Access to finance04 November 2009
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 10 July 2012
A system of guarantee funds and loan funds exists in Poland. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) also fulfills an important role implementing operational programmes and is an element of support for enterprises carrying out innovative ventures.
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) plays an important role in the implementation of operational programmes and the provision of support for innovative businesses in the form of loans and guarantees:
Loan funds are the entities that offer loans to finance investment projects and business activities. They also offer combined investment and working capital loans, and support to start up a business within the region where a given fund operates.
The funds supported by PARP are either non-profit organisations or organisations that allocate profit for statutory objectives related to the development of enterprise, which comply with the statutory objectives of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.
Loans are granted to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that cannot obtain traditional bank finance or have limited access to it. The loan funds also support the development of local and regional enterprises through increasing competitiveness and innovation.
The funds have an organisational standard and a standard on the provision of loan services. They operate based on the regulations on loans and adhere to professional ethics.
Loans may be granted to businesses that:
- meet the criteria of a small or medium-sized enterprise,
- have registered offices and conduct business within the area in which the fund operates,
- have a clearly defined aim for which the loan will be used and have a well-prepared strategy,
- pay their liabilities to the State Treasury on time,
- are not involved in industrial activity defined as harmful to the environment or widely regarded as unethical.
Loans from loan funds can be used to start, run and develop a business, including:
- financing investments,
- implementing new technologies,
- purchasing machines and other devices,
- extending, adapting or modernising production, retail or service sites,
- purchasing materials required to carry out a business venture,
- financing studies, licences, expert opinions, etc.
Conditions for granting loans:
- loans granted have favourable interest rates,
- there is a 3% commission payable on the loan amount,
- the maximum loan amount is between PLN 120 000 to 500 000 depending on the fund,
- the maximum loan repayment period is from 36 to 60 months depending on the fund, with a possibility to apply for a grace period of up to 6 months to repay capital,
- the borrower must put up approximately 20% for the investment project financed from the loan,
- loan repayments must be secured by a promissory note, and, in some cases, also by another, individually agreed form. This includes guarantees by guarantee funds, guarantees by third parties, mortgages, lien and the assignment of receivables from agreements. The types of security can be combined, loans are granted after analysing the repayment risk and establishing appropriate security for repayment of the loan,
- loans are not granted to enterprises in difficulty, as defined by Community Guidelines on State Aid for Rescuing and Restructuring Firms in Difficulty.
- The main advantage of loan funds is that they approach applicants individually and offer a possibility of obtaining financing at an early stage of a company's development.
Guarantee funds are entities that give credit guarantees. Guarantee funds are supported by PARP, they are either non-profit organisations or organisations that allocate profit for statutory objectives related to the development of enterprise.
SMEs that apply for a credit or loan or take part in a tender (bid bond) and do not have sufficient security for the related liability can apply for a Guarantee from a fund. Guarantees are also granted to start-ups.
In so doing, the FPK supports the development of local and regional enterprise through increasing the competitiveness and innovation of businesses.
The funds have an organisational standard and a standard on the provision of financial services, i.e. giving guarantees. They operate on the basis of regulations on guarantees, and comply with standards of professional ethics. Guarantees can be granted to businesses that:
- meet the criteria for a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise,
- submit a credit or loan application to a mutual financial institution with which a given guarantee fund has a cooperation agreement,
- are considered creditworthy.
Conditions for granting guarantees:
- guarantees are given for a period of time, equal to the credit period and lasts until the liability is repaid,
- up to 3.5% commission on the amount of the liability guaranteed is taken. The commission usually depends on the period for which a credit or loan agreement is concluded,
- individual guarantees are granted to a maximum of 80% of the amount of the credit or loan capital (excluding interest and additional charges), any claims arising from the performance of guarantor obligations are secured by promissory note and, where necessary, additional collateral,
- guarantees are granted after a risk analysis is carried out on the likelihood of repayment,
- guarantees are not granted to enterprises in difficulty, as defined by Community Guidelines on State Aid for Rescuing and Restructuring Firms in Difficulty.
Seed capital funds
SMEs can also apply for seed capital funds, as supported by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP).
Seed capital funds are venture capital funds investing in companies with innovative projects, which enable companies to achieve sustainable and dynamic growth and an increase in their market value.
Seed capital funds are an appropriate source of finance for young or newly established companies, which cannot obtain a bank loan due to the lack of security or a credit history and are also unable to obtain funds from the stock market, due to the relatively small capital requirement.
Seed capital funds offer long-term capital (usually 3 to 7 years) without ongoing payment of interest. It enables young, fast growing and capital-intensive companies to maintain financial liquidity (particularly companies involved in new technology).
Funds can make investments in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that are in the early phase of their development, for instance, companies developing a new product or service, or selling this product or service on a small scale, and as a result not yet making a profit. Funds carry out their investments mainly by taking shares or stocks in the companies they finance. The maximum investment is the equivalent of EUR 1 million in PLN.
Innovative micro, small and medium-sized enterprises can apply to the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development for investment loans of a maximum of 75% of eligible expenditure, but not exceeding PLN 2 million.
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development runs an information point that provides businesses with information on various loan options available and how to apply for subsidies.
Access to EU funds
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development assistance comprises both state funding and money from the EU structural funds. Applications for assistance are subject to formal evaluation.
During the 2007-2013 programming period, Poland will receive EUR 67.3 billion from the EU structural funds for the financing of the following operational programmes:
- Infrastructure and Environment;
- Rural Development;
- Human Resources;
- Innovative Economy;
- European Territorial Cooperation;
- Development of Eastern Poland;
- Sustainable Development of the Fisheries Sector and Coastal Fisheries;
- regional operational programmes.
The main aim of the structural funds in Poland is to help the economy grow and become more competitive through knowledge and entrepreneurship in order to achieve growth in employment and also social, economic and territorial cohesion.
Business support organisations can advise businesses on how to find financing.
Source: Your Europe