Chairman of the Board of Directors
“The EIB Group recognises the crucial role that SMEs play in the European economy, which is why we are extremely satisfied that the EIF has again demonstrated its ability to put capital to work to serve SMEs in 2018. Not only has it continued to deploy EFSI resources into targeted policy areas such as competitiveness, social impact and innovation, but it has also sought out new markets like agriculture in which to make a difference. Under EFSI 2, the EIF is already identifying new areas for SME support and we have no doubt that the EIF will continue to implement the SME Window to exert the maximum impact for Europe’s small businesses. This kind of support is critical. The EIF continues to identify new sources of capital that can help SMEs access much-needed finance at affordable terms. Furthermore, it has sought to overcome Europe’s fragmentation by building positive relationships with National Promotional Institutions (NPIs) across Europe and innovating programmes through which they can work together. In line with Capital Markets Union objectives, the EIF’s new programmes and mandates seek to provide pan-European coverage as well as addressing the financing concerns of individual countries. None of this would be possible without the commitment of all parties to work together - the EIF, the EIB, the EC, shareholders and stakeholders, NPIs and Member States. The combined ability of all these parties to blend capital and resources for SMEs bodes well for the EIF’s role in the upcoming programming period as well as the future of Europe’s SMEs.”
Pier Luigi Gilibert
“Making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access financing is at the heart of the EIF's mission. In 2018, we increased our support to SMEs and provided demonstrable added value in a number of ways: supporting promising new market segments such as diversified debt funds and crowdfunding, implementing our flagship products with our shareholders, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank and driving strong securitisation activity in Europe. Our particular ability to deploy resources at a pan-European and national level has allowed us to target financing gaps in all four corners of Europe. The year 2018 was a record-breaking 12 months for the EIF. We exceeded our targets under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), and made strong headway into delivering against our new targets under EFSI 2. We provided European SMEs with better access to financing than ever before – committing EUR 10.1bn, benefitting 280,000 beneficiaries and working with an increasing range of financial intermediaries from banks and non-bank financial institutions to first-time funds. However, impact is about more than volume. It is also about quality. Our collaboration with a broad network of National Promotional Institutions (NPIs) has helped us to pinpoint new market gaps for financing. We are also ensuring a sustainable resource base by inviting institutional investors to take exposure to our activity, and attracting new sources of funding from countries beyond Europe. Addressing market gaps and using both public and private resources to ensure a sustainable flow of financing into important policy areas is a key quality that the EIF brings to improving financing for SMEs.
The European Union is entering a new investment period, with an array of exciting new opportunities. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the EC, financial institutions, NPIs and stakeholders to expand our innovative financial instruments into new areas, as well as fulfilling our mission, which is to support a flourishing financing market for SMEs in Europe.”