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The European Investment Fund - Supporting EU business - by George Markopouliotis

Since the beginning of this year, the European Union has been stepping up its commitment towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups. The European Investment Fund and equity funds across Europe have signed investment agreements to a tune of more than €1 billion in support of SMEs and start-ups. By mobilising other investors, the overall volume could add up to more than €12 billion.

Speaking at the Brussels event “EFSI boosts innovation”, European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The investment plan for Europe aims at providing the financial instruments that the market is not providing today so that Europe can invest in its future. This is particularly true for SMEs that are lacking equity financing in Europe.”

Overall, the Investment Plan has the ambition that SMEs and midcap firms will receive a total of €75 billion in 2015-2017.

Examples of investments are plenty, including a leading player in the Italian ophthalmic industry, a start-up located in Berlin offering on-demand home services through a global online platform, and an office of a London-based start-up in Athens providing a hiring software platform, primarily for SMEs, which facilitates and simplifies the recruiting process for employers. Many more are expected to receive similar financing support under Investment Plan for Europe in the coming months.

The need for a European investment plan to encourage SMEs and start-ups was also recognised by European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, who said: “Too many start-ups leave our continent because they can’t raise the finance to commercialise innovative ideas.

That is why it is so encouraging to see the European Fund for Strategic Investments off to such a good start, investing in promising innovative projects and SMEs from biotech to renewable energy.”

Read more: Supporting EU business - CYprus

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