The European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed an agreement to guarantee lending of up to €100 million to Finnish small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The investment agreement between the EIF and LocalTapiola Corporate Lending Fund is supported by European Commission’s InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). LocalTapiola CEO Erkki Moisander said: “We are very happy to join the InnovFin SME programme. Through InnovFin, Finnish SMEs and small mid-caps can receive supplementary financing from LocalTapiola at different development stages. The scarcity of financing and guarantees is often a stumbling block for growing and innovative companies.”
With the new investment funds, LocalTapiola, a mutual group serving private and commercial customers for insurance, investment and savings, will be able to expand its financing operations, offering favourable interest rates to eligible recipients: eligibility criteria for beneficiaries include being a fast growing business; having a registered technology right; or actively implementing new and innovative research and development. The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility acts to improve loan finance access for SMEs to incentivise innovation across Member States.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “With this agreement supported by the Investment Plan, Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises will get access to the financing they need to grow and innovate. They will join the 929,000 SMEs already benefiting from the Juncker Plan across Europe: we can all be proud of this success.”
EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “Access to finance remains a crucial topic throughout Europe. Therefore, I’m glad that the EIF can support new lending to innovative firms in Finland by taking away part of the risk with this guarantee to LocalTapiola. Innovative businesses need all the support we can give them, and I’m sure this new initiative can help to provide some breathing space for these SMEs.”