The EIF signed an agreement to increase the level of guarantees on the InnovFin line | Finance and Markets

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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and UniCredit signed an agreement to increase the level of guarantees on the InnovFin line, aimed at developing innovation. Together with the initially signed framework agreement of 160 million EUR, innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and medium-sized market capitalization companies in eight Central and Eastern European countries will have access to half a billion euros of funding.
The aim is to improve access to finance for businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia, UniCredit Bulbank reported.
The new agreement will allow UniCredit to offer through its banks and leasing companies additional funding worth 340 million EUR for innovative companies. InnovFin is an active partner of the bank from the end of 2016 for small and medium-sized innovative enterprises.
The agreement is implemented with the support of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation and the European Investment Fund (EIFI), which are the basis for the Investment Plan for Europe.
Banks in the UniCredit group in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia will benefit from the support provided by the EIF under Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation Program and the UniCredit Bank Guarantee Agreements in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary and Romania will be supported by resources coming from the European Strategic Investment Fund (EIFF).
The EU Commissioner for Employment, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen noted: “The geographical scope of EFSI is of paramount importance and under today’s agreement with UniCredit will support six CEE countries. SMEs in these member states as well as those in two neighboring countries can apply to UniCredit for loans guaranteed by the EU budget in order to start and expand their business”.
The EIF Chief Executive said that with the increase in the guarantee agreement, more than 500 innovative SMEs will benefit from the new financing opportunities provided by UniCredit in eight countries through the 13 subsidiaries of the financial group.
Carlo Vivaldi, CEO of UniCredit for CEE, stressed that under the extension of the guarantee agreement, innovative SMEs will be further supported in the countries where UniCredit is present.
“Increased funding is in line with the European Union’s ambition and commitment to quickly launch concrete initiatives aimed at accelerating credit and guarantee agreements to boost employment and growth in the EU”, said Carlo Vivaldi.