Finnish Government to Financially Support Cooperation between Russian and Finnish Small Businesses

The Finnish Foreign Ministry is to allocate EUR 500 thousand from its funds for developing cooperation with neighbour countries to Finnish small businesses to help increase cooperation with Russian partners. Other contributors include the Ministry of Trade and Industry and special state investment fund Finnvera, which will select the most promising projects. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced on Wednesday, January 8.

Preference will be shown to projects in the areas of energy, ecology, in the timber and food industries, in information technology, in the clothing and metal-working industries and agriculture. A maximum of EUR 50 thousand can be awarded to a single project on the condition that the applicant invests at least as much. The grant is not particularly big but, as Director of Finnvera Markku Makinen emphasises, the grant is only intended to assess the practicability and feasibility of the project. Finnvera has also come to an agreement with fellow Scandinavian export investment fund Nopef, which will finance wider and more comprehensive research should it be necessary. This venture to help Finnish small businesses cooperate with Russian partners will be assessed after a three-year period.

Finland's relations with its neighbours is expected to change quite dramatically in the near future. In view of the forthcoming entry of Baltic countries into the EU Finland is expected to concentrate entirely on cooperation with Russia from next year. These changes will also affect Nopef, which will increasingly allocate money to financing joint projects with Russia.

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