The EIF and Portugal: a longstanding partnership

The EIF has been helping improve access to finance for small companies in Portugal for more than 20 years.

In close collaboration with our local partners, we have provided over EUR 3.54bn in new SME financing to the market, which has reached over 7.800 SMEs in the country.

Ranging from pan-European programmes to more regionally targeted measures, we offer efficient solutions that bring public and private funds together, for the ultimate benefit of the small business ecosystem.

Financing innovation champions: InnovFin

With 27 Olympic Medals in their records so far, world-leading manufacturer of canoes and kayaks Nelo Kayaks is a great example of how innovative companies can gain access to debt financing. Over the past 6 years, InnovFin has helped 2,800 innovative Portuguese SMEs like Nelo Kayaks access to financing, thus supporting over 132,000 jobs. InnovFin helps established companies to expand their businesses, invest in human power and internationalise, but the programme also supports a considerable number of start-ups to launch and grow their businesses.

Sound equity investments: Portugal Tech and Portugal Growth

Based in Portugal but “audible” worldwide, Sound Particles sits behind blockbuster films such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars. Sound Particles is one of 25 investments, including AI-translation start-up Unbabel, financed under Portugal Tech initiative via three venture capital funds selected by the EIF. Portugal Tech was the EIF’s first equity initiative in partnership with Banco Português de Fomento (BPF) and was launched in late 2018, committing EUR100m in venture capital and technology transfer funds to support early-stage and seed ICT investments in Portugal. It was followed in 2020 by Portugal Growth, which focuses on the internationalisation of local SMEs and mid-caps via private equity and growth capital investments. Portugal Growth will invest EUR100m in private equity funds mobilizing up to EUR300m of public and private investment. Saúde Viável was one of the companies benefitting from the programme so far.

Making money care more: SIA and EaSI

In late 2019, the Mustard Seed Maze Social Entrepreneurship Fund was launched, thus becoming the first impact investment fund focussing on Portuguese SMEs specifically. The EUR 32.6m social impact fund benefitted from a EUR 17.5m investment from the EIF under SIA (Social Impact Accelerator) and InnovFin and has invested companies including Student Finance and Rebel Kitchen. Under EaSI – the EUs Employment and Social Innovation programme – the EIF teamed up with local providers, offering access to finance to more 650 self-employed, micro enterprises and social enterprises, and therefore supporting over 1,400 jobs in the country. Enigmind and Oficina de Música de Aveiro are two examples of companies who received financing under EaSI.

Supporting agri entrepreneurs: ESIF EAFRD Portugal Fund-of-funds

Under this initiative, EUR 20m of EU resources were used to provide guarantees to four Portuguese banks. These guarantees shall serve to partially cover the risk on new SME loans to farmers in Portugal, therefore improving access to financing for small businesses in the Portuguese agriculture sector. The initiative launched in 2019 has two main objectives: helping young entrepreneurs in the field of agriculture and supporting investments in the processing and marketing of agricultural products by agricultural SMEs.

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