EUR 50m to benefit innovative SMEs in Serbia as EIF and Credit Agricole sign InnovFin SMEG agreement
The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Credit Agricole Banka Srbija AD Novi Sad (CAS) signed an InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility agreement today, to support innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Serbia. The new InnovFin agreement will enable CAS to provide loans to innovative companies over the next two years with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The InnovFin guarantee covers 50% of each loan disbursed by CAS and is expected to generate a total loan portfolio up to EUR 50 million supporting over 100 innovative SMEs and small mid-caps.
The signature of this InnovFin guarantee agreement was announced today during the Western Balkans Summit in Sofia (Bulgaria) hosted by Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The event brought together government leaders from EU Member States and Western Balkans countries, focusing on connectivity issues in transport, energy and digital infrastructure.
EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are delighted to be announcing this InnovFin guarantee agreement for Serbian businesses during the Western Balkans summit today. Credit Agricole Serbia is dedicated to supporting SMEs and small mid-caps and this new signature will help the bank to provide financing at more attractive terms. EIF is pleased to be increasing our support for SMEs and mid-caps in Serbia via this new agreement today.”
Carlos de Cordoue, CAS Chief Executive Officer, said: “Credit Agricole is supporting business development in Serbia for over a decade, with special attention on SME’s and Entrepreneurs as an economy growth drivers. This new arrangement signed with EIF will enable us to support our clients with even more preferable conditions and secure their sustainable growth in the future,”
The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees) in need of investment and/or operating capital to finance research, development and innovation activities, with EU financial support. Financial institutions are being selected by the EIF following a call for expression of interest for financial intermediaries across Europe.
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.
Crédit Agricole Group is the leading partner of the French economy and one of the largest banking groups in Europe. It is the leading retail bank in Europe as well as the first European asset manager, the first bancassurer in Europe and the third European player in project finance. Built on its strong cooperative and mutual roots, its 140,000 employees and the 31,150 directors of its Local and Regional Banks, Crédit Agricole Group is a responsible and responsive bank serving 52 million customers, 8.8 million mutual shareholders and million individual shareholders. Thanks to its universal customer-focused retail banking model – based on the cooperation between its retail banks and their related business lines –, Crédit Agricole Group supports its customers’ projects in France and around the world: day-to-day banking, home loans, consumer finance, savings, insurance, asset management, real estate, leasing and factoring, and corporate and investment banking. Crédit Agricole also stands out for its dynamic, innovative corporate social responsibility policy, for the benefit of the economy. This policy is based on a pragmatic approach which permeates across the Group and engages each employee.
The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative backed by Horizon 2020. It provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25 000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.