Google to invest more than €20m in SMEs across the EU

17 Feb 2021375 Views

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The tech giant’s investment comprises around €12m for small businesses and €8m for life sciences companies.

SMEs and life sciences companies in the EU will have the opportunity to gain access to €20.5m in Google-backed funding.

The financing, advised by the European Investment Fund (EIF), will be split into two fund-of-funds. €12.3m will go towards a loan fund-of-funds for small businesses and €8.2m will go into a life sciences venture capital fund-of-funds.

Through the loan fund-of-funds, Google will provide financing to European investment managers who will in turn offer loans to SMEs that have trouble accessing bank financing, particularly in the current crisis. This investment aims to support more than 1,000 businesses.

The life sciences investment will target businesses operating in various fields across the industry, ranging from therapeutics and medical technologies to digital health and healthcare. This financing aims to support around 200 life sciences companies, many of which are directly involved in developing solutions to the Covid-19 crisis.

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“In these difficult times, it is great to see corporate investors with similar goals to our own, contributing to improving access to finance to SMEs,” EIF chief executive Alain Godard said.

“Google is the first corporate to invest in these funds, and we look forward to welcoming other corporates and investors so that we can strengthen the ecosystem to support even more small companies with financing.”

In August last year, Google announced plans to help support 60,000 SMEs in Ireland affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with a package of tools, supports, partnerships and funding. The Grow with Google scheme was set up to enable businesses to adapt and thrive by learning how to operate online, with access to free tools and training as well as advertising credits and grants for NGOs.

Google EMEA president Matt Brittin said the latest investment is part of an $800m commitment announced last year in response to Covid-19, as well as the company’s ongoing efforts to provide tools and training.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the European economy and we are proud to be part of these funds and join the EIF in their mission to help small businesses access finance and foster innovation in Europe’s life sciences industry.”

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com