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New microcredit provider in Bulgaria under Progress Microfinance

03/10/2011 New microcredit provider in Bulgaria under Progress Microfinance

Following Mikrofond, which received last February a senior loan of € 3 million from Progress Microfinance, JOBS MFI (Joint Opportunities for Business Support Microfinancing Institution) joined the group of microcredit providers with a senior loan of up to € 6 million.

The loan from Progress Microfinance allows Mikrofond, a non-bank microfinance institution present all over Bulgaria, to increase its microloan portfolio with a special focus on microlending to minority groups.

JOBS MFI, a newly established non-bank financial institution and subsidiary of the Bulgarian Development Bank, will grant microleases and microloans to microenterprises including sole traders, job seekers and unemployed people wishing to create their own microenterprise and disadvantaged groups on the labour market. Thanks to the loan from Progress Microfinance, JOBS MFI will generate a total lease and loan volume of € 9 million over the next two to three years.

Potential final beneficiaries will also have access to business development services (counselling, training, mentoring etc.) in order to strengthen their business skills and make sure the lease/loan provided will create real value added for the establishment/development of their micro-businesses.

Progress Microfinance is an EU microfinance initiative established with € 200 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank and managed by the European Investment Fund. It aims to increase access to finance – loans below € 25 000 – for micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders etc.

The European Progress Microfinance Fund does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals, but it works through microfinance providers, such as Mikrofond and JOBS MFI in Bulgaria.