The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Finmolise, the financial company of the Southern Italian Region of Molise, have signed an agreement that will provide
EUR 2 million of micro-loans to local micro-businesses aiming at supporting social inclusion and contributing to the development of the regional economy.
This transaction, signed under the European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance), funded by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank and managed by the EIF, is expected to generate an important impact in one of the smallest regions of Southern Italy, where entrepreneurs face particular difficulties due to disadvantaged socio-economic and environmental condition.
It will benefit about 180 micro-entrepreneurs facing difficulties to access the conventional credit market, for example young people, female entrepreneurs and the self-employed, supporting particularly those operating in the social sector. In close cooperation with “Sviluppo Italia Molise”, the in-house company providing technical assistance to the Region, and other organisations supported by the European Social Fund, Finmolise will also offer mentoring services to potential entrepreneurs supporting them to develop their business plan.
Progress Microfinance does not finance entrepreneurs directly, but provides funding (loans and investments) and guarantees to financial institutions operating in the field of microfinance to increase the volume of micro-loans available in the market.
From end of September onwards, interested micro-borrowers should contact Finmolise directly to find out about the requirements and conditions to access micro-loans.
Finmolise marks the 33rd agreement signed under Progress Microfinance since its inception in 2010, and the 3rd in Italy. To date, commitments of EUR 109.8m have been signed to the benefit of EU micro-borrowers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and The Netherlands.
About the European Progress Microfinance Facility
The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) provides guarantees and funded instruments to microfinance intermediaries. The initiative has EUR 205m of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance 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. Loans of less than EUR 25,000 are made available through selected intermediaries participating in the facility. Progress Microfinance does not provide financing or guarantees to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals directly. For more information refer to the comprehensive list of microfinance institutions under Progress Microfinance.
About the EIF
EIF's central mission is to support Europe's small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture capital and guarantees instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. The EIF total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6.5bn at end 2012. With investments in over 400 funds, the EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. The EIF guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 8bn in close to 250 operations at end 2012, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
Finmolise is the financial in-house company of the Molise Region, whose mission is implementing regional policies aiming at promoting a sustainable social and economic regional development. To this end, Finmolise supports SMEs in their early, expansion and growth stage, strengthening their mutual cooperation and encouraging entrepreneurship in the region. For this specific agreement, making an efficient use of EU and regional funding, Finmolise will support interested entrepreneurs to start-up or expand their business activity.