The European Investment Fund and the Compañía Española de Reafianzamiento (CERSA), an entity attached to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, have signed the first guarantee agreement –the first one supported under the new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility of the EU's Creative Europe programme.

The European Union's support is expected to leverage a portfolio of EUR 100 million of counter-guarantees, allowing CERSA to substantially increase its counter-guarantee volumes to regional mutual guarantee institutions over the next two years. More than 1,000 SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors (including film, theatre, video games production, music and performance, editorial sectors) are expected to access around EUR 150 million worth of loans.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, and Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "Today's agreement shows our commitment to supporting the European cultural and creative sectors which need innovative tools to get easier access to funding. This is very promising for initiatives across all cultural sectors which can now benefit from the backing of our guarantee facility. It will help to bridge the existing financing gap for these sectors which play an important role in our economy and society."

EIF’s Secretary General, Maria Leander said: “I am delighted that we are signing the first Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility agreement in Europe, with CERSA today. Access to finance is very often limited for companies in the cultural and creative sectors and I am confident that this cooperation with CERSA, a long term partner of EIF, will really make a difference for SMEs active in this sector.”

Commenting on the operation, CERSA Chairman, Mario Buisan said: “The fact that the EIF has chosen CERSA and the Guarantee organisations (SGR) to deliver this new product is the result of the strong collaboration between our institutions since the year 2000 which has led to the support together of more than 90,000 companies in Spain. The new financing tool will build on CERSA’s expertise in the cultural and creative sector.”

Set up under the cross-sectoral strand of the Creative Europe programme, the new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility is the first EU investment instrument with such a wide scope in the culture and creative sectors. It pursues the same objective as the SME window of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which drives the Investment Plan for Europe: increasing lending to SMEs to enable them to scale up their activities. It  includes capacity building activities for financial intermediaries, giving them specific expertise on key characteristics of these sectors (e.g. specific business models and credit risk assessment in the sectors). This kind of expertise would be provided by (a) capacity building provider(s) selected by the EIF (e.g. consultancies specialised in the way the cultural and creative sectors work) following an open call for tenders. Such support will be free of charge for financial intermediaries.

The creative and cultural sectors represent more than 7 million jobs in the EU and account for 4.2% of the EU's GDP (source). Access to finance can be difficult to obtain for these sectors, primarily due to the intangible nature of their assets and collateral, the limited size of the market, demand uncertainty, and lack of financial intermediary expertise in addressing sector specificities.

About the EIF

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.

About CERSA

CERSA is an entity attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness involved in developing the government policy to support SMEs access to finance. CERSA acts as guarantor of mutual guarantees schemes that offer guarantee instruments to Spanish SMEs and entrepreneurs linked to their financing transactions. CERSA total net commitments with these mutual guarantees are at present benefiting 36,000 SMEs for a guarantees loan portfolio value of EUR 1.78 billion. CERSA has been an intermediary of the EIF for the different programs since 2000 having included in the agreements around 93,000 loan transactions to date.

SMEs wishing to apply for finance under Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility can directly obtain contact information of the local guarantee institutions working with CERSA at www.cersa-sme.es.

About the Mutual Guarantees Schemes in Spain

19 mutual guarantees schemes are available throughout Spain and have more than 118,000 members and formalised guarantees for more than EUR 28 billion in the last 30 years, with a mobilised investment of over EUR 37 billion. The average loan amount secured by a mutual guarantees scheme is around EUR 100,000, repayable over eight years.

About the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility and Creative Europe

Set up under the cross-sectoral strand of the Creative Europe programme, the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility is the first EU investment instrument with such a wide scope in the culture and creative sectors. It pursues the same objective as the SME window of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which drives the Investment Plan for Europe: increasing lending to SMEs to enable them to scale up their activities.

Creative Europe is a 7-year programme (2014-2020) designed to support the creative and cultural sectors. It has a budget of EUR 1.46 billion for the whole duration of the period. It is composed of the MEDIA sub-programme, helping the development and the distribution of European audiovisual works, the Culture sub-programme, which supports culture sector initiatives promoting for example cross-border cooperation or platforms for emerging artists, and the cross-sectoral strand. The objective of Creative Europe is to promote cultural diversity, encourage the circulation of European culture and creativity and strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors.

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