The European Investment Fund (EIF) and European Commission are launching a new pilot guarantee facility to improve access to finance for individuals and organisations looking to invest in skills and education. The EUR 50 million pilot scheme will support financing for students and learners, enterprises investing in the upskilling of their employees, and organisations supplying education and training.
The Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot (S&E Pilot) is a new debt financing initiative dedicated to stimulating investments in education, training and skills – as part of the solution to get more people into jobs and to respond to the European economy's changing needs. This initiative is particularly relevant in the difficult economic situation European citizens and enterprises are facing currently due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will support companies and students during, and after, the crisis, to ensure that Europe can develop and stay at the helm of global technological developments, drive its knowledge economy forward and accelerate its economic recovery.
In its pilot phase, the S&E Pilot will provide an EU guarantee of up to €50 million backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), triggering debt financing for skills and education projects in Europe, with the aim of mobilising more than €200 million in total financing. Interested financing institutions or providers of education and training can apply to become financial intermediaries and participate in the scheme by responding to the open Call for Expressions of Interest published by the EIF. The selection of financial intermediaries is managed by the EIF.
The EIF will provide a free-of-charge first-loss capped guarantee (or counter-guarantee) to selected financial intermediaries building up new portfolios of debt financing for students and businesses. Eligible students and businesses will be able to access different types of finance (e.g. loans, deferred payments, income-linked loans, etc.) through dedicated financial intermediaries, such as financing institutions, universities, and vocational training centres, guaranteed by the EU. Ultimately, thanks to the guarantee, final beneficiaries will be able to access finance more easily and at better terms.
The initiative will be piloted in 2020 with the objective of becoming a mainstream European financial instrument after 2020, within the next EU multiannual financial framework (2021 – 2027). Capacity building support will also be provided by the European Investment Advisory Hub to help to promote the Pilot.
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