The European Investment Fund (EIF) and iwoca have signed their first COSME agreement in the UK to help a greater number of SMEs gain access to finance. The initiative benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) through which the Investment Plan for Europe is being deployed by the European Commission and the EIB Group.
The guarantee scheme will allow iwoca to lend GBP 40m (EUR 60m) to over 3,000 small businesses in the UK. The loans will be provided as a result of a guarantee from the EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission. A small business can apply for financing under the programme at www.iwoca.co.uk. iwoca's technology-driven risk platform automatically analyses thousands of data points for each application, allowing a business to get approved for up to £100,000 within hours.
EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: “Thanks to EU funding, more than 3,000 SMEs in the UK will be able to access GBP 40m in funding through new loans. I am very pleased to see that the Investment Plan for Europe is becoming a reality on the ground, creating new jobs and benefiting small businesses”.
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am pleased that we are signing the first EFSI SME guarantee agreement in the UK under the COSME programme. The online lending platform iwoca will give entrepreneurs rapid access to finance to help them create and grow their businesses.”
Michael Elalouf, CFO at iwoca, said: "This agreement between iwoca and the EIF is a boon for the millions of SMEs who critically need access to finance. These businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and have been underserved by traditional finance providers. We believe this partnership represents a genuine endorsement of iwoca’s strategy and innovative technology platform. We look forward to expanding our relationship in the future to further meet the needs of SMEs across Europe.”
This deal reflects the EIB Group’s commitment to respond swiftly to calls from Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament for a rapid launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI, accelerating lending and guaranteeing transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU.