The Growth & Employment Initiative of the European Commission
The European Commission presented Growth & Employment at the initiative of Yves-Thibault de SILGUY, Commissioner responsible for economic, monetary and financial affairs, Christos PAPOUTSIS, Commissioner responsible for small business and Edith CRESSON, Commissioner responsible for research and innovation. The objective is to help unlock the job-creating potential of fast-growing small businesses and in particular those SMEs which exploit advances in technology.
The special European Council on employment of 21 November 1997 gave political approval to proposals on these lines following an initiative by the European Parliament to make the necessary resources available in the European Union (EU) budget. In total, Euro 420 million should be available for these schemes over the period 1998-2000.
The Growth & Employment Initiative is made up of three complementary programmes designed to stimulate job creation : a risk capital scheme for companies in the early stages of their development (
), financial support for cross-border joint ventures between SMEs in different Member States (
Joint European Ventures
(JEV)) and a loan guarantee scheme to improve the availability of loans for small or newly-established SMEs (
SME Guarantee Facility
For the purposes of these schemes, an SME will be defined as an independent enterprise with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding Euro 40 million or annual balance sheet total not exceeding Euro 27 million. (This is the definition used in the annex to Commission recommendation 96/280/EC). The guarantee scheme will however be concentrated on enterprises with up to 100 employees.
Innovative SMEs willing to benefit from the Growth & Employment Initiative will have to contact directly the financial intermediaries which are selected for each of three programmes or they can first seek guidance on innovation financing sources and how to prepare for them from the
List of Financial Institutions participating in the JEV Programme
List of Financial Institutions participating in the SME Guarantee Programme
List of Venture Capital funds participating in the ETF Start-up Facility