Horizon 2020 will help companies and other types of organisation engaged in R&I to gain easier access, via financial instruments, to loans, guarantees, counter-guarantees and hybrid, mezzanine and equity finance (6. Access to Risk Finance part of the Work Programme).
The priority for 2014-2015 is to continue and build on activities that have proved their worth in supporting R&I in 2007-2013: the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the Risk-Sharing Instrument for SMEs (RSI) in FP7, together with GIF-1, the early-stage part of the High-Growth & Innovative SMEs Facility in the Competitiveness & Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). Horizon 2020's financial instrument facilities will operate in conjunction with those of COSME, the successor to CIP.
- The coming two years will also see a significant participation by Horizon 2020
- in the proposed SME Finance Initiative
- the launch of a pilot facility supporting the technology transfer process
- a new focus on improving access to risk finance by larger midcap firms.
In addition, firms of all sizes, together with other types of organisation, will be able to get advice on how to make themselves more attractive to banks and potential investors. And to help prepare for new developments, studies will examine how best to encourage more business angel and crowd-funding investments in R&I and look into the potential for pan-European venture capital (VC) funds-of-funds.
As in the previous programmes, debt and equity facilities will be run in a demand-driven manner, though the priorities of particular sectors or of other EU programmes will be targeted if top-up funding is made available. The focus remains on attracting private investments into R&I.
Subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will play an important role in implementing each financial instrument facility in partnership with the European Commission. For EIF, this role includes (as under FP7 and CIP) conducting calls for expressions of interest for selecting the financial intermediaries, such as banks and risk-capital funds, that will make the actual loans to or investments in SMEs and small midcaps. While EIB will make large loans directly, it will also be able to use financial intermediaries as well, particularly when supporting medium and large midcaps.
To locate banks or funds that provide risk finance supported by the EU, please go to Europa's Access to finance website.