• The Emilia-Romagna region is using the EIB support to promote micro and small business access to finance.
  • Favourable interest rates will be provided via the EIB’s Italian regions EU blending programme.
  • Intermediary services will be offered by BCC Banca Iccrea, BNL, BPER and Intesa San Paolo.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is granting a €150 million credit line to the Emilia-Romagna region for micro, small and medium-sized companies via an agreement with Intesa San Paolo, BNL, BPER and BCC Banca Iccrea. These intermediaries will grant financing to support small businesses and will use their own funds to contribute to investments.

The Emilia-Romagna region is seeking to promote access to finance for local small businesses via the EIB's Italian regions EU blending programme. This programme ensures that the rate applied by intermediary banks is lower than that usually applied to operations of an equivalent risk.

EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti said: “The EIB has always been committed to supporting businesses on the ground. This credit line will foster the development of the micro, small and medium-sized companies making the Emilia-Romagna region one of the most innovative production centres in Italy.”

In concrete terms, financing beneficiaries will be individual small businesses (with up to 249 employees and maximum turnover of €50 million or a maximum balance sheet total of €43 million), mid-caps (independent companies with fewer than 3 000 employees) and self-employed professionals with a VAT number. They will need to be fully registered on the Companies Register and have their operational headquarters in the Emilia-Romagna region at the time of their application. The categories concerned involve the sectors covered by the following ATECO codes: 55.1 (Hotels and similar structures), 55.3 (Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks), 68.20 (Rental and operating of own or leased real estate, limited to buildings intended for activities falling under codes 55.1 and 55.3).

Emilia-Romagna Regional Councillor for Trade and Tourism Andrea Corsini added: “Emilia-Romagna is relying on the tourism industry as a strategic pillar for strengthening the entire regional economy. Using the massive investment made available to companies with the participation of the EIB and credit institutions, this operation aims to redevelop hotels and camping grounds in particular to ensure the services we offer are increasingly modern and appealing to all markets.”

An interest rebate contribution to small businesses will be provided in a single payment and will not exceed €200 000. The duration will be in line with or less than the economic and technical lifespan of the project to be financed, with a minimum duration of two years and a maximum of 12 years. This may be extended to 15 years for energy efficiency or renewable energy production investments only.

The banks involved have committed to providing at least as much financing with their own funds. The contribution will be made as a grant on a de minimis or exemption basis as an interest rebate on loans provided with EIB funding. The expenditure covered by the financing does not need to be reported.

The loans can be used for the financial needs of the company receiving funding and/or its working capital requirements connected to the normal business cycle. Each loan must be for between €400 000 and €5 million regardless of the total volume of investments or the value of the project proposed by the company. A grace period of up to 24 months may be arranged. The rate applied by the bank to companies must be lower than that it normally applies to loans granted from its own resources for operations with equivalent risk, in compliance with the undertakings made to the EIB.

The regional financial envelope for the three-year period of 2023, 2024 and 2025 is €3.5 million. Contribution applications must only be submitted in line with the first come, first served procedure via the Elixforms platform here until the available funds are exhausted.

The EIB finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Between 2019 and 2022, the EIB Group provided more than €46 billion to support the Italian economy.