SMEs across a number of different economic sectors have undertaken new investment in 96 projects worth more than €29 million, with the support of the Malta Development Bank’s Loan Guarantee Scheme for SMEs. This investment is intermediated through Bank of Valletta, implementing partner of the SME Invest scheme.
These figures, covering the period since the launch of the scheme in May 2019, reflect the proactive approach of local businesses, which took it upon themselves to delve into new projects in the midst of the challenging scenario posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The average sanctioned loan size under this financial product stood at around €305,000. The sanctioned projects include development of childcare centres, the refurbishment of retail outlets, including hotels and upgrading of the tourist product, renovation of factories and investment in health-related projects. Through the SME Invest scheme, the MDB targets those businesses planning new capital investment projects by providing easier access to finance through reduced collateral requirements and finance costs. Enterprises may seek bank financing up to a maximum of €750,000, at attractive interest rates and reduced collateral obligations due to the 80% guarantee provided by the MDB under the Scheme.
This enables enhanced access to investment financing, as these loans are both affordable and accessible, even for those SMEs that may have limited assets that can be collateralised.
Commenting on this strong take-up, the Bank’s Chairman, Prof Josef Bonnici said: “It is truly encouraging for the Bank to be able to support businesses in not only surviving through the current situation but actually to grow and innovate their product and service offering.
The MDB is mindful that small and medium sized enterprises are more susceptible to different kind of risks and have been more adversely impacted by the pandemic. Since its inception, the MDB has prioritised support to SMEs and will continue to do so in the upcoming recovery phase”.