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Irish firms gain access to E48b InnovFin

Friday, June 13 16:15:29

Irish firms will have access to a E48bn, EU-wide fund called InnovFin designed to help innovative enterprises access finance more easily.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon today welcomed the launch of the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services after an agreement with the European Investment Bank Group was signed by European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, on behalf of the EU in Greece yesterday.

Over the next seven years, it is expected that the "InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators" products will make available more than E24bn of financing for research and innovation (R and I) by small, medium and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures.

This finance is expected to support up to E48BN of final R and I investments.

Speaking during today's visit by the Commissioner to Enterprise Ireland which is leading Ireland's participation in Horizon 2020, the EU's programme for research and innovation, Ms Sinnamon said these instruments will complement existing research and innovation funding sources and will provide much needed additional access to finance for innovative Irish SMEs.

"We now want the Irish banking sector to embrace these new instruments as they will de-risk lending propositions for Irish companies that want to fund R and D in order to gain a competitive edge. This activity is central to boosting employment and growth in Ireland's economy," she said.

European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn added that financial instruments provide an innovative way of investing in growth-enhancing companies and activities.

"The EU lags behind its global competitors in terms of business investment in innovation, so we must encourage banks to lend to these projects and help research-intensive companies get access to this finance. This will help us reach our EU target to invest 3pc of GDP in R and D by 2020," she said.

"InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will consist of a range of tailored products – from guarantees for intermediaries that lend to SMEs to direct loans to enterprises - helping support the smallest to the largest R and I projects in the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-2020. InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility, developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which helped provide over E11BN of finance to 114 R and I projects worth more than E30bn.