The coronavirus epidemic and the restrictions imposed by the Government to curb the virus spread has forced thousands of small businesses to endure difficult times. Many of them had to carry out temporary layoffs and some even stop working.
The Government chaired by Sanna Marin decided a month ago to launch through the state finance company Business Finland an aid package so that many of those companies affected by the coronavirus could survive.
Since the aid was announced, thousands of small businesses requested support. And of course, some were luckier than others when it came to distributing the money. According to Suomen Kuvalehti, by 16 April Business Finland had made around 5,200 positive decisions, while other 1,300 (one-fifth of the the total) had been rejected.
Some companies that have been supported, such as the Huono Äiti blog, have attracted the attention of the media and some Finnish politicians.
The reason is twofold: on the one hand, this blog has been awarded with 100,000 euros, the maximum amount of aid possible. On the other, it has also drawn attention that the business belongs to the wife of a politician, Petri Sarvamaa, a member of the European Parliament of the right-wing National Coalition Party (Kokoomus).
The website was founded in 2011 and belongs to Sari Helin-Sarvamaa, who started it as a personal blog, but now it has expanded into a social media community. Her husband, the politician, is the deputy chair of the Board. His wife owns 80% of the company and his children 10% each.
Even so, on Sunday as soon as the Finnish media published the information, he was quick to say on Twitter that he found out about the grant the same day it was granted.
A profitable business
According to the Trade Register, Huono Äiti is a profitable business and has been distributing a steady dividend during the past few years. In the financial year that ended in July 2019, it had a turnover of 248,000 euros and made a profit of 5,000 euros.
In the financial year 2017-2018 the turnover was 271,000 euros and the profit 44,000. And one year before the turnover was 252,000 and the profit 32,000.
Sources: Suomen Asiakastieto/Finder.fi
Scandal on social media
The case caused a great scandal on social media, where some politicians and lots of citizens asked for explanations and questioned the criteria with which Business Finland has granted aid. The Government remained silent.
Ihmettelen Huono äiti Oy tukea. Miten someyritys kärsii koronasta? Oman järkeni mukaan someyritysten luulisi nimenomaan olevan voittajia. Onko tuki valtion takaamaa luottoa vai suoraa tukea, jota ei tarvitse maksaa takaisin?#koronakriisi #Korona #yritystuki #businessfinland— Laura Korpinen (@KorpinenLaura) April 19, 2020
Someyritys Huono Äiti -sivusto sai 100 000 euron jättiavustuksen valtiolta. Kokoomuksen europarlamentaarikko Petri Sarvamaa on vaimonsa omistaman Huono Äiti Oy:n hallituksen varajäsen.https://t.co/BgVxu5igGl— Hannele Al-Hamzawi ⚘ (@HanneleA_H) April 19, 2020
@petrisarvamaa äänestin sua EU vaaleissa. Odotan poliitikolta että laittaa maan edun oman etunsa edelle. Olen pettynyt. Kriteeristön vuoksi ei pitäisi edes pystyä hakemaan. Eivätkö kriteerit ole kaikille samat? https://t.co/b51KYugE4U— Veikko Sinisalo (@siniveikko) April 19, 2020
Saatanan korruptoituneet koplaajat! Näpit irti verovaroista!— Pepita Kekkilä (@pepita_kekkila) April 19, 2020
Petri Sarvamaa 18.3.2020 "Ideologiat on siirrettävä hetkeksi sivuun. Valtion ja yksilöiden yhteisillä avustustoimilla pärjäämme pahimman vaiheen yli." https://t.co/bWK2uw5HvL— Vesa Puttonen (@InvestmentTraps) April 19, 2020
@MikaLintila veronmaksajina meitä kiinnostaa Business Finlandin 100k koronatukitapaukset Hirvaskankaan Kauppahuone Oy ja Huono Äiti osalta. Näyttää rumalta.— Teemu Piippola (@TemppuTerava) April 19, 2020
Kokoomuksen europarlamentaarikko Petri Sarvamaa tässä somefirmassa, joka sai 100 tonnia. Sarvamaa hallituksen toinen jäsen vaimonsa kanssa. #Kokoomus Huono Äiti -sivusto sai 100 000 euron jättiavustuksen valtiolta: ”Miten someyritys kärsii koronasta?” https://t.co/neDZZ2ePQw— Anna Marttinen (@anna_marttinen) April 19, 2020
Many entrepreneurs have also criticized that the aid has been granted by Business Finland especially to IT and online companies and not, for example, to restaurants and tourist businesses, which are the hardest hit by the epidemic, many having had to stop their activity.