MDI studies state aid regulation concerning regional development companies

Regional development companies (RDCs) are mainly owned by municipalities. Their task is to produce business advisory services in the region on behalf of the owner municipalities. RDCs also seek to strengthen the vitality of the region by creating tempting operational environments and facilities and by activating local SMEs to growth. RDCs implement these tasks with budgeted funding from the municipalities and also by carrying out EU-funded projects.

Lately, there have been some changes in the funding regulation and therefore the state’s part funding in EU-projects has been seen as state aid for RDCs. The RDCs have pointed out their concern, if the new regulation or interpretation is hindering Finnish SMEs’ possibilities for success in international competition.

Association of Regional Development Agencies in Finland, SEKES, has appointed MDI to carry out a study to clarify the role of RDCs as a part of national policy for economic development. The study includes an international benchmark between Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands and how these countries interprete state’s part funding in EU projects the RDCs are carrying out. MDI has teamed up with Business Law Finland Ltd and the European Policies Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow to conduct the work. The study is due in December 2015.