Investment Plan backs first public-private partnership for public schools in Finland and venture capital fund in Sweden
The Finnish city of Espoo can boast the first public-private-partnership (PPP) financing in support of public education infrastructure in the country. The PPP consists of a €60 million loan from the European Investment Bank made available under the European Fund for Strategic Investments, up to €75 million from Nordic Investment Bank, and up to €35 million from OP Corporate Bank. As a result of this financing, Espoo will build eight new schools and day-care centres, which will serve 4,000 children and young people. The new, highly energy-efficient facilities are set to open their doors between 2022 and 2024. In addition, the European Investment Fund has signed a SEK 212 million (€20 million) deal with Norrsken, a Swedish venture capital fund investing in impact-driven enterprises using digital technologies to address societal challenges, such as software for reduction of CO2 or food waste. The EIF financing is also guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “The Norrsken fund is providing venture capital to early-stage tech companies working on some of the most pressing issues we face, such as climate, poverty, education and health. Europe needs to up its game when it comes to the availability of venture capital to start-ups, so this investment in Norrsken by the EIF has my full support.” Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for the Economy, said: “Thanks to a combination of EU support and private investment, the city of Espoo will soon have new schools and day-care centres that will be enjoyed by some 4,000 children and young people. I am pleased that the Investment Plan for Europe is helping to support education projects, and I congratulate Espoo for signing the first municipal public-private-partnership in Finland.” More information is available in the Espoo and Norrsken press releases. As of May 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments has mobilised €486 billion of investment across the EU, including €8.8 billion in Finland, and €14.3 billion in Sweden, and supported 1.2 million start-ups and small and medium businesses.