The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Commission are launching new COVID-19 support measures under the EaSI Guarantee Instrument (EaSI) to enhance access to finance for micro-borrowers, micro- and social enterprises.
The new measures will support micro- and social enterprises as well as individual micro-borrowers hit by the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The objective of the new COVID-19 measures is to further incentivise financial intermediaries to lend money to small businesses, mitigating the sudden increase in perceived risk triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, and alleviating working capital and liquidity constraints of final beneficiaries targeted by the EaSI programme.
Key features of these new measures include higher risk coverage, broadening of certain parameters, such as an increase of the maximum exposure for micro and social enterprises, and more flexible terms.
The new features will be accessible to financial intermediaries, that can potentially serve thousands of companies benefitting from guarantees under the EaSI Guarantee Instrument.
To date, the guarantees provided by EIF to financial intermediaries operating in the micro and social finance space have unlocked c. EUR 1.4bn of debt financing, allowing more than 85,000 micro and social enterprises across Europe to access financing.
The EaSI Covid-19 Support Measures are made available to the market and rolled out based on an amended EaSI Call for expression of interest published on EIF website.
Interested parties are invited to consult the full details in the call documents published on EIF's website.
Financial intermediaries with existing EIF agreements under the EaSI Guarantee will be able to access the new terms of the guarantees upon their request.
Micro-borrower, micro and social enterprises will be able to apply directly to their local banks and lenders participating in the scheme, which will be listed on www.access2finance.eu.
The EaSI programme aims to support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises.
The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, through notably loans of up to EUR 25,000 and social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500,000.