UniCredit has signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund to provide an additional 340 million euro in financing to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in eight Central and Eastern European countries.
The funding, announced by the European Commission on May 7, comes on top of 160 million euro secured by UniCredit earlier, taking the total amount of financing to half a billion euro. The funds will come from the Horizon 2020 EU framework programme for research and innovation, and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
The money would be made available through UniCredit’s banking and leasing arms in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, the statement said.
“The geographical reach of the European Fund for Strategic Investments is of paramount importance and under today’s agreement with UniCredit, six Central-Eastern EU countries will benefit,” European commissioner Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said.
“SMEs in those member states – as well as in two neighbouring countries – can now apply to UniCredit for loans with the EU budget guarantee to start up and scale up their businesses,” he said.