Primary tabs

EIF and European Commission launch new capacity building initiative for micro-credit and social finance providers

22 December 2016


EIF and European Commission launch new capacity building initiative for micro-credit and social finance providers

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Commission are announcing a new initiative to help micro-credit and social enterprise finance providers develop their businesses under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

The new EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window will reinforce the capacity of selected financial intermediaries in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance. Through equity investments (such as seed financing, risk capital) mostly, the EIF will support the development of these finance providers, for instance by

  • opening a new branch,.
  • investing in human resources,.
  • developing a new IT tool.
  • financing certain expenses.

Ultimately, these investments will help increase the offer and opportunities for micro-borrowers and social enterprises.

Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “I am happy to launch the EaSI Capacity Building Window which will help to streamline access to finance through structural measures. It will help selected financial intermediaries to develop their business on the long term and provide sustained access to funds to European micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises. It responds to the needs of financial institutions that want to build up their capacity and reinforce the offer on the market. Through this instrument, we confirm our commitment to give a boost to jobs and growth and help the most vulnerable people in the labour market.”

The implementation of the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window is expected to reinforce the ecosystem for microfinance and social entrepreneurship whilst catalysing additional investments in European economies. It reflects the European Commission’s strong commitment to launch concrete initiatives aiming at boosting jobs, growth and investment.

About EaSI

The European Commission’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) aims at supporting the EU's objective of

  • high level employment,.
  • adequate social protection,.
  • fighting against social exclusion and poverty.
  • improving working conditions.

The EaSI guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund. It provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations.

The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, through notably loans of up to EUR 25 000. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500 000

Furthermore, the European Commission is reinforcing the social dimension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) for both microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Overall, the total amount of support to these areas is expected to increase (from EUR 193 million under the EaSI programme) to about EUR 1 billion, mobilising some EUR 3 billion in additional investment.