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The European Investment Fund (EIF), the arm of the EIB Group specialising in risk capital instruments, risk financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation, and Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, have signed a financial agreement to increase lending to innovative SMEs and mid-caps in France thanks to

the guarantee financed from the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The European Commission (EC) and the EIB Group will deploy the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE) via EFSI.

This is the first financial transaction in Europe to benefit from an EU guarantee under EFSI. The transaction, which is taking place before EFSI is formally established, reflects the EIB Group’s commitment to responding swiftly to calls from Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament for the urgent launch of concrete initiatives under EFSI to accelerate the implementation of lending and guarantee transactions and to boost jobs and growth in the EU.

This new agreement between the EIF and Bpifrance will enable the latter to help finance innovative businesses in France for a total amount of EUR 420m over the next two years.  This operation under EFSI will enable the EIF to accelerate the deployment of resources earmarked for funding highly innovative businesses under the Horizon 2020 programme's InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators initiative by offering better financing terms.

Bpifrance has thus created two new financing tools that will enable loans to be provided for French firms with an EIF guarantee covering two key sectors and offering increased exposure to risk:

The EUR 320m Prêt Innovation (PI, or Innovation Loan), which is 50% guaranteed by the EIF, will facilitate the industrial launch and marketing of innovations introduced by SMEs and midcaps (with fewer than 500 employees) for ticket prices of up to EUR 5m.

 

The EUR 100m Prêt Amorçage Investissement (PAI or Seed Capital Loan), which is 40% guaranteed by the EIF, will make it possible to strengthen the financial structure of young businesses that are raising funds from experienced investors and to support them in their development by providing them with additional finance of up to EUR 500 000.