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Spain, InvestEU: EIF and ICF join forces to mobilise €64 million to support social enterprises and cultural and creative businesses in Catalonia

    Date: 12 February 2024
  • European Investment Fund to provide ICF with a capped portfolio guarantee aimed to enhance the access to finance on favourable terms to SMEs operating in Catalonia.
  • This transaction is the first guarantee deal between the two institutions.
  • Agreement is backed by the InvestEU programme.

With the support of the InvestEU programme, the European Investment Fund (EIF) will provide the Catalan Finance Institute (ICF) with a capped portfolio guarantee that will leverage €64 million in support of social enterprises and entities within the cultural and creative sector in Catalonia. This transaction is the first guarantee agreement between the two institutions and is expected to have a significant positive impact on SMEs operating in Catalonia. The InvestEU programme aims to trigger across the EU more than €372 billion in additional investment over the period 2021-27 to advance EU policy priorities.

Through the capped guarantee under the InvestEU support for cultural and creative sectors, ICF will be able to boost access to finance on favourable terms to cultural and creative businesses and projects operating in Catalonia. The funds to be made available will mean increased support for an ecosystem which often faces difficulties in accessing finance due to the limited size of the market and demand uncertainty, among other issues. EU support will help these companies to scale up their activities consolidating their resilience and enabling them to face new challenges.

Moreover, thanks to the capped guarantee under the InvestEU support for microfinance, social investment and entrepreneurship, and skills, the Catalan public financial institution will unlock finance for social enterprises, which often have trouble obtaining credit. ICF is expected to launch a dedicated social entrepreneurship product.

The agreement will foster job creation and empower businesses in this sector, thus strengthening their social impact. This also contributes to the objectives of the European Commission’s Social Economy Action Plan, which aims to boost its economic and job-creation potential, for instance through improving access to finance for social economy enterprises, including via InvestEU.

ICF will have these two financing products available in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to boost access to finance for both the social economy and entrepreneurship fields, and the cultural and creative sectors in Catalonia, thanks to this first guarantee agreement with ICF backed by InvestEU,” said EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt. “Helping these entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions also has profound impact beyond their businesses: social enterprises make up a very dynamic sector with great potential to transform people’s lives, while a strong ecosystem of culture and creativity has a direct impact on our sense of identity and values.”

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “InvestEU provides essential support for social enterprises as well as cultural, and creative businesses across Europe. This new financial agreement could be a game changer for numerous small businesses operating in Catalonia, improving their access to the financing. This, in turn, will allow them to create new jobs and contribute to strengthening the social and cultural business ecosystem, in line with our Social Economy Action Plan.”

“The ICF, the public promotional bank of Catalonia, is very satisfied to open this new way to channel European funds into the economic development of the country in two sectors, culture and social economy, of great importance”, said ICF CEO, Vanessa Servera. “These products with EIF guarantee complete the financing offer that we already have from the ICF for these sectors and we want to increase them.”

Background information

About the European Investment Fund (EIF)

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group). Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and micro-finance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, it contributes to the achievement of key EU policy goals such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability.

About InvestEU

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It also helps mobilise private investments for the European Union’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition. The InvestEU programme brings together under one roof the multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient, and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. The entire budget guarantee will back the investment projects of the implementing partners, increase their risk-bearing capacity, and thus mobilise at least €372 billion in additional investment.

About the Institut Català de Finances (ICF)

The ICF is Catalonia’s public promotional bank and its main mission is to boost the growth of companies and other entities. It finances relevant, transformational projects through loans and capital, with special emphasis on the green transition, reindustrialisation and social housing. The ICF often supplements commercial bank lending, offering long repayment terms to facilitate debt repayment. Since 2014, it has been a member of the European Association of Public Banks (EAPB), which brings together many of the public banks and financial institutions operating in Europe.

Press contacts:


Maite Cordero, m.corderomunoz@eib.org, tel. +34 606 66 82 62

José Vicente Alzola, j.alzola@ext.eib.org, tel. +34 608143903

Website: www.eif.org — Press Office: +352 4379 21000 — press@eib.org

X: @eif_eu 

European Commission:

Flora Matthaes, tel.: +32 229 83951, flora.matthaes@ec.europa.eu

https://investeu.europa.eu, #InvestEU


Natalia Touzon, ntouzon@icf.cat, tel. + 34 687 46 99 46

Website: www.icf.cat

X: @icfcat

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/institut-catala-de-finances

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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