>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission (EC) have pledged their stronger commitment to the Circular Economy and Bioeconomy sectors in Europe through a set of actions aimed at facilitating access to finance. The announcement was made today on the occasion of the "Innovative Enterprise Week – Access to Finance for Research, Innovation and SMEs" conference taking place in Valletta and hosted by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

During the conference an InnovFin Advisory (IFA) study on access-to-finance conditions for investments in Bio-Based Industries and the Blue Economy was published, opening up ways to support EU climate goals and address other important societal challenges. The study brings together information from projects in these sectors within the European Union and evaluates the need and potential for dedicated financial instruments as well as for other policy actions at the EU and Member State levels that can catalyse private sector investments.

Moreover, the EC and the EIB signed an amendment to the InnovFin Advisory Technical Assistance agreement, setting up the conditions for improved access to finance for the Circular and Bioeconomy sectors. The EIB and the EC are expected to announce further steps towards offering fully integrated access-to-finance solutions for innovators in the Bioeconomy and Circular Economy sectors in the weeks to come.  

Background information:

Report "Study on Access-to-Finance Conditions for Investment in Bio-Based Industries and the Blue Economy" by InnovFin Advisory and EIB Advisory Services InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators

Under Horizon 2020, the EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Running until 2020, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" offers a range of tailored products which will make available billions of euros of financing in support of research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators supports R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible to be final beneficiaries. 

InnovFin Advisory aims to improve the bankability and investment-readiness of large projects that need substantial, long-term investments. It will also provide advice on how to improve the conditions for access to risk finance for R&I. It builds on a successful pilot operated under the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility in FP7. The main clients foreseen are promoters of large R&I projects that meet Horizon 2020's societal challenges.