The focus of the EU Finance Days will be SMEs’ access to finance and the EU CIP financial instruments that have a budget of €1.1 billion for the period 2007-2013.
The SME Guarantee Facility enables banks and other financial institutions to increase their offers of loans to more small firms, in particular to entrepreneurs and firms with higher risk, or at lower cost, or with less security, than they might otherwise have done. One specific area the facility supports is micro-credits – loans of up to €25 000. In short, the facility means that the EU shares some of the risk of lending to small firms, in return for a commitment from the banks to increase their lending to SMEs.
During the last ten years, EU has provided guarantees to banks and other financial institutions for a value of €441 million, covering loan portfolios totalling almost €28 billion. A total of more than 330 000 small firms have benefited from this guarantee facility.
With the High Growth and Innovative SME Facility (GIF), the European Investment Fund, on behalf of the European Commission, invests in venture capital funds which focus on small high-growth firms. A condition for an investment is that all investment decisions are made on the basis of commercial market principles. The EIF stake in such funds enables them to invest more in early-stage SMEs and to attract additional investors more easily. Funds which specialise in eco-innovation will have the possibility of proportionately higher EU participation.
The GIF builds on the achievements of previous EU schemes, through which some €309 million were invested in 39 funds in the last decade, leading to investments in a total of 357 small firms. The catalytic effect of these schemes is substantial, as the EU investment amounted to just 17% of their combined total capital.
The High Growth and Innovative SME Facility covers both ‘seed and early-stage’ (GIF1) and ‘expansion stage’ (GIF2) financing. Overall, it covers much of the life cycle of small, dynamic firms, and is also able to work with business angels, supporting their investments.
The Seed Capital Action will help to reinforce the capacity of venture capital funds to invest in SMEs.
The leverage effect of both CIP financial instruments - the guarantee facility and the GIF - ensures EU funding benefits a far higher number of small firms than any system of direct grants could. The increased budget allocated for the period 2007-2013 will enable more small companies throughout the EU to benefit than ever before.
Practical information for European enterprises and entrepreneurs working cross-border:
this portal provides access to information on the whole spectrum of EU policies, legislation, programmes and initiatives relevant to Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises:
Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP):
CIP aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises. With SMEs as its main target, this programme supports innovation activities, provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions. It encourages a better take-up and use of information and communications technologies (ICT) and helps to develop the information society. It also promotes the increased use of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The programme will run from 2007 to 2013:
Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry:
Access to finance – information on EU contribution to SME financing:
Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs:
Financial operations and ins 141a truments in support of EU policies – information on implementation of EU financial instruments:
Directorate-General for Research:
participation of SMEs in the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7): Under FP7, SMEs can strengthen their overall position through networking and relationship building with international partners, access to research centres of excellence, and development of research and innovation:
participation of SMEs in Eurostars programme – European research and development project for a collaboration of research-performing SMEs:
Directorate-General for Regional Policy:
participation of SMEs in Jeremie programme (Joint European Resources for Micro to medium Enterprises) - an initiative of the Commission together with the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in order to promote increased access to finance for the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the regions of the EU:
European Investment Fund (EIF):
EIF is managing EU financial instruments in cooperation with local financial intermediaries that implement these instruments in the Member States:
Enterprise Europe Network:
this new network offers support and advice to businesses across Europe and helps them make the most of the opportunities in the European Union; services are specifically designed for SMEs but are also available to all businesses, research centres and universities across Europe. The Enterprise Europe Network is present in more than 40 countries, with around 4 000 experienced staff in 600 local partner organisations providing expert advice and services to EU businesses:
Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI):
EACI located in Brussels and established by the European Commission, is responsible for supervising the Enterprise Europe Network: