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EUR 8 m for Italian micro-enterprises as EIF and Banca Popolare di Milano sign agreement under Progress Microfinance

    Date: 29 May 2014

Download the Italian version

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM) have signed an agreement under the Progress Microfinance initiative aimed at further supporting micro-enterprises, addressing in particular those people who face difficulties in accessing the traditional banking system. Progress Microfinance is funded by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) and managed by the EIF. BPM is the 4th bank in Italy to benefit from the initiative.

Thanks to the guarantee provided by EIF and to the cooperation between BPM, the Municipality of Milan and Fondazione Welfare Ambrosiano, which is also guaranteeing half of the funding made available by BPM, the bank will be able to make further resources available. The bank will thus provide up to
EUR 8 million of micro-loans (loans below EUR 25 000) to the benefit of over local 400 micro-enterprises, ranging from start-ups launched by young entrepreneurs to businesses in the expansion phase.

The Municipality of Milan will make finance available in the metropolitan area by offering a specific microcredit product addressing young entrepreneurs under 35, who will be supported in the implementation of their projects through tutoring and coaching services provided by the Fondazione Welfare Ambrosiano.

Through this agreement, the bank will be able to expand its products offering to a new market segment targeting self-employed workers, young people, women and immigrants.

Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under Progress Microfinance can contact BPM branches directly  o find out more about eligibility requirements and conditions.

About the European Progress Microfinance Facility

The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) provides guarantees and funded instruments to microfinance intermediaries. The initiative is established with EUR 205 million 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 less than EUR 25,000 are made available through selected intermediaries participating in the facility. Progress Microfinance does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals. Banca Popolare di Milano marks the 53rd transaction signed under Progress Microfinance since its inception in 2010. To date, commitments of over EUR 130 million under Progress Microfinance have been signed to benefit EU micro-borrowers. Countries where agreements have been signed to date include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK.For further information about this initiative please visit: www.ec.europa.eu/epmf

About EIF

The European Investment Fund's (EIF) central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance.  EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance 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. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 7.9bn at end 2013. With investments in over 435 funds, 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. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 5.6bn in over 300 operations at end 2013, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

Press contacts:

- EIF: Emanuela Schiavoni, e-mail: e.schiavoni@eif.org

- BPM: Monica Provini, Tel. +39 02 7700 3515, monica.provini@bpm.it

- COMUNE DI MILANO: Mauro Rocco, Tel.(+39) 02 884 50154; mauro.rocco@comune.milano.it

- FONDAZIONE WELFARE AMBROSIANO: Rosa Cioffi, Tel. (+39) 02 8719 8053; rosa.cioffi@fwamilano.org


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