ECONOMY

SME fund starts in a few weeks

The Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises will start operating in the next few weeks and in expected to channel funds of 1 billion euros into the market by the end of 2013, according to European Investment Bank Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris.

EIB and the Greek government signed on Wednesday a contract to that end, implementing the initiative announced by the European Commission for giving support to countries applying stability programs. Brussels has given its approval for the use of resources from the Structural Funds of the European Union.

The new fund will receive 500 million euros that had been committed to the National Strategic Reference Framework from the Structural Funds and is now being released in order to support small and medium-sized enterprises that cannot get funding through the credit system.

Development Minister Anna Diamantopoulou called on ?banks and bankers to give priority to this program and to extend credit to SMEs for the funds to be disbursed.?