According to information from the Small Business Act (SBA) Fact Sheets, Poland's performance is above the EU average, despite a relative lack of venture capital investment. The number of loan applications rejected, or offered at conditions deemed unacceptable, was just below the EU average, while the interest rate difference between loans above and under the EUR 1 million threshold was negative. Payments are settled remarkably promptly compared to the average, and the percentage of lost payments is lower.
From a policy point of view, several support measures have been introduced recently to facilitate access to external financing. The National Economy Bank put into operation a counter-guarantee scheme for two regional guarantee funds operating in Eastern Poland. Another counter-guarantee agreement was to be concluded in the first quarter of 2012. For its part, the Ministry of Finance started to work on regulating guarantees issued by the State Treasury and other legal entities. The new law will include provisions to create the National Guarantee Agency (NGA), which should start its activities in 2013. NGA will offer guarantee services and be responsible for setting up a country-wide counter guarantee system. This will further strengthen guarantee services offered by local and regional guarantee funds for Polish SMEs.
Several measures to create new sources of nonbanking finance have been introduced:
- An aid scheme to compensate businesses for damage caused by floods, in force since 16 September 2011;
- A pilot programme of capitalisation of local and regional loan funds to offer lending products for start-ups. The disbursement of loans will be combined with delivery of specialised advisory services. About 2 500 loans are to be provided with business set-up advisory services in a scheme to run until 2015;
- A pilot program offering debt financing for social economy enterprises has been prepared. Preferential loans will be distributed by selected loan funds and capital will be supplied by the National Economy Bank. Social economy enterprises will have access to technical assistance services to support effective use of loans;
- To increase the readiness and capacity of SMEs to utilise external finance offers, PAED announced in 2012 a pilot project to implement a new, free service to support micro and small firms in accessing external sources of finance. Some 600 enterprises are expected to benefit after selection of 15 service providers.
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|Key indicators on access to finance|
For details on SMAF index and methodology please click here.
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Source: Chart compiled using ECB data
Note: Loan volumes and interest rate data for 2012 are to the period September 2012 only (due to data availability as at November 2012).
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Appendix: ACTIONS SUPPORTING ACCESS TO FINANCE FOR SMEs (PDF) [354 KB]