The EU and Business in Sweden
Access to financing is vital for any business that is getting off the ground, exploring a new product or service, or wishing to expand and grow. Businesses in Sweden are able to access funding and other financing tools directly and indirectly from the European Union (EU). Direct funding is available through a competitive grants programme delivered by the European Commission and its executive agencies. A more substantial source of financing is indirect EU funding. Indirect funding is available in the form of loans, guarantees, equity, venture capital and other financing options through the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund, and various intermediaries operating in Sweden.
Funding for businesses provided directly by the EU is available through grants. Grants are available from European Commission and its executive agencies. Grants may only be used to help ensure the financial viability of a project and help a business make a profit. Only new projects that support EU policy objectives are eligible, such as projects related to innovation, research, training and the environment. To receive a grant, businesses must participate in a competitive process. Calls for proposals are posted online by the European Commission at www.ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/grants_en.htm
Indirect EU funding for businesses is provided by national and local intermediaries in Sweden. Indirect funding may be provided through one of the European Union's structural funds, including the European Regional Development Fund. In these cases, programmes are jointly funded by Sweden and the European Union. For example, structural funds are supporting start-up and early stage businesses in forest, energy, tourism and food sectors through equity and venture capital financing of up to SEK 20 million from Mittkapital (www.mitthapital.eu). Equity and venture capital is also available to start-up and early stage business in Sweden with the Sydsvensk Entreprenörfond (www.ssefond.se), Almi Invest (www.almiinvest.se), SamiInvest (www.samiinvest.se), and Partner Iinvest Norr (www.partnerinvestnorr.se),
Funding and financing for Swedish business are also available through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and supported by EU structural funds. The CIP is designed to improve access to financing for small and medium sized businesses, especially where there are market gaps. Financing is available to businesses from a variety of financial intermediaries in Sweden that are supported by the CIP and EU structural funds, including NorthCap Partners (www.northcappartners.conm) and Conor Venture Partners (www.conor.vc).
Grants to Swedish businesses are also available through the Eurostars Joint Programme (www.eurostars-eureka.eu). Small and medium sized businesses with less than 250 employees are eligible for grants of up to SEK 5 million or 50 percent of projects costs. Larger companies, research organisations and other organisations are also eligible for grants with a maximum support of SEK 5 million. Grants support research and development projects with at least one other Eurostars member country.
From 2014, the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020) brings together funding for research and innovation. Many supports for businesses will be guided by this framework. Funding sources consolidated under Horizon 2020 include supports provided through Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, CIP, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
European Investment Bank Group
The European Investment Bank Group (www.eib.org) and its financing partners in Sweden provide businesses with a range of financing options. The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides loans and guarantees of up to €7.5 million through its Risk Sharing Finance Facility, which targets mid-sized companies. EIB financing products are more affordable when compared to other traditional sources of financing, making it easier to access and manage financing. Typically, EIB financing is available for companies to invest in research and development. Loans, guarantees, equity and venture capital backed by the EIB are also available from financial intermediaries in Sweden, such as Rabobank (www.rabobank.com).
Part of the EIB, the European Investment Fund is available from partner financial institutions and banks in Sweden. To be eligible for financing, a business must have less than 250 employers. The business must also have an annual turnover of less than €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of under €43 million. Banking and financial intermediaries in Sweden target funding to a number of high-potential sectors, including information technology, cleantech, and life sciences. Funding is available to start-up firms and early stage businesses, as well companies that are in development stages or growing their business. A listing of local and national financial intermediaries in Sweden is available at www.europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance.
Learn More about EU Funding for Businesses
The Enterprise Europe Network (een.ec.europea.eu) provides advice and support business across the EU, including those based in Sweden. This free service offers information on EU related issues, including procurement and financing sources. The Enterprise Europe Network also helps business make sense of EU programmes, regulations and policies. Branches in Sweden are found in Stockholm, Malmo, Gothenburg, Östersund, and other communities across the country.