It is still difficult to determine the exact economic cost of the pandemic, but few companies have been affected. Thus, many faced very difficult decisions. In this episode of Business Planet, the Euronews team focuses on the European Union’s support for SMEs in the face of the coronavirus. To do this, journalist Paul Hackett traveled to Finland, where he saw a company finally thrive after receiving the help it needed to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.”
GardenLiving is a successful gardening company. Located near Helsinki, it specializes in plants and garden products, and offers a number of tailor-made services; Including garden design. This year, the business is booming. But, a few months ago, when the pandemic hit and lockdowns went into effect, things weren’t so rosy.
Eva told us how things were last year around this time, the journalist wants to know.
“Uffff… It was a really bad time. In March all of my restaurant orders were canceled and all of a sudden at the same time I had to pay all the bills to start the gardening season. So, it all came together and I had to pay the bills,” says Eva Witty, founder and CEO of GardenLiving.
Like hundreds of thousands of “micro-entrepreneurs” across Europe, Eva faced a liquidity crunch. Fortunately, he was able to recover and pay the bills with an EU-secured loan, through his bank.
Was it too difficult to get the loan? How were the conditions?asks the reporter.
“Actually, it was very easy. I called my bank, and within two days, we got a loan. Conditions were good,” answers Eva and Waite.
The EVA loan became possible after the European Investment Fund issued 8 billion euros to encourage banks to provide loans. temporary recovery tool next generationGranted 750 billion euros, it aims to help the European economy affected by the pandemic recover more strongly. To find out more, and what this all means for small and medium businesses, we have some expert advice.
Joanna, we just saw an example of a company that managed to get a loan secured by the European Union. What steps should any other company that wants to take to access this type of financing take? Hackett questions.
“In fact, there is a lot of help available to small and medium-sized businesses interested in the possibilities of EU financing. For example, the network Enterprise Europe . network (EEN) advises companies on EU financing and helps them find the right financing tools for their business,” says Joanna Marin Hypponen, EEN Senior Advisor at the Chamber of Commerce in the Helsinki Region.
Now we are witnessing the reopening of economies across Europe. What other EU aid will be available to help businesses recover?The reporter wants to know.
“Well, the EU Recovery Fund will provide additional capabilities and financing for European SMEs, especially with regard to the dual transition. That is, in terms of environmental and digital transformation. Part of this financing is directed to companies through various EU programmes, these programs will have higher budgets and will focus On the renewal of small and medium businesses,” adds Joanna Marin Hypponen.
Meanwhile, GardenLiving hopes to capitalize on the growing demand.
It has been a very difficult year, but we are now looking forward. What are your plans for the future?asks journalist Eva Witty.
“Despite the initial problems, we continued to grow, last year, by about 12%. People stayed home longer and wanted to improve their gardens and homes. Fortunately, this year we noticed that companies also invested again in plants. Our goal is to grow by roughly 20%,” concludes the founder and CEO of GardenLiving.
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