The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the National Guarantee Fund EAD (NGF) have signed an agreement that will release an additional EUR 40 million for Bulgarian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the European Commission’s COSME programme. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
EIF is providing a counter-guarantee that will enable NGF to grant EUR 20 million worth of guarantees, thereby improving access to finance for Bulgarian SMEs with limited collateral. 330 Bulgarian SMEs are expected to benefit from this agreement over the next three years.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “I am delighted that Bulgarian SMEs will benefit from the Investment Plan for Europe to the value of an additional EUR 20 million worth of guarantees over the next three years. This transaction will allow these enterprises to press ahead with their plans to innovate, expand and create jobs. I am looking forward to hearing the stories of the entrepreneurs and citizens getting jobs in Bulgaria through EFSI's support.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “Supporting SMEs is of outmost importance to the European economies. I therefore warmly welcome this new agreement concluded under EFSI which will benefit 330 Bulgarian SMEs across the country. Thanks to the Investment Plan for Europe, this new agreement enables EIF to scale up its existing efforts on the Bulgarian SME market.”
Samuil Shiderov, NGF Executive Director, commented: “Being a part of the Bulgarian Development Bank Group and a member of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM), our main mission is to enhance the access to finance for SMEs in Bulgaria. With the support of EIF and the COSME counter-guarantee agreement we will be able to widen the range of intermediaries we work with and also the transactions we cover and help more companies to implement their business ideas.”
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF's work under EFSI is available here.
The National Guarantee Fund (NGF) was created in 2008 as a part of the Bulgarian Development Bank Group with a mission to improve the access to finance for the Bulgarian SMEs. Up to date the fund in cooperation with 22 intermediaries has supported more than 5 000 SMEs to receive financing for more than EUR 600 million. The fund also implements two guarantee financial instruments co‑funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise over EUR 164 billion in total investments across 28 Member States and to support more than 385 000 SMEs. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission proposed extending EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures by sector and by country here. For more info, see the FAQs.
COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to easing access to finance for SMEs in Europe, with two financial instruments. The COSME Loan Guarantee Facility supports guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial institutions to help them provide more loans and lease finance to SMEs. This facility also includes securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios. The COSME programme also invests through the COSME Equity Facility for Growth in equity funds that provide risk capital to SMEs mainly in the expansion and growth stages. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 21 billion of loans and more than EUR 3 billion of venture capital to almost 400 000 SMEs in Europe.
Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing: http://www.access2finance.eu/.
European Commission: Enda McNamara
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