The Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS GF) is an initiative managed by the European Investment Fund on behalf of the European Commission. It was launched in 2016 through the Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020) and it enhances the access to finance for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors to help them to scale up and become more competitive.

A new financial instrument for 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, the niche nature of some markets, and the lack of familiarity of the sector’s specificities by the financiers.

To address these challenges, the European Commission has designated over EUR 250 million to guarantee loans for enterprises from creative sectors.

The CCS GF will guarantee up to 2 billion of new loans for thousands of cultural and creative SMEs.

Currently, a total of 15 transactions in 11 countries have been signed and those 15 transactions are expected to generate EUR 1.3 billion of debt financing for companies from the cultural and creative sectors. Several new transactions are currently in the assessment process within the European Investment Fund.

At the end of 2019, debt financing of EUR 424.4 million was made available to 1.547 CCS SMEs (and to 2.013 projects, as some companies benefit from more than one loan) to finance projects worth  over EUR 1.08 billion.

The Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility and COVID-19

The importance of the CCS GF as an instrument for responding to the COVID crisis has been widely recognised at the political level.

The European Commission and the EIF are preparing a set of adaptations to the CCS GF agreement to allow for more flexibility in repayments of loans, to give more security to the financial institutions and to continue the build-up of a portfolio of loans.

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.

How can CCS businesses benefit?

The Guarantee Facility allow businesses to 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.

CCS SMEs or small public enterprises established and operating in any EU Member State, Iceland or Norway are eligible to benefit from EU-supported financing.

Find more details about the requirements and how to apply here.

Where is financing available?

Map Guarantee Facility 2020

What is in for financial intermediaries?

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.

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

Please find here all the information for financial intermediaries, including eligibility criteria and instructions on how to apply.

Supporting Documents

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 and the EU Access to Finance portal.

Read more about the guarantee agreements signed in:

This list will be regularly updated.

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