We made it through the first corona year

Kuvassa kassanjohtaja Merja Jokinen

Positive economic and employment developments are expected to take off once a sufficient number of residents have been vaccinated. Recent news has served to weaken trust and subsistence in to bear with the ongoing situation. Right now, increased efforts in Finland and the EU to improve the situation beyond what we can actually see in public would be needed.

The Entrepreneur Fund did well in 2020. We increased our staff resources right away in spring and were well prepared for an increase in benefit payments. Support measures put in place for entrepreneurs were a great help for our members. Businesses were not terminated to any large  extent. Our members mainly made use of the € 2,000 support available to sole entrepreneurs and labour market subsidy provided by Kela.

As a whole, we paid out benefits to 1,657 members, as compared to 1,594 last year. On a monthly basis, we paid out benefits to 734 members in January and to 976 in December. We are still finalising our calculations concerning extent of employment periods, but periods of unemployment have been clearly longer than last year.

We paid out some € 14,6 Million in benefit, which is 14 % more than € 12,6 Million last year.

Increasing membership count

When the corona pandemic started in March, we could see a burst of new membership applications – 650 new members joined the fund. The monthly average for the whole year was 430 new members. In all, 5,000 new members joined. This was our best outcome after the so-called new conditions took force in 2015, i.e., when there was a substantial increase in the lower limit for YEL work income required for membership. Our membership count is now approaching 31,000.

Entrepreneurs had to face the fact that successful business is not due to one’s own measures only, external factors can have a dramatic affect. Some 4,500 memberships were terminated. The main reasons for resigning the fund were salary work and retirement.

As a whole, there has been clear improvement in recognition and awareness and the Entrepreneur Fund is in a good position to continue its operations. 2021 does seem a little diffuse, but we are prepared for a strong unemployment increase. Yesterday brought some good news: the temporary labour market subsidy for entrepreneurs will continue until end June. It would be important to arrange for one more application round for the support available to sole entrepreneurs as well.

Now the entire population is becoming seriously exhausted and the situation seems unbearable. Listening to our entrepreneurs is important. Government measures are of central importance, but more should be done. All of us working in the entrepreneur field do all we can to contribute to keeping companies up and running. My sincere wish to all entrepreneurs all over the country: Stay together, stand up for your staff and your business – this helps us all to keep going!

Wishing you plenty of fighting spirit,

Merja Jokinen

Fund Manager

Entrepreneur Fund