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More than 6000 entrepreneurs have already benefitted from loans worth a total of close to €50 million under the European Progress Microfinance Facility, according to the third annual report on this EU instrument.
The report confirms that Progress Microfinance has significantly contributed to job creation, helping a high percentage of people who were previously unemployed or inactive into employment. In particular, microfinance facilitates self-employment and entrepreneurship among groups who typically have more difficulties to raise money, such as young people and minorities.
The report indicates that almost one third of final beneficiaries said they were unemployed or inactive when they applied. Almost 80% of the micro-companies supported are start-ups operating for less than three years.
Agriculture and trade remain the two sectors receiving most support from the Facility, accounting for more than a half of all supported enterprises.
The intermediaries through which Progress Microfinance financing is channelled are contractually bound to cooperate with organisations providing such training and mentoring and Member States can use the European Social Fund to provide assistance in the form of coaching or training for business starters.
Such support has a positive impact on the business skills of the beneficiaries and clearly complements microloans obtained under Progress Microfinance.