The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banca Intesa AD Beograd signed an InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility agreement today, to support innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Serbia.
The new InnovFin agreement will enable Banca Intesa AD Beograd to provide loans to innovative companies over the next two years with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The InnovFin guarantee covers 50% of each loan disbursed by Banca Intesa AD Beograd and is expected to generate a total loan portfolio of EUR 100 million.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Thanks to the agreement today, Serbian entrepreneurs will be able to access additional finance for the development of new products, services and projects. Widening our support in Serbia is crucial for delivering on our common goal to create a smart, inclusive and sustainable economy across the EU and its associated countries.”
Commenting on the signature, the EIF’s Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am delighted to be signing an InnovFin agreement today with Banca Intesa AD Beograd that will help bring EUR 100 million of finance to Serbian businesses. Banca Intesa is an important partner for EIF and is already performing well under COSME instrument. I am therefore pleased to sign this new agreement which will help support the innovation agenda in the country.”
Draginja Đurić, President of Banca Intesa Executive Board, said: “This is already a third agreement we have signed with the EIF within just a year to provide an additional boost for economic growth by enabling entrepreneurs and SMEs to access favourable finance. After providing them with working capital loans without hard collaterals under the COSME initiative, through the InnovFin program we will also offer them long-term investment lending with significantly relaxed collateral requirements. We believe that in this way we will give a further contribution for the expected increase in lending to the economy, as well as for the start of a new investment cycle in Serbia.”
The aim of the InnovFin SME Guarantee is to encourage banks or other financial institutions to lend to SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 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.