Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia announced that after taking into consideration the success in the implementation of the SME Initiative, the Maltese government is topping this action with another €7 million to the benefit of local SMEs and micro-enterprises, and when leveraged, this financial instrument will be topped up to €28 million.
Dr Farrugia expressed his satisfaction on the uptake of loans guaranteed by the SME Initiative, which has exceeded expectations and has led to the full absorption of the original allocation. It is therefore within this context that government is increasing the allocation so that SMEs continue to benefit from this initiative.
Farrugia highlighted some of the results that this initiative already achieved including the support provided to 500 SMEs assisted, with half of the assisted SMEs being start-ups and over 300 of the supported enterprises having than 10 employees.
Commenting on the increase of the SME Initiative in Malta, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said, “I am delighted with the very positive results of the SME Initiative in Malta for Maltese SMEs. Both local banks have already managed €60 million of SME financing to help companies over the last 3 years. I am convinced that the additional finance will be instrumental in supporting more jobs and growth, via the combination of European Structural and Investment Funds, EU Horizon 2020 and EIB Group resources.”
About the SME Initiative top up agreement, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu commented; “I congratulate Malta on deciding to increase the available financing under its SME Initiative programme. This is a smart move that will directly benefit Maltese small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs; it will help give them the financial boost they need to turn their ideas into concrete projects or expand beyond their local markets.”
Launched in July 2015, the SME Initiative (SMEi) helps local SMEs to finance their business needs with the objective to make their business grow. The SME Initiative entails the combined use of European Structural and Investment Funds, the Horizon 2020 programme and EIB group funds. With the new €7 million top up, the total SME Initiative Fund stands at €22 million, thus when leveraged this results in almost €90 million being available for investment at more favourable conditions.