Access to finance, by the way, means “getting a loan” in bank-speak. If you are an SME and you want to get better at speaking Financese, you may also want to click
and listen to our podcast “A Dictionary of Finance.” There’s an episode
on small- and medium-sized enterprises (that we call SMEs, for short).
this “access to finance” may be especially difficult for SMEs which are
trying to disrupt the market with an unusual, innovative business idea.
But these are exactly the kind of SMEs that Europe needs, if it’s to
keep up with competitors in the US and Asia. These “disruptive”
start-ups bring together two priority policy goals for the EIB: supporting small businesses, and fostering innovation. The way we do this is through various intermediaries.
are usually banks or other financial institutions which have offices
and teams located close to the SMEs and have a detailed local
understanding of their needs. The EIB supports those intermediaries,
which are then required to pass on the financial advantage they receive
to the SMEs. Last year alone, around 300 000 SMEs across Europe
benefited from this kind of programme. These SMEs collectively employ
about 4.4 million people! In fact, 2 out of every 3 people working in
Europe is working for an SME, which is defined as a company employing up
to 249 people. That’s almost all (99%) of the companies in Europe.
that wasn’t enough for us. Now we also support a small business by
publishing this comic strip. If you are trying to guess whom the
hedgehog, the bear, the rabbit and the wolf represent, you can read the author’s take. You’ll also find the first couple of strips behind that link. And come back next Saturday for the next dose.