The beginning of the year brought Qredits, YBI member supporting entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, a valuable partnership and pioneer in the entrepreneurial sector in Europe. Qredits signed a EUR 100 mil loan with the European Investment Bank and a EUR 25 mil micro-finance guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund.
The European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) will support Dutch micro-finance institution Qredits in giving very small businesses in the Netherlands access to finance. The European Investment Bank has agreed a EUR 100 million loan facility with Qredits, while the European Investment Fund has also signed an agreement with Qredits to cover part of the credit risk of new loans worth EUR 25 million for microbusinesses and SMEs. Both operations are backed by the guarantee of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Juncker Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. Elwin Groenevelt, CEO of Qredits Microfinanciering Nederland:
“We are delighted and extremely proud of the fact that Qredits, as the first microfinance institution in Europe, has the opportunity to directly take out a loan from the EIB. This large credit facility together with the COSME guarantee enable us to realize our ambitions for the coming years and help strengthen our position as major alternative financier for entrepreneurs in the Netherlands.”
Since any loan from the EIB can cover only up to 50% of the total investment in any project, this operation will make available at least EUR 200 million in microfinance loans for Dutch entrepreneurs. It is estimated that at least 7500 small entrepreneurs in the Netherlands will be able to benefit through the new loan facility. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs was instrumental in guaranteeing 80% of the EUR 100 million loan by the EIB, with the other 20% guaranteed under EFSI. European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen added:
"Boosting investment - especially in start-ups and SMEs - is a key pre-condition to boost economic growth and create jobs. With EFSI, the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe, and our Better Regulation Agenda we are not only supporting the backbone of our economy but we are also sending out a message that Europe is a good place to invest in. With Qredits we want to support all those entrepreneurs who dare to challenge the status quo and provide them the best conditions for establishing or developing their business and recruit new employees.”
At the same time, the EUR 25 million guarantee from the EIF will cover 50% of the credit risk taken by Qredits allowing the institution to substantially increase its lending volume in the small client segment with limited access to finance. The loans will be provided as a result of a guarantee from EIF under the COSME programme with financial backing from the European Commission. The agreement will make it possible for Qredits to support additional financing at favourable conditions to around 670 micro enterprises. EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom commented:
“The Netherlands has one of the highest refusal rates of Europe when it comes to loan requests by small businesses, a situation that must be addressed. I think Qredits is doing an amazing job, supporting Dutch entrepreneurial spirit by serving those who would otherwise not see their projects realised, and deserves our full support. Together with the EIF guarantee, this operation shows how important the Investment Plan for Europe can be, on every level.”
Since its creation in 2009, Qredits has helped over 7000 entrepreneurs with EUR 130 million. It is estimated that over 10.000 jobs were created through companies assisted by Qredits.
Qredits is a non-profit organization with 55 employees and cca 610 volunteers and aims at helping starting entrepreneurs and expanding small SMEs by providing loans and coaching services. The organization is supported by the Dutch State through equity-like funding and various guarantees. In addition the EIF has been supporting Qredits since 2011 through various guarantees and other products.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.
About COSME COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of EUR 2.3 billion. At least 60% of the programme will be devoted to ease access to finance for SMEs in Europe. The COSME programme builds on the success of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013) which helped to mobilise more than EUR 20 billion of loans and EUR 3 billion of venture capital to over 373,000 SMEs in Europe.