Friday, 11 December 2015

EU Finance for SMEs to embrace Circular Economy

On 10 December at the European Investment Bank's conference 'Financing the Circular Economy', EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, presented some instruments to facilitate access to credit for businesses, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them shift towards the circular economy model.

At the conference in Luxembourg the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg signed an amendment to the InnovFin Delegation Agreement that will enable higher-risk, yet innovative sustainable business models to access credit through InnovFin - an EU finance support programme under Horizon 2020.

At the conference Commissioner Vella highlighted that: "Today's event is all about making real changes on the ground. We want to give businesses more certainties when they innovate. New ideas also mean taking risks. The EU will help companies take the innovative risks needed to make real breakthroughs with more durable, repairable and more resource-efficient products".

You can access more details of the conference here, including the agenda. The full text of Commissioner Vella’s speech can be found here and you can watch a video recording of the conference here.

Under Horizon 2020 the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available over EUR 24 billion of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48 billion of final R&I investments.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions.

SusChem, Finance and SMEs
Coinciding with the #SusChem2015 stakeholder event earlier this year, SusChem published a new Guide to Innovation Funding for SMEs in Europe (left). The publication outlines five dedicated SME funding schemes (including InnovFinn) and describes how SusChem can help SMEs get involved with collaborative research and innovation projects.

The platform also ran a dedicated SME Open Innovation and brokerage workshop as part of the 2015 Stakeholder event.

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