Small businesses and mid-caps are a key part of the global economy. They create jobs and drive economic development and innovation. Europe's 23 million smaller businesses represent 99% of all businesses and provide around three-quarters of all jobs.
There are many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with fresh ideas, compelling new products or services and high-growth potential. However, they often have difficulty finding financing. The European Union fosters entrepreneurship, encourages the creation of new companies and helps small businesses grow, and it is particularly committed to making it easier for Europe's innovative firms to get access to finance.
In 2021 alone, the EIB Group, which includes the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), supported 431 000 SMEs and mid-caps, employing 4.5 million people. To support small businesses, the EIB Group partners with a wide network of commercial banks, National Promotional Banks and Institutions, leasing companies, venture capital and private equity funds, angel investors and other providers. We especially target regions where access to finance is an obstacle to economic growth.
The EIB Group supports companies at all stages of development. Through InnovFin, the EIB Group provides direct financing to mid-caps. We also offer venture debt financing.
Support for SMEs is an EIB Group priority
In 2021, the EIB Group provided €45 billion for SMEs. Through intermediaries, the EIB provides financing to:
The EIB supports projects in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood in which women and girls benefit equally and equitably. Meet female entrepreneurs who have designed online platforms, founded a factory producing natural oil and plant-based products, expanded a dressmaking business and more.
The EIB is one of the largest multilateral providers of climate finance worldwide. In order to reduce the consequences of the climate crisis for us and generations to come, nearly all greenhouse gas emissions must be eliminated by the middle of this century.
Do you think climate change is too big of a problem for SMEs to address? Financing climate action and SMEs are both priorities for the EIB Group, and sometimes the two come together. Find out how an EIF-supported start-up in the Netherlands uses sustainable, natural materials to build everything from a farm to a dental care office.