News and Analysis
The Fund of Funds Co-organised and Hosted EIAH Days in Sofia, first such event of the EIB’s Advisory Services outside Luxembourg
On 6 December 2018 in Sofia, Mrs. Svetoslava Georgieva, Executive Director of the Fund of Funds (FoF) opened the Fifth Conference within the 2018 EIAH Days, together with Mr. Simon Barnes, Head of Advisory Services, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Ms. Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, the European Commission (EC). For the first time, the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH), which is run by the EIB in cooperation with the EC, held a meeting outside Luxembourg, and Sofia was selected to host this first event. The EIB invited Bulgaria, and the Fund of Funds in particular, to co-organise the event.
The event was attended by national promotional banks and institutions from a number of EU member states which are partners of the EIB and the EIAH, as well as international financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). A partner in the European Investment Advisory Hub network on the Bulgarian side is the FoF Coordination Unit. Set up as a Bulgarian advisory platform on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between the EIB and Bulgaria, the Unit’s main goal is to assist public and private sector entities by enhancing their access to finance and technical assistance. For two days, participants discussed issues and exchanged experience with investment and project support, financing for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), circular economy projects and smart transport systems.
The main topics of the event included supporting SMEs and facilitating access to EU financing, as well as supporting access to information on financing opportunities. Successful models and best practices from various EU Member States were presented. Mrs. Georgieva presented the activities of the FoF, focusing on the variety of financial products offered by the Fund, more than 45% of which are aimed at promoting the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Executive Director of the Fund of Funds also moderated the panel on financial support for SMEs. The panel focus was on equity investments, and Greece, Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic also shared their experience. The participants agreed that the complex system of the current financial instruments needs to be simplified, including in terms of the implementation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) and state aid legislation. The Fund of Funds told the professional gathering about its ambitious goal to launch a technology transfer fund in 2019.