A new program will grant SMEs in Europe the opportunity to access up to 25 billion euros (34 billion U.S. dollars) of additional finance, European Union (EU) announced in a statement Monday.
The EU Program for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will allow financial institutions throughout Europe to provide enhanced access to finance to SMEs.
The COSME program builds on the success of its predecessor, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (2007-2013), which helped to mobilize more than 16 billion euros of loans and 2.8 billion euros of venture capital to over 311,000 SMEs in Europe.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, expected that the new COSME financial instruments would be finalized before the summer break.
He said in an interview in September last year public support continues to play a crucial role in enhancing access to finance for SMEs, as SMEs with 10 or fewer employees is the category that has the most difficulties getting a loan.
The COSME program is set to run from 2014 to 2020.
It is expected that by 2020, around 344,000 firms will receive loans backed by COSME guarantees, with the value of lending reaching 22 billion euros.
In addition, thanks to COMSE's investments in venture capital funds supporting fast-growing SMEs, 560 firms will receive venture capital investment with the overall volume invested reaching 4 billion euros. (1 euro = 1.37 U.S. dollars)