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Research and innovation
News article29 November 2023Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Blue Economy: launch of ‘EU Blue Champions’ scheme to support innovative projects helping to restore the ocean and waters

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The European Commission, in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), is launching the new pilot scheme ‘EU Blue Champions’. It will be supported by the BlueInvest platform.

Through this new initiative, the EIB Advisory Services, in collaboration with the EIB Projects Directorate, will provide financial advisory to selected projects in the blue economy. Each project selected should display the potential to contribute strongly to the EU Mission ‘Restore our Ocean and Waters’ and its three objectives:

- restoring marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity,

- eliminating pollution,

- decarbonising the blue economy.

Concretely, the aim is to identify 20 innovative projects, which have the potential to interest public or private finance providers and possibly qualify for an EIB financing.

To be eligible, projects need to be aligned with at least one of the Mission’s objectives. Other selection criteria will depend on the lending product (e.g. venture debt, corporate loan, project finance) that the project might be considered for. These may include:

  • minimum investment size - depending on the type of lending product considered. In any case, each project should have a budget of over EUR 15 million total eligible project cost, of which the EIB could finance up to 50%,
  • having a sustainable business model and a clearly defined business plan,
  • having already raised finance from investors and currently being in need of a larger investment to scale up the business.

While a formal application process is not foreseen, interested project promoters are welcome to fill out the template with their details and submit it to the EIB Advisory team corporatefinanceadvisoryateib [dot] org (corporatefinanceadvisory[at]eib[dot]org) before 31 January 2024.

Only projects eligible for support under the InvestEU Advisory Hub will be considered. This call for interest does not represent a commitment by the EIB to provide financing or advisory support to any of the projects submitted.

Background

EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027. They are a coordinated effort by the Commission to pool the necessary resources in terms of policies and regulations, as well as other activities. The objective of the EU Mission ‘Restore our Ocean and Waters’ is to restore the health of our oceans and waters by 2030. The Mission is designed to deliver on the European Union’s 2030 quantified and measurable targets for protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, zero pollution, decarbonisation and reduction of net GHG emissions.

BlueInvest is a European Commission initiative, enabled by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF). It aims to improve access to finance and investment readiness for start-ups, early-stage businesses and SMEs active in the blue economy. It features an online community, investment readiness assistance for companies, pitching and matchmaking events, a knowledge centre, and a project pipeline. It also offers a dedicated capacity building track for investors guiding them to specialise their investment strategies into the blue economy and fuel the transition to impact investment. BlueInvest is underpinned by a EUR 500 million dedicated risk-sharing financial instrument under InvestEU managed by the European Investment Fund.

Through its Advisory Services, the European Investment Bank Group makes available financial and technical expertise to project promoters and local authorities with a view to strengthen their project preparation, implementation, and to improve the efficient use of EU funds.

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Details

Publication date
29 November 2023
Author
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation