Commission adopts guidelines on state aid and risk capital to SMEs

UEAPME regrets that the scope the Commission’s new guidelines on state aid to support risk capital investment in SMEs is narrowed down to risk innovative SMEs.

The new guidelines published on 17 July will make access to finance easier for SMEs in their early stages of development. This is intended to boost their growth and help to create more jobs in the EU, thus contributing to the Lisbon goals. The guidelines are part of the Commission’s State Aid Action Plan (SAAP) to promote competitiveness of EU industry and job creation. 

The guidelines introduce a new investment threshold, a “safe harbour”, of 1.5 million euros of investment per SME over a period of 12 months, representing an increase of 50% compared to the previous threshold.

The main market failure targeted by this measure is asymmetric or imperfect information, especially concerning start-ups, which create high transaction costs.
UEAPME, the European SME employers’ organisation welcomed the new guidelines. Nevertheless, it regrets that the guidelines only focus on risk innovative and fast-growing SMEs. “We hope that Member States will now make full use of the new guidelines to encourage risk capital investments and close the equity gap”, Gerhard Huemer, Director for Economic and Fiscal Policy,  added.

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