Between the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates, there is another category of firms. These are larger than the standard definition of SMEs, which includes firms with up to 250 employees and EUR 50 million in annual revenue, or EUR 43 million on their balance sheets.
Let us introduce you to the not so small, not so big, firms: those with 250 to 3000 employees. The EIB itself is, almost, qualified to be one of these. What should we call them? Normal? Since, by a wide margin, the broad majority of firms in Europe are smaller, that would be inaccurate.
So we call them ‘midcaps’. This term comes from dividing companies by their market capitalization (the total value of their shares). Take, for example, Ultimaker, a Dutch midcap company that partnered with Victoria Hand, a Canadian charity, to customise prosthetics for amputees in the developing world using 3D printing. The European Investment Bank granted Ultimaker a EUR 15 million loan under the InnovFin program to strengthen their research and development activities and to roll out new products.
There are hundreds of such innovative firms worth supporting all over Europe. Some of these may benefit from the intermediated lending projects the EIB has initiated, and some may want to take out a direct loan. Either way, they are a large part of the EIB’s business.
Which is what this cartoon series has been about – the various hiccups in the financial systems that smaller (and more medium than large) companies see up close and personal when they try to find financing to start their businesses or grow them.
We will take a break for now from the adventures of the bear, the hedgehog, the rabbit and the wolf. But make sure you check out the previous episodes:
How the Juncker Plan (also known as the Investment Plan for Europe) is helping us reach out to smaller firms
How the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund are working together as the EIB Group to help smaller firms in their various stages of development
How we’re using intermediated loans to make sure we channel our money to where it makes the most sense
How we are especially interested in supporting SMEs promoting energy efficiency
... and agriculture
How, beyond loans, we’re also supporting smaller firms through trade finance
How our support for small- and medium-sized enterprises can help battle youth unemployment
… and climate action
How micro-enterprises are the smallest of the SME category and what we can do for them
Why supporting SMEs is one of the best ways to support innovation
And why supporting SMEs sometimes involves angel investors and unicorns
If you’re an entrepreneur with a start-up, or you’re already an SME, feel free to use these cartoons to illustrate some of your own experiences regarding access to finance.
Also, let us know whether you think we could make money selling these cartoons. Just a little? No?