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Opportunities in development cooperation for companies

Finland's development cooperation opens up many opportunities for companies.

Finnpartnership helps in forging contacts in developing countries

The Finnpartnership business partnership programme supports Finnish companies and companies in developing countries in finding new business opportunities and partners. The programme is funded annually with about EUR 4 million from the development cooperation appropriations of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The programme is administered by Finnfund.

Funding through the Business Partnership Support Facility can be applied for the planning, development and training phases of activities aimed at viable long-term commercial cooperation with developing countries. Non-governmental organisations and educational institutions can also apply for support for essential support activities in business partnership projects.

More information on the activities and what the programme offers can be found on Finnpartnership’s website.

Business with Impact grants support for the development of innovations

Business with Impact (BEAM) is a joint programme of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Its objective is to help Finnish companies and other actors solve global development challenges with the help of innovations. The innovations may be new products, services, forms of business activity, technologies and social innovations.

The objective is to simultaneously create new, sustainable business activities in both Finland and emerging and developing country markets.

The programme is not restricted to particular sectors. Among the targets of funding are development and piloting of innovations in Finnish companies, non-governmental organisations and universities. The innovations that are funded must promote wellbeing in developing countries and provide international business opportunities for Finnish companies. The countries eligible for the support include all countries eligible for official development assistance by the OECD/DAC, except China.

BEAM is a five-year programme with a total budget of about EUR 50 million. The programme was launched in 2015. Half of the funding comes from Tekes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the other half from the private-sector actors participating in the programme.

More information on the programme and the application process can be found on Tekes’ website.

Finnfund finances business activity

Finnfund grants long-term funding for responsible private business activities in developing countries and countries in transition.

Finnfund is a development finance company whose main shareholder is the Finnish State. It offers long-term risk capital and investment loans for viable projects in developing countries and Russia.

Finnfund aims at promoting economic and social development in developing countries by financing responsible private business activities in them in a self-supporting manner. In addition to commercial viability, it emphasises activities with favourable impacts on development and the environment. About EUR 10 million from the development cooperation appropriations are used annually to capitalise Finnfund. In addition, Finnfund’s profit increases its capital. Finnfund’s new investment decisions in 2016 amounted to EUR 152 million and the value of its investment portfolio was EUR 356 million.

Find out more about Finnfund’s activities on its own website.

The Public Sector Investment Facility supports private sector investments in developing countries

The Public Sector Investment Facility (PIF) supports public sector investments in developing countries. The investments must be consistent with the UN’s SDGs and take advantage of Finnish expertise and technology.

The investment projects must be based on the target country’s national development needs, and the target country has the main responsibility for the overall costs of the project. Through the instrument, development cooperation funds are used to support the purchase price of the investment project and the interest of the export credit arranged for financing the project, which significantly reduces the costs of the investment incurred by the developing country. Further information on the PIF programme, the application process and the application periods can be found on this website.

Development finance institutions enable companies' acquisitions

Development finance institutions (DFIs), such as the UN, the World Bank, and regional development banks and the EU, support projects in the developing countries by means of billions of euros every year. Their grant, loan or investment decisions are based on multiannual cooperation programmes, which are carried out in sectors chosen in cooperation by the financier and the recipient. 

The majority of the financing is used for procurements based on competitive tendering in order to acquire various commodities, devices and services. The majority of the acquisitions are made in the developing countries. Developing country markets need innovative and sustainable solutions, which have preferably been tested in practice and which help them reach the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). There is demand for reliable contractors, equipment suppliers, and planning and consultancy service tenderers.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cooperates with international organisations and provides information about organisations' procurement processes and contacts.  Finland's missions abroad provide general information and organisations' contact details in their host countries and help companies arrange meetings with authorities.

Business Finland's Developing Markets programme helps companies to get access to development finance providers' procurements.

More information about international procurements: Sinikka Antila and Ilkka Räisänen, Senior Advisers in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format

The Foreign Ministry's Instructions for Finnish companies seeking access to international organisations' and development finance institutions' public procurements (pdf, in Finnish)

Aid for Trade strengthens developing countries’ ability to trade

The private sector in developing countries will be creating the majority of future jobs and economic growth. Aid for Trade (AfT) is an international initiative aimed at improving the capacities of developing countries to participate in global trade and benefit from it.

Support is directed, for instance, to building productive capacity, strengthening internal and foreign trade, improving the operating environment for entrepreneurship and businesses, and building trade-related infrastructure.

The Private sector plays an important role in development cooperation

You can find more information on the role of the private sector in development cooperation here.

pdfFinland supports sustainable business activities in developing countries (pdf, 2 pages)

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