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EFSI Equity instrument

    Date: 13 October 2016 - 31 December 2020

Update in relation to the EFSI Equity instrument (as at 1 February 2021)

The application period for the EFSI Equity Instrument has closed. We are working on further initiatives with the European Commission in the private equity and venture capital space to support SME financing in the context of the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

Please note that the above communication does not apply to the “Recovery Equity Facility for Innovative Technology Companies” (RE-FIT Facility), whose application period expires on 30 June 2021.

Newly launched initiatives

As of early 2020, the European Commission (EC) and the EIF have been making available additional resources through initiatives under the EFSI Equity Instrument and InnovFin Equity to further support innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, space technology, impact investing and blue economy.

With these initiatives, the EC and the EIF are stepping up their efforts in areas of strategic relevance for the EU, supporting the transition towards a new digital era, and contributing to promoting sustainability and impact entrepreneurship in the European investment ecosystem.

The Blue Economy initiative is designed to stimulate investments and sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors. Through this initiative, the EIF shall invest in equity funds whose investment strategies target partially or fully economic activities including natural or cultural capital, ocean energy, climate action, inclusion of coastal communities and better coastal protection. Funds and portfolio companies may also benefit simultaneously from grants under the DG MARE Open Calls for Proposals.

The Impact Investing initiative aims to promote an investment approach where social and/or environmental goals are intrinsic to the strategy of our financial intermediaries. Investments will target enterprises offering entrepreneurial solutions to societal issues and generating benefits to society alongside economic value creation.

The Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Technologies initiative is dedicated to financial intermediaries specialising in financing for Distributed Ledger Technology and blockchain. Europe is home to world-leading research communities and a vibrant industry, which are both increasingly relying on artificial intelligence – therefore, it is crucial that we build up an ecosystem that can fuel the development of such technologies on home ground.

The Space Initiative shall support investments in capital funds whose strategies target increasing exposure in the area of upstream and downstream space technologies and project a path to commercialisation and market uptake for the benefits of the EU citizens. This is in line with the strong commitment across EU Member States to develop a globally competitive and innovative European space sector.

If you are a VC/PE fund manager or Business Angel, these initiatives enable you to undertake investments in eligible companies (e.g. early stage ventures, innovative start-ups and also scale-ups) operating in the above-mentioned fields. Please note that the EIF selects its financial intermediaries through a standard evaluation and selection process.

Interested parties who wish to submit an application for funding are invited to consult the details in the call documents below under the section NEW THEMATIC INITIATIVES. Deadline for application is 31 December 2020.

Objectives and financing windows by SME lifecycle

Under the umbrella of the Investment Plan for Europe, the EC, the EIB and the EIF have pooled together resources and aligned their objectives for the implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Under EFSI, the EIF provides financing for the benefit of more vulnerable entities within the EU ecosystem, encompassing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, social enterprises, social sector organisations and small mid-caps, in specific EU policy areas.

In this context, the EIF is implementing a set of equity instruments, aiming at:

  • Enhancing access to financing for SMEs, small mid-caps, social enterprises and social sector organisations established or doing business in EU Member States during their entire lifecycle, from the pre-commercial phase up to their expansion and growth stage of development;
  • Ensuring adequate contribution to market development in areas such as technology transfer, business angels, venture capital, fund-of-funds, social impact, impact investing and blue economy;
  • Catalysing private investments into the private equity and venture capital markets to contribute to the development of the European equity ecosystem.

EFSI Equity is deployed in the form of two windows which may be combined to pursue multi-stage investment strategies: 

Expansion and Growth Window  

Under the Expansion and Growth Window, the EIF provides equity investments to or alongside funds or other entities focusing directly or indirectly on later stage and multi-stage financing of SMEs and small mid-caps. Furthermore, under this window, the EIF provides investments with the intention of generating social impact, targeting social enterprises and social sector organisations established or doing business in EU Member States.

Early Stage Window (InnovFin Equity)

Under the Early Stage Window of EFSI Equity (InnovFin Equity), the EIF provides equity investments and co-investments to or alongside funds focusing on early stage financing of SMEs and small mid-caps operating in innovative sectors covered by Horizon 2020. In the context of the EFSI Equity Instrument, InnovFin Equity will be deployed predominantly in EU Member States and observing the requirements and conditions set out in the Call documentation below. InnovFin Equity will remain available to serve Financial Intermediaries, which do not meet the EFSI requirements, including those established or operating in all Horizon 2020 Participating Countries under terms and conditions set out in the Single EU Equity Instrument.

Information for financial institutions (funds): How to apply

Apply by downloading and submitting the relevant application documents by 31 December 2020 (date of reception by the EIF). Applications will be assessed for pre-selection on the basis of the Expressions of Interest, on a continuous “first come, first served” basis. 


EIF selects financial intermediaries according to a standard process involving due diligence and proof of compliance with relevant standards and legislation. For further questions, interested financial intermediaries may contact efsi_equity@eif.org.

For final beneficiaries (SMEs, Small Mid-Caps, Social Enterprises and Social Sector Organisations):

If you are looking for finance, please contact EIF's financial intermediaries. Please note that final funding approval lies solely with the financial intermediary. For information about finance available in your country under further EU initiatives, please visit http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance/

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.


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