European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a risk financer for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe. The EIF is part of the EIB Group. The other shareholders of the EIF are the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and a variety of banks and financial institutions.

The main objectives of the EIF are:

  • To foster the EU objectives, especially in the field of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, employment, and regional development.
  • To foster an appropriate return for their shareholders achieved through a commercial pricing policy and a balance of fee and risk-based income.

To achieve these objectives, the EIF invests in venture capital and growth funds that support SMEs through equity-based financing. They cooperate with a wide range of financial intermediaries such as banks, leasing companies, guarantee funds, mutual guarantee institutions, promotional banks or any other institution providing financing to SMEs, or guarantees for SME financing.

What is the relevance for Circular Cities?

The EIF focusses on supporting SMEs. SMEs play a very important role in the transition to a circular economy in cities. Besides the fact that most of them are located in urban areas, they often develop promising new technologies and business models that are required for the circular transition. By providing equity and debt products to SMEs, the EIF plays an important role in achieving circularity in cities.

How to apply?

SMEs looking for financing:
The EIF does not invest in SMEs directly. They invest in fund management companies and offer guarantees and other products to financial intermediaries who extend loans and equity investments to SMEs who meet the eligibility and credit risk requirements.

An overview of all private equity and venture capital funds in which the EIF invests is provided here external link icon. An overview of financial intermediaries that offer debt and loans supported by the EIF in your country is provided here external link icon.

Fund management companies (equity, venture capital):
Venture capital and growth funds can apply to manage equity investments on behalf of the EIF, allocating equity to eligible initiatives. To become a fund manager for the EIF, you can submit an investment proposal. You can find more information on how to do this here external link icon.