Emma Navarro, EIB Vice-President, and Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, launched the fund during the BlueInvest Day conference in Brussels on 4 February.

BlueInvest is a European Commission initiative that aims to improve access to finance and investment readiness for start-ups, early-stage businesses and SMEs active in the Blue Economy.

The BlueInvest fund that we are launching today will give an important contribution to mobilize private investments to this sector and to get critical projects off the ground,

...stated Ms. Navarro.

The European Investment Fund will be managing the BlueInvest Fund, that will provide financing to underlying equity funds that strategically target and support the innovative blue economy.

This sector can play an important role in the transformation to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, an ambition forming part of the European Green Deal.

The new programme is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

A €75 million equity investment fund is a tool to unlock the potential the blue economy holds both in contributing to the European Green Deal and ensuring economic growth of European SMEs developing innovative and sustainable products and services,

...noted Mr. Sinkevičius.

The blue economy ranges from companies in the marine environment to land-based businesses producing goods or services that contribute to the maritime economy.

In particular, the blue economy harbours promising early-stage ventures and companies – often emanating from EU-funded R&D programmes, focusing on renewable energy, sustainable seafood, blue biotechnology, maritime IT and more.

The new fund is complemented by the European Commission's BlueInvest platform, which supports investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups.

Through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Commission also funds an additional €40 million grant scheme, to help blue economy SMEs with developing and bringing to market new innovative and sustainable products, technologies and services.

The oceans provide huge potential for economic growth, but this growth needs to be sustainable. The investments in the Blue Economy sector we signed today show how public funds in the EU can be deployed to attract private investment and catalyse the development of this sector,

...EIF Chief Executive, Alain Godard, said.