What is EFSI?
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) offers guarantee arrangements and funding to support economically viable investments in EU. The aim is to direct the majority of funding towards infrastructural and industrial regeneration investments and to SMEs, both through loans as well as through investments channelled through various funds. The funding available through the EFSI is also suited to joint public and private sector projects and PPPs as well as businesses’ R&D projects.
The EFSI is set up by the European Commission and is aimed at increasing investment levels, speeding up economic growth and boosting employment. It is part of the Investment Plan for Europe, which The EFSI operates in conjunction with the European Investment Bank.
The EFSI does not offer grants, nor does it act as sole funder for projects. The funding provided by the EFSI aids with the obtaining of the remaining funding required for high risk projects. In the projects, EFSI funding is combined with the project’s own funding, funds obtained from other parties, and investor capital.
Applying for funding
Almost all businesses and corporations that take part in investments may receive funding from the EFSI. Application for funding can be made as long as the project fulfils the sector-specific criteria, is profitable, and has funding also from other sources. The EFSI does not provide funding for projects involving direct risk to the state. This should be taken into account when preparing public sector projects. EFSI-guaranteed funding can be received by:
- Finnish business and other associations of every size and type (SME applications made through intermediaries)
- public entities, bodies governed by public law, and companies providing public services
Funding is also channelled through national development banks, financial institutions operating as intermediaries, capital and debt financing funds and investment arrangements that enable funding for projects and sectors where no direct instruments or intermediary organisations are currently on offer.
Initiating funding applications
The first step in seeking funding from the EFSI is to take a look at the EFSI web pages or make contact direct with the European Investment Bank. Potential applicants may also make direct contact with the EFSI investment advisory hub: +358 29 460 2582 or submit a contact request to esir(at)finnvera.fi
If the project is suitable for EFSI funding then either connection is established with a suitable intermediary organisation or the applicant is advised about other further steps to be taken. The investment information services provides more detailed guidance for public sector projects eligible for funding.
EFSI funding is channelled to the projects via the European Investment Bank and its intermediary organisations. In Finland, the funding organisations under the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, such as Finnvera, Finnish Industry Investment Ltd., and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), operate as key intermediary organisations for funding and information regarding the EFSI. Banks, and other financial institutions and funds may also become intermediary organisations. It is also possible to create different investment arrangements that combine funders and projects. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy coordinates the utilisation of the EFSI in Finland in cooperation with other ministries and bodies.
Valtteri Vento, Programme Manager, Finnvera plc
+358 29 460 2531