Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation Costas Fotakis spoke on Friday of “tangible progress” in talks with local banks regarding the creation of a new fund to support innovative Greek enterprises and scientific research, primarily backed by the European Investment Bank.
Speaking in Iraklio on Crete, Fotakis said that the government will have reached an agreement by Wednesday or Thursday for the participation of local lenders in the planned “Innovative Business Fund” that is expected to collect some 200-300 million euros for 2016 and 2017. It will be 75 percent funded by the EIB, with the rest covered by the Public Investments Program and the country’s credit sector.
Its aim will be to support capacity building for researchers, help with business plans, as it will offer grants for research and postdoctoral projects, participate in companies via equities, and provide loans at a very low interest rate, which Fotakis put at 2.5-3 percent against the usual rate of 8-9 percent.
“We are also working to ensure the fund will have a management that will keep any government at arm’s length, to avoid interference,” Fotakis, also the head of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), stated.