>@Mercedes Landete/EIB
©Mercedes Landete/EIB

The Advisory Hub in Portugal will also join forces with COTEC to identify best practice across Europe to accelerate the digitalisation of Portuguese SMEs

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento (IFD) have today taken a new step towards deepening the cooperation between the two institutions, through the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH or Hub). EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and IFD Chief Executive Officer Henrique Cruz have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting the support available through the Hub in Portugal.  

The Advisory Hub provides targeted support to identify, prepare and develop investment projects across the European Union, building on the expertise of the EIB and its partner institutions. Developing a local presence across the European Union is a key objective of the European Investment Advisory Hub to adapt the technical assistance that provides. IFD will play a key role in developing local access to the Hub’s support. Under the new agreement, IFD will become a national point of entry for potential clients and stakeholders keen to engage with the Hub. The Portuguese development institution will also ensure national and local promotion of the Hub’s activities, raising awareness and visibility of the Hub and the services available through it.  

At the signing event held today in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro stated: “The EIB works closely with national promotional banks, which are our key partners throughout the European Union. Today, we are reinforcing our collaboration with IFD to ensure that investments across Portugal benefit from the expertise, advice and support of the EIB through the Advisory Hub. We are pleased to reinforce our relationship with an institution that helps us bring the advisory services of the EIB to Portuguese project owners seeking to implement new investments”.

From his side, IFD Chief Executive Officer Henrique Cruz affirmed: “The European Investment Advisory Hub provides advisory services aimed at improving the quality of investment projects. This partnership with IFD will enable Portuguese companies to access the knowledge and expertise of the EIB Group in services offered ranging from the preliminary evaluation of the project idea, technical, legal and financial advice, training and implementation support, providing Portuguese companies with useful tools for their growth”.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed today also fosters EIB-IFD collaboration by establishing a knowledge and best practice sharing platform, so that EIAH partner institutions in Portugal can have access to relevant and updated information on how to make best use of the financial instruments available to promote public policy objectives across Europe and adapt those examples and best practices to Portuguese counterparts.

In January 2018, the EIB granted a EUR 100 million loan to IFD to provide credit lines to the national banking system with advantageous conditions, in terms of both low interest rates and long tenors, to support investments projects implemented by Portuguese companies.

Advisory Hub and COTEC join forces to support digitalisation of SMEs

COTEC Portugal, a leading Portuguese association for advancing technology diffusion and business innovation cooperation, will also benefit from the engagement of the European Investment Advisory Hub in identifying best practice across Europe to support research and innovation funding.

The agreement establishing the collaboration between the Advisory Hub and COTEC was signed in Lisbon by EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro and Isabel Furtado, President of the Board of Directors of COTEC, along with Jorge Portugal, COTEC’s CEO. Thanks to this cooperation, EIB financing experts from the Innovation Finance Advisory service will explore different funding mechanisms and models that could significantly increase the amount of financing to foster the digitalisation of SMEs and to ensure that future investment benefits from new financing available under the Investment Plan for Europe.

COTEC’s associates encompass multinationals, major national corporations and SMEs, operating in a wide range of sectors, whose gross added value represents more than 16% of national GDP and 8% of private employment. COTEC has a mandate from the Portuguese Ministry of Economy to support research and innovation funding and accelerate digitalisation, which includes exploring different funding mechanisms and models that could significantly increase the amount of financing to support the digitalisation of SMEs. One objective and major challenge of COTEC is to expand the number of Digital Innovation Hubs in Portugal from three at present to around ten in the next six months.

At the signing event held in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro highlighted the positive impact of this agreement to “unlock funding for innovation in Portugal.  As a leading Portuguese association of SMEs, COTEC will benefit from the expertise of the Advisory Hub and the support of the EU bank to foster the digitalisation of small and medium-sized Portuguese companies, an essential step towards ensuring their growth and competitiveness. We are glad to contribute to developing new solutions through fruitful collaboration with high potential to also be applied in other European countries”.

“COTEC is pleased to work with EIB for designing new financing instruments to support SMEs innovation strategies”, expressed Jorge Portugal, COTEC’s General Manager. “This collaboration with the European Investment Advisory Hub will bring a decisive contribution to the financial sector and to public policy innovation financing programs to surpass the existing financing gaps to bring more digital content to business processes and to accelerate the transformation and competitiveness of Portuguese Industrial ecosystems.