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Progress Microfinance proves success as tool for micro-entrepreneur start-ups

17/07/2012 Progress Microfinance proves success as tool for micro-entrepreneur start-ups

The European Progress Microfinance Facility has proved to be a successful tool to create jobs, particularly amongst groups with difficulties to raise finance from more traditional sources, by helping start-ups by micro-entrepreneurs, according to the second annual report on its implementation.

Through this Facility twenty microfinance providers throughout the European Union have received guarantees or funding (debt or equity) to facilitate their lending to would-be micro-entrepreneurs worth €170 million over the coming two to three years.

The facility, launched together with the European Investment Bank Group at the end of 2010, helps microcredit providers selected by the European Investment Fund (EIF) to increase their micro-lending volumes. It also gives incentives to serve "risky" target groups e.g. young people who cannot put up sufficient collateral for a traditional bank loan.

The European Commission aims to continue microfinance support in the next financial period under the proposed Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI). The proposed instrument also covers capacity building for microfinance institutions. Like the Progress Microfinance Facility, the PSCI would be complementary to inclusive entrepreneurship policies under the European Social Fund, which can, for instance, finance business development services that help start-ups to acquire the necessary skills for running their business.