SME and MidCap funding program for female professional empowerment, in partnership with the European Investment Bank (NBG Loan for Female Empowerment)

General Description

In the context of improving the financing terms for healthy businesses which support female entrepreneurship and seek to strengthen the presence of women in leading business positions, National Bank of Greece (NBG) has entered into an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to take out a loan for as much as €25,000,000 in the context of the NBG Loan for Female Empowerment, with a view to financing eligible investment and business plans by Greek SMEs and MidCaps.


Aim of the Program and benefits for financed businesses

The Program's aim is to enhance access by SMEs and MidCaps to bank financing on very favorable terms, thus helping to reduce the high cost of financing faced by Greek companies and enabling them to enhance their competitiveness as well as to support businesses that promote female entrepreneurship and the presence of women in leading business positions.


Participation by the EIB

The EIB – a bank of the European Union established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome – participates side-by-side with NBG in the financing of investment programs that form part of the objectives of the European Union. For as long as a loan granted satisfies all eligibility criteria for financing by the EIB, NBG grants to the beneficiary of this loan a financial bonus reflected in the interest rate, which is at a discount compared with the annual interest rate charged by NBG on a similar loan without the participation of the EIB.


Eligibility criteria

Eligible for EIB funding are businesses that meet all of the following criteria:

  • They are established, operate and will invest within Greece;
  • They should be businesses not active in non-eligible sectors, as such are described hereinbelow "Businesses non-eligible for financing".
  • They should meet at least one of the two eligibility criteria for female professional empowerment, as set out hereinbelow.

  • They are SMEs and employ up to 250 staff in terms of Annual Work Units (AWU).
  • They are MidCaps and employ from 250 up to 3,000 staff in terms of Annual Work Units (AWU).


Non-eligible businesses and financing activities are: 

The eligibility of the interested companies is determined pursuant to NACE codes as such are provided by the EIB to the Bank.

Irrespective of the eligibility of an NACE code relating to the main activity, any interested business involved in any kind of the following activities is not eligible for financing by the EIB:

  • activities targeting the production or trade of weapons and ammunition, explosives, equipment or infrastructures specifically designed for military or police use, and equipment or infrastructure which result in limiting people's individual rights and freedom or in violation of human rights.
  • activities which give rise to environmental impacts that for the most part cannot be mitigated and/or counterbalanced (including but not limited to projects in protected areas, critical habitats and heritage sites).
  • activities considered ethically or morally controversial or impinged on or forbidden by national legislation, for example animal testing and research on human cloning.
  • activities prohibited by national legislation (only where such legislation exists), for example Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), abortion clinics, nuclear energy, etc.

Furthermore and irrespective of the main activity of the concerned business, any revenues generated by the following activities should not exceed more than 10% of the annual revenues of said business:

  • activities targeting the production or facilitating the use of gambling and related equipment •
  • activities targeting tobacco production, manufacturing, processing, or specialist tobacco distribution, and activities facilitating the use of tobacco (e.g. "smoking halls").

Apart from the aforesaid exceptions related to excluded sectors or activities, financial holding companies, whose sole economic activity is to hold and to manage portfolios of equity participations and/or investments in other companies, are not eligible.

Eligibility criteria relating to female economic empowerment 
The beneficiaries of the program are businesses that comply with the women's economic empowerment eligibility criteria if they fulfil one or both of the following conditions:

Women's leadership:

Both the executive management and, when there is one, the board/investment committee of the company consists of more than 50% by women, or

Women entrepreneurs:

Women own more than a 50% share of the company and more than 50% of the company's executive management consists of women.

Loan purpose

All investments in projects budgeted for up to €25 million carried out by means of eligible Investment and Business Plans for the growth of SMEs and MidCaps in the last three (3) years as of the date of signing the financing agreement with the firm can be financed up to the amount of €12.5 million.

Expenses related to the following are excluded:

  • Purely financial transactions not related to additional capital expenditure or the company's business activity;
  • Tariffs and Taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT);
  • Purchase of goodwill, licenses or rights for mineral resource exploitation and production rights in the agricultural sector;


The loan may not be used for real estate activities or for the provision of consumer loans. Real estate activity that is excluded from the EIB financing includes the purchase, construction or renovation of real estate with the purpose of selling or renting the building to a third party. The loan may be used for the purchase of assets (e.g. construction equipment), though not real estate, for the purposes of leasing the same to third parties.  

Investment categories
Investments and expenses that may be included in the Business Plan include:

  • Purchase, renovation, and expansion of tangible assets, including land only if it is essential for the investment, by up to 10% of the amount of the financing. Purchase of farmland is not included.
  • The purchase of patents or licenses is eligible provided they are necessary for the investment's technical installation.
  • Intangible assets such as:
      • research, planning costs and construction period expenses by up to 10% of the amount of the financing
      • R&D expenditure
      • development of distribution networks in the local market or other EU markets (acquisition of assets and/or trademarks, administrative and labor costs).
  • Change of generation (e.g. retirement of the previous owner) or staff-related change of business status. Financing in such cases aims at keeping the firm in active business, provided however that the buyer and the business for sale is an SME and the total financing does not exceed €5 million (excluding own resources).
  • Working capital of a permanent nature. More specifically, business obligations related to the firm's transaction turnover as part of its ordinary business activities can be financed. Expenses that can be financed include (by way of example) the purchase of raw materials and other components of the manufacturing process, inventories and general expenses, commercial claims, and claims from sales to non-end consumers.


Loan terms

  • The total budget for each Business Plan may be up to €25 million for SMEs and MidCaps.
  • Investment plans that have been included in EU subsidy schemes can be financed by up to 100% of the investment value (sum of the amount of the subsidy and the loan), but may not exceed €12.5m.
  • Forms of financing through the program: a) Working Capital of a permanent nature, b) Financing for the purchase of fixed assets, and c) Provision of short-term lending by virtue of an open (current) account agreement, exclusively for the financing of investment plans, with assignment of the repsective moneys granted.
  • The loan term cannot exceed the economic and technical life of the investment being financed.
  • The minimum loan term is two (2) years.
  • Loan repayment can be made in quarterly or half yearly principal instalments with a grace period option of up to two (2) years.
  • Interest rate: 3month Euribor + margin
  • Pricing on favorable terms and exemption from the obligation to pay the charge under Law 128/75 (currently 0.60%).

Required documentation

In addition to the standard documentation (such as balance sheets, P&L statements, periodic VAT returns, Ε1 income tax returns of company proprietors etc.):

1. Application for financing, together with a list of any other documents attached, duly completed and signed by the business.
2.   Information regarding staff employed by the firm:
- Detailed Periodic Declarations (DPDs) for IKA or 
- Solemn declaration of the Legal Representative stating that, during the year the application is filed, the firm:

  • shall employ less than 250 employees on an annual basis (if the business has not submitted a DPD) or 
  • shall employ from 250 to 3,000 employees in terms of AWUs (if the business has not submitted DPDs and is classed as a MidCap firm), or
  • that the firm does not employ staff.

3.             Shareholder/corporate structure data.
4.            IKA DPDs of any associated or affiliated businesses.
5.            Declaration stating the firm's size.
6.            Solemn declaration stating the fulfilment of the eligibility criteria for female professional empowerment.
7.            Business/ Investment Plan
Deadline for completion of the program

Until the available funds of the program have been used up and not later than 23/07/2021.  


For further information, visit one of our NBG Branch .