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Access to finance

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The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) has several schemes and a budget of over €1bn to facilitate access to loans and equity finance for SMEs where market gaps have been identified.

The CIP financial instruments are implemented for the Commission by the European Investment Fund (EIF) on a trust basis. They cover different needs depending on the stage of development of the small business.

Equity financing: The high growth and innovative SME (GIF)

SMEs wishing to apply for an equity investment need to contact the funds that have signed an agreement with the EIF. The list of funds [18 KB] is published on the Access to Finance website. An overview of this activity can be found in the EIF's venture capital website. These funds make investment decisions based on normal commercial criteria.

Financial institutions interested in participating in the programme should contact the EIF that manages the instruments or visit its CIP venture capital website.

Guarantees: The SME guarantee facility (SMEG)

It provides loan guarantees to encourage banks to make more debt finance available to SMEs, including microcredit and mezzanine finance, by reducing the banks' exposure to risk. SMEG provides co-, counter- and direct guarantees to financial intermediaries providing SMEs with loans, mezzanine finance and equity.

SMEs wishing to apply for guaranteed financing should contact one of the financial intermediaries that have signed an agreement with the EIF. Details can be found on the Access to Finance website. An overview of this activity is available on the EIF's guarantees and securitisation website.

Financial intermediaries wishing to apply for these instruments can visit the EIF web pages on the SME guarantee facility.

Last update: 31/03/2014 | Top