ERDF

COVID-19: the EU and the Brussels-Capital Region support SME financing

Thanks to the support of the ERDF (the European Regional Development Fund), Brusoc has been able to provide financing to Brussels-based SMEs (or VSEs) that find it difficult to obtain loans from the traditional banking organisations for over 15 years. This subsidiary of finance.brussels has developed loans that meet the financing needs of these entrepreneurs, supporting them over time. Micro-credits help very small businesses with local development or by creating jobs. Two years ago, Brusoc also started to provide financing to cooperative or social enterprises.

Several of these companies have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The European Union is keenly aware of this impact. That is why it voted on a regulation to facilitate access to these credits in April. The Brussels ERDF programme has therefore adapted its commitments, to enable Brusoc to offer a flexible response to the needs of these businesses. This includes loans for smaller amounts or over a shorter period, to top up working capital, pay arrears linked to the crisis or replenish stocks. At the same time, Brussels Economy and Employment will provide financing for the analysis and supervision of the many applications that were submitted.

The Brussels ERDF Programme also supports equity investments by Brustart – another subsidiary of finance.brussels – in innovative start-ups, which often require significant investments. As such, Brustart is involved in the development of riskier products. Following the COVID-19 crisis, the regional authorities decided to extend the relatively limited scope of this financial product, to support more businesses in a potentially tense economic context. This initiative aims to encourage the establishment of new businesses, despite the crisis. At the same time, it also hopes to reassure business angels, who are often in favour of such initiatives. In addition, the widening of the scope should make it possible to assist sectors that are particularly relevant in the context of this health crisis (health, logistics, transport, digital, etc.).