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Entrepreneurs in Finland give the government a report card—and it's pretty bad

Business owners said they didn't believe the government would be able to raise Finland's employment rate to 75 percent.

Oikeusministeri, RKP:n puheenjohtaja Anna-Maja Henriksson (vas.), sisäministeri, vihreiden puheenjohtaja Maria Ohisalo, pääministeri Sanna Marin, valtiovarainministeri, keskustan puheenjohtaja Katri Kulmuni ja opetusministeri, vasemmistoliiton puheenjohtaja Li Andersson hallituksen johtoviisikon tiedotustilaisuudessa Helsingissä 3. helmikuuta.
PM Sanna Marin and members of her cabinet. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Business owners in Finland said the government's entrepreneurship and employment policies get a "six" on a Finnish school grade scale (4-10), according to a survey by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

The directors of more than 1,000 small- and medium-sized companies responding to a survey said they did not believe the government would reach its 75-percent employment level target during its term.

One-person companies showed the strongest support for current policies, awarding the government a 6.05 (fair), whereas respondents representing firms with ten employees or more gave Prime Minister Sanna Marin's administration a 5.1, which is barely passing.

Overall, service sector businesses were less critical of Marin's policies than those representing heavy industry. Respondents said Juha Sipilä's centre-right cabinet had done more to promote entrepreneurship than the left-leaning Marin or Antti Rinne administrations. When leaving office, respondents to earlier surveys gave Sipilä, a former entrepreneur and chief executive, a "seven" (average).

Social Democratic party chair and former prime minister Antti Rinne said he understood where entrepreneurs' criticism was coming from but emphasised that the government would meets its targets.

"The first checkpoint will be this spring when budget frameworks are hammered out and the second will be in August when we’ll inform how we plan to create 30,000 new jobs," Rinne said.

Antti Kurvinen, who chairs the Centre Party’s parliamentary group, said the report card was bleak.

"Entrepreneurs are skeptical of the government for historical reasons. I would hope that they grade the administration based on actions, not fantasies," he said.

The survey was carried out by pollster Kantar TNS in January. Results were published on Sunday.

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