Businesses seeking solutions on access to finance in order to invest in, and grow their operations were provided with all relevant information on the benefits of two different financing instruments available for SMEs. The BOV JAIME Financing Package and the Business Enhance ERDF Grant Schemes were presented to SMEs during an information session held at the Malta Chamber.
The event was the latest in a series of collaborations between the Chamber and BOV p.l.c. in a drive to inform SMEs on the availability of financing instruments tailored for their needs.
In his welcome address, Malta Chamber Deputy President Perit David Xuereb encouraged members to consider the two instruments in particular as they are notably SME friendly. Obtaining finance as an SME is often restricted due to the lack of assets, goodwill and reputation on which to rely.
Ms Moira Attard, Director General of the Measures and Support Division presented the six different grant schemes currently offered under Business Enhance, namely the E-commerce Grant Scheme, the SME Growth Grant Scheme, the Start-up Investment Grant Scheme, the SME Diversification and Innovation Grant Scheme, the SME Internationalisation Grant Scheme and the SME Consultancy Services Grant Scheme.
Mr Alfred Buhagiar, Executive SME Finance at BOV explained how the BOV JAIME Financing Package builds on the previously successful JEREMIE Scheme and offers numerous benefits to SMEs seeking finance for investments.
Through collaboration with the European Investment Bank, BOV JAIME offers interest rate reductions of more than 2% as well as a 75% reduction in collateral obligations when compared to typical commercial loans.
Mr Keith Abela Fitzpatrick, Director of Corporate Business Solutions Ltd, shared his experience when applying for the BOV JAIME Financing Package, highlighting the benefits offered by the Package particularly in the case of partnerships. He also highlighted the support offered by BOV officials throughout the process.
Mr Simon Barberi, Director – EU Advisory, EY Malta, described the critical role of an advisor when SMEs look to apply for financing instruments. He explained how advisory services exist in order to bridge the gap in expertise and experience within typical SMEs to ensure greater chances of success in the funding application procedure funding as well as project implementation.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Albert Frendo, Chief Credit Business Development Officer at Bank of Valletta said that across Europe, access to finance remains a hurdle for SMEs. “At Bank of Valletta, we retain our focus on SMEs because they are the backbone of our economy.”
He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to continue to provide financial solutions to the various needs of local entrepreneurs, and referred to the SME Toolkit that had been launched recently by the Bank and the Chamber of Commerce, with the intention of providing the players with the necessary tools to take the first steps in setting up their enterprise.