A pan-European Investment Fund to provide equity, loans and technical assistance to boost social entrepreneurship through microfinance institutions accross the EU and Pre-accession region.
Helenos objective is to support sustainable and inclusive growth of small and emerging financial intermediaries, targeting social and microentrepreneurs, that needs capital strenghtening. Helenos is the first step of a pan-european capital market for social finance, with the ultimate objective of boosting job creation and economic and social inclusion throughout Europe.
Nicolas Blondeau, 42, is an enthusiastic and committed professional with 15 years of experience in the microfinance sector. He first started his career in the field (Brazil, Kosovo and Guatemala), and then worked for private and public investment companies in Europe (Incofin IM, BIO and ADA). In his different responsibilities, Nicolas developed an extensive knowledge of the microfinance sector, especially in Africa, f.i. as Board member of a Tanzanian MFI or following up a leading African investment fund. Nicolas holds a bachelor in Business Administration from the Louvain-la-Neuve University, in Belgium, and a Master in Development Cooperation from the Free Brussels University. Nicolas speaks French, Dutch, English and Spanish.
Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, United Kingdom, Turkey, Northern Macedonia, Albania
Estimated project cost
EUR 25 million
Social Infrastructure, Social and Solidarity Economy
Human Capital, Education & Training
Partial financing secured
Expected Jobs created
Economic rationale / Business Model
Helenos is the first private equity fund to target social and micro-entrepreneurs across Europe. It combines a sound financial model, with a first loss investment secured from the European Investment Fund, with a convincing social performance.
As a reminder, 24,4% of EU population are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 92% of enterprises in Europe are microenterprises and more than 2/3 of employment of EU-28 come from MSMEs. Banks often refuse to finance those microentrepreneurs, due to a.o. lack of collateral or source of income. They turn either to friends, family or specific FIs. Those FIs play thus a key role in supporting social and microentrepreneurs. In particular small and emerging FIs face as well challenges to find adapted sources of funding.
Helenos is an investment fund coupled with a technical assistance fund to strengthen the capital base and support the overall capacity of small and emerging MFIs (i.e. risk management, information system, product delivery,...). 25m EUR investment fund providing (quasi-) equity. 4m EUR of technical assistance fund delivering tailored support according to a thorough needs assessment. Fund lifetime of 10 years. Convincing track-record of Inpulse, the management team.
Project financing secured: EUR 10 million (40 %)
Financing source: PPP
Group Crédit Coopératif : 3,3m EUR
European Investment Fund: up to 5M EUR (max 30% of fund size)
Other institutional investors: 4,5M EUR
The promoter has received / applied for EU / EIB financing support related to this project.
Existing or potential bottlenecks for the realisation of the project / Potential risks
- For the technical assistance fund, heavy dependance on grant ressources (a part of the fee for the managers will be dedicated to support the technical assistance fund).
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A free translation into English has been provided by the European Commission on this project, for information purposes only. The original language version is the authentic version.