The 3rd exchange of experience event in the 1-year add-on phase of the ATM for SMEs project was organized physically by PP6 – Region of Sardinia between 22-23 June 2022.

The topic of the meeting was: promoting financial inclusion by creating favourable loan conditions and accessible guarantees. The good initiatives which were presented and discussed, all contained elements which contributed to the better financial inclusion of the micro entrepreneurs.

Good initiatives collected by the partners, and the lessons learnt for the whole partnership:

LP - Fostering resiliency & Targeted help to sectors – Rural microfinance product
The  new microfinance product by FEA is offering targeted help to a sector in which small enterprises are hardly credit worthy for commercial banks. In order to finance their technological development, FEA introduced a new credit product with favourable conditions and easy accessibility.
Lessons learnt for all partners: methodology for assessing the needs of the clients and finding the most vulnerable groups / the ones in need of specific help.

PP2 - EDIOP - 8.8.1-17 programme for the promotion of employment
The loan programme is targeting at micro companies or social MSMEs, and is offering loan products to support their employment development plans. The conditions are very favourable (interest rate 0%, no other fees may be charged to applicants) so that the smallest enterprises can also access it. The total budget is 9,7 million EUR and is financed by ERDF.
Lessons learnt for all partners: This loan product is innovative in the way that targeting the smallest companies, and offering relatively small amounts of loans which can finance employment projects and also some investment. The entry conditions are also very favourable compared to previous constructions which were targeting bigger companies.

PP3 – Local calls and initiatives supporting restructuration
The local government of Burgos and the regional government of Castilla y Leon are offering grants, tax reduction and microcredit facility for self-employed and companies located within their boundaries. The framework of these annual calls were restructured so that the smallest companies can apply (non-refundable grants, tax subsidies).
Lessons learnt for all partners: good example how to harmonize the local support schemes and combine non-refundable grants with microcredit.

PP4 – Fostering resiliency – New Start Aid
The key element in the survival of MSMEs is adapting to the changes with flexibility and finding new solutions. The New-Start-Aid Plus programme offered by the State of Hessen provides financial support to solo self-employed persons in all sectors of the economy who suffered high turnover losses due to the Corona crisis, but had only low fixed operating costs. Experiences show that the companies which successfully survived, adapted to the new customer needs and reshaped their activities.
Lessons learnt for all partners: During the recovery from the crisis, it was more important to invest in initiatives which have the potential to build trust between individual businesses and public institutions.

PP6 - Sardinia Enterprises Emergency Fund
This measure, adopted by Sardinia Region in 2020 and dedicated to support the regional economy during the Covid-19 crisis, offers favourable mid-term and long-term loans for financial liquidity. The beneficiaries are regional MSME's and BE's operating in manufacturing, services, tourism (40%) and suffering for the COVID emergency.
Lessons learnt for all partners: Good example how to reshape existing policy documents and adapt quickly to the needs of enterprises. The programme was also successful - 83% of the dedicated budget was disbursed by Feb 2022.

PP7 - COVID-19 Working Capital Loan
This new product, funded by ERDF, provides additional liquidity to MSMEs with reduced interest rates and reduced the level of required collateral so that also the smallest companies can benefit from it.
Lessons learnt for all partners: This measure was very successful in terms of the number of applications and loan contracts. With the simplified conditions, also the companies in sector severely affected could apply.

PP9 - Liquidity Loan to provide liquidity financing in view of the negative consequences resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak
The “Świętokrzyskie Consortium of Loan Funds” provided loans to support projects carried out by SMEs in the region in order to provide liquidity financing in the context of the negative consequences caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The total amount of funding – 2.2M EUR – was disbursed in 4 stages.
Lessons learnt for all partners: Good example of regional cooperation and harmonizing the SME support landscape - the Świętokrzyskie Consortium of Loan Funds has been established in order to implement the liquidity loan measures, consisting of 5 local loan funds