EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Almi Business Partner

Sweden
Phase: Anticipation
Тип:
  • Access to finance
  • response to COVID-19
  • Advice
  • Fostering innovation
  • Support of companies' growth
  • Support of internationalisation
  • Support of SMEs
Last modified: 19 August, 2020
Native name:

Almi Företagspartner AB

English name:

Almi Business Partner

Coverage/Eligibility

This support instrument is available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Main characteristics

Almi Företagspartner AB is owned by the Swedish government and is the parent company of a group consisting of 16 regional subsidiaries. It promotes the development of competitive SMEs and stimulates the development of new enterprises, aiming at creating growth and innovation in Swedish business life. 

The first-round investment from Almi is usually in the range of €200,000-€450,000. Over the lifetime of an investment, a company can receive up to around €1.1 million. The overall aim of the investment is to develop companies' potential and to create a high yield to be able to sell the shares for a good profit. Almi operations are organised in three business areas, namely: loans, venture capital and business development.

Loans

Almi offers to SMEs loans in those cases where other actors in the market are not willing to take the risk, intending to support a company's potential rather than merely looking at its assets. To compensate for the higher risk taken, and to ensure that Almi does not compete with private sector players, the company charges an interest rate that is higher than the average interest rate offered by banks. Almi's lending activities are often conducted in collaboration with other lenders, and banks are important partners.

Almi provides four kinds of loans: microloans, business loans, growth loans and innovation loans.

  • The microloan is aimed at companies with up to 250 employees with growth potential. These loans are designed for businesses with smaller capital requirements, primarily new enterprises that would find it difficult to meet their need for capital in other ways. The loan provides up to 100% of the investment required
  • The business loan is Almi’s offer to businesses as a correspondence to a second mortgage in the housing market. The business loan should be a complement to a business total financial solution, usually complemented by a bank. This loan can be used for a variety of purposes, with no formal requirements of how it is used
  • The growth loan is targeting innovative SMEs and can be used for investments and working capital. The minimum loan is €25,000 and is aimed towards businesses developing innovations and business ideas. This loan can usually be offered at a lower interest rate thanks to a guaranty from the European Investment Fund (EIF)
  • The innovation loan provides funding to commercialise innovative projects. Eligible costs are for example product or service development, market research or protection of intellectual property rights. 

To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Swedish jobs and businesses, a range of measures were presented to make it easier for Swedish businesses, particularly SMEs, to access finance. Almi Företagspartner AB will receive a capital contribution of €300 million to increase its lending to SMEs throughout the country. This reinforcement of the loan fund will increase Almi’s preparedness to meet the needs of businesses whose activities have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The capital contribution to Almi has resulted in a bridge loan targeting normally economically sound SMEs that have due to the COVID-19 breakout suffered from negative effects.  

Also, the Swedish Export Credit Corporation’s credit framework will be increased from €12 billion to €20 billion and can be used to provide both state-supported and commercial credit to Swedish export companies. This will give the agency enhanced opportunities to meet the export industry’s increased demand for credit.

The Swedish Export Credit Agency promotes Swedish exports and the competitiveness of the Swedish industry by providing guarantees that facilitate the financing of purchases of Swedish goods and services. Increased credit guarantees totalling €50 billion and lower risk for banks will provide new and improved credit opportunities for companies. A new guarantee for faster and more secure payment to Swedish export companies will also be introduced. This will apply to export SMEs, major export companies and their suppliers.

Venture capital

Almi invests in companies with scalable business concepts and prospects for long-term capital growth. The focus of this business area is start-ups and Almi Invest manages €200 million in venture capital. Since the start, Almi Invest has invested in 660 start-ups. This part of the instrument’s role is to act as a bridge to private capital and contribute to a functioning venture capital market in the entire country.

The instrument is divided into eight regional venture capital companies focusing on various fields on investments. Besides, Almi Invest has a national GreenTech fund in a separate company with a focus on climate-friendly investments, reducing the CO2 emissions.

The investment process is divided into seven steps from evaluation of investment possibilities to growth-promoting and value-generating activities to an exit process where Almi Invest withdraws from their commitments and finally reinvestments into new companies. 

Business development

Almi’s business development services are available for businesses in all phases. From entrepreneurs with an idea to build a company, to already established companies interested in continuous development. The service is further divided into different offers depending on the company’s situation. These include start smart, grow smart, your business and a mentor programme. 

  • Start smart supports entrepreneurs in an early stage. This offer gives knowledge of how the entrepreneur goes from an idea to a verified business model.
  • Grow smart widens the perspective for established companies. These offer support companies that are ready to take the next step in their development. The companies get knowledge of growth theories, support on formulating goals, knowledge of how to structure their development process as well as an increased awareness of how to push forward with their development process. 
  • Your business provides a greater understanding of the business’ economy. This offer is divided into two parts which both are structured around a coaching dialogue
  • The mentor programme targets newly establish businesses and businesses with growth potential. The mentee is provided with a mentor to support and act as a sounding board, contribute with network, wisdom, and courage. The mentor works on a voluntary basis.

Funding

  • Local funds
  • Regional funds
  • National funds
  • European funds
  • European Funds
  • Other

Involved actors

National government
Funding
Regional/local government
Funding
Public employment services
Conducted by PES

Effectiveness

Almi was founded in 1994 with the specific aim of promoting the manufacturing sector. While it now stimulates growth and development across all sectors, Almi is still known best among companies in the manufacturing sector, with 32% of companies having liaised with Almi (compared to only 16% of those in the services sector).

Almi’s clients typically have fewer than 20 employees. Almi meets with approximately 100,000 clients each year and around 21,000 become involved in extensive development programmes. In total, 3,336 companies were granted loans in 2019, amounting to €187 million (Almi, 2019).

According to a report by Bisnode, companies who have received loans and counselling from Almi between 2009 and 2012 have increased their revenues by 20 % compared to a control group who only increased their revenues by 10%. The companies who received loans and counselling from Almi also had higher added value as well as a higher rate of employment than the control group (Almi, 2014). 

Since starting in 1994, Almi has given 80,000 loans, invested €250 million in venture capital and conducted 300,000 activities in the area of business development (Almi, 2019). 

Strengths

Almi's success factors include its strong institutional background and long-standing reputation; its national system that is adapted to regional requirements; a transparent concept and active promotion of it. For instance through various instruments such as face-to-face communications with participating companies.

Weaknesses

No information available.

Examples

No information available.
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