News from 22-01-2015

Almi and EIF sign the first InnovFin SME guarantee agreement in Sweden under Horizon 2020


Almi and EIF sign the first InnovFin SME guarantee agreement in Sweden under Horizon 2020 to finance innovative companies. The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Almi Företagspartner (Almi) have signed an agreement to increase lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as Small Mid-caps under InnovFin – EU finance for innovators, an initiative supported by the European Commission.

The new agreement allows Almi to provide innovative companies in Sweden with access to a total of SEK 1.2bn (circa. EUR 127.5m) of financing over the next 2 years, with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. This is the first InnovFin SME guarantee signature in Sweden and the third in Europe since the start of the programme in summer 2014. This agreement will allow Almi to provide enhanced access to finance to entrepreneurs in Sweden, especially those who face difficulties in accessing financing for early stage innovative projects.

Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am pleased to be signing our first Swedish InnovFin SME Guarantee agreement here in Stockholm with Almi for the benefit of businesses in Sweden. Almi’s expertise in financing small businesses and start-ups, will ensure that together we can support even more innovative businesses in Sweden over the next two years”.

Mikael Damberg, Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation said: “Sweden is one of the first countries to sign an agreement with EIF to increase lending to innovative Swedish enterprises. This will give small and medium sized companies enhanced possibilities for growth and employment. The government’s aim is that Sweden will have the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union by 2020. In achieving that goal - the innovative companies are very important”.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “Sweden has a long tradition of fostering innovation. The InnovFin deal will help augment that tradition by supporting a new source of credit for Swedish SMEs under Horizon 2020 to create jobs and growth.”

Almi, Chief Executive Göran Lundwall added: “Sweden is in the frontline regarding new innovative startups. This agreement will allow us to provide enhanced access to financing for start-ups with growth potential”. The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (firms with fewer than 500 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.

Source: EIF