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Responsible for the service ELY Centre

European Social Fund project funding

  • Service
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

The European Social Fund (ESF) is a structural fund, which provides Finland with support from the European Union. The aim of ESF funding is to support employment and employment opportunities by developing skills and service structures.

Development projects that implement one of the objectives of the ‘Sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020 – Finland’s structural funds programme’ are financed through the ESF. The key objectives include the promotion of innovation and creativity, the development of jobs and enterprises and supporting their growth, the development of skills and expertise, and increasing inclusion.

Project funding is applied for during specified application periods, usually two or three times per year.

Development activities financed with ESF funding are implemented as projects, and they must be clearly distinguishable from the normal operations of the organisation. In ESF projects, the measures are primarily targeted at private customers, and the support is aimed at benefiting as many people as possible. The applicant must have knowledge related to the theme of the project, resources to implement the project activities, and capacity to continue the operation after the project.

The projects usually last from one to three years. Projects are primarily required to have independent financing. In principle, an ESF project must benefit the area from which the funding is applied for. Some projects are financed as national activities that are aimed at combining national and regional development work.

The financiers in ESF project funding are the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM).

Do the following

You can find up-to-date information about the ESF project funding and the application periods on the Structuralfunds.fi website. Read about the foundations, application periods and themes and applicant instructions of the ‘Sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020 – Finland’s structural funds programme’ in the online service. Furthermore, when you are planning a new project we recommend that you contact the authorised persons of ELY Centres and STM, who will provide you with assistance.

Submit your application online in the EURA 2014 system by the deadline stated in the call for applications.

To whom and on what terms

Funding may be applied for by e.g. municipalities, organisations, educational institutions, research institutes, companies and other communities with legal capacity. The possible beneficiaries are defined in more detail in the descriptions of each priority axis included in the Sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020 – Finland’s structural funds programme.

The public authority that provides the funding assesses and rates the application using both general and special objective-specific selection criteria that are defined (in Finnish) in the ‘hakijalle’ (for applicants) section of the Structuralfunds.fi website. In order to receive funding, the applicant and the project must meet all the general selection criteria. The assessment may also include region-specific selection criteria as well as emphases specific to the current call for applications.

A fee is charged for the service.

Projects are primarily required to have independent financing.

Basic information

The service is provided byELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for Central Finland, ELY Centre for South Savo, ELY Centre for Häme
Other responsible organisationsELY Centre for Kainuu, ELY Centre for Häme, ELY Centre for South Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for Pirkanmaa, ELY Centre for North Karelia, ELY Centre for Satakunta, ELY Centre for Southeast Finland, ELY Centre for Varsinais-Suomi, ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for Uusimaa, ELY Centre for Lapland, ELY Centre for South Savo, ELY Centre for North Savo, ELY Centre for Central Finland
Responsible for the serviceCentre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesEnglish, Swedish, Finnish
Text edited by: ELY Centre
Updated: 19/11/2021