At the first FT-EIB Global Investment Forum in Brussels tomorrow, the EIB Group and European Commission will officially launch a new set of products to support innovators across Europe and neighbouring countries.

The new products offer easier access to finance for early-stage projects in the renewable energy and infectious diseases sectors and provide finance for organisations established in modest and moderate innovator countries in the EU*. The revamped product offering takes the successful partnership under “InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators”, a joint initiative launched by the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) with the Commission under the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, to the next level. It offers solutions to close financing gaps for innovative companies in the EU.

The FT-EIB Global Investment Forum brings together thought leaders on innovation from the private and public sector, and will also host an “On-stage Conversation: EU Financing for Innovators - The Example of InnovFin” with European Commissioner Carlos Moedas and EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators, funded under our research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, has already proven its worth to the European economy. It supports the entire value chain of research and innovation and helps companies of all sizes, small and large. The revamped product range offers even better integrated financing tools and advisory services, and complements Commission's Investment Plan for Europe."

Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, said: “Together with our partners at the European Commission, we have financed some truly ground-breaking inventions, to the tune of EUR 14bn so far and I look forward to jointly backing the next generation of innovators. The new InnovFin product range allows us to offer financing and advice where it is needed, helping innovators to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. In short – we are re-inventing our offering to better serve Europe’s innovators.”

The new offering is tailored to market needs, with more targeted support, taking on more risk in specific areas and catering for smaller companies, which make up more than half of the firms benefiting from InnovFin financing. New products include:

  • InnovFin Thematic Investment Platforms: crowding in third-party financing to innovative projects in thematic areas, such as the circular bioeconomy.
  • InnovFin Emerging Innovators: boosting access to finance in countries that could do with a hand to step up their innovation potential.
  • InnovFin Science: intensified backing for universities and research institutions, both public and private.

To date, InnovFin has financed over 100 projects, and over 8,000 small and early-stage enterprises in Europe and beyond, from small tech start-ups to large research facilities and circular economy companies. These include support for:

Innovative renewable energy sources, such as Heliatek, which has found a way to integrate photovoltaic solar film into office windows and facades or WaveRoller, an underwater device that converts wave energy into electrical energy.
Medical inventions to treat cancer, Zika virus or fight antibiotic resistance, like Valneva, Transgene, Mobidiag, Da Volterra and AntibioTx.
Small businesses and start-ups like Sonnen, Agricool and Skyscanner, helping them grow into leading brands.
Online search engine Qwant and 3D printers from Ultimaker are taking on global market leaders.
Ground-breaking research, such as the CERN particle accelerator, European Spallation Neutron Source and state-of-the-art laser research facilities like the ELI network.
Providing advisory support to firms including in the circular bioeconomy, space resources industry and preparing financial instruments to cater for the next wave of innovation.

Background information

What is InnovFin?

InnovFin is a range of financial instruments and advisory services that has been set up by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) and the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation (R&I) programme for 2014-20. InnovFin helps small, medium and large innovative companies and the promoters of research facilities access finance more easily. InnovFin also includes a number of thematic products addressing the specific financing needs of certain high-risk innovative sectors. Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin 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 become final beneficiaries. InnovFin is delivered by the European Investment Bank Group with the support of the European Commission.

Useful Links:

InnovFin webpage:

FT-EIB Global Investment Forum page:

EIB Blog story:

EC innovation scoreboard:

EIF InnovFin SME Guarantee page: