The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed the first SME Initiative guarantee transactions in Romania, with Raiffeisen Bank, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) and ProCredit Bank, as a press release informs.
With a contribution of EUR 100 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the SME initiative aims to boost the development of Romanian small businesses via new and innovative ways to invest Cohesion Policy funds.
“I am glad to see the SME initiative delivering for Romanian small businesses. SMEs play a crucial role in the country’s and in Europe’s economy: they provide jobs to the local community and bring innovative products to the market. By choosing to invest EUR 100 million of its Cohesion Policy envelope in this pioneering programme, Romania has made a smart choice that will boost the competitiveness of its economy and get its businesses the funding they need,” Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu stated.
Over 4,300 Romanian SMEs – micro companies and start-ups – will benefit from improved access to finance under these agreements. They should generate a total of EUR 246 million of funding for small businesses in the country, covering close to half of the target EUR 540 million of total financing available under the Romanian SME initiative programme.
These three transactions were signed less than a year after the launch of the initiative in Romania.
“I am pleased that the first three SME Initiative agreements have been signed in Romania so quickly. (…) The combination of European Structural and Investment funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources allows EIF to provide risk-sharing and capital relief to financial intermediaries for the ultimate benefit of SMEs,” EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said.
The SME Initiative Programme for Romania, launched in October 2016 and funded by EUR 100 million from European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), is part of a broader initiative of the European Commission and the EIB Group which entails an innovative change in the use of Cohesion Policy funds, combining the latter with EU central budget and EIB Group funds.