Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, published its figures for 2010 a few days ago. In the figures are listed all the companies who received government funding, aka tax payer money, to grow their businesses. All in all, there were over 2200 companies who received funding of more than 380 million euros.
The sad part of the equation is that Finnish tax payers funded publicly listed companies with more than 40 million euros last year. This is money, the companies should budget from their own assets or turn to the markets for more financing. For comparison, the Vigo accelerator programme received 42 million euros of funding for its full tenure of three years.
The government funding of publicly listed companies is very questionable and has been raised in many forums as inappropriate. The simple logic is that publicly listed companies should turn to the markets if they need the extra funding to resource their R&D efforts. If the investments would not be carried out without the Tekes funding, it’s a clear sign that they aren’t significant for the companies to begin with.
Below is a list of all the publicly listed companies that received Tekes funding and the amount in euros. The figures have been gathered from Tekes’ figures released for 2010.
While many might say that 40 million euros is merely a rounding error on the government budget, startups and growing technology companies in general could do wonders with this amount of capital. Some of the more notable figures in the list belong to the paper industry, one that has been transferring production away from Finland so the government can’t even defend the decisions with positive employment effects.
There is a lot of good happening in Tekes as well, but dinosaurs like funding to public companies still unfortunately exist. We’ll be digging into the figures of this governmental agency in follow-up posts.