Business investment in innovation is lower in the EU than in other parts of the world. Besides finding customers and skilled staff, access to finance is a major concern for many companies. It is even more difficult to secure private investment in research and innovation, which is by nature riskier and harder to appraise.
In order to help organisations finance their research and innovation activities, the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB) support a range of financial instruments and advisory services. As part of the "Industrial Leadership" pillar of Horizon 2020, "InnovFin EU Finance for Innovators" comprises five main products, covering both direct loans from the EIB Group, and guarantees to financial intermediaries. These financial intermediaries, mostly banks, are selected following a call for expression of interest.
There are no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Loans provided by the EIB Group can cover the range from €25 000 to €300m. The EIB's support will cover 35% to 50% of the project's cost, the remainder being provided by other financiers or the organisation's own funds.
Financing products for research and innovation
InnovFin financing tools cover a wide range of loans and guarantees which can be tailored to innovators' needs. Financing is either provided directly or via a financial intermediary, most usually a bank.
Besides the financing instruments, the InnovFin Advisory Services part offers clients advise on how to structure their R&I projects to improve their access to finance. The target groups are promoters of large R&I projects that meet the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges.
InnovFin SME Venture Capital provides a range of equity instruments managed by the EIF.
Speedy procedures for viable projects
The EIB assesses the project's eligibility, technological and economic viability, and other criteria. It may take between 3 and 6 months to sign a financing contract. For the InnovFin SME Guarantee and the InnovFin MidCap Guarantee, the financial intermediary's due diligence procedures will determine the timeline.
Discounted finance solutions for qualifying small and medium-sized businesses based in the UK, with backing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its subsidiary the European Investment Fund (EIF).
EIB SME Scheme
Funding is available to businesses with fewer than 250 employees across a wide variety of industry sectors. Loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes but cannot be used as working capital or to refinance existing debt. Some sectors are excluded from this scheme. Qualifying businesses benefit from lower borrowing costs.
EIF InnovFin SME Guarantee Scheme
InnovFin SME Guarantee scheme run by the European Investment Fund (EIF) supports innovative small and medium sized businesses, with up to 499 employees, to gain access to a source of lower cost finance. The scheme is available through selected intermediaries.
How does the InnovFin SME Guarantee Work? If your business takes finance from a bank or financial institution through the InnovFin SME Guarantee scheme, the EIF will cover the lender. They'll do this by providing a guarantee on 50% of any loss the lender may suffer (after the sale of any assets used as security for the loan) if you're unable to repay the finance.
Is your business eligible? Funding is available to businesses in a wide range of sectors. The scheme can be used to get a new loan for a variety of purposes but can't be used to refinance existing debt. Some industry sectors are excluded from the scheme.