The Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS GF) is an initiative managed by EIF on behalf of the European Commission and launched under the framework of the Creative Europe programme (2014-2020). The Guarantee Facility was created to enhance the access to finance of SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors (CCS), and it is operational since 2016. It supports the scaling up of cultural and creative projects and helps the sector to become more competitive.

A new financial instrument for SMEs

The European Commission designated EUR 121 million to provide a guarantee facility to the cultural and creative sector (CCS) through the Creative Europe Programme. Its launch took place on 30 June 2016 and this marked the launch of the first EU financial instrument specifically dedicated to the CCS.

To further strengthen the cultural and creative sector in Europe and following the exceptionally high market demand, the CCS GF received an additional EUR 60 million, in December 2017, through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI - Juncker Plan). A second EFSI top up amounting to EUR 70m will be made available soon.

Following this top-up, the size of Guarantee Facility will amount to EUR 251 million, thanks to which more than EUR 2 billion of new loans are to be generated for the benefit of thousands of cultural and creative SMEs.

Access to finance is more challenging for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the cultural and creative sectors than for more conventional SMEs. Some of the reasons are the intangible nature of their assets that often do not meet collateral requirements, the niche nature of the market, and the lack of familiarity to the sector's specificities by the financiers and vice-versa.

In 2013, the financing gap in the CCS for the 2014-2020 period was estimated to amount to EUR 1.1 - EUR 1.9 billion per year if no action was taken. The study showed that up to 476,000 SMEs in the CCS were to miss on loans due to a lack of collateral only.

How does the CCS GF work?

To encourage the engagement of financiers with the sector, the European Commission through the CCS GF has committed to partially cover financial intermediaries' potential losses on a portfolio level on loans provided for CCS projects. The CCS GF is structured as a capped portfolio guarantee with coverage that reaches up to 70% of the losses of each individual loans and up to a maximum rate of 25% of the Financial Intermediary’s overall portfolio of CCS loans. The EU guarantee is provided free of charge to selected financial intermediaries and can take the following two forms:

  • direct financial guarantee to banks, debt (loan) funds and other financial intermediaries who extend loans, financial leases or bonds to CCS SMEs, and
  • financial counter-guarantee to guarantors, who issue guarantees to banks and other financial intermediaries in respect of loans and/or financial leases to CCS SMEs.

In addition to the guarantee in place, financial intermediaries under the CCS GF can benefit from free of charge capacity building services aiming to tackle the lack of expertise when it comes to financing CCS. Those services take the form of technical assistance and knowledge / networking-building services provided by a capacity-building provider contracted by the European Investment Fund to train financial intermediaries, with a view to increasing their understanding of CCS peculiarities.

What can the financial intermediaries offer?

A variety of financial products can be proposed by the financial intermediaries: investment in tangible or intangible assets, business transfers, or working capital.

Please see here the list of financial intermediaries.

More information for financial intermediaries.

What are the benefits for financial intermediaries and CCS SMEs?

The facility offers the possibility to build diversified and risk-mitigated portfolios of loans to financial intermediaries wishing to engage with CCS initiatives. In addition, financial intermediaries have the opportunity to brand themselves as "the CCS financial intermediary" in their respective markets.

As far as the cultural and creative SMEs are concerned, they can access loans more easily since financial intermediaries are more willing to extend financing for CCS projects and are better trained to understand and address their specificities. In addition, SMEs can take this opportunity to improve their business plan and structure.

Please see documents below:

Who is eligible?

Financial intermediaries are able to submit an application to an open call for expression of interest that will remain open until September 2020. Once a financial intermediary is operating under the facility in its market, companies active in the cultural and creative sectors, located in the EU as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and responding to the definition of small and medium-sized enterprises or small public enterprises will be able to apply for a loan or a guarantee by approaching the financial intermediary operating in their market.

Eligible activities are market or non-market oriented, disregarding the type of legal structure that carries them out. Such activities include the creation, production, dissemination and preservation of goods and services which embody cultural, artistic or creative expressions. The sector includes architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audiovisual (including film, television, video games and multimedia), cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, performing arts, publishing, radio and visual arts.

More information for business.

Where can I find out more?

More information on countries entering the scheme and selected financial intermediaries will be posted on this page. For additional details, refer to the Creative Europe Programme, EU Access to Finance portal and the presentation of the guarantee facility.

Read more about the guarantee agreements signed in:

And more to come soon, such as Sweden in October 2019.

This list will be regularly updated.

More information

Please visit the page of the EIF for more detailed information.