The European Investment Fund (EIF) has joined forces with tech group Tableau for a data-driven initiative which shows just how the EU organisation’s €136 billion investment in SMEs over the past 25 years has been spent and how local businesses have benefited from public funding.
Using Tableau, the EIF has developed a public facing interactive map, that visualises data-points about its investments that are supporting business innovation, entrepreneurship and employment across EU Member States and associated beneficiary countries.
Built alongside Tableau partner The Information Lab, the map allows the public to view up-to-date figures of the invested amounts, the number of beneficiary businesses, and the estimated number of supported jobs at the time of investment. The public can also use the map to drill down from country level, through local regions, to the actual geocoded addresses of the business.
Current data shows at least 1.2 million businesses as financial beneficiaries of the EIF’s debt financing and equity financial instruments.
The project has been driven by one of the EIF’s largest shareholders, the European Commission, in order to showcase the use and benefits of European public funding in critical areas such as entrepreneurship, and link these to key drivers of economic growth.
The organisation believes that using data analytics in this way has the potential to improve the understanding of public policy at a time when many citizens are challenging the relevance of public institutions to their day-to-day lives.
EIF director of middle, information and back office José Grincho said: "The interactive map sets a new standard for how an international organisation like the EIF can share core data to show the return on investment of our stakeholders’ financial investments.
"Our map uses real-time data to show how investment activities are delivering positive impact. Using Tableau to create and run this map, we can tell our story in a way that makes people
understand the real-life value of where we intervene on the ground."
Tableau senior vice-president of the EMEA region James Eiloart added: "Public institutions are looking for new ways to connect with their citizens. Giving access to public data in an easy-to-use, visual way allows people to explore questions and find the most relevant insights.
"Data visualation and exploration is a powerful way for people to understand how public money is being spent to improve their communities.
"Our work with the EIF demonstrates best practice in how governmental organisations can open up their data for positive public scrutiny that builds transparency and brings tangible benefits."