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Access to finance is still a concern for SMEs

13 March 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 13 March 2019

Accessing finance to fund their projects is still an important concern for Europe’s SMEs.


While largely depending on traditional bank lending, SMEs struggle to finance riskier projects like innovation and investments in non-tangible goods. In its campaign for the European Elections, SMEunited asks for banking regulations to have more proportionate rules for decentralised and retail structures. SMEs also need balanced and fair rules for new and alternative forms of finance. Moreover, SMEunited advocates for financial instruments for SMEs focusing on riskier projects and long-term investments.

"This week, SMEunited continues its campaign for the European Election with a focus on SMEs and finance", announced SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. "Europe has to tackle its competitiveness and productivity gaps, and this can only happen if SMEs are able to finance innovation and investment plans". Unfortunately, banks are hesitant to take on such risks on their balance sheets, although they are the SMEs' main financiers.

"For SMEs, sufficient access to finance is a precondition to allow them to innovate and manage their transition to a digital and greener economy", she explained regarding the need for further action in the area of SME finance.

Therefore, SMEunited calls for further efforts to increase the capacity of banks to finance the real economy and to make banking regulation more proportionate for small decentralised retail banks. "It is not justified to apply the same tight regulations needed for large international banks to small banks with less complex business models," argued Ms Rabmer-Koller. In addition, Europe needs to support the development of alternative forms of finance for SMEs, such as peer-to-peer lending and crowd investments. She therefore underlined that "Europe must develop balanced and fair regulations to allow these markets to grow and make them sustainable."

Finally, Europe should continue its strong support for SME finance within the next Multiannual Financial Framework. "The upcoming InvestEU Programme should give priority to long-term and risk finance to target the most relevant market failures regarding SME finance," suggested Ms Rabmer-Koller.

SMEunited is the association of Crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited represents national cross-sectoral Craft and SME federations, European SME branch organisations and associate members.

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