Funds for the financing provided by BGK are sourced from national (for more information see section SMEs Liquidity Support Loan Fund) and regional operational programmes. The repayable support formula ensures that they are renewable, which means that funds disbursed return in the form of e.g. loan repayments and are available for use in subsequent support transactions. Another advantage of this offer is a broad range of intended uses and types of permitted projects, as well as the possibility of allocating funds as working capital. This means that enterprises can finance various economically viable projects. Due to the available grace periods in repayment, the relatively long financing period and preferential interest rates, entrepreneurs are able to plan their investment objectives reasonably, without fearing for financial loss or loss of liquidity, as the liability related to the repayment of the loans are not an excessive burden on their budget.
The wide package of products is tailored to the real needs of companies operating in individual regions. In each region, loans for the development of companies are offered – financing is provided for projects that improve their competitiveness, increase the scale of their activities or add new products and services to their offer. What is important and worth noting is that EU loans support not only well-established enterprises, but also new businesses – the EU loan offer includes loans for starting a business, addressed to those who are unemployed and are economically inactive. They help activate people over 30 years of age who are in a difficult situation in the labour market, persons over 50 years of age, long-term unemployed, people with disabilities and low professional qualifications.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has started in 2020 and continued in 2021, caused an unprecedented crisis affecting human health and the economic situation across the world. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises have been particularly hit b the situation and have become the largest beneficiary of state aid in the fight against the economic effects of the pandemic. In the context of difficulties in obtaining loans from commercial institutions, it is the EU’s financial instruments, including funds from Regional Operational Programmes, the SME Liquidity Support Fund under the OP SG, and the SME Liquidity Support Loan Fund REACT-EU, that have become an important element of support offered to smaller enterprises. Such a need emerged at the onset of the pandemic, when facing the problem of insufficient own funds, smaller businesses turned to external sources of financing much more than before. One of the most onerous consequences of the pandemic for micro and small-sized enterprises were payment backlogs and lost income due to the inability to trade and the concurrent need to incur fixed costs and expenses, such as salaries for employees or public charges, and to meet other financial obligations. In this difficult time, the Bank’s activities were mostly focused on developing protection solutions for companies that used debt financing and experienced difficulties in paying their liabilities as they fall due. To that end, additional grace periods for repayment of principal/interest and payment holidays were offered. Subsequently, in cooperation with the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy and Marshal Offices, a package of products related to company liquidity financing was introduced.
Thus, the issue of the maintaining the liquidity position of companies in the context of the epidemic situation was a priority. Liquidity loans from the funds available under the Operational Programme Smart Growth and Regional Operational Programmes of individual provinces, as well as numerous facilitations in the repayment of the existing products launched as part of BGK’s aid package, helped minimise the adverse effects of using external financing during the severe economic slowdown. Liquidity loans are an instrument established as a form of support for companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was launched as soon as in April 2020. The total budget for this purpose as part of Regional Operational Programmes of provinces was approximately PLN 950 million as at 31 December 2021. Loans are advanced by entities selected by BGK, the so-called financial intermediaries.