Press release - 23rd November 2011

IMPALA welcomes EC initiative to set up a fund of €210 million to guarantee bank loans to music companies and other creative and cultural SMEs

IMPALA welcomes the initiative announced today by Europe's Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou to set up a fund of €210 million to guarantee loans granted by banks to cultural and creative SMEs.

The scheme will operate from January 2014 to 2020. This new scheme will see the European Investment Fund, which is linked to the European Investment Bank and the European Commission, guarantee loans made by national banks to cultural and creative SMEs, covering a high percentage of the risk. In return national banks will have to increase their lending activities and will be able to rely on the guarantee instead of personal assets as collateral.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair IMPALA, said: "This is an excellent initiative to address the current market failure facing independent music companies in accessing finance. We encourage all member states to fully support the scheme, which now needs their agreement, as well as the approval of the European Parliament. We believe this instrument has the potential to transform the sector’s viability and leverage much-needed investment for medium, small and very small operators and artists".

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe's music companies are SMEs. Known as the "independents", they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases. SME's also produce 80% of Europe's jobs. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems.
Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as "the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation". IMPALA expects the EC and its member countries to put in place key investment, digital and market access measures. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of the EU's top priorities in becoming the world's leading knowledge economy. Culture is a bigger earner than any of chemicals, automobiles or ICT manufacturing and provides more than 3% of Europe's jobs. IMPALA has its own award schemes to help promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include Efterklang, Adele, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Carla Bruni, Manu Chao, Corneille, Katie Melua, Franz Ferdinand, The Prodigy, Placebo and Ibrahim Ferrer (Buena Vista Social Club).

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