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Survey: SMEs report improved spring as Covid restrictions eased

While the situation of most companies improved during the spring, some smaller business are ready to call it quits.

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The situation continues to be most difficult for small companies with fewer than 50 employees Image: Toni Määttä / Yle

A fresh survey by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises indicates that business improved across the board for smaller companies in the spring, as coronavirus restrictions eased.

Fewer and fewer entrepreneurs say their businesses are in difficulty or at risk of bankruptcy, or that they are considering shutting down their business.

Only four percent of those who responded to the survey say they fear that their business will have to close. In March, that figure was six percent, and in April of 2020 it was nine percent.

"The development is promising. The reasons are not only the improved Covid situation and the easing of restrictions, but also the subsidies paid to companies, changes in bankruptcy laws and flexibility in payment periods. We lobbied for these measures and fortunately they were implemented," the federation's CEO Mikael Pentikäinen stated in a Tuesday press release.

The situation is most difficult for small companies with fewer than 50 employees. In this group, a full 15 percent of entrepreneurs reported they are considering closing their businesses.

According to Pentikäinen, special attention should be given to this group and companies should be assisted in overcoming the crisis by tax and payment deferrals, among other measures.

"If we want small employers, we need to ease standards and administrative bureaucracy, as well as liberalise employment contracts. Unfortunately, there are no signs of this happening. That is why I am afraid that small employers are a gradually disappearing natural resource," said Pentikäinen.

Regionally, the situation is at its most difficult for small businesses in the Helsinki metropolitan area, where the coronavirus incidence rate is still relatively high.

Just over 1,000 entrepreneurs responded to the survey which was carried out by the pollster Kantar in early May. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points in either direction.

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