The SMEi (Small Medium Sized Enterprises Initiative) in Malta, strives to help local SMEs start and grow their business. Previously, the SME Initiative Fund stood at €15 million, however, after being topped up with €7 million, the initiative fund now stands at €22million. After being leveraged, this ends up being approximately €90 million dedicated for investment of SMEs.
The €7 million was generated through the combination of the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EIB (European Investment Bank) and the Horizon 2020 programme. Aaron Farrugia, the Parliamentary Secretary that announced this significant top up, also said that the allowance of the loans done with the SME Initiative had been more than expected and thus, used up all of the previous budget.
Farrugia, outlined some of the contributions already done by the SMEi. In this he mentioned that such initiative already helped around 500 SMEs. Over 300 of the supported SMEs had less than ten people employed and around 50% were in the first stages of starting their business.
Pier Luigi Gilibert, the European Investment Fund Chief Executive expressed his satisfaction towards this programme. He said that he is very happy with the positive outcome of the SMEi for the local SMEs. €60 million in SME financing were already generated by the two local banks and there is potential for further increases, to support the growth and increase in employment.
Additionally, the Regional Policy European Commissioner, Corina Cretu added, “I congratulate Malta on deciding to increase the available financing under its SME Initiative programme. This is a smart move that will directly benefit Maltese small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs; it will help give them the financial boost they need to turn their ideas into concrete projects or expand beyond their local markets.”