Welcome to the Beacon Winter 2019 featuring this year’s third edition of FI Campus, the winners of the first fi-compass Showcase Award as well as two successful French IT start-ups which got a real boost thanks to equity financing from ESIF financial instruments. This Beacon also includes an article about the recently published ESPON report on financial instruments and territorial cohesion as well as an overview of the latest developments in the agriculture sector. You can also read about how ESF resources can usefully support innovative financial instruments and alternative financing models such as crowdfunding and get an update on other new materials available on our website.
We hope that you will enjoy reading our Beacon and encourage you to share it with your colleagues involved in ESIF financial instruments.
The fi-compass team
FI Campus 2019 – Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond
The third annual FI Campus conference was held on 4 and 5 December in Brussels. Over 400 practitioners from 26 Member States attended the event, which was opened by Eric von Breska, Director, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission (DG REGIO) and Simon Barnes, Head of Advisory Services at the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The theme of this year’s FI Campus 2019 was ‘Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond’. Experts from DG REGIO and other stakeholders led interactive sessions on the proposed new Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) and the InvestEU Programme. The event also included workshops on horizontal topics related to ESIF financial instruments, such as State aid and audit and control. The event also included case study sessions on the use of financial instruments in a range of different sectors such as SME competitiveness, research development and innovation, urban development and energy efficiency. To make this FI Campus edition even more interactive, a new online networking platform for participants was introduced. The event also featured for the first time this year the fi-compass Showcase Award 2019, promoting stories from across the EU related to ESIF financial instruments and the supported projects.
Matooma: a European success story backed by an ERDF financial instrument
Backed by an equity investment in 2013 from the ESIF financial instrument SAS JEREMIE Languedoc-Roussillon and its fund manager Soridec, Matooma, ranks today among the fastest growing European companies in the field of SIM card connectivity. At the time of the initial investment, Matooma had around 10 employees and today the company employs about 50 people and has increased its turnover by a factor of 10. This summer, the equity investors exited the company following a trade sale, providing a significant return on their original investment.
For the first time this year, to celebrate the success of practitioners working with ESIF financial instruments, ten stories that had been submitted to the fi-compass Showcase were presented at our flagship FI Campus 2019 event. FI Campus participants could explore the featured stories at the Showcase on-site exhibition and to vote for their favourite story. The Awards ceremony which took place during the FI Campus closing session, celebrated video stories about four innovative SMEs in Slovakia, three urban development projects in Bulgaria and another urban regeneration project in the former industrial area of the Łasztownia district of Szczecin in West Pomerania in Poland.
The IFRRU 2020 ESIF financial instrument for urban development and energy efficiency features in the latest fi-compass case study. Published on the website in November 2019, the case study describes how the fund of funds has been created with a small specialist management team to implement financial instruments on behalf of eight Portuguese managing authorities.
Using EUR 102 million ESIF resources, IFRRU 2020 has attracted additional public and private financing to create a fund of EUR 1.4 billion, achieving a multiplier effect of fourteen. Once combined with the resources of the individual project promoters, the fund of funds is expected to mobilise EUR 2 billion of financing.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion (DG EMPL) and the EIB are looking into the crowdfunding sector as a suitable area to develop financial instruments. The rationale behind the interest in crowdfunding lies in the inherent similarities of crowdfunding and ESF financial instruments: they both serve types of organisations, sectors and groups that are usually neglected by traditional finance. A recently launched fi-compass study is gathering existing knowledge of the crowdfunding market and current experiences to develop new ideas for future support of the crowdfunding sector via ESF and ESIF resources.
Datarocks helps you drive better business decisions
Datarocks, a Reunionese start-up that develops and sells innovative IT solutions has been supported by a EUR 451 000 equity investment from the ESIF financial instrument, ESSOR PME La Réunion. The company, which helps businesses transpose their raw data into interactive ergonomic dashboards, has been able to grow and attract international customers such as Nokia or Thales.
In comparison to 2015, when there were no EAFRD financial instruments, there are now 29 instruments up and running or in preparation, supported with almost EUR 1 billion of total public support (EAFRD, national or regional). Read more about the last developments that took place this year in this field across Europe.
Financial instruments and territorial cohesion – main finding
ESPON, the applied research programme aimed at supporting territorial development policies in Europe, has released a synthesis report on financial instruments and territorial cohesion with an aim to provide a territorial analysis of the impacts of ESIF financial instruments in 2007-2013 (and to some extent 2014-2020). The report also gives some policy recommendations for the 2021-2027 programming period.
The fi-compass team wishes all of our over 5 000 Beacon newsletter subscribers a very happy festive season and a successful 2020. We will continue to build on our achievements next year. To date, these have included organising over 140 events all around Europe that have attracted the interest of over 11 000 registrations. We will also continue to update our website throughout 2020 ensuring that, with overall 985 000 page views and over 125 000 content downloads, the www.fi-compass.eu website remains the EU’s main source of information about ESIF financial instruments. We would like to thank you, our growing community of practitioners, for your continued support and look forward to seeing you at one of our events next year.