“Working with such a broad range of stakeholders requires initiative and innovation”

Chairman’s message

Dario Scannapieco

Chairman of the Board of Directors

“I am delighted that the EIF continues to deliver on its mission to support SMEs, as well as creating ongoing, sustainable sources of financing to one of the engines of the European economy. The EIF’s ability to make resources work hard is evidenced by its deployment of EUR 10.2bn in 2019, yet generating EUR 58.9bn to SMEs thanks to the crowding in of private investors. Making loans and equity financing available on better terms becomes all the more important when there are so many uncertainties in the wider economic environment. The EIF has also been careful to ensure a common approach - combining European structural funds with EFSI for the first time, creating a platform through which the national promotional institutions (NPIs) of every Member State can collaborate and actively attracting international institutional investment through its growing Asset Management Umbrella Fund (AMUF). Working with such a broad range of stakeholders requires initiative and innovation, something we also see reflected in the targeted focus of the EIF in 2019. From digitalisation to social impact, the EIF has a strong history of developing successful pilots and is now commanding resources from the EC that will build on these areas. To support us in these goals, we were delighted to welcome a new shareholder, Caixa Bank, in 2019. The EIF's cooperation with many parties - the EIB, the EC, shareholders and stakeholders, NPIs and Member States, as well as its capacity to respond to the market needs of SMEs, makes me confident that the EIF’s approach is effective in addressing market fragmentation in Europe and supporting Capital Markets Union objectives for the benefit of European SMEs.”

“Helping small businesses access better financing regardless of the stage of their lifecycle or their sector”

Chief Executive’s message

Pier Luigi Gilibert

Chief Executive

“In 2019, 323,000 small businesses received financing thanks to the EIF and its partners in Europe. We worked with guarantee institutions, commercial and promotional banks, alternative lenders, microfinance providers, leasing companies and funds (financial intermediaries) to share the risk and expand their offering on a diverse range of loans, equity, crowdfunding, leases and alternative debt products in Europe, helping small businesses access better financing regardless of the stage of their lifecycle or their sector. We are catalysing new markets, particularly in the fields of private debt, where a third of our investments are in first-time teams. We have also fully deployed our first fund-of-funds in social impact, leading the way for further activity in this important area. However, we are aware of new challenges. Advances in technology – from digitalisation to artificial intelligence to life sciences are gathering strength in Europe, providing new thematic areas in which to grow our financing instruments. Ensuring that small businesses not only develop in Europe, but thrive on home turf is paramount as early-stage markets like venture capital mature and turn out more and more companies in search of growth-stage financing. On the threshold of the new European Union budgetary period and with new funds under EFSI 2, we are seizing this perfect opportunity to design new instruments that support SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in a changing world, just as the InnovFin, COSME and other programmes did before them. These big plans only work, however, if we maximise the available resources. Together with our partners: the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission (EC), Europe’s financial institutions, shareholders, institutional investors and other stakeholders, we are attracting new and international resources into Europe’s small businesses. With the expertise of our partners and staff, our job is to work together to make sure this capital reaches the right places.”