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European Community Investment Partners (ECIP)

Created in 1988, ECIP (European Community Investment Partners) and ended in 1999, was a financial instrument to facilitate the creation of joint ventures between Community enterprises and those in the developing countries of Latin America, Asia, North Africa and (more recently) South Africa. ECIP operated along similar principles as other European Commission programmes such as the Joint Venture Programme (JOP) under Phare - Tacis , or such as the Joint European Ventures (JEV) programme under the Growth & Employment Initiative .

ECIP provided assistance at various stages of the creation of an enterprise. It had 4 facilities, 3 of which were of direct interest to individual companies:

  • Pre-investment activities such as partner identification, feasibility studies, market studies and business plans. Up to 50% of the total cost (maximum euro 250,000) provided as an interest-free advance which can be converted into a grant (if the project does not go ahead) or loan or equity capital (if it does).

  • Financing capital requirements as loan and/or equity capital up to euro 1 million, with a maximum holding of 20%.

  • Training and management assistance in the form of an interest-free loan. Up to 50% of the total cost provided (maximum euro 250,000).

In order to obtain funding, the joint enterprise had to include at least one Community partner and one from the country concerned. Large multinational companies were expressly excluded.

The overall focus of ECIP was very much on SMEs. All the Facility One actions (grants for identification of projects and partners) were by their nature orientated towards SMEs. As regards Facilities Two, Three and Four, 84% of actions in terms of the number of projects approved have had SMEs as beneficiaries.

Innovative SMEs willing to benefit from the ECIP Programme had to contact directly the financial intermediaries which were selected by the European Commission services or they can first seek guidance on innovation financing sources and how to prepare for them from the Gate2Growth Initiative .

  List of Financial Institutions having participated in the ECIP Programme

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