Ljubljana, 21 September (STA) - After providing support for 522 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with almost EUR 100m worth of funds on favourable terms in the first half of 2010, the Slovenian Enterprise Fund is launching a new call for applications for EUR 34m of bank loan guarantees this week.
The additional funds have been provided together with the Economy Ministry, Enterprise Fund director Maja Tomanic Vidovic said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The guarantees include a EUR 4.7m interest rate subsidy so that all those eligible for a loan guarantee will have a lower interest rate, she stressed, adding that it stands at a six-month Euribor rate plus 0.5% until the end of the year.
According to Tomanic Vidovic, the guarantees will come in very handy to all SMEs that have suffered damages in the major floods that hit Slovenia this weekend.
The fund's subsidies in 2010 are lower than in 2009 and are limited to startup subsidies, she noted, explaining that 154 new companies have been granted a startup subsidy this year, 89 of which were established less than a year ago.
Tomanic Vidovic stressed that startup subsidies give very good results, but that the EUR 4m available are not sufficient for all companies.
For the first time this year, the fund published a call for applications for equity financing for venture capital firms, through which EUR 20.5m have so far been provided for four companies, the fund director said.
She added that the companies that get supported by the fund are increasing their added value per employee and the number of their employees.
Added value per employee rises on average by 23% to EUR 30,400 in three years after the investment - the Slovenian average is EUR 28,400 - and the number of employees increase by 3.4 on average. The supported companies have employed 2,871 new people since 2003.