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Over SEK 1 billion of equity finance for early-stage enterprises through the Swedish Venture Initiative

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    Date: 29 April 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Tillväxtverket signed an agreement today to establish the ‘Swedish Venture Initiative’, a venture capital fund-of-funds to support access to equity capital for Swedish early-stage high-growth enterprises. This initiative benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The Swedish Venture Initiative (SVI) will provide approximately SEK 600 million (c. EUR 65 million)  for investment in a several early stage venture capital funds, which will further attract private investors to create a total  of more than SEK 1 billion (c. EUR 110 million), to be  invested in Swedish enterprises. This initiative will target smaller and earlier stage investments, operating in a complementary way to the upcoming Fondinvest initiative.

This is among the first Structural Fund-supported fund-of-funds that EIF will invest into and it is made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Commission's Investment Plan for Europe. Ms. Gunilla Nordorf, Director General of Tillväxtverket, and Mr. Pier Luigi Gilibert, Chief Executive of EIF, signed the agreement in the presence of Minister Damberg, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications.

The European Investment Fund’s Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, stated: “Working with Tillväxtverket and the Ministry will enable us to support innovative early stage enterprises and shows how, together with local risk capital funds and the Swedish authorities, EIF can help to build a strong investment ecosystem in Sweden. The new Swedish Venture Initiative is based on the long and successful experience that EIF has had with similar initiatives in many EU countries, for example Netherlands, United Kingdom and the Baltic States, and is now further improved by introducing the new combination of European Structural and Investment Funds with EIF co-investment.

Gunilla Nordlöf, Director General of Tillväxtverket said: “Through this agreement more than 1 billion SEK will be invested in Swedish enterprises. The initiative will focus on enterprises in early stages with high growth potential and thereby strengthen Swedish competitiveness.”

Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: "I very much welcome this initiative. It is in line with what we are trying to do in the area of financing SMEs. Before summer, the Commission will be bringing forward proposals to strengthen Europe's venture capital markets to build up scale, diversity and choice. We will launch a pan-European fund-of-funds to encourage further private investment in venture capital markets."

Background information

European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on the EIF's work under the EFSI is available here.

Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by April 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €80 billion of investment in Europe.

Find out the latest EFSI figures including a break-down by sector and by country here. For more information see the FAQs.

Tillväxtverket

Tillväxtverket (The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth) is a national government agency tasked with promoting entrepreneurship and regional growth. Our mission is to strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish enterprises. We target small and medium-sized enterprises or future entrepreneurs directly and work to improve the general framework for doing business. The agency’s most important tools are knowledge, networks and financing. Based on our knowledge of the requirements for enterprises and regions to grow, we build networks for cooperation and finance initiatives that strengthen the business sector.

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