InvestEU: European Investment Fund and Lithuanian SME Bank support businesses in the Baltics and beyond
The EIF and Lithuania’s SME Bank have signed a new guarantee agreement under the InvestEU programme to guarantee a portfolio of more than €37 million in new loans for micro and small enterprises and small mid-caps in the Baltics, Finland and the Netherlands.
The agreement will provide guarantees for loans in three key policy areas: sustainability, innovation and digitalisation, and micro finance. This agreement was made possible with the support of the InvestEU programme.
The sustainability guarantee and the innovation and digitalisation guarantee will support over €28 million of new debt financing for small and medium-sized businesses and small mid-caps to accelerate the green transition and support innovation and digitalisation-driven enterprises.
“InvestEU is playing a central role in supporting small businesses across Europe,” said Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni. “With this agreement, an increasing number of SMEs will gain access to the finance they need to innovate, expand, and create jobs in three key areas: sustainability, innovation, and digitalisation. I am proud that, thanks to this agreement, more businesses in the Baltics, Finland and the Netherlands will receive the support necessary to fulfil their potential, thereby contributing to our transition to a low-carbon and digital economy.”
“SME Bank’s mission is to simplify the lives of SME owners by leveraging technology to enhance access to financing opportunities,” said CEO of SME Bank Virginijus Doveika. “Through our partnership with the EIF, we are excited to be part of a broader mission aimed at not only widening access to financing but also supporting SMEs with sustainable and green initiatives seeking a climate-friendly economy in Europe. We are dedicated to supporting a sustainable future for Europe by providing financing solutions for sustainable businesses and projects.”
“We are delighted to sign this new InvestEU guarantee agreement with SME Bank, targeting small businesses in the Baltics and beyond with the intention of helping them to adapt to a more digital and sustainable business model on favourable financial terms,” said EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt. “At the same time, through this agreement we are also able to reach out to micro-enterprises that are often underserved by more traditional banking, thus contributing to a digital, greener, and more inclusive future.”
In addition, SME Bank will be able to lend €9.4 million to microenterprises experiencing difficulties accessing credit.
The European Investment Fund is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s SMEs by helping them access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF furthers key EU policy objectives like competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability, and more.
The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It also helps mobilise private investments for the European Union’s policy priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition. The InvestEU programme brings together under one roof the multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. The entire budget guarantee will back the investment projects of the implementing partners, increase their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilise at least €372 billion in additional investment.
SME Bank is a neobank for businesses leveraging a single digital platform for all small- and medium-sized businesses’ finance and daily banking needs. Founded in 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania, and already operating in five European countries, it is a flexible, fast, digital bank for business. SME Bank offers SMEs a full range of bank services and a number of growth financing solutions for startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The company has offices in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. In 2022 the company will expand its presence into the Netherlands. SME Bank is licensed and regulated by the European Central Bank (ECB).