepreneur or otherwise employ yourself part-time, you may be entitled to adjusted unemployment security, but your income will affect its amount.

If you work as an entrepreneur or otherwise employ yourself full-time, you usually retain your right to unemployment security if your work has lasted no more than two weeks without interruption. This also includes, for example, work under a commission contract. The unemployment security is adjusted on the basis of your income from entrepreneurial activities or commission contracts.

Entrepreneurial activity

Starting entrepreneurial activities during unemployment

If you are unemployed and start entrepreneurial activities lasting more than two weeks, notify the TE Office or the local government pilot of it. Your assigned expert will find out the start times of unemployment and entrepreneurial activities.

The full-time or part-time nature of your entrepreneurial activities will be assessed four months after the start of the entrepreneurial activities. You can receive an unemployment benefit for these four months if the conditions for receiving it are met. For example, you must apply for and be prepared to accept full-time work and keep your job search valid. Entrepreneurial activity is not a valid reason for declining a job offer or a service promoting employment. A refusal may result in a mandatory waiting period or imposing an obligation to work. The income you receive during these four months will affect the amount of your unemployment benefit. You must notify the payer of the unemployment benefit of the income you have received from your entrepreneurial activities. You may be entitled to an adjusted unemployment benefit.

If your entrepreneurial activity is estimated to be full-time after four months, your entitlement to unemployment security ends. If your entrepreneurial activity is considered to be part-time, you may be entitled to an adjusted unemployment benefit. This decision will only concern the time after the first four months, and it has no retroactive effect.

The assessment utilises information about the actual workload of your entrepreneurial activities or your own work, not the income or profit received from the entrepreneurial activities or your own work during the first four months. If no other evidence is available of the extent of work required by your business, the decision may be based on your personal report of the workload. 

The four-month period may start from the beginning in case of new entrepreneurial activities or self-employment, once you have met the work requirement which is the prerequisite for unemployment allowance and the maximum time for the unemployment allowance starts from the beginning.

The Unemployment security advisory services of the TE Services will advise you on how your situation will affect your eligibility for unemployment security.

Assessment of entrepreneurial status

After four months have elapsed from the start of entrepreneurial activities or one's own work, an expert from the TE Office or the local government pilot will determine whether you are an entrepreneur referred to in the Unemployment Security Act. The estimate may not be the same as in taxation, for example. The unemployment benefit payer, i.e. KELA or the unemployment fund, assesses the preconditions for the payment of unemployment security separately.

In the beginning of the assessment, a clarification request will be opened for you. You can respond to this request in the E-services or on a paper form. In the clarification request, you can describe your situation in more detail and attach the necessary documents.

When assessing your right to unemployment security, among other things, the following are of significance:

  • an entrepreneur's pension insurance (YEL) or farmer's pension insurance (MYEL),
  • employment in a business or as a private entrepreneur, and
  • the share of ownership of the company.

The share of ownership applies to both the shares of family members as well as ownership through a so-called intermediary company.


If you are unemployed and are self-employed for more than two weeks, notify the TE Office or the local government pilot. Your assigned expert will determine the start times of unemployment and self-employment.

Self-employed persons include grant recipients, freelancers, informal carers, members of a work cooperative, and athletes. The full and part-time nature of self-employment is also assessed four months after starting activities, similarly to starting entrepreneurial activities.

As a freelancer, you can accept small amounts of work without losing your right to unemployment security. You must inform an expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot about the work in advance.

As a member of a work cooperative, you may be entitled to unemployment security if your cooperative has at least seven members owning under 15% each. If your ownership share is bigger, you will be regarded as an entrepreneur in terms of unemployment security.

Working through a billing service cooperative 

Work undertaken via a billing service cooperative is considered to be in the context of an employment relationship if you have entered into a contract of employment with the billing service cooperative. In this case, it must be possible to consider the cooperative as an employer in general. This means that the cooperative offers in its own name the services you do for your work. The cooperative is not considered to be an employer if it only provides information on job opportunities or takes care of the billing for the work done by its members. In such situations, an employment relationship can only exist between the billing service cooperative and the person responsible for issuing invoices.  

Work done via a billing service cooperative is not generally within the context of an employment relationship. The expert at the TE Office or the local government pilot will assess the impact of work other than work completed under an employment or public service relationship on your right to unemployment security on the basis of the provisions on entrepreneurs in the Unemployment Security Act.  

Completing assignments through a billing service cooperative in periods of up to two weeks

If you work as an entrepreneur via a billing service cooperative for a maximum of two weeks at a time, you are entitled to unemployment security. Please note that other conditions for receiving unemployment security must also be met. When you are employed in entrepreneurial activities for a maximum of two weeks at a time, the impact of the period of work completed as an entrepreneur on your right to receive unemployment security will not be investigated, and if the entrepreneurial activity is full-time, it will not prevent you from receiving an unemployment benefit.

You must inform the party paying your unemployment benefit of any new period of employment, and it will make a decision on your entitlement to unemployment security. In order to receive an adjusted unemployment benefit, you must be registered as a job seeker. If you receive a partial disability pension, you only need to look for part-time work.

Despite the fulfilment of the formal requirements governing the cessation of activities, an enterprise may be regarded as continuing, where, for example, you clearly try to cover the financial risks associated with the business by means of unemployment benefit. In that case, you may have several simultaneous or successive assignments. If the assignments follow one another uninterrupted without even a day’s break, the enterprise has not ceased its operations in a manner described in the Unemployment Security Act.

If you have several assignments lasting up to two weeks, contact the TE Office or the local government pilot.

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The way that work is done is changing, opening new opportunities for you to find employment. In addition to traditional salaried work and entrepreneurship, you may also employ yourself in other ways, such as using light entrepreneurship services, working as a freelancer, working on a grant, working in a worker cooperative, or working as a family caregiver, professional athlete, or volunteer. These different ways of working offer you alternatives when preparing for changes in working life.

You can employ yourself in many different ways. You can earn your income from multiple sources, either simultaneously or in alternation. For example, you may work part-time through light entrepreneurship whilst also in paid employment or doing your studies, or your work may consist of a number of short-term job assignments. Have you ever considered that you could also earn money from your hobby? 

This may bring up questions about unemployment security. There is no unequivocal model for all self-employed people, as the amount and duration of the work you do has an impact on unemployment security. It is worth taking a look at our ‘Unemployment security’ section and asking Information and guidance about unemployment security

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Entrepreneurship section