EU loan guarantee helps launch a chocolate boutique in Antwerp
Trained as a jeweller and goldsmith, Karen Aerts couldn't find a job in that field, so she decided to take the plunge into the chocolate business and opened a micro enterprise in Antwerp, Belgium. This was made possible thanks to EU supported micro loan.
Karen studied to become a confectioner while planning how to set up her own business. She asked for finance through the Belgian financial intermediary FdP (Participatiefonds/Fonds de Participation) and received a loan of EUR 12 000, thanks to an EU loan guarantee. This enabled her to open Karelicious, her own chocolate boutique, in 2007. Referring to the launch of her business, Karen says "the loan turned out to be the right support I needed to get the ball rolling".
Karen's business is a true micro enterprise. The EU supports start-ups by providing loan guarantees, even for small amounts, and venture capital, through the CIP programme until late 2013.
This programme is managed on behalf of the European Commission by the European Investment Fund (EIF) which further works together with a wide range of financial intermediaries to provide loan guarantees and venture capital to SMEs.
To find out more:
- Current programme - access to finance for SMEs until 2013 (Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, CIP) Financial intermediaries in your country - CIP programme until 2013
- To go international, get new technologies, get information about EU funding and finance for SMEs - contact your nearest representative of the Enterprise Europe Network
- Future programme - access to finance for SMEs between 2014 and 2020 (COSME) - proposal currently under negotiation