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Monday, 24 March 2014

Presidential chancellery discuss SME aid fund for Ukraine

Presidential chancellery discuss SME aid fund for Ukraine

Presidential chancellery discuss SME aid fund for Ukraine

The foundation of a Polish-Ukrainian aid fund for Ukrainian SMEs was the subject of Monday talks in the Presidential Chancellery in Warsaw. The fund, to be supported by two Polish banks, is to control a PLN 300 million budget.

 

Attending the meeting were the Polish president's aide Olgierd Dziekonski, deputy Finance Minister Wojciech Kowalczyk, and Wojciech Jagiello and Dariusz Kacprzyk, heads of the project-involved banks PKO BP and BGK.


Discussed were the main aims and functioning of the fund, planned as an aid instrument for hi-tech SMEs with chances to expand onto European markets. The sides agreed that the fund's PLN 300-million budget could aid companies with sums ranging from several hundred thousand to several million zlotys, mainly for restructuring and development projects. As part of its security the fund would acquire shares in the supported companies.


The idea was first outlined by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski during last week's talks with Ukrainian deputy PM Volodymyr Grojsman. Komorowski said the fund could be patterned on the Polish-American Enterprise Fund founded 25 years ago to aid Polish small enterprise, which successfully helped transfer new technologies and know-how to Poland.


At the time Dziekonski said that the fund would help build free enterprise and a civic society in Ukraine.

 

The Chancellery of the President of Poland has initiated the idea of ​​a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) equity investment fund – the Polish-Ukrainian Enterprise Fund. However, the Chancellery of the President is not itself implementing the project. The Fund is to be set up and managed on a commercial basis, which is associated with the fact that its implementation should involve market and financial entities that invest their own money this way. In order to support the establishment of this Fund a working group was set up very recently composed of representatives of the Chancellery of the President and, among others, representatives of two of Poland’s largest financial institutions – PKO BP and Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK). The purpose of the working group is to conduct analytical and preparatory work related to the establishment of the Fund.

 

It should be emphasized that the Fund will not be funded by the state budget, but by market entities. Money will be invested by the Fund through capital investments, which will be returned to Polish investors. An amount of 300 million zł (c. 100 mln USD) should enable the commercial viability and activity of such a Fund, essentially for the Fund to invest in growing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine. The assumption is that the Fund will finance both Polish small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in expansion on the Ukrainian market, as well as micro, small and medium-sized Ukrainian companies with large growth potential. The Fund would therefore also enable Polish entrepreneurs to become better informed about the Ukrainian markets.

 

It should be noted that in the early 90's, at the beginning of Poland’s transformation towards democracy and a market economy, the U.S. government established the Polish-American Enterprise Fund (PAEF), funded at the time at 240 mln USD. PAEF helped to fund SMEs and innovative projects through equity capital investments, as well as micro-loans made to thousands of local, Polish companies - significantly support the growth of private enterprise in Poland. Money invested by the U.S. government was subsequently returned to the U.S. Treasury upon completion of the program, and in Poland - thanks to the capital returns in the Polish-American Enterprise Fund – the Polish-American Freedom Foundation was established and is still running today and promoting freedom, democratic standards and supporting the development of civil society in our country. The model for the idea of creating a Polish -Ukrainian Enterprise Fund was the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. Ukraine today is turning towards the European Union and the West. Poland can help Ukraine during its transformation period also in a similar manner – by establishing the Polish-Ukrainian Enterprise Fund for the purpose of financing SMEs and transforming Ukraine’s economy, which - similarly to all developed economies in Europe - should have a vibrant and significant small and medium-enterprise sector fuel the growth of the Ukrainian economy and strength of its society. (PAP, own information)

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