How to Start a Business in Finland from the UK

Paola Faben Oliveira

Have a great idea for a new business, and think Finland is the perfect destination for it? You’re not alone, as the country is a thriving hub for startups, with over 4,600 of them now calling Finland home.¹

If you're considering joining the ranks of entrepreneurs making a living in Finland, then you need to know how to get started.

Read on for all the essential info you’ll need to start your international business in Finland. Below, we’ll give you the lowdown on business structures, how to get on the Finland company register and what costs are involved.

We’ll also show you a smart way to manage your company’s finances in Finland, Europe and worldwide, using Wise Business - the ideal solution for international businesses.

💡 Learn more about Wise Business

Doing business in Finland

If you’re new to Finland, it’s useful to know something about the business landscape there.

It may be a small country with a cold climate and a difficult-to-learn language, but Finland has many qualities which make it attractive to businesses. It is known for its vibrant and welcoming startup ecosystem, digital innovation and business-friendly government policies. Plus, a highly skilled and educated workforce.

If you’re looking for business opportunities in Finland, a good place to start your research is within its fastest growing sectors. These include:²

  • Digital solutions and technologies
  • Data centres
  • Circular and biobased solutions
  • Energy and electrification
  • Food
  • Gaming and metaverse
  • Health and life sciences.

In terms of the business culture in Finland, there is a real sense of community within both personal and professional networks. Working relationships are often close-knit, with more of a personal touch than you’ll find in other countries.³

Finnish people also prioritise a healthy work-life balance³, which makes sense when you consider that Finland is regularly rated as one of the happiest countries in the world.

Registering a company in Finland

To get your new business onto the Finland company register, you’ll need to file a start of the business notification with the Trade Register. You may also need to file with the Tax Administration registers, but you can do all of it with a single form.

Finland offers a couple of useful schemes for foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up a startup.

There is the Finnish Startup Permit for entrepreneurs outside the EU. This is issued for two years and requires an assessment of your business plan (to determine whether it has potential for rapid international growth).⁴ There’s also a fast-track residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs, where you could apply and get a decision in as little as two weeks.⁵

Once you have the legal right to set up a business in Finland, you’ll need to choose a structure for your new business. Here are some of the most common types of business entity there:

  • Proprietorship (toiminimi)
  • Limited company (osakeyhtiö)
  • Partnership (avoin yhtiö)
  • Limited partnership (kommandiittiyhtiö)
  • Cooperative association (osuuskunta).

We’ll run through each entity type in more detail below.

Proprietorship (toiminimi)

It's quick and easy to set up a sole proprietor business in Finland. This structure is intended for those working alone or in very small enterprises. Business tax is paid along with personal tax as though the founder and business are the same entity, and the individual founder is liable for any company debts.

Limited company (osakeyhtiö)

A limited company is slightly more complex to set up, but means that the liabilities of the business are held separate to the person or people who start the company. In this case there's a minimum initial investment required.

Partnership (avoin yhtiö)

Partnerships are useful when two or more entrepreneurs want to work together. They’ll sign a partnership agreement, granting equal status in the operations of the business. Partners are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the company.

Limited partnership (kommandiittiyhtiö)

In Finland, it's also possible to have a limited partnership in which at least one partner is a ‘sleeping partner’ or investor, meaning they’re not involved in the day to day affairs of the business.

Cooperative association (osuuskunta)

A cooperative association is owned by its members who all have voting and decision making rights. Their liability is limited to the amount they invest in the business.

Starting a business in Finland - Step-by-step

Here’s a quick look at the initial steps required for starting a business in Finland as a foreigner from the UK:⁶

  1. Apply for a fast-track residence permit or a Finnish Startup Permit (if eligible)
  2. Choose a name for your business - you can check with the Trade Register to make sure your chosen name is available.
  3. Choose a legal structure for your business.
  4. Open a bank account - this is a requirement before you can register your business.
  5. File a start of the business notification with the Trade Register and pay the registration fee.
  6. Use the Business Information System online service to establish a limited liability company (if this is the business type you’ve chosen).

Establishing a business in Finland - FAQs

If you’re setting up a business abroad for the first time, you’re bound to have questions. We’ll run through the answers to some of these below.

Is Finland a business friendly country?

Yes, the Finnish government has removed many of the obstacles that make it difficult for startups to get off the ground. It also fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, and is particularly attractive for digital and tech businesses.

The government offers free business advice if you need it, and you can also access support from organisations such as:³

  • Business Finland
  • Finnish Enterprise Agency
  • Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
  • Enterprise Finland.

How much does it cost to start a business in Finland?

The fee to register your company at the Trade Register is €275 EUR.⁶ You may also face additional costs, especially if you use legal services to set up your business.

Check below the current conversion rate between GBP and EUR.

Wise Business account is a handy tool for UK business expanding abroad. Once you set up your business in Finland you can easily convert British Pounds to Euros to hold money on the currency, receive Euros with your account details or set payments like a local. All conversion is done based on the mid-market exchange rate with low and transparent fees.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

How long does it take to open a business in Finland?

According to Business Finland, it only takes a couple of weeks to open a business.⁶

Can I start a business in Finland as a foreigner?

Yes, international entrepreneurs are welcomed in Finland. But if you’ve not yet moved there, you’ll need to sort out a residence and/or work permit. It’s worth taking a look at the Finnish Startup Permit and the fast-track residence permit schemes to see if you’re eligible as an entrepreneur from the UK.

What is the Finnish business tax rate?

Finland has a corporate tax rate of 20%, which is relatively low compared to some countries.⁷

Manage your international company's finances with Wise Business

You will need a Finnish bank account for your new business, as it's required before you can legally register your company. But it’s also worth considering opening a non-bank account such as Wise Business as well, as it could save you time and money when managing your finances internationally.

Open a Wise Business account and you can manage your company’s finances in 40+ currencies, including EUR and GBP. You’ll be able to pay suppliers and staff in their own currency, as well as receiving payments in multiple currencies.

You can even automate payments using the powerful Wise API to save even more time. See how it works here in our case study


Wise payments are fast and fully secure (even for large amounts). Best of all, you’ll only pay low, transparent fees and always get the mid-market exchange rate.

This is the rate that banks use to buy and sell currency, and is widely considered the fairest rate you can get. When banks carry out currency conversions on behalf of customers, they usually add a mark-up or margin to the exchange rate. This makes it more expensive for your business, as less of your money reaches your recipient.

It’s quick and easy to open a Wise Business account, with a fully digital application, verification and on-boarding process. Check out the requirements here.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

After reading this guide, you should have all the information you need to get started on establishing your business in Finland.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to do, especially as the Finnish government and numerous other organisations are on hand to offer support. Good luck with your new venture!

Sources used for this article:

  1. Dealroom - The Finland startup ecosystem
  2. Business Finland - Explore business opportunities
  3. Forbes - Why Finland is such a great place for business
  4. Business Finland - Finnish Startup Permit
  5. Finnish Immigration Service - Fast track residence permit
  6. Business Finland - Invest in Finland Business Guide
  7. Tax Foundation - Finland

Sources checked on 29-Feb-2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location