The European Commission has launched, within the 1989-1993 SPRINT programme for innovation and technology transfer, the Technology Performance Financing scheme (TPF) to promote the introduction of new technology while reducing both the perceived and real risks involved in this kind of innovation. TPF aims to strengthen the capacity of technology suppliers and to improve the competitive position of companies introducing innovative equipment or processes. To this end, Technology Performance Financing encourages financial institutions to advance the funds needed to acquire new technology or services, receiving payment in function of the observed results. The European Commission supports the scheme directly by underwriting a proportion of the risk in each case. A number of banks and financial institutions in EC Member States have already signed agreements to invest in a fixed number of projects during 1993 and 1994. Other institutions are expressing interest in participation. Similar to "performance contracting" schemes widely used in the USA by energy-intensive companies investing in energy saving technologies, TPF now extends this method of financing to a larger range of industries in which companies are reluctant to take on new processes. Typically, the financial institution will advance between ECU 40,000 and 200,000 and will be paid back by the technology purchaser in several instalments over a period of 2 to 3 years. Funding under the TPF scheme is available to traditional industries considering the incorporation of new processes into their plants or systems, and also to high technology companies which have developed new techniques but are finding resistance from prospective clients. To qualify for the TPF scheme, both the recipient and the supplier must be EC-based firms and at least one of the two should be an small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) as defined by the European Investment Bank.