Baltic Sea innovation boosted with new tools of the trade
The Baltic Sea region is recognised for its strong knowledge-based and innovative economy, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) playing a key role in this innovation process. To help these SMEs with financing as they look to expand internationally, the recently launched JOSEFIN project is introducing a range of practical instruments designed to support them in their endeavours, including a European counter guarantee and a new risk-sharing model.
"One impulse for this project is the success story of an IT company in Berlin we worked with, Condat AG. We arranged special financing and technical support for them, which soon opened up markets in China for their IT systems."
Torsten Mehlhorn, Project Manager from Investitionsbank Berlin
SMEs are often faced with reluctance on the part of banks when it comes to securing financing for transnational projects. This often prevents them from developing their full potential. To address this issue, JOSEFIN (Joint SME Finance for Innovation) is offering strategic services to SMEs in the Baltic Sea region, including individual coaching and tailor-made advice.
Baltic Sea business looking to new horizons
Development of the Baltic Sea region depends to a large extent on the ability of key actors to take part in international markets. However, SMEs often focus on local markets rather than international ones, due partly to the difficulty in securing financing. The JOSEFIN project has been introduced to stimulate direct transnational cooperation and provide improved access to finance, enabling them to innovate and exploit new products and services.
Seizing the innovation potential
The main players in the innovation process, namely incubators, technology transfer centres and public development banks will jointly develop concrete tools and instruments to be used in the countries involved, namely Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden and Norway. To reach its goals, the JOSEFIN partnership includes organisations with business development expertise, such as partners of the Enterprise Europe Network, public authorities in charge of policy development and implementation, public financial institutions and research and technology development organisations.
Secure backing for SMEs
The main achievement of the project will be the use of a European counter guarantee fund. This will back up SME loans, guarantees and seed or venture capital, thus reducing the financial risk of transnational business activities of companies and financial institutions and boosting cooperation and international business. For financial institutions, a new risk-sharing model for safer credit provision will be introduced, enabling more realistic assessment of SME creditworthiness.