The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Komercni banka have signed a COSME agreement in the Czech Republic, benefiting from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe and also signed an EaSI microfinance transaction, the first microfinance transaction in the Czech Republic.
The COSME agreement will allow Komercni banka to provide CZK 1 billion (c. EUR 37 million) of loans to start-ups in the Czech Republic over the next three years. Two new loan products will be provided without any hard collateral as a result of a guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme, with financial backing from the European Commission. The agreement will make it possible for Komercni banka to support additional financing at favourable conditions to over 1,000 SMEs.
This EaSI microfinance agreement enables Komercni banka to provide a total of CZK 400 million (c. EUR 14.7 million) to over 1,300 micro-entrepreneurs, including the unemployed, minorities, low income earners and parents having childcare difficulties. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.
Commenting on the transactions, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: "With the COSME agreement being signed today by Komercni banka and the EIF more than 2,300 very small businesses and SMEs in the Czech Republic will be able to access funding through new loans. With the Investment Plan we are supporting the backbone of our economy and I look forward to many more SME financing agreements across Europe throughout 2016."
Commenting on the signature, EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith said: “I am pleased that we are signing the EFSI SME guarantee agreement in the Czech Republic under the COSME programme and the first Czech microfinance transaction under the EaSI initiative. We have a long-standing relationship with Komercni banka with whom we have supported companies in the past. By signing these two agreements today, we extend our support to entrepreneurs and disadvantaged groups to start-up and develop their businesses”.
“Last year, the Czech Republic saw the largest increase in the number of new firms for the past seven years. In their beginnings, most of them therefore seek financing options. I am therefore delighted that with EIF’s support, we are now offering those who are on the starting line in their business a product thanks to which they will be able to carry out their ideas more easily,” said Albert Le Dirac’h, Komerční banka Chairman and CEO.
This is one of the first wave of COSME transactions in Europe signed thanks to EFSI support. The 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.