The European Investments Fund (EIF), Artigianato Toscano (AT) and five other guarantors have recently signed an agreement for Italy to support strategic investments.
The initiative is framed within the program COSME of the European Commission and aims at giving 360 million Euros to Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the next three years. Over 10.000 SMEs are expected to access the funding, which stands out as a great source of support. The economic aid will be given to companies throughout the country, from North to South.
As mentioned above, the main sources of economic support for Italian businesses within this initiative are the EIF, the Investment Plan for Europe and COSME.
EIF is part of the European Bank group and develops tools for guarantee and microfinance specifically devoted to risk capital and growth capital. In addition, FEI promotes the European Union (EU) goals in the fields of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
With regard to the Investment Plan for Europe, it aims at increasing European investments in order to boost the growth and create employment, reducing the bureaucratic obstacles while giving more visibility and technical assistance to the investment projects.
Finally, COSME is devoted to raise companies' competitiveness for the period 2014-2020, with a 2.3 billion Euros asset. COSME works as a guarantor to small companies, allowing them to ask for loans and be successful. Furthermore, the program offers risk capital to investment funds mainly devoted to SMEs, which are experiencing and period of expansion and growth.
COSME performed very well in the last few years, mobilizing between 2007 and 2013 more than 20 billion Euros of risk capital in favour of more than 384.000 SMEs in Europe.
Also the EU Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen has enthusiastically commented on the support to Italian SMEs, stating "Italian SMEs are already benefitting from the actual opportunities of funding, but we can proudly say that these will be multiplied by 10.000".