The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Société financière de la NEF (la NEF) have signed the first Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement aimed at supporting more than 300 social enterprises in France under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
This new guarantee agreement allows La Nef to provide a total of €33 million to over 300 micro and social entrepreneurs, many of whom face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. Social entrepreneurs including fair trade producers, organic farmers and micro-borrowers in the renewable energy sector will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate, without providing collateral under the EU supported programme.
The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund. The EIF also signed a microfinance agreement with La Nef to benefit micro-enterprises.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "This agreement marks a key milestone in European Union financing for social entrepreneurship. In addition to our support for micro-borrowers, these EaSI Guarantees will help more than 300 social enterprises to take root and grow, thereby fostering job creation and social inclusion."
Social-enterprises wishing to apply for a loan under EaSI can directly contact La Nef branches in France.
EIF will not provide direct financial support to enterprises but will implement the facility through local financial intermediaries, such as microfinance, social finance and guarantee institutions, as well as banks active across the EU-28 and additional countries that are participating in the EaSI programme. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee.