The European Commission and the European Investment Fund have launched a 121M euro ($134M) fund to support small-to-medium enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors. The money will act as loan guarantees and is expected to create more than 600M euros worth of bank loans over the next six years. This is good news for European companies in the audiovisual sector, but comes less than a week after Britain voted to exit the EU. One of the concerns producers in the UK face is what Brexit means in terms of continuing access to European money.
The EIF will provide guarantees and counter-guarantees to financial intermediaries thus allowing them to provide more debt finance. Guarantee institutions, banks and others will support more than 10,000 small-to-medium businesses across such sectors as film, television, animation, video games, multimedia, festivals, literature, performing arts, radio and more. The first beneficiaries will be as early as the end of this year.
Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger, said, “Creative minds and companies need to experiment and take risks to thrive, for our society and for our economy. We are helping them to get the bank loans they would normally not get.”
EIF Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith, added that providing credit risk protection and capacity building for finance providers “are two essential ingredients in the recipe for support for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors.” Those sectors represent more than 7M jobs in the EU and account for 4.2% of the region’s GDP.
The EIF will soon publish a call for applications from financial institutions. After a selection process, it will then choose the intermediaries which can make the new finance available.