Conditional loans for internationalisation

Conditional loans

Nopef offers interest-free conditional loans of up to 40% of the approved feasibility study costs for a maximum amount of EUR 50,000 for establishing business operations in a specific project country outside the EU/EFTA area.

The conditional loan is wholly or partially converted into a grant following an approved final report. If the project results in a foreign business establishment or an investment, the entirety of the granted loan amount can be converted into support. If the projects is not realised, 50% of the granted conditional loan can be remitted.

Who can apply?

Read the criteria below to see whether your company is eligible to apply for a conditional loan.

Company-related criteria

  • The company has fewer than 500 employees and less than EUR 100 million in turnover, and is not part of a group which exceeds these limits
  • The company is registered in and operates in a Nordic country
  • The company’s operations are based on commercialised and tested products or services
  • The company will invest own funds in the project country
  • The company has solid finances, relevant industrial experience and sufficient resources for an establishment of business operations in the project country

Project-related criteria

  • The project is aimed at a specific country outside the EU and EFTA
  • The aim of the project is to evaluate and reach a decision of a long-term investment and establishment of business operations in the project country
  • The project has clearly-defined objectives and has reasonable possibility for commercial realisation
  • Upon realisation, the project contributes to positive environmental effects
  • The project contributes to the benefit of the Nordic countries, e.g. through increased competitiveness, employment, economic growth, transfer of skills and technology, or companies and partners from other Nordic countries participating in the project

Reporting requirements

According to Nopef’s loan agreement for the grant the company shall:

• Report on the project development every sixth month by sending a written status report to The forms can be downloaded here.

• In connection with a disbursement request send a completed and signed cost report form that have been controlled by the company’s auditor. The original signed documents are to be sent by regular mail to Nopef.

• Send a final report. If the project is realised, documentation regarding the established business is to be included for the final disbursement of the loan.

Costs covered by the conditional loan

  • Internal salaries (including daily allowances)
  • Travel, accommodation, transport in the project country
  • Legal and financial advice
  • External consultants
  • Risk and profitability analyses
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Development of a business plan
  • Evaluation of cooperation partners

Nopefs environmental focus

Nopef finances feasibility studies for projects and investments which contribute to energy efficiency, reduced use of resources, development of sustainable energy and innovations within the areas of environment and climate fields.

The focus is on projects with direct environmental effects through investments in areas such as more efficient manufacturing and products, modern industrial processes, environmental and waste technology, and sustainable solutions for housing, infrastructure and transport.

Nopef also finances internationalisation projects with an indirect environmental impact, such as the delivery and development of technology, automation and process equipment, IT solutions, maintenance and services, as well as knowledge transfer, where positive environmental effects are created through increased efficiency, resource savings and an increased environmental awareness in the user chain.

Questions and answers about the conditional loan

Which countries can we apply for?
Applications for Nopefs conditional loans can be made for projects implemented in countries outside the EU/EFTA area. An application must apply to one single project country.

Can we apply even though we are already established in a project country?
Nopef finances feasibility studies in countries where a company has not yet established long-term activities. Exceptions can be made if the project is considered as being a significant investment or an enterprise which is not related to existing operations.

What is the minimum size of businesses that can apply?
Although there is no defined lower limit, a company must have been operational for at least 1 year with its own personnel and commercialised products/services. Other requirements are sound finances and own resources to invest in the project country.

How long/comprehensive must the application be?
All the points in the application must be completed and full answers must be given to the questions described on the application form. As a rule of thumb, the detailed description of the company should be at least 1 page long and the project description at least 2 pages long.

What other documents must be appended to the application?
The most recent audited accounts and a certificate of registration. Relevant project agreements, letters of intent or financing decisions must also be appended.

How much support can we obtain?
Nopef can grant up to EUR 50,000 for each feasibility study, subject to a maximum of 40% of the approved costs in the feasibility study budget. On average Nopef grants EUR 31,000 per project.

Can more than one company make a joint application?
Although only one company can be the main applicant, a number of companies can participate in a project as co-applicants. The loan agreement is made only with the main applicant, who also receives any disbursements of funds.

What should be included in a status report?
The status report should describe the project development during the actual reporting period and upcoming project development during the following six months. If no disbursement is required, it is not necessary to provide a cost report in conjunction with the status report.


When is a project considered as being realised?
A project is considered as being realised once the applicant company has begun operating activities in the project country through a subsidiary, joint venture or comparable form of establishment. The establishment must be documented by copies of the certificate of registration, paid-up share capital, shareholder agreement, employment contract, lease contract, completed investments or deliveries, auditor’s statement or other comparable documentation. Nopefs Credit Committee decides whether the project can be considered as realised based on the documentation received.

Can we revise the feasibility study plan during the course of the project?
Nopef accepts that a feasibility study may change during the project. Nopef must, however, separately approve larger changes affecting the projects overall objective.

What does environmental interest mean?
All projects for which financing is granted must contribute to positive environmental effects. Nopef mainly supports projects that contribute to improving energy-efficiency, reducing consumption of resources, cleaner and safer production processes, environmentally-aware products, waste management or recycling, renewable energy or other innovations within the field of climate and the environment. The application must include a clear description of the projects environmental interest, with examples from earlier reference projects and/or actual estimates of the positive environmental impacts that the project will deliver.

What does Nordic interest mean?
All projects that Nopef finances must contribute to Nordic added value. The project must, for example, contribute to increased competence and competitiveness in the Nordic countries, economic growth in the form of jobs, turnover, exports and investment. It is also an added value if projects contribute to showing and developing Nordic affinity, or have participants from two or more Nordic countries and the project positively impacts on gender equality in the Nordic countries and in the project country.

Are there other forms of funding we can apply for?
NEFCO also grants loan financing, buyer credits and equity financing. See the overview of our partners for national support.

Can we apply for continued financing for an investment?
Nopef grants support for feasibility studies for internationalisation. However, NEFCO can grant continued loan financing for Nordic SMEs and MidCap companies for projects on all continents.

NEFCO also finances small and medium-sized projects with a Nordic interest, which are implemented in Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.