The EIB will support scientific education for children by financing the growth strategy of Science4you, a 100% Portuguese company specialised in developing and producing scientific and educational toys to improve the cognitive capacities of children. The EU bank will finance the company’s investments to develop new products and expand its sales with a EUR 10 million loan, in the form of a hybrid debt/capital instrument (quasi-equity). The agreement, signed today in Lisbon by EIB Vice-President Román Escolano and CEO and founder of Science4you Miguel Pina Martins in the presence of Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan.
Most of the company’s investments will take place in Portugal, helping to finance the improvement of the production processes through the purchase of new equipment and licenses. The EIB’s financial support will also contribute to the launch of new products based on the STEM concept that combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in the design of games that teach kids while they have fun. With these new educational toys that will reach more children Science4you will continue its expansion to external markets which already account for 60% of its sales. At the same time, Science4you will continue developing and implementing a new e-commerce strategy to face future challenges.
The project, financed by the EIB and supported by the guarantee of the Juncker Plan, will be implemented over the next three years and will create jobs. The company, founded in 2008, currently employs more than 300 people, a figure that will increase to more than 660 by the end of 2020. Most of these new jobs will be based in Portugal.
At the signing ceremony, the EIB Vice-President overseeing the EU bank’s operations in Portugal, Román Escolano, stated: “We are delighted to contribute today to the expansion of Science4you, a Portuguese SME that exemplifies how investing in good ideas triggers employment and growth creation. Moreover, this agreement shows that the EIB’s financial support not only reaches large-scale projects and infrastructure but also helps smaller companies willing to invest in development and innovation. Supporting SMEs is one of the EU bank’s priorities in Portugal.”
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "It is very satisfying to see Portuguese companies making such good use of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, with Portugal currently ranked in the top five of EU countries in terms of investment triggered relative to GDP. The deal signed today with Science4you shows the positive impact that the Juncker Plan is having on SMEs across Europe. In the immediate term, this project will create more than 300 jobs in Portugal. In the long term, by investing in our children's education in STEM subjects we are developing the next generation of scientists and innovators."
“Science4you continues to grow, not just in Portugal but also in other markets, where our toys are already being sold at more than 20,000 points of sale of reference retailers such as Target, Harrods and John Lewis. This round of financing will allow us to continue to grow internationally, as well as to focus on new tools and the e-commerce market, which is essential for the growth of the company,” remarked Miguel Pina Martins, founder and CEO of Science4you.
Thanks to the support of the Juncker Plan, the EIB is able to provide Science4you with the necessary advantageous and flexible financing to accelerate the growth of the company, ensuring the implementation of its new strategy. Investment in innovation, research and development is one the pillars of the Investment Plan for Europe.
This year, Science4you opted to expand its factory in the MARL (Lisbon Region Supply Market) designed to increase the production area to keep pace with the growth of the company, with an investment totalling EUR 3 million over the next three years.
“In 2008, we were impressed by Miguel Pina Martins’ ambition to transform a 100% Portuguese company into a global company. Nine years later, the European Investment Bank is joining the project and backing Science4you to the tune of EUR 10 million. I think that this financing is an important validation of the results that the company has been posting, and a significant boost in terms of our involvement in the global market for STEM learning toys,” highlighted Celso Guedes de Carvalho, CEO of Portugal Ventures, a venture capital investor in Science4you.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In Portugal alone, in 2016 the EIB made available more than EUR 1.4 billion for different projects in the country. For more information about the EIB in Portugal, click here.
40 years of activity in Portugal: the EIB is a long-standing partner of Portugal. The EU bank began its support for the Portuguese economy in 1976, even before the country’s accession to the then European Community in 1986. So far, the EIB has lent over EUR 45 billion to fund projects in Portugal. The EIB Group, which comprises the EIB and its subsidiary the European Investment Fund, has provided financing to more than 25,000 SMEs through credit lines in cooperation with the national banking system. 40 years of a strong relationship in the financing of major projects throughout the country that has contributed to the modernisation of Portugal.
The Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission's top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than EUR 240 billion in investments and support around 461,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.
For additional information about the Investment Plan for Europe in Portugal, please click here.
Science4you is a 100% Portuguese company dedicated to the production, development and marketing of educational toys that stimulate learning in children and young people. Founded in January 2008, the company emerged from an academic project undertaken by founder and CEO Miguel Pina Martins. Financed by risk capital and business angels, Science4you was set up thanks to the FINICIA programme with a share capital of €55,000, of which €45,000 was micro venture capital financed by InovCapital.
Science4you currently has offices in Lisbon and Porto and branches in Madrid and London, in the Madrid Science Park and the Knowledge Dock Business Centre respectively. It exports to more than 40 countries and has a range of more than 500 science toys. Other services include organising birthday parties and science holiday camps, science workshops in schools and leisure activities, as well as providing training for young people and teachers.
6 November 2017