Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that the UK government is looking to form closer ties with the European Investment Fund (EIF) should be welcomed by domestic small business leaders, according to Everline Ezbob COO Russell Gould.
In a speech earlier this week Osborne signalled his intention to work closely with the fund, along with the European Investment Bank (EIB), to support SMEs and infrastructure projects in the UK.
Both the EIB and EIF are already active in their support of British start-ups. In 2014 they lent a record €7bn – a 20% increase on the 2013 figure. And in recent times 25,000 UK SMEs have received financial help from the EIF alone.
Moving forward the British Business Bank (BBB) will forge closer ties with its European counterparts; having signed a “memorandum of understanding” on their future working relationship.
This will involve making €8bn of public European funding available to the UK in an attempt to leverage private sector backing for infrastructure and SMEs in the country. In doing so the hope is that addressing current market failures will mobilise up to €315bn of private investment to the EU in the coming three years.
Gould said that the announcement of closer ties between the EIF, BBB and government “should be welcome news to all small business leaders”.
“Support like this is crucial to ensuring lenders like us are able to continue to help the under-served small businesses which account for 99.3 per cent of all private sector business in the UK,” he continued.
Gould went on to say that a deal Everline themselves singed with the EIF enabled them to offer more lending options to SMEs.
“Earlier this year, we signed the UK’s first loan agreement with the EIF under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME),” he explained.
“Having already provided over 6,000 business loans and lent over £70m, this agreement has enabled us to open up a new portfolio of loans which will ultimately help an additional 3,000 UK SMEs achieve their growth plans over the next two years.”