The CCS GF offers improved access to finance for SMEs and small public enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors
CCS GF is the very first EU financial instrument specifically targeting the cultural and creative sectors; it utilises EU budgetary resources, namely the Creative Europe Programme and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), and is managed by the EIF. The CCS GF was developed in order to tackle a very clear financing gap that SMEs operating in the cultural and creative sectors are facing. It takes the form of a portfolio capped guarantee or counter-guarantee with a 70% guarantee rate and up to 25% cap rate. The guarantee is provided free of charge to financial intermediaries like banks and guarantee institutions, absorbing part of the risk that they take so that they are in a better position to provide EU-backed loans to businesses active in the cultural and creative sectors. Ultimately, this improves access to debt finance for these businesses.
The CCS GF covers activities including the development, creation, production, dissemination and preservation of goods and services that embody cultural, artistic or other creative expressions, as well as related functions such as education or management. The CCS GF is open to financial institutions established in any EU Member State or the European Economic Area that respond successfully to requirements of the open call for expression of interest, available on the EIF’s website. The same geographical coverage applies for the final beneficiaries of the supported loan financing.
EU budgetary allocation of EUR 251m is expected to support more than EUR 2bn of financing for European SMEs and small public enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors.
Evidence of success
The EIF has managed to sign 15 agreements with 14 financial intermediaries, making the CCS GF available in 11 participating countries. Almost EUR 1.6bn worth of financing has been made available and 1547 CCS ventures across 17 countries have been supported to date. At the same time, the capacity building element of the CCS GF has been warmly welcomed by the financial intermediaries which have reported a positive impact on their financing activity for the cultural and creative sectors.
Actors across the cultural and creative sectors’ financing chain are not fully acquainted with the loan financing path, particularly depending on the varying level of maturity encountered in each of the different sub-sectors. The CCS GF with its two-fold support plays a crucial role.
Potential for learning or transfer
CCS GF specifically targets the cultural and creative sectors, as it was realised by the European Commission that facilities of a more general SME financing scope were not sufficiently covering the creative and cultural SMEs and a more targeted intervention was needed. The Guarantee Facility allows businesses to access loans more easily since financial intermediaries are more willing to extend the financing for CCS projects and are better trained to understand and address their specificities. Since the facility offers the possibility to build diversified and risk-mitigated portfolios of loans to financial intermediaries wishing to engage with CCS initiatives, a set of eligibility criteria and instructions on how to apply to become a financial intermediary was created. Likewise, it is important to foster a mutual understanding of the CCS among CCS companies and financial intermediaries, this is where a local or regional authority can intervene and potentially create something similar.
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