Financing start-ups and scale-ups in Europe

Our mission

We are a specialist provider of risk finance to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across Europe. We are part of the EIB Group. Our shareholders are the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union, represented by the European Commission, and a wide range of public and private banks and financial institutions.

We carry out our activities using either our own resources or those provided by the European Investment Bank, the European Commission, by EU Member States or other third parties.

By developing and offering targeted financial products to our intermediaries, such as banks, guarantee and leasing companies, micro-credit providers and private equity funds, we enhance SMEs access to finance.

Our objectives

By taking SME risk, we pursue our two main statutory objectives:

  • fostering EU objectives, notably in the field of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, employment and regional development;
  • generating an appropriate return for our shareholders, through a commercial pricing policy and a balance of fee and risk based income.

Our impact

In 2024, we will be celebrating the EIF’s 30 years anniversary: an opportunity to look back at the success of helping over 2 million small businesses with access to finance. During these years, the EIF’s role has always been to identify and pro-actively tackle market gaps, and to pursue EU policy priorities.

We intend to be an agile facilitator between policy and markets and want to continue acting as an active developer of the European VC and PE ecosystem. We are leveraging our expertise to make Europe competitive and ‘future-proof’ - our video explains why we #BelieveInSmall.

Flagship SME finance initiatives

InvestEU - implemented by the EIF on behalf of the European Union, is one of the main driving forces behind our work. With its thematic focus designed to strengthen European competitiveness and strategic autonomy in key sectors, it mobilises funding for the key public policy goals at EU level.

The InvestEU programme represented around 45% of our activity during 2022, introducing several novelties, such as the first guarantee instrument dedicated exclusively to sustainability, focus on female representation, investments in climate and infrastructure funds, and a dedicated mechanism to support scale-ups and IPOs.

ETCI - managed by the EIF on behalf of the participating EU Member States, the European Tech Champions Initiative is the first of its kind growth stage fund-of-funds in Europe. Investing in large-scale venture capital funds, which will in turn provide growth financing to European tech champions in their pre-IPO phase. With an initial €3.75 billion of capital, ETCI is tackling Europe’s scaleup funding gap.

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


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