Credit Conditions and Loan Approval Procedure

Eligibility Conditions
  • Funding is available for commercially viable companies in start-up- or expansion phase which have been operating for a maximum of 6 years.
  • The SSF finances Investment projects in the following countries:

    Middle East and Africa: Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, South Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Chad
    Latin America: Colombia, Peru, Cuba, Bolivia, Haiti
    Asia: Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal
    South East Europe: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia
    CIS: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

    Exceptions for projects in other countries can be considered, if a project can produce an outstanding development impact. Such countries must belong to the “least developed” up to the “lower middle income” countries as listed by OECD.

  • The investors/borrowers can be a company or a natural person, with domicile in Switzerland  (Swiss nationality not required) .There might be co-Investors with domicile abroad.
  • The investors/borrowers must give proof of creditworthiness and enjoy a good reputation.
  • The Investment project can achieve a measurable development effect (creation of long-term jobs, mobilisation of private investment capital, knowhow transfer etc.)
  • The Investors/borrowers must give proof of sufficient financial resources as well as management capacity to successfully implement the Investment Project
  • The investment project could not be realized as planned or at reasonable financial terms without the loan of SECO Start-up Fund.
  • The Investment project does not create any socially or environmentally negative effect and is oriented towards internationally accepted social- and environmental standards.
Standard Loan Conditions
  • The SSF covers up to two thirds of the investmentcosts in the target country, but not more than double the amount contributed by the borrowers/investors and up to a maximum of CHF 500’000. The remaining amount is to be raised by the borrowers, respectively the project's Investors.
  • Interest is paid quarterly. The interest rate is based on the yield on Swiss Confederation bonds (SCBY) for 10-year maturities  (click here for more Information).
    The rate will be increased by a risk premium (minimum interest rate) and is calculated as follows:
    1st year : SCBY + 1.5 %
    2nd year : SCBY + 2.0 %
    3rd year : SCBY + 2.5 %
    4th year : SCBY + 3.0 %
    5th/6th/7th year : SCBY + 4.5 %

    The minimum interest rate in the first year is 1.5%.

  • In addition, the SSF will charge a commitment fee of 1% on the loan amount not drawn for each year.
  • The contribution from the borrower to the project can be in cash or in kind (property, equipment, materials), but not in working hours. A third party will determine the value of a contribution in kind. This value cannot be higher than the purchase price.
  • The SSF can be used to finance fixed assets (land, buildings, equipment) goods and materials, operating costs and costs of setting up the project, but not working hours of the borrowers. The price of fixed assets should not be higher than the market price.
  • The duration of a loan cannot exceed 7 years from the date of disbursement to the final repayment.
  • The SSF loan must be repaid before the project company pays dividends to its shareholders or pays off any capital from investors.
  • The formal lender is SECO. All borrowers are jointly and severally liable
Required Documentation

Complete business plan for an investment project

  • Complete business plan for an investment project (example for a structure of a business plan)
  • Latest financial statements of the borrowers and of the investors
  • A copy of the latest tax declaration in case of natural persons as borrowers
  1. Inquiries and project proposals should be addressed to FINANCEcontact.
  2. FINANCEcontact will determine if the project proposal is eligible, and if so, request a detailed busi¬ness plan from the applicant.
  3. Once the applicant has submitted a detailed business plan, it will take up to 3 months for the SSF Experts' Committee to make a decision.
  4. If an application is submitted to the SSF Experts' Committee, the applicant is charged an application fee of 1 % of the requested loan amount (minimum CHF 1’000).
Members of the SSF Experts' Committee
  • Markus Glauser, Leiter Investment Committee Venture Incubator AG, Uerikon
  • Samuel Bon, CEO SWISSCONTACT, Zurich
  • Massimo Bloch, Representative of State Secretariat for Economic Affaires SECO, Bern
  • Fredy J. von Niederhäusern, Entrepreneur, Cadempino
  • Thomas Graf, Partner und Co-Director Agrobrain GmbH, Brüttelen
  • Cornelia Gut-Villa, Managing Director, Stiftung Startfeld, St. Gallen