The European Investment Fund and Bpifrance have signed on February 1st a guarantee agreement – the first in France supported under the new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility from the EU’s Creative Europe programme.
The European Union’s support allows Bpifrance to create a new financing product (Prêt Industries Créatives) which will target a portfolio of EUR 30 million of loans to companies over the next two years. More than 200 SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors (including film, theatre, video game production, music and performance, and editorial sectors) are expected to access this new programme which will be available in June this year.
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am delighted that we are signing the first Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility agreement in France, with Bpifrance today. Access to finance is very often limited for companies in the cultural and creative sectors and this cooperation with Bpifrance, a long term partner of EIF, will play a significant role in supporting SMEs in these sectors.”
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, and Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “This agreement is excellent news for cultural and creative SMEs in France. The additional EUR 30 million in financing demonstrates that the Creative Europe programme is effective in helping Europe’s dynamic cultural sector to access financing. This supports creativity, jobs and innovation, and champions Europe’s most unique asset: its pluralistic and vibrant culture.”
Commenting on the operation, Bpifrance Chairman, Nicolas Dufourcq, said: “This new lending program is very good news for businesses in the creative industries whose funding needs are insufficiently covered today. Thanks to the EU guarantee Bpifrance will offer a competitive loan solution and better address the creative sector funding specificities.”
The creative and cultural sectors represent more than 7 million jobs in the EU and account for 4.2% of the EU’s GDP (source). Access to finance can be difficult to obtain for companies active within these sectors, primarily due to the intangible nature of their assets and collateral, the limited size of the market, uncertainty about demand, and also lack of financial intermediary expertise in addressing sector specificities.
The new Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility includes capacity building activities for financial intermediaries, giving them specific expertise on key characteristics of these sectors (e.g. specific business models and credit risk assessment in the sectors). This kind of expertise would be provided by (a) capacity building provider(s) selected by the EIF (e.g. consultancies specialised in the way the cultural and creative sectors work) following an open call for tenders. Such support will be free of charge for financial intermediaries.