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Business lobby: 90% of foreign entrepreneurs in Finland in trouble

This week our podcast explores how the pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of foreign background in Finland.

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Image: Yle / Mikko Koski

In this episode All Points North homed in on how the pandemic is dealing a financial blow to foreign students and migrant entrepreneurs in Finland.

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here, Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed. Be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

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Audio: Yle News

APN learned from Aicha Manai of SME lobby Suomen Yrittäjät that immigrant entrepreneurs have been harder hit by the pandemic than their native Finnish counterparts. Not only that, the group claims 90 percent of migrant entrepreneurs are struggling in the pandemic. Manai also pointed out that many foreign entrepreneurs have had difficulty accessing rescue funds for businesses.

"This is usually the kind of application process that requires consultant lingo to be used," she explained of hurdles foreign business owners face, echoing earlier criticism that consultants have been well-positioned to snap up government grants.

Meanwhile some universities have refused to reduce tuition fees for international students--many of whom are now struggling to make ends meet as summer job prospects have evaporated.

"The stories were so heartbreaking because foreign students are in quite a fix," Yle News reporter Priya Ramachandran D'souza, who has written about the issue, told APN. "They cannot go to university, they cannot attend classes, they cannot access resources but they have the same expenses. They still have to pay rent, there are no jobs and they don’t know what to do or who to turn to."

APN also pulled back the curtain on political drama involving the new finance minister, who has been dubbed both Finland’s sexiest man and most boring politician. We also looked at the dark undercurrents rippling through Finnish society, from a Finns Party MP mocking George Floyd to a misogynistic book published by the Finns Party’s think-tank to a discrimination survey that became the target of racist trolling.

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This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Ronan Browne. Our producer was Mark B. Odom and the sound engineer was Juha Hjelm. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at yle.news@yle.fi and allpointsnorth@yle.fi.

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