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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and iwoca sign EUR 60 million deal to support over 3000 small businesses in the UK

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    Date: 10 December 2015
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and iwoca have signed their first COSME agreement in the UK to help a greater number of SMEs gain access to finance. The initiative benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) through which the Investment Plan for Europe is being deployed by the European Commission and the EIB Group.

The guarantee scheme will allow iwoca to lend GBP 40m (EUR 60m) to over 3,000 small businesses in the UK. The loans will be provided as a result of a guarantee from the EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission. A small business can apply for financing under the programme at www.iwoca.co.uk. iwoca's technology-driven risk platform automatically analyses thousands of data points for each application, allowing a business to get approved for up to £100,000 within hours.

EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: “Thanks to EU funding, more than 3,000 SMEs in the UK will be able to access GBP 40m in funding through new loans. I am very pleased to see that the Investment Plan for Europe is becoming a reality on the ground, creating new jobs and benefiting small businesses”.

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am pleased that we are signing the first EFSI SME guarantee agreement in the UK under the COSME programme. The online lending platform iwoca will give entrepreneurs rapid access to finance to help them create and grow their businesses.”

Michael Elalouf, CFO at iwoca, said: "This agreement between iwoca and the EIF is a boon for the millions of SMEs who critically need access to finance. These businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have been underserved by traditional finance providers. We believe this partnership represents a genuine endorsement of iwoca’s strategy and innovative technology platform. We look forward to expanding our relationship in the future to further meet the needs of SMEs across Europe.”

This deal reflects the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.

About the EIF

The 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 by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both 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. EIF’s total net commitments to equity funds amounted to over EUR 8.8bn at end 2014. With investments in over 500 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture and growth funds, including in the high-tech and early-stage segments. In addition to its equity activities EIF’s loan guarantees portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 350 operations at end 2014, ranking it as a major European SME guarantee provider and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

About iwoca

iwoca is transforming small business lending by offering flexible credit facilities to the millions of SMEs that are underserved by banks.  Its technology-driven risk platform draws on thousands of data points to make faster, fairer credit decisions, allowing iwoca to lend a small business up to £100,000 within hours. With 10,000 transactions since its launch in 2012, iwoca is one of the fastest growing business credit providers in Europe. iwoca operates across the UK, Germany, Spain and Poland. iwoca is a founding member of Innovate Finance, the world’s first industry body for FinTech.

UK SMEs can apply for financing at www.iwoca.co.uk.

About COSME

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 20 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 373,000 SMEs in Europe.

Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/

About the Investment Plan for Europe

Press contacts:

EIF: David Yormesor Tel.: +352 42 66 88 346,E-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

iwoca: Salamander Davoudi Tel: +44 207 887 7633. Email: salamander@tancredigroup.com

European Commission: Annika Breidthardt Tel.: +322 295 6153,E-mail: Annika.breidthardt@ec.europa.eu


 
 

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