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EUR 18 million of microfinance to support Portuguese businesses

  •  
    Date: 27 October 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Millennium bcp, have signed a guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises in Portugal under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

This new EaSI guarantee agreement with Millennium bcp, will cover a loan portfolio of EUR 18 million for around 900 micro-borrowers. Portuguese micro-entrepreneurs can benefit from attractive conditions, including no collateral requirements. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "The European Commission is fully committed to promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the fight against social and financial exclusion. I therefore warmly welcome today's agreement with Millenium bcp, which marks the first of its kind in Portugal under the EaSI programme. This agreement worth EUR 18 million will support 900 micro-entrepreneurs in starting up and developing their business, thereby creating jobs and inclusive growth at the grass-roots level."

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: "Our microfinance cooperation with Millennium bcp, which began in 2012, has provided many success stories in Portugal. We expect that over 1,500 Portuguese micro-entrepreneurs will benefit from support under the EU’s tailored microfinance programmes."

João Fezas Vital, head of Millennium bcp’s microcredit unit, states: “We are extremely happy to sign  this agreement. It follows the work we have been carrying out for some years together with the EIF, the entity that has provided us with an ongoing support in the pursuit of our activity. This agreement enables us to continue our work with an increased commitment, support the entrepreneurial spirit and fight against unemployment and poverty. We feel, every day, that microcredit is achieving increased visibility. And we are glad for that, since it improves the conditions that enable us to boost our business.”

Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under EaSI in Portugal can do so directly by contacting one of Millennium bcp’s more than 600 branches in Portugal.

EIF will not provide direct financial support to enterprises but will implement the facility through local financial intermediaries, such as microfinance, social finance and guarantee institutions, as well as banks active across the EU-28 and additional countries that are participating in the EaSI programme. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee.

About the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

The European Commission’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") aims at supporting the EU's objective of high level employment, adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.

It provides 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. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500 000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations.

Furthermore, the Commission is reinforcing the social dimension of the EFSI for both microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Overall, the total amount of support to these areas is expected to increase (from EUR 193 million under the EaSI programme) to about EUR 1 billion, mobilising some EUR 3 billion in additional investment.

About the European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its 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.

For further information on EU microfinance and social entrepreneurship support please refer to:

EaSI Programme       

EU support to social entrepreneurship

About Millennium bcp’s Microcredit unit

The Microcredit unit of Millennium bcp was launched on 8 November 2005 and is designed to support entrepreneurial spirit and to fight social exclusion. Its main beneficiaries are the unemployed, micro-enterprises, young individuals with university degrees, retired workers and people who wish to pursue their own business projects. The maximum loan amount is EUR 25,000 per micro entrepreneur for a term which may go up to 5 years.

Press contact:

EIF: David Yormesor, tel: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Millennium bcp.: Erik T Burns, tel: +351 917 265 020, e-mail: erik.burnsmillenniumbcp.pt

EU Commission: Sara Soumillion, +32 22967094


 
 

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