HAMAG-BICRO Secures Funds for Culture, Creative Industries and More

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 3rd of July, 2020, the Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG-BICRO) has provided as much as 300 million kuna in loans for Croatian businesses in the cultural and creative industries, and 600 million kuna in the maritime sector as part of the second package of economic measures for entities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This second sum also refers to transport, transport infrastructure and related activities.

New support funds were provided in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance for the creative and cultural industry, as well as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure (MMPI) and HBOR for the field of maritime and land transport. The programmes were all adopted in accordance with the legal basis of the provision of state aid of the Republic of Croatia and according to the programme approved by the European Commission (EC).

The goal of the loan guarantee programme in the field of culture and creative industries is to provide additional liquidity while reducing the interest rate and the level of required collateral. The guarantees are intended for independent artists, micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the industry who duly settled their obligations by the 31st of December 2019. The terms include a maximum guarantee amount of up to 800,000 euros with a maximum duration of up to five years including a grace period of up to twelve months for a repayment period of at least two years and an interest rate of a mere 0.1 percent of the guarantee.

The state aid programme for the maritime, transport, transport infrastructure and related sectors will provide financial support to businesses in this sector in mitigating the effects of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. This will create a stronger foundation for the smooth flow of traffic in the Republic of Croatia and abroad. The grantor is MMPI, the financial implementation will be managed by HBOR and HAMAG-BICRO, while the records and supervision of grants will be carried out by the competent ministry.

The funds are intended for all Croatian businesses in the sector which experienced a significant decline in their respective operating revenues and turnover during 2020 of at least 20 percent. The conditions are similar to those in the area of ​​creative industries and culture with a maximum amount of 800,000 euros and a premium of 0.2 percent, with a guarantee of 90 percent of the principal of an individual loan for a period of five years. HAMAG-BICRO will issue guarantees to small and medium-sized enterprises, while HBOR will be the entity to provide funds to large businesses/companies.

“HAMAG-BICRO was among the first to activate a package of measures for the liquidity of micro, small and medium-sized companies, which proved to be a timely response given the situation with the pandemic and the economic crisis. With these additional measures, we’re creating conditions for our entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industry who are suffering great losses, as well as those in the field of transport and maritime infrastructure, so that they can continue their business. These measures will certainly affect the tourism sector, enabling our cultural industry to continue developing Croatia’s tourist offer until the end of the pandemic is declared,” said Vjeran Vrbanec, President of the Management Board of HAMAG-BICRO.

In the past four years alone, HAMAG-BICRO has stimulated investments of as much as 12.5 billion kuna for more than 7,500 Croatian companies, which has created a precondition for the creation of 20,000 new jobs. Since the beginning of the economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, HAMAG-BICRO has provided funds for more than 3,200 businesses worth a massive 570 million kuna in total.

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