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Investment Plan for Europe: EIF and Slovene Enterprise Fund sign EUR 180m agreement to benefit SMEs

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    Date: 20 November 2015

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Slovene Enterprise Fund (SEF) have signed a COSME agreement in Slovenia, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

The agreement will allow Slovene Enterprise Fund to provide EUR 180 million of guarantees to SMEs in Slovenia over the next three years. The guarantees will be provided as a result of a counter-guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission. The agreement will make it possible for SEF to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 1,100 SMEs.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "It is encouraging that SMEs in Slovenia are now accessing finance under the Investment Plan. Already more than 70,000 SMEs across Europe can benefit from loans backed by the EU guarantee. Small and medium sized businesses can also use the new Advisory Hub to help them with their investment project proposals."

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased to have signed this EFSI SME guarantee agreement in Slovenia under the COSME programme. Working with Slovene Enterprise Fund with whom we have supported SMEs already in the past, we will be able to help over 1,100 entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses”.

Maja Tomanič Vidovič, CEO at SEF said: "We are really happy that we successfully completed the selection procedure under COSME programme and signed the COSME Counter-guarantee Agreement with EIF as the first Slovene public institution. Within this programme, we will be able to increase the tendered quotas over the next three years. Our guarantees as collateral for bank loans, which the SMEs obtain from one of the participating banks in our guarantee scheme, enable easier, faster and cheaper access to bank loans for micro, small and medium sized companies, through lower requirements for additional collateral that represents a huge burden to the entrepreneur. Therefore, successful candidature is of utmost importance for us, since guarantees as collateral for bank loans are the most important type of incentives for SMEs.”

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's (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 SEF

The Slovene Enterprise Fund (hereinafter the Fund or SEF) is a public financial fund in ownership of the Republic of Slovenia established for the purpose of granting financial support and incentives to the entrepreneurial sector in Slovenia. The Fund publishes annually public tenders for financial support for development-expansion investments of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (hereinafter SMEs) in Slovenia. SEF offers debt financing financial instruments in the form of guarantees for bank loans with interest rate subsidy, direct loans-microloans, special incentives for innovative start-ups, and equity financing financial instruments in form of seed capital for innovative start-ups and venture capital for a rapid growth of innovative start-ups. Favourable financial instruments are intended to finance setting up an enterprise, own development and innovation of the enterprise, rapid global growth, female entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, creative industry, business model re-engineering and business transfer. SEF’s active portfolio at the end of 2014 totalled over 600m EUR in over 4,600 operations, out of which the guarantee portfolio totalled around 230m EUR. SEF annually supports approximately 700 projects/enterprises with around 120m EUR of different financial incentives. www.podjetniskisklad.si

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, COSME mobilises loans and equity investments to SMEs in Europe. 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 19 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 370,000 SMEs in Europe. Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: www.access2finance.eu


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