European Investment Fund – March 2002
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SME GUARANTEE FACILITY
GUARANTEE POLICY FOR
The “SME Guarantee Facility” is funded by the European Community and is operated by the European
Investment Fund (EIF) on behalf of the European Commission.
In the framework of the “SME Guarantee Facility”, the Equity Guarantee window supports own funds
investments in small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)1 with growth potential, in order to reduce
the particular difficulties which SMEs face because of their weak financial structure.
Selection of Intermediaries and Eligibility Criteria
Intermediaries operating in the Participating Countries2. They are selected
among financial institutions that offer equity guarantees or intend to implement
such product (primarily guarantee schemes within the public or private sector).
Intermediaries will be examined and selected by the EIF on a continuous basis
in conformity with best business and market practice in a fair and transparent
Intermediary proposals will be considered for approval by the EIF and the
Commission, after satisfactory evaluation by the EIF, within the limits of the
available Community budget allocations. Furthermore, the EIF will endeavour
to achieve an overall adequate geographic balance.
1 According to the Commission Recommendation 96/280/EC of 3 April 1996 (OJ L 107 of 30 April 1996), SMEs are
defined as enterprises which have fewer than 250 employees, and have either an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 40
million or an annual balance-sheet total not exceeding EUR 27 million, and conform to the criterion of independence.
The reference year to be considered is the last approved accounting period. Any subsequent modification of the
Recommendation will be taken into account in relation to the EIF Guarantees provided after the date of adoption of
such a Recommendation.