Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Belgium will get easier access to risk capital thanks to a new EU-backed loan guarantee facility under the Horizon 2020 programme.
A deal, signed last week by the European Investment Fund (EIF) with Belfius Belgium, will allow the bank to enter into new loan agreements with SMEs as well as Small Mid-caps for a total of €100 million over the next two years.
The loans to finance innovation activities will be guaranteed up to 50% by the European Investment Fund and the European Union (EU) under InnovFin SME Guarantee, which targets early and development stage companies. It is part of the new generation of financial instruments supported under Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (IP/14/670).
InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between €25,000 and €7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises and small midcaps (up to 499 employees). The facility is managed by the 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 the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.
InnovFin SME Guarantee is part of "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators", the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services that was developed under Horizon 2020 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. It will help inject up to €48 billion in investments in Research and Innovation across Europe.
In June, the European Investment Bank and ING Belgium signed an agreement under the InnovFin Midcap Guarantee programme to facilitate and increase lending to innovative companies in Belgium for a total of €300 million.