Innovative financial instruments to support energy.. (FireMed)
Innovative financial instruments to support energy sector SMEs in Med area
Energy sector SMEs in MED area are considered a strategical development asset for the Area because of their strong link with natural resources available(from sun to wind through water) and the increasing demand of energy coming from the industrial sectors and human communities. The link between energy sectors SMEs and sustainable development is clear to all Actors working for the economic development of MED countries and the alignment of National Energy Plans to the EU 2020 Energy Plan is ongoing. Moreover, during past years, the sectors have been fully supported both by EU and National funds (mainly through the grant instrument) and many incentives (both related to the implementation of innovative technology processes and the production of RES) triggered the birth of energy saving and energy efficiency SMEs and clusters in many areas together with companies in charge to provide energy services(ESCO) both to entreprise and citizens. According to this context, Public(EU and National/Regional Authorities) and Private investors (mainly venture capital, business angels network and Banks) have approached the sectors, even if with generic risk evaluation instruments. Generally speaking, in fact, the market of capitals and subsidies for the sector is well developed in Europe (but less in South Europe). On the other side, it was clear to all investors that the energy sector development capacity is strictly related to their dependence on regulation and subsidies by EU, National and local institution, and this variable is consider a limit for the decisions to be taken. In fact, this scenario, particularly in France, Spain, Italy and Greek, is now changing due to the financial crisis and the following cut of public funds and availability of money for investments. Due to this situation, policy makers and investors are forced to stop or drastically reduce investments and incentives. According to this short state of the art analysis, FIREMED project intends to approach both Local Development Plans and Operators in charge to assist energy sector SMEs. For the former, the Project is intending to elaborate innovative model of funding instruments to be introduced in their Local Development Plans according to the Innovative Financial Instruments that are going to be set up at EU Level for the Programme Period 2014-2020. For the latter, FIREMED Project intends to stimulate both a high level of attention, thanks to dedicated services and instruments, and an increased attitude to invest in the sectors, thanks to a more detailed knolwedge of the energy sectors capacities and potentialities. The Financial schemes developed by the Project and trasferred through feasibilities studies into development plans and the services implemented dedicated both to financial operators and energy sectors SMEs will constitute an overall model elaborated by the FIREMED partnership to support the development of entrepreneurship in MED Area combining private and public efforts. Achievements: Best practice: The web platform Support to finance.euSupport to finance platform gathered together three European funded projects which have the common objectives of facilitating the access of European small and medium enterprises both to public and private financial resources. More than 30 among public and private European Institutions worked together in order to create an useful online platform both for companies and financial operators. The three European projects involved in this challenge was EVLIA, FIDIAS and FIREMED of three different European Programs, respectively of South East Program, Alpine Space Program and INTERREG MED Program.The FIREMED area of the Support to finance platform offers companies a set of innovative financial services to access funds including the chance to set up individual meetings with private investors. It also hosts a database of public and private financial operators and a set of innovative financial instruments increasing the possibilities to companies to obtain funding. With the FIREMED services hosted in the platform, companies can develop their technical skills in writing business plans and can have at their disposal a simple interactive online service to outline the numerous EU financing possibilities related to the sector of eco-innovation and energy sector. FIREMED services also supports investors and public financial operators in dealing with companies energy projects providing them with an easy assessment questionnaire for selecting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that request financing.Best practice: the relationship with financial operators in Veneto areaFIREMED project met a large number of local financial operators among banks, local and regional public institutions and business representatives in order to stimulate their participation in giving requirements and suggestions for implementing financial instruments and financial services that would help local SMEs in accessing credit.Within FIREMED project, at the end of January 2015, Veneto Region had the opportunity to present to public entities the new financial engineering measures to support green businesses in regional planning 2014-2020 and the Chamber of Commerce of Venice to illustrate the financial services addressed to SMEs that would meet the financial operators’ expectations. Moreover, still at the end of January 2015, the Chamber of Commerce of Venice set a working table with fourteen Veneto Credit Institutions in order to strengthen the relationship with Banks and to maintain a lasting cooperation.
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