European guarantee for Invest-NL to expand financing options to innovative SMEs

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 02 December 2020

Dutch National promotional institution Invest-NL has signed a new guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund to cover a lending portfolio to innovative Dutch small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The new guarantee enables Invest-NL to further enlarge its financing activities for innovative SMEs, a market segment that has been hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Invest-NL will be able to provide up to €66 million in loans eligible small business.

The loan guarantees are provided by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, launched by the European Commission to improve access to finance for innovative SMEs and midcaps.

The agreement means that SMEs can get better financing terms from Invest-NL, through lower interest rates and reduced risk requirements, because of the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the InnovFin programme taking over part of the risk.

Commission Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “SMEs that are hard-hit by the current crisis should have continuous access to financing to help them get back on their feet and kick-start the economic recovery.

"Thanks to the guarantee of EIF and the Investment Plan for Europe, Invest-NL will unlock additional loans on favourable terms to support Dutch SMEs in these difficult times.”

Ruud Zandvliet, senior investment manager at Invest-NL, said: “Scaling up innovative Dutch SMEs is of vital interest for making the Netherlands more sustainable and innovative. The InnovFin SME Guarantee is a welcome enlargement of our product portfolio for these innovative companies.

"With the new guarantee backed by the EIF we can now offer them better financing conditions and engage in investments that would otherwise be off limit due to (too) high risk requirements.”

“SMEs really are the backbone of the Dutch economy,” added Alain Godard, Chief Executive of the EIF. “And this unprecedented crisis highlights the need for enhanced access to finance with favourable terms for this segment.

"The EIF is working around the clock to fulfil its mission of supporting Europe's SMEs by deploying a broad range of different instruments, from fund investments like the recent Dutch Future Fund, to guarantees like this one.”

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