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European funds helping small businesses thrive

European funds helping small businesses thrive
By Euronews

<p>For this week’s episode of Business Planet, Euronews touched down in Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago.</p> <p>We spoke to with Mark here about access to <a href="http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/guarantees/sme_initiative/">European funding for <span class="caps">SME</span>s</a> , and in particular a system, a tool called the <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative.</p> <div style="width:280px; float:right; margin:20px;"> <div style="border-top: #333 3px double; border-bottom: #333 3px double; font-size:12px; padding-top:16px;"> <h3>EU financing for small and medium-sized enterprises</h3> <ul> <li>Access to finance can still be a problem for entrepreneurs whether starting up or scaling up. Although the situation is improving, 9% of <span class="caps">SMES</span> still see it as a problem.</li> <li>The EU is working on making access to finance easier for businesses though loans, loan guarantees, microfinance, venture capital and other types of interventions.</li> <li>One of the tools to help <span class="caps">SME</span>s access funding is the <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative – a joint instrument of the European Commission and the <span class="caps">EIB</span> group.</li> <li>Alongside the European Structural and Investment Funds resources contributed by the Member States, the <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative is cofounded by the EU though <span class="caps">COSME</span> and Horizon 2020 resources as well as <span class="caps">EIB</span> Group resources.</li> <li>It is currently available in Bulgaria, Finland, Malta and Spain, but it may be extended to other countries in the future.</li> </ul> <h3>Useful links</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance/index_en.htm">Access to finance portal</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/guarantees/sme_initiative">More about the <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative</a></li> <li><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/cosme_en">More about <span class="caps">COSME</span></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.eib.org/products/blending/innovfin/?lang=fr">Innovfin</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <p><strong>Euronews – Serge Rombi</strong></p> <p>So, your job involves making the connection between your bank – which is the Bank of Valetta- and European institutions. Tell us how it all works.”</p> <p><strong>EU Affairs, Bank of Valletta – Mark Scicluna Bartoli</strong></p> <p>“At the Bank of Valetta, we have a strong working relationship with the European Investment Fund, which basically allows us to ease access to finance for Maltese or Gozatian <span class="caps">SME</span>s through the provision of European Union guarantees to business loans which we provide.”</p> <p><strong>Serge Rombi</strong></p> <p>“Well, listen, let’s see a concrete example from right here in Gozo.”</p> <p>We headed to one of the most innovative <span class="caps">SME</span>s in Gozo.</p> <p>The aluminium and <span class="caps">PVC</span> windows manufactured at this plant meet the strictest European environmental standards and the machines used are the most efficient on the market.</p> <p>It was thanks in particular to a loan secured by Mark’s bank that this <span class="caps">SME</span> was able to invest in this equipment. The bank guarantee for this loan was obtained through the <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative.</p> <p>Our reporter caught up with Margie Saliba, the <span class="caps">CEO</span> of Technological Innovations.</p> <p><strong>Serge Rombi</strong><br /> “Margie, why accessing to this guarantee was so important for your business?”</p> <p><strong><span class="caps">CEO</span> of Technological Innovations – Margie Saliba</strong></p> <p>“It was very important. It’s our key element to access finance, and to develop really faster…”</p> <p>Today this company markets its windows throughout the Maltese archipelago, but a quarter of its turnover comes from the rest of Europe. New markets, new customers, but also employment for the people of Gozo.</p> <p><strong>Margie Saliba</strong></p> <p>“Currently, the level of employment counts up to 50 persons. And it is expected to be doubled by 2018.”</p> <p>We left Margie to find out more about what this initiative has meant to Gozo and its inhabitants.</p> <p><strong>Serge Rombi</strong></p> <p>“So Mark, we’ve just seen this type of European tool takes on a very special meaning on an island like Gozo.”</p> <p><strong>Mark Scicluna Bartoli</strong></p> <p>“Yes. Actually, enhancing access to finance to Gozatian <span class="caps">SME</span>s is key to ensuring that an entrepreneurial and startup culture within Gozo is sustained.”</p> <p>The <span class="caps">SME</span> Initiative is a system that currently exists in 4 European countries. Here in Malta, as well as in Spain, Finland and Bulgaria. </p> <p>But this bank guarantee tool could well be extended to other countries in the Union.</p> <p>There are, by the way, other types of <a href="http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance/index_en.htm">European funding available for <span class="caps">SME</span>s</a> . For example via loans, microfinance, or venture capital.</p> <p><strong>Serge Rombi</strong></p> <p>“Mark, in concrete terms, how could an entrepreneur benefit from this type of European funding tool?”</p> <p><strong>Mark Scicluna Bartoli</strong></p> <p>“I think the first point would be, he would need to find his <a href="http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance/index_en.htm">local financial intermediary</a> in his country, such as a bank. And I would say the second point is to present a strong business case.”</p> <p><strong>Serge Rombi</strong></p> <p>“Thank you very much, Mark.” More on the business planet’s webpage and on our social networks. We’ll see you again very soon for the next episode.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BusinessPlanet?src=hash">#BusinessPlanet</a> filming completed in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/gozo?src=hash">#gozo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/malta?src=hash">#malta</a> see you soon on <a href="https://twitter.com/euronews"><code>euronews</a> cc <a href="https://twitter.com/EU_Growth"></code>EU_Growth</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/SciclunaBartoli"><code>SciclunaBartoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/vNg4Xv9qIX">pic.twitter.com/vNg4Xv9qIX</a></p>&mdash; Serge Rombi (</code>SergeRombi) <a href="https://twitter.com/SergeRombi/status/865168334475669504">May 18, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>