Development of interregional financial assistance to SMEs and of non-grant instruments
DIFASS aims to unlock potential for innovation, internationalisation and sustainable growth of SMEs in Europe by improving access to finance. Innovative SMEs are often faced with problems when obtaining loans from commercial banks and intermediaries as valuing risks in technology innovation or foreign markets is problematical and as SMEs often cannot provide sufficient collateral. Resulting from the global financial crisis, requirements to obtain a loan have even been further increased (BASEL-III). It becomes more challenging to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy with respect to innovation and the knowledge based economy, when access to finance is one of the main problems of innovative SMEs. Thus, it becomes a field for stronger engagement of the public sector. However, public financial resources are limited and need to be used as effective as possible. The development of interregional financial assistance to SMEs and of non-grant instruments is therefore an important task. Regions participating in the DIFASS project have teamed up to exchange experiences on good practice established in their regions, to develop or improve policies in that field and to support the transnational transfer of selected good practices towards more regions. The partnership consists of regional authorities and development agencies from 20 European regions cooperating in policy development and implementation and operation of revolving financial support instruments and related services. They will be supported by scientific institutes carrying out analysis on background mechanisms of good practice examples and framework conditions for successful transfer into other regions. All participating regions will develop a Policy Implementation Plan based on exchange of experience on good practice to improve own policies tackling access to finance for SMEs, innovation, internationalisation and sustainable growth. DIFASS will support the transnational transfer of two selected good practice examples and the pilot implementation in eight up-taking regions. transfer of knowledge and assistance to pilot implementation will be provided for – an internet based Micro Finance Management tool from Hungary to regions in Estonia, Spain, Italy and the Slovak Republic and – a programme to support internationalisation of SMEs business from Andalusia to regions in Denmark, Italy, Romania and Sweden.