The FINANCIAL -- The European Investment Fund (EIF) and ProCredit Group are providing an additional EUR 450 million to innovative small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), bringing a total of EUR 820 million to companies in eleven countries.
The EIF-backed financing is now available through ProCredit banks from Germany to Georgia and targets companies using new technologies and producing new products in one of the eleven countries where the facility is available (Germany, Albania, Serbia, FYROM, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia). To date, agreements with ProCredit have already supported more than 1,000 innovative SMEs and many more will be financed in the coming years.
These agreements were signed under the European Commission’s InnovFin initiative, backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The InnovFin initiative enables participating banks to provide loans to innovative companies with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF. The agreements signed in EU member state countries were made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the “Juncker Plan”.
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “We are delighted that InnovFin SME guarantee agreements with the ProCredit banks are yielding such positive results. ProCredit’s well-established distribution network, combined with its SME lending expertise, ensures that EC-backed loans can be rapidly deployed across the eleven territories. These transactions will help companies to access this EU backed finance, in order to drive forward an innovation agenda across Europe.”
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The Commission recognises that small businesses drive jobs and growth in Europe. Facilitating access to the finance they need to innovate, expand and create jobs is one of the effective ways by which the EU supports small and medium-sized enterprises across Europe. I wish those set to benefit from this financing every success as they take their next steps."
Borislav Kostadinov, Member of the Management Board of ProCredit General Partner AG (sole liable managing entity of ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA) added: “The InnovFin initiative has definitely helped to modernise the SME sector in our countries of operation. Thanks to our Hausbank relationship with a large number of innovative SMEs, ProCredit banks have been in a position to finance innovation across a wide range of industries, especially in the manufacturing sector. Hence we are pleased that EIF and the ProCredit group have agreed to expand this successful programme.”