Three weeks ago, at the instigation of Agoria, the Flemish government announced an aid package of €250 million for start-ups and SMEs in the form of subordinated loans. A glimpse was offered today into the incentives, which will be channelled through the Vlaamse Investeringsmaatschappij PMV [Flemish Investment Company].

Viable businesses are eligible to apply for subordinated loans of at least €25,000 and at most €2 million over a period of three years. The amounts can still be increased if there are additional guarantees from other financiers.

Start-ups and scale-ups can repay the loan in full on the maturity date. If they think that is not feasible, they can also opt for a convertible loan, whereby PMV enters in the capital, with a 25% discount on the share price of the capital round/ exit. SMEs with recurring cash flows are granted an exemption from repayments for the first 24 months.

The subordinated loans are introduced at an interest rate of 5% for start-ups and scale-ups, and of 4.5% percent for SMEs and the self-employed. PMV wants to reduce these rates further by applying to a European guarantee fund, but has not yet decided to do so.

The loans are specifically aimed at start-ups and scale-ups which did not have a recurrent positive cash flow in the last 3 years and are developing or already marketing innovative products and/or services, and at SMEs and self-employed persons who did have recurrent positive cash flows before the Coronavirus crisis and were therefore eligible for traditional bank financing.

The financial injections have to be applied for before 15 November 2020, although this is not possible at the moment, because PMV has not received approval from Europe yet. The target date for this approval is the beginning of May.

The aim is to limit the lead time between the application (subject to an underpinned information package) and the provision of the Coronavirus loan to 1 month  maximum.

More details can be found on the PMV website.

Interested companies can pre-register and will be informed as soon as the loan can be applied for.