The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Israel's Bank Leumi, along with LeumiTech, the high-tech banking arm of Leumi, have signed an agreement to increase lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as small mid-caps under 'InnovFin - EU finance for innovators', an initiative supported by the European Commission.
The new agreement allows Bank Leumi to provide finance amounting to USD 100 million (EUR 93 million) to innovative companies in Israel with the support of a guarantee provided by the EIF and backed under 'Horizon 2020', the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. This is the first InnovFin SME guarantee signature in Israel, enabling Leumi, Israel's leading innovative finance provider, to offer innovative companies additional financing at favourable conditions.
Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive: "I am pleased to be signing the first InnovFin SME Guarantee agreement with Bank Leumi for the benefit of innovative companies. Bank Leumi is a key player in the innovation arena and we are strongly convinced that together we can provide support to innovative and growing businesses in need of finance."
Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, Bank Leumi CEO: "Taking part in the flagship program for research and innovation in the European Union is another step further in our activities to expand funding for Israeli high-tech while allowing for better financing terms. It is only natural that a bank which specializes in the Israeli high-tech industry is also the first Israeli bank to be a part of this unique program". Russak-Aminoach also added that she sees Leumi's participation in the program as the beginning of a wider collaboration with EIF in future programs."
Yifat Oron, LeumiTech CEO: "It's common knowledge that Israel is THE 'Start-Up Nation' and spearheads innovation. The agreement signed today will enable LeumiTech to expand even further its support to the high-tech industry and offer companies additional products specifically tailored to the industry's unique character. I am positive that many high-tech firms in Israel could gain great additional value by receiving funding via the program, on top of the usage of LeumiTech's wide range of existing financial products."
LeumiTech, the high-tech banking arm of the Group, was founded in 2014 with the main goal of promoting financing and development in the Israeli high-tech industry. Within a short period of time LeumiTech has established itself as the financial home for Israeli high-tech, by providing companies with a comprehensive package of services, including: credit and financing, investments and partnerships, unique products and services tailored to the industry and an innovative global platform for managing their international financial operations. Out of hundreds of start-ups established in Israel in 2015, over 60% chose to work with LeumiTech.