Austrian SMEs get easier access to risk capital
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Austria will get easier access to risk capital thanks to the new EU-backed loan guarantee facilities under the Horizon 2020 and COSME programmes. On 13 March 2015, Austria Wirtschaftsservice and the European Investment Fund signed two deals will allow aws to enter into new loan agreements with SMEs as well as Small Mid-caps for a total of €290 million over the next two years.
Under the first of the two agreements, loans to finance innovation activities will be guaranteed up to 50% by the EIF and the EU under InnovFin SME Guarantee, which is part of the new financial instruments supported under Horizon 2020. The instrument is aimed at early and development stage companies.
The second agreement will enable Austrian SMEs to benefit from the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility, which provides aws with counter-guarantees allowing them to offer more loan and lease finance to SMEs mainly in the growth stage. This generates a new portfolio of loans worth up to €170 million over the same timeframe.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said that this was the first deal in Austria under the InnovFin SME Guarantee and saw this as "a testimony of the EU's firm commitment to invest in innovation in SMEs, which are the lifeblood of the Austrian and the EU economy. Innovating SMEs create opportunities, growth and a better quality of life, which is good for Austria and for Europe."
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