WHAT IS the guarantee facility?
In the context of limited access to finance for the cultural and creative sectors, the Creative Europe programme (2014-2020) of the European Commission earmarked €121 million to a financial mechanism acting as insurance to financial intermediaries (e.g. banks) offering financing to cultural and creative sector initiatives. The programme is expected to create €600 million in loans and other financial products through a catalyst effect. In addition, financial intermediaries will be provided training to better understand the needs of cultural and creative sector projects, with a view to increasing their engagement with the sectors.
The guarantee scheme is managed by the European Investment Fund (part of the European Investment Bank Group), on behalf of the European Commission, and aims at strengthening cultural and creative sectors companies' financial capacity and competitiveness.
WHICH TYPE OF COMPANIES CAN BENEFIT FROM CULTURAL AND CREATIVE SECTOR GUARANTEE FACILITY?
The Guarantee Facility will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises active in the cultural and creative sectors in the EU, Iceland and Norway. Such sectors' activities are based on cultural values and/or artistic and creative expressions, whether these activities are market or non-market oriented and whatever the type of legal structure that carries them out. Such activities include the creation, production, dissemination and preservation of goods and services which embody cultural, artistic or creative expressions. Sectors include architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audiovisual (including film, television, video games and multimedia), cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, performing arts, publishing, radio and visual arts.
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE CULTURAL AND CREATIVE SECTORS GUARANTEE FACILITY?
Cultural and creative sector companies must contact the financial intermediaries selected for each country.
In January 2017, the Compañía Española de Reafianzamiento, a Spanish public investment body, became the first institution to conclude a guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF). The guarantee agreement is expected to generate up to €150 million worth of loans for Spanish small and medium-sized business active in the creative and cultural sectors.
In February, French public investment bank Bpifrance signed an agreement with the EIF guaranteeing €30 million in loans for the creative and cultural sectors. Bpifrance expects to start lending from June 2017.
March 2017 saw the signature of a guarantee agreement between the Romanian Libra Internet Bank and the EIF. The agreement is expected to generate €10 million (circa RON 45 million) worth of loans for Romanian small and medium-sized businesses.
Financial intermediaries who wish to apply to the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility can find more information on the EIF website. A call for expression of interest is open until 30 September 2020.