The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and CaixaBank have signed a new agreement to support the projects of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the process of going global. The new €250 million credit line will have a particular focus on providing financing for projects led by female entrepreneurs wishing to develop innovative projects.
This agreement has enabled the European Investment Fund (EIF) – the EIB Group subsidiary specialising in support for micro-enterprises and SMEs – to grant a €125 million guarantee to CaixaBank, which it will supplement with an additional €125m of its own resources. The contract was signed under the InnovFin SME Guarantee, a programme launched in 2014 by the European Commission enabling the EIF to grant guarantees and counter-guarantees in order to increase the financing available for businesses to promote RDI. The agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the central pillar of the Juncker Plan helping the EIB Group to finance a greater number of riskier projects.
With EIF support, CaixaBank will provide female entrepreneurs with a credit line available until September 2019, making it possible to grant financing for developing their investments on favourable conditions in terms of both maturity and interest rates. Financing volumes for this credit line will range from a minimum of €25,000 to a maximum of €7.5 million.
This is the second agreement between the EIF and CaixaBank, which was among the first intermediaries to take part in the EIF-guaranteed SME Initiative. Since its launch in 2015, this initiative has facilitated the provision of more than €4 billion to Spanish SMEs, financing over 48,800 projects. In concrete terms, CaixaBank has contributed to this initiative with a €828 million portfolio, benefiting more than 21,000 SMEs.
The InnovFin SME Guarantee programme provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between €25,000 and €7.5m, in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). This facility is implemented by the EIF, and is being rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions. Under the InnovFin SME Guarantee, the EIF guarantees a portion of the potential losses incurred by the financial intermediaries.
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the EIB Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and micro-finance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy objectives.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Juncker Plan and provides first loss guarantees, enabling the EIB to invest in more projects that often come with greater risks. EFSI has yielded tangible results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise more than €284 billion in investment and support almost 611,000 SMEs in the 28 Member States. More information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe is available here.
InnovFin financial products: Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-2020, the European Commission and the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, the “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” initiative will offer a range of tailored products to provide financing to support research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructure.
Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, the “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” initiative supports R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All of this initiative’s instruments are driven by existing demand, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible to become final beneficiaries.
Source: The European Commission