Spanish small-business fund Aquisgrán grows to €260 million with new investments from ICO and EIF

09 April 2024

  • Spain’s promotional bank ICO and EIF increase their investment in Aquisgrán fund by €110 million
  • ICO to buy additional asset-backed securities up to this amount with support of EIF guarantee
  • Aquisgrán was launched in 2021 by SGR-Cesgar, an association bringing together 18 reciprocal guarantee societies (SGRs) and backed by the Ministry of Industry through CERSA
  • With ICO and EIF support, Aquisgrán has provided €140 million to over 2 000 small businesses across Spain to date and it has become a key source of additional financing for small businesses

Aquisgrán, a Spanish fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), promoted by SGR-Cesgar (a group of 18 reciprocal guarantee societies) and backed by the Spanish Ministry of Industry through CERSA (Compañía Española de Reafianzamiento), is set to grow to €260 million with new investments from Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) and the European Investment Fund (EIF). 

With a bilateral guarantee from the EIF, ICO will buy €110 million worth of asset-backed securities issued by Aquisgrán and listed on Spain’s alternative fixed income market (MARF). Both ICO and the EIF provided initial financing to Aquisgrán when it was established in 2021 with €150 million.
The growth of the fund will make it easier for Spanish SMEs and self-employed people to access finance. Aquisgrán stakeholders marked the expansion at an event today in Madrid. 


To date, Aquisgrán has granted loans totalling €140 million to more than 2 000 SMEs and self-employed people, making it a major source of non-bank financing for this sector of Spanish economy. Beneficiaries of Aquisgrán loans include startups, which have received about 30% of total funding, and investors in sustainability and support for industrial growth.

The event in Madrid featured speeches from SGR-Cesgar President José Pedro Salcedo, EIF Director of Credit Guarantees, Securitisation and Inclusive Finance Marco Marrone, ICO Chairman José Carlos García de Quevedo and Director General of Industrial Strategy and Small and Medium Enterprises Jordi García Brustenga. 

Some success stories of companies invested by Aquisgrán,  Miracor Films, Onyx Solar, Revenga Smart Solutions, Ossby y Qualery., were presented during a roundtable session moderated by Aquisgrán Director General Eusebio Martín.

The expansion of the fund will enable Aquisgrán to provide liquidity to a larger number of SMEs, consolidating this pioneering non-bank financing initiative. The new financing agreement stipulates that priority for additional funding will be given to promoting gender-equal financing, fostering regional development with a focus on Spain’s cohesion regions, green financing and the cultural and creative sectors.

Aquisgrán enables SMEs to complement bank financing with long-term, fixed-rate loans, also giving them access to capital markets as the securities used for financing are listed on the MARF. Aquisgrán loans are covered by a guarantee from the reciprocal guarantee societies and a counter-guarantee from CERSA.

Background information

About the European Investment Fund (EIF)

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group). Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, it contributes to the achievement of key EU policy goals such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability.

About Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO)

The Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) is Spain’s national promotional bank, attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business. Sustainability is among its cross-cutting principles for action, with a notable focus on developing socially and environmentally sustainable projects in line with its 2022-2027 strategy and within the framework of the recovery, transformation and resilience plan. In 2023, ICO backed operations unlocking €16.314 billion in investment for projects generating positive environmental or social impact.

About Aquisgrán

Aquisgrán was launched by the reciprocal guarantee societies and Cesgar to provide non-bank financing to SMEs and the self-employed. It is financed by MARF-listed securities purchased by Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) with European Investment Fund (EIF) support. It has provided long-term loans backed by the reciprocal guarantee societies to over 2 000 SMEs across Spain since its creation in June 2021.

About SGR-Cesgar
Cesgar is a non-profit association formed in 1980 with the corporate purpose of taking on the functions of coordination, cooperation and defending representing the interests of Spain’s 18 reciprocal guarantee societies. It promotes any kind of agreement with domestic and international public or private sector institutions that benefit its members. It provides advice and technical assistance, and produces studies, statistics and training plans. Cesgar holds the Vice-Presidency of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions (AECM) and is part of CEOE-CEPYME.