Finnish public funding for the game industry is mostly business oriented, and cultural funding schemes, present in many other European countries, are almost non-existent. The Digidemo funding has been an exception to the rule, but at the moment its future is very unclear due to budget cuts. In business funding the main public source for Finnish studios is Business Finland, formerly known as Tekes, which has been funding the Finnish Game Industry through various instruments and funding schemes since the late 90s.
Business Finland funding is divided into many instruments, based on the size, maturity and financial capability of the company applying. Business Finland funding is typically a grant or a loan. None of the funding instruments mentioned below is game industry specific. All the funding mentioned below is also available through Business Finland’s Entertainment Finland program, which supports Finnish game, music and audio visual companies in developing new business and growing global.
The first step in funding offered by Business Finland is TEMPO. TEMPO is for planning international growth and to study, investigate and test. It has a maximum grant of 50 000 euros and it covers 75 % of the costs the funding is applied for. TEMPO is granted to 500–1 000 companies every year.
The next step in Business Finland’s funding is R&D funding. R&D is for developing a service, a product, a process or a business model. It is partly a grant (max. 50 %) and partly a loan (50–70 %). R&D funding is granted to about 300 companies per year.
For scaling up, Business Finland has the Young Innovative Company funding. It is for growing rapidly on a global scale. The funding is granted in 3–4 phases. The grant is max. 500 000 euros and the loan max. 750 000 euros. Business Finland funds 75 % of project costs.
Business Finland offers also other financial support, such as the Explorer support to look into multiple different situations companies might want to explore.
The financing company Finnvera provides financing for companies from small micro enterprises to SMEs aiming to grow via export and internationalisation. Finnvera provides and guarantees loans for companies looking for financing in different situations. For more information, visit Finnvera’s website.
Finding a private investor might be a solution for the companies as well. In Finland there are both venture capital and angel investors. Play Ventures and Sisu Game Ventures have both been founded by Finnish Game Industry veterans. Nordic Game Ventures, investing exclusively in unlisted early-stage game development and games ecosystem SME companies in the Nordic region, operates also in Finland
Angel investors with game industry knowledge and interest can be found via FiBAN (Finnish Business Angels Network).
Another interesting funding opportunity is Finnish Cultural Foundation (Suomen kulttuurirahasto). The foundation supports cultural projects, also games, with grants. A grant can be applied for towards the artistic design or the implementation of games, and, for a game to receive funding, it is required to have artistic, cultural, or social goals. A grant can be applied for and received by an individual or a group working together. The grants can be applied for from both the Central Fund and the Regional Funds. Finnish Cultural Foundation has four application periods overall. For more information about grants and application periods, please visit the foundation’s website.