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Financial assistance for innovative SMEs

A Council Decision on the Growth and Employment initiative, a series of measures of financial assistance for innovating and job creating SMEs, was formally adopted at the ECOFIN Council on 19 May 1998. This Decision will establish a programme of financial assistance for innova...
A Council Decision on the Growth and Employment initiative, a series of measures of financial assistance for innovating and job creating SMEs, was formally adopted at the ECOFIN Council on 19 May 1998. This Decision will establish a programme of financial assistance for innovative SMEs, called for by the Amsterdam European Council in June 1997. It provides the legal base for spending funds already allocated for 1998 by the European Parliament and Council for such activities, and is intended to have a positive impact on job creation.

The scheme comprises three complementary parts:

- The European Technology Facility (ETF) Start-up, a risk capital facility managed by the European Investment Fund;
- The Joint European Venture (JEV), which will provide financial contributions to support the creation of transnational joint ventures within the EU to be managed by the Commission;
- The SME Guarantee Facility, to be managed by the European Investment Fund, which aims to increase the availability of loans to small or newly established firms.

A total budget of ECU 450 million will be allocated to the scheme for a period of three years (1998-2000), an increase of ECU 30 million over the budget proposed by the Commission. The Decision contains indicative outlines for the implementation of each of the three facilities.

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