EIF, UniCredit sign deal to provide EUR 160 mn for innovative SMEs

An agreement signed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit on Wednesday will allow the Italian bank to offer additional financing worth 160 million euros to innovative SMEs and mid-caps in eight countries, including Hungary.
The EFI and UniCredit have signed an InnovFin SME guarantee agreement to enhance access to finance for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

This transaction benefits from the support of Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, the EIF said in a statement.

This agreement will allow UniCredit, via its banks, to offer additional financing worth EUR 160 million to innovative companies in the aforementioned eight countries.

“The banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia will benefit from the support of a guarantee provided by EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation programme, while the guarantee agreements with the banks in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania will be backed by the Investment Plan for Europe," the EIF said in the statement.

This agreement is excellent news for innovative small companies across these eight countries. The additional EUR 160 million in financing that will be made available from this agreement demonstrates that the Investment Plan is playing a crucial role in achieving the Commission's objective of providing the support that will allow SMEs to create jobs, innovate and grow,

, commented European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

This umbrella SME guarantee agreement will be instrumental in helping countries in the Western Balkans and Eastern European regions to foster innovation and entrepreneurship

added EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert .

“The transaction reflects the EU's commitment to rapidly launch concrete initiatives aiming at accelerating lending and guarantee transactions capable of boosting jobs and growth in the EU," the EIF, part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) said.

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