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Abstract

Financial instruments for enhancing SME competitiveness in the programming period 2014-2020, Luxembourg, 16 November 2016

The new fi-compass series of thematic workshops included an event covering financial instruments for enhancing SME competitiveness in Luxembourg on 16 November 2016. Participants were deeply involved in peer-to-peer learning and sharing their experience.

Participants could:

  • learn from experiences in Northern Ireland and Estonia about implementing financial instruments to support Thematic Objective 3 ‘SME competitiveness’ in the 2014-2020 programming period;
  • share and benchmark their own experience in implementing a risk capital financial instrument for enhancing SME competitiveness;
  • discuss on a peer-to-peer basis with speakers and other participants how to deal with technical challenges they face with the design, set-up and implementation of financial instruments addressing SME needs for access to finance in the different stages of their development.

Two case studies were presented and discussed. These highlighted practical examples of risk capital financial instruments for enhancing SME competitiveness. They were the Access to Finance Solutions for SMEs from Northern Ireland, which is at an advanced stage of implementation, and Estonia's EstFund, which is an interesting example of how European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) can be combined with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). Stakeholders exchanged their experience during useful question and answer sessions, as well as outside the formal sessions.

The final agenda is available for download.

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Event Video

Financial instruments for enhancing SME competitiveness in the programming period 2014-2020, Luxembourg, 16 November 2016

Picture: Miglena Dobreva, European Investment Bank; Maeve Hamilton, Department of Economy, Northern Ireland; Charles Hamilton, Invest Northern Ireland; Hal Wilson, Pentech Ventures; William McCulla, Invest Northern Ireland

SME competitiveness is a focus of attention across the European Union. An event on 16 November in Luxembourg concentrated on how risk capital financial instruments can promote this.

Experts involved in financial instrument implementation from Northern Ireland and Estonia shared their experience through presentations and vibrant question and answer sessions.

This fi-compass thematic workshop included 60 delegates from 18 Member States representing managing authorities, regional and national authorities, intermediate bodies and financial intermediaries.

Pieter Coppens from the European Investment Bank welcomed participants to this workshop, set up to encourage dialogue and exchange of experience among participants, speakers and representatives from the European Investment Bank Group.

Picture: Miglena Dobreva, European Investment Bank; Kadri Mats, KredEx, Estonia; Krisjanis Zarins, European Investment Fund

The speakers from Northern Ireland explained how the Access to Finance Solutions for SMEs in Northern Ireland had been established very early in the programming period, based on their experience of using financial instruments during the previous programming periods. This gave them the opportunity to share their experience with ESIF financial instruments in an advanced stage of implementation. They were able to highlight the importance of close cooperation between all stakeholders involved, especially ensuring the procurement process and State aid rules were respected, but also to ensure that supporting the growth of businesses in Northern Ireland remained the clear objective.

The advantage of having speakers from the managing authority, the intermediate body and a fund manager meant that the entire design, set-up and implementation process could be described in more detail, which highlighted the cooperation between the stakeholders as well as their shared vision.

This direct experience encouraged participants to ask detailed questions about implementation of this financial instrument, as well as the approach taken under specific circumstances.

Picture: Q&A and peer-to-peer discussion at the event

In the afternoon, the benefits of combining ESIF with EFSI in financial instruments for SME competitiveness was presented by KredEx, representing the EstFund investment committee, and the European Investment Fund (EIF) acting as fund of funds manager.

Previous experience of working together and the EIF’s expertise with implementing risk capital financial instruments ensured this Estonian fund of funds was established efficiently. EstFund has a clear investment strategy and co-investment from the EIF, which should attract significant private investment.

Questions and requests from participants covered a wide range of issues concerning implementation, including specifics of combining ESIF and EFSI resources for particular target final recipients.

The workshop included valuable exchanges of best practices and networking opportunities. This was reflected in the statements from participants at the end of the workshop, where they emphasised the great benefit of being able to talk to people with similar experience and to benchmark their own progress.

Financial instruments for enhancing SME competitiveness in the programming period 2014-2020, Luxembourg, 16 November 2016

Title Speakers
pdf file not yet available file not yet available file not yet available

Access to Finance Solutions for SMEs in Northern Ireland

The slides were updated after the workshop as the case study
was also presented at the fi-compass thematic workshop
on 14 March 2017

Maeve Hamilton, Dept. of Economy NI

Charles Hamilton, Invest Northern Ireland

William McCulla, Invest Northern Ireland

Hal Wilson, Pentech Ventures

pdf file not yet available file not yet available file not yet available

EstFund – ESI Fund and EFSI Combination in Estonia

Kadri Mats, KredEx

Krisjanis Zarins, European Investment Fund