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First InnovFin SME guarantee in Montenegro brings EUR 30 million to innovative SMEs

    Date: 11 July 2018

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Erste Bank AD Podgorica (Erste Bank) have signed the first InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility agreement in Montenegro, to support innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps.

The new InnovFin agreement will enable Erste Bank to provide loans to innovative companies over the next two years with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The InnovFin guarantee covers 50% of each loan disbursed by Erste Bank and is expected to generate a total loan portfolio up to EUR 30 million.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Prosperity in Montenegro is a win for the country as well as for the EU. These loans to innovative SMEs and small mid-caps, backed by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, will in turn create growth and jobs in Montenegro, giving a major boost to the economy.”

EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are delighted to be announcing the first InnovFin guarantee agreement in Montenegro for innovative businesses today. This agreement allows Erste Bank in Montenegro to increase financing for SMEs and small mid-caps, which will be instrumental in supporting an innovation agenda in the country, delivering new products and services. Erste Group is one of EIF’s long-standing partners and we are confident that the InnovFin SME guarantee will quickly channel finance to SMEs and small mid-caps.”

Aleksa Lukić, Erste Bank Chief Executive Officer, said: “The InnovFin agreement is of great importance for Erste Bank since it enables us to open new opportunities and further improve the financing model for SMEs. Thanks to this guarantee scheme, healthy and innovative initiatives will have access to finance on more favourable terms. Small and medium-sized enterprises are drivers of growth and development. Therefore, I expect that 30 million EUR of credit support under the InnovFin agreement will substantially contribute to the new wave of investments within this segment of the economy.“

The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees) in need of investment and/or working capital to finance research, development and innovation activities, with EU financial support. Financial institutions are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.

About 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 (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 EIF's work under EFSI is available here.

About Erste Bank AD Podgorica

Erste Bank AD Podgorica has operated under this name since July 2009. It is one of the leading banks on the Montenegrin market. The bank's market share was 11.88% at the end of March 2018, which placed it at the second position according to assets. The owner of 100% of the share capital of Erste Bank AD Podgorica is Erste & Steirmärkische Bank d.d, member of Erste Group founded in 1819. Erste Group is one of the largest providers of financial services in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

About InnovFin

The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative backed by Horizon 2020. It provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25 000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.

Press contacts:

David Yormesor
Tel.: +352 24 85 81 346
E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Erste Bank AD Podgorica: 
Dragana Crvenica
Tel. + 382 63 299 800
E-Mail: dcrvenica@erstebank.me


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