The European Investment Bank, the European Union’s long-term lending institution, will provide EUR 250 million for investments undertaken by small and medium sized enterprises in the Netherlands and Belgium. Later today European Investment Bank representatives will sign loan agreements with ING Bank following a seminar with SMEs and the Dutch small business federation at ING Headquarters in Amsterdam.

Companies in the Netherlands and Belgium will benefit from the European Investment Bank’s engagement through lower interest rates. European Investment Bank supported funding will be able to finance 100% of an individual company’s investment costs, up to a maximum of EUR 12.5 million per project.

“The European Investment Bank is continuing its support for SMEs across the Netherlands and Belgium with ING. It is essential to ensure that small business across Europe can access investment finance and explore new business opportunities during economically challenging times.” highlighted Simon Brooks, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in the Netherlands.

“We are glad that the European Investment Bank has given us the opportunity again to let us support our SME clients in this way”, says Hans van der Noordaa, responsible at ING for banking in the Benelux. “This is the third time in two and a half years that we signed a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank and we learn from our customers that it is more than welcome to them.”

The new funding programme will be launched following an SME seminar at ING headquarters in Amsterdam. This will bring together representatives of SME associations, entrepreneurs and bankers to discuss specific funding requirements of small businesses.

Between 2008 and 2010 the European Investment Bank provided EUR 30 billion to 160,000 SMEs across Europe to support long-term growth during challenging economic circumstances. Today’s signatures mark a further round of financing for Dutch and Belgian SMEs through ING, now that its former loans have been allocated to SMEs.

Past European Investment Bank lending for Dutch SMEs has benefitted companies in agriculture, food, manufacturing and retail sectors, with the average allocation per company close to EUR 1 million. Most companies receiving European Investment Bank support had less than 10 employees.

Over the last 5 years the European Investment Bank has provided EUR 6.5 billion for projects in the Netherlands. This has included loans for transport, energy, water, health and education, as well as support for SMEs.