The European Investment Fund (part of the EIB Group) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) have tripled their finance for Irish SMEs under the COSME programme in Ireland with a new increase to EUR 330 million.
Today’s deal means that from 2018, in total, an expected 10,000 companies in all sectors across Ireland will have access to COSME support. The additional EUR 230 million was agreed to meet the demand for new financing requests from Irish companies, after 3,500 SMEs primarily in the agri-sector, fully utilised the EUR 100 million financing supported by the COSME EFSI counter-guarantee agreement signed last year. The loans backed by the European Commission’s COSME programme allowed SBCI to launch a new 3 year risk-sharing product last year which was fully utilised within 6 months.
An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said “I welcome this announcement and I look forward to working with the EIB Group on further significant supports for Irish businesses. In addition to the Brexit Loan Scheme which I recently announced, I am also working with the EIB and the SBCI on the development of a Brexit Investment Loan Guarantee Scheme.”
Commenting on the signature, EIB Vice President for Ireland, Andrew McDowell said: “This new engagement follows successful financing for 3,500 companies under the COSME programme signed last year and that is now being extended by an additional EUR 230 m. It demonstrates the EIB Group’s strengthened support to enable new investment by thousands of companies across Ireland at a time of uncertainty relating to Brexit. Today’s agreement is also expected to be followed by a EUR 300m joint scheme with SBCI to address working capital challenges of Irish companies as announced in last months’ budget”.
SBCI CEO Nick Ashmore said “The SBCI is delighted with today’s announcement. This additional risk capacity represents very significant new European Commission support for Irish SMEs. This will enable the SBCI to develop and deliver new programmes through to mid-2020 to address recognised market failures relating to SMEs ability to obtain access to finance”.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, said: “Today’s agreement with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland means around 10,000 companies will have access to EUR 330 million in financing. This is great news for up-and-coming Irish businesses, for jobs, and for the local economy as a whole.”
The EIF agreements with SBCI are guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The EIB Group supported the launch of SBCI in 2014 and the opening of the new office last year gives local entrepreneurs a direct contact point in Ireland for EIF and EIB financing solutions. Entrepreneurs will continue to access finance directly from SBCI’s on-lending banks in Ireland.
About the EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF’s work under the EFSI is available here.