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Small business owner: adjust to change and manage risks with adult education allowance for entrepreneurs


For an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to find the right time for studies. Many have succeeded in this with the help of entrepreneurs’ adult education allowance. The allowance offers an opportunity to update your skills without compromising your business and livelihood.

Thanks to its flexibility, fitting the allowance into an entrepreneur’s everyday life is easy. You can decide for yourself when you want to study on the allowance and when you want to work without claiming the allowance. The allowance is a particularly appealing opportunity for entrepreneurs who find it difficult to take time off from work or to hire a replacement for the duration of their studies.

Most of the people who receive the allowance are sole traders or micro entrepreneurs. Many of them will be pleased to hear that you can use the allowance months (15 months maximum) in parts.

“During the months when you do not claim any allowance, you can earn business income as you normally would without it affecting your right to receive the allowance,” says Isa Väätäinen, Team Manager of the Employment Fund’s Benefit Services.


Who is eligible for the allowance?


The allowance can be granted to all full-time entrepreneurs who have had a YEL or MYEL insurance for at least one year and 8 years of work history, either as an employee or entrepreneur in any field.

The allowance is paid directly to the entrepreneur. The right to receive the allowance depends on how much the entrepreneur’s earned business income is reduced as a result of studying. You will be entitled to the allowance if your studies reduce your income by at least one third compared to the last taxation completed before the studies.

“Capital income does not affect the right to receive the allowance. There is also no need to cease your business activities to study and receive the allowance,” Väätäinen says.

In 2022, the entrepreneurs’ adult education allowance is €612.97 per month. During the months when you claim allowance, you can earn up to €459.72 before tax per month in additional income or benefits without it affecting your allowance.


How long does it take to receive allowance?


Sometimes the need to start studying can arise unexpectedly. Adult education allowance is a good option for those situations. At best, it only takes a few months from submitting the application to receiving it and starting your studies.

What you should know about the process is that first you choose the education or training and then apply for the allowance. The Employment Fund has comprehensive instructions online to help you with this.

After securing a place in an educational institution, entrepreneurs can apply for an initial decision from us to find out whether they have enough work history and whether the studies are covered by adult education allowance,” Väätäinen says.


What studies does the allowance cover?


The allowance can be granted for studies organised by educational institutions that operate in Finland and are supervised by public authorities. These include universities, universities of applied sciences and vocational schools. Studies in private educational institutions are generally not covered by the allowance.

For adult students, it is great that there are more and more studies available that can be flexibly adapted to fit their everyday lives. According to Väätäinen, the number of available online and remote trainings is constantly increasing, making it possible to study regardless of time and place.

The entrepreneurs’ adult education allowance enables both entire degrees and short trainings. Väätäinen encourages people to find out about the available options in advance and seize the moment.

“Even if the profession was not regulated, many entrepreneurs say that their customers see formal education and qualifications as signs of competence and quality.” 

Education and training can really boost the company’s competitiveness.

“The entrepreneurs’ adult education allowance is one possibility. Employers who want to encourage their employees to pursue studies should also look into the adult education allowance for employees,” says Väätäinen.