The Sir Paul Hotel is the only boutique hotel in Limassol licensed by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation. A family business employing 15 people, it has become an important part of the local economy. Its establishment was made possible with a loan from the Bank of Cyprus guaranteed by the European Investment Fund-backed Cyprus Entrepreneurship Fund.
Natali Martini created the Sir Paul Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus and Jānis Volksons expanded his Trubenieki mushroom farm in Latvia and began hosting tourist groups thanks to EU funding. The EU has also helped many other entrepreneurs whose stories you can find on this website.
Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a priority for the EU because they are the backbone of Europe’s economy, accounting for 99% of all EU companies, 57% of total economic output and creating 2 out of every 3 jobs.
The EU also supports on-the-job training, for example through the new Erasmus programme –Erasmus+. Not only does it give 2 million students the chance to study abroad, but it also fosters knowledge exchange for teachers and educators, among other things. In total, €14.7 billion is being made available to increase the number of pupils leaving school with the skills to pursue further education or find jobs.
So, what does the EU do to support these entrepreneurs and business owners?
For small businesses and start-ups getting access to bank loans can be challenging, hence the EU has created loan guarantees under the Investment Plan for Europe. It guarantees loans totalling €11.3 billion for 700,000 small businesses across all sectors. It helped French farmer Christian, his daughter Julie and their company Ombrea create shades for crops to optimise sun exposure and guard against bad weather, and enabled Sarah to launch Constant & Zoé to produce ready-to-wear clothing specially designed for people with disabilities.
Crucial financing for investments is also made available by the European Structural and Investment Funds. Some €64 billion to offer 360 degree support to more than 1 million small businesses across Europe over just six years from 2014-20. The funds support SME with grants, loans or venture capital. Those looking to internationalise their business can get support here, too, because access to new markets is a key priority. And it does not stop there: as know-how exchange and training are important to successfully grow your business, the funds back initiatives such as Oona, which offers free training and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs in Finland.
Several other specialised EU funding programmes exist to help small businesses to get their innovations to market and grow, always with the same objective: to create an environment in which SMEs and start-ups can thrive, ensuring economic growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration in the EU.
Find the stories of more innovative education & training projects supported by the EU here: Growing a successful children’s furniture business Intelligent shades to protect crops from bad weather Revolutionary ready-to-wear clothing for people with disabilities A Latvian farmer meets growing demand for his mushrooms Support for female entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business
After 3 years of renovation, Limassol’s Sir Paul Hotel welcomed its first guests on 24 September 2018. For hotel management graduate Natali Martini, this marked the completion of a journey from university to business ownership with the help of the EU.
Natali and her family got the idea of setting up a hotel when she was still a business administration student. The building that now houses the Sir Paul had belonged to the family since the 19th century but had been disused for over 30 years.
To support the vision, Natali pursued further studies in hotel management and took over the running of the project.
The family’s idea became reality when they were granted a loan from the Bank of Cyprus through the European Investment Fund-backed Cyprus Entrepreneurship Fund. Natali explains: “Without the funding, we wouldn’t have been able to proceed with this project. Of course, there were other sources of capital, but since the crisis hit, things were much tighter.”
Today, the Sir Paul Hotel is a landmark in Limassol’s historic centre. It currently employs over 15 people and is helping attract more tourists to the city.