The European Investment Fund (EIF) and France’s Crédit Coopératif have signed a guarantee agreement under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme 2007 – 2013 (CIP) aimed to provide enhanced access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
This agreement allows SMEs to access up to €3m per project under favourable conditions without being subject to stringent collateral requirements. According to an official statement, it could help to attract up to €186m of additional finance for entrepreneurs whilst helping to create jobs in France.
In addition, it is expected that this guarantee agreement will help Crédit Coopératif to more than double its annual loan portfolio for environment focused SME investments by 2012.
The French institution has already financed 69 eco-innovation projects worth €38m. The agreement will also contribute to supporting SMEs in the environmental protection, renewable energy, recycling and water management sectors, as well as financing SME projects which minimise their environmental impact.