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    This week on our start-up cartoon, the energy-saving spotlight is on climate

    Did you think climate change is too big of a problem for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) to help out on? Financing climate action and SMEs are both priorities for the EIB Group, and sometimes the two come together.

    Like when Patrick Schreven founded ORGA bouw in the Netherlands, specializing in bio-based construction. Whether he is building a day-care facility firmly integrated into its natural environment, a dental-care office, a farm or a residential house, he gets his inspiration from nature.

    He also uses sustainable, natural materials and makes sure he reduces his ecological impact to a minimum to make sure that inspiration never runs dry.

    This start-up, ranked amongst the 100 most innovative companies in the country, is certainly doing its not so small or medium bit for the climate, and to get started turned to Qredits, a microfinance institution offering micro-loans backed by the European Investment Fund, part of the EIB Group, under a joint initiative with the European Commission.

    Climate is naturally also quite important for the characters of our very own comic strip “The Brood” here at the European Investment Bank. In the series, the hedgehog, the bear, the rabbit and the wolf illustrate various issues that start-ups face. “The Brood” is produced by Madis Ots, a one-man SME from Estonia. You can read more about the background of the comic here. You’ll also find the first couple of strips behind that link.

    The EIB supports these SMEs through various intermediaries, usually banks or other financial institutions which have offices and teams located close to the SMEs and have a detailed local understanding of their needs. The intermediaries pass on the financial advantage they receive from the EIB to the SMEs. Last year alone, around 300 000 SMEs across Europe, collectively employing about 4.4 million people, benefited from this. 99% of companies in Europe are actually SME-s and 2 out of every 3 people working in Europe work for an SME, so this is not such a small or even medium part of the European economy.

    If you want to understand better their financial challenges, or you just enjoy cartoons, keep coming back here over the next few weeks.