The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Pohjola Bank (part of Finland’s OP Financial Group), have signed a guarantee agreement to increase lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

The European Commission said in a statement the agreement will allow OP Financial Group to provide 150 million euros of loans over the next 2 years supported by an EIF guarantee under the “EU InnovFin finance for Innovators” initiative with financial backing from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

“These countries have thriving startup scenes and excellent credentials when it comes to innovation. With the support of the Investment Plan, we will help SMEs in the Baltic states grow their businesses and create more jobs locally,” Jyrki Katainen, European Commission VP, said in the statement.

This is the first InnovFin transaction in Finland signed thanks to EFSI support.

“Supporting SME’s to innovate and invest is key to growth in Finland’s economy. We are very pleased to have been selected as the first intermediary bank for EFSI in Finland and are convinced that through our extensive network, innovative SME’s will have better access to financing,” said Reijo Karhinen, CEO of OP Financial Group.

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