The Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship (MF/SE) axis supports actions in two thematic sections:
- Increase access to, and the availability of, microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises.
- Build up the institutional capacity of microcredit providers.
- Support the development of social enterprises, in particular by facilitating access to finance.
€96 million is already available for interested microcredit providers and social enterprise through the EaSI Guarantee. It shall enable microcredit providers and social enterprise investors to reach out to entrepreneurs they would not have been able to finance otherwise for risk considerations. The Commission has selected the European Investment Fund as its entrusted entity to implement the EaSI Guarantee.
To apply for the EaSI Guarantee (direct or counter-guarantee), reply to a call for expression of interest on the European Investment Fund website.
EaSI Capacity Building
€16 million is available through the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window. It aims at building up the institutional capacity of selected financial intermediaries that have not yet reached sustainability or are in need of risk capital to sustain their growth and development. It covers equity and, in exceptional cases, loans. The Commission has selected the European Investment Fund as its entrusted entity to implement the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window.
To apply for the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window, reply to a call for expression of interest on the European Investment Fund website.
EaSI Funded Instrument
The EaSI Funded Instrument is a loan fund of € 200 million. It provides senior and subordinated loans to microfinance institutions and social enterprise lenders to boost on-lending to micro-enterprises and social enterprises.
The EaSI Funded instrument aims to improve access to finance for micro-enterprises, including the self-employed and those that employ vulnerable people, as well as for social enterprises in order to support job creation and social inclusion.
The loan fund is a partnership between the EU, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. The European Investment Fund has been selected as the fund manager.
EaSI Technical Assistance for microfinance
The EaSI Technical Assistance for microfinance services offer support to public and private financial intermediaries active in the microfinance sector in Europe. The services cover a wide range of activities aimed at improving the quality of microfinance institutions’ internal processes, enhancing access to finance, and developing a sustainable European microfinance ecosystem.
These services include institutional assessments, tailored trainings, investment readiness trainings, financial or social ratings (optional), workshops and study visits, a dedicated Helpdesk, and European Code of Good Conduct implementation trainings and compliance evaluations.
European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision
The European Commission seeks to promote best practices in the field of microfinance in Europe. This is why the European Commission has supported the design and implementation of a common set of guidelines known as the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision (the Code).
The aim of the Code is to set out best practice guidelines for all stakeholders in the sector – funders, investors, customers, owners and regulators. There are two possible scenarios for interested institutions:
- Non-bank microfinance institutions can obtain an award of compliance with the Code
- Banks providing microfinance can endorse the Code
Signing up to or endorsing the Code is a prerequisite for microfinance institutions interested in benefitting from EU support under the EaSI Financial Instruments.
EaSI Technical Assistance for social enterprise finance
The EaSI Technical Assistance for social enterprise finance offers support to public and private financial intermediaries active in the social enterprise finance space in Europe.
The services cover a wide range of activities aimed at building the capacity of social enterprise finance providers and at fostering the exchange and dissemination of good practices in Europe, for this sector. They include trainings tailored to the specific needs of intermediaries, investment readiness trainings, peer-to-peer trainings, study visits and social enterprise finance workshops.
Who can participate?
- EU countries;
- EEA countries, in accordance with the EEA Agreement, and EFTA countries;
- EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries, in line with the framework agreements concluded with them.
The European Commission does not directly finance entrepreneurs or social enterprises, but enables selected microcredit providers and social enterprise investors in the EU to increase lending.
Organisations that can apply for funding are public and private bodies established at national, regional or local level and providing microcredit for persons and microenterprises and/or financing for social enterprises in these countries.